Setting FileMaker’s startup file from CLI

We had a client that was upgrading their system to FileMaker 18. They had already pushed new FileMaker Pro clients out to their user’s desktops. But now that the upgraded system was ready, how could they give users a quick and easy way to launch right into the new database system?

Since FileMaker 18, there has been an option if using the Assisted Install.txt file to set a database file (either local or hosted) that should be opened whenever FileMaker is launched. In FileMaker 19, this option was also added to the UI in FileMaker Pro’s Preferences.

FileMaker 19 Preferences - Assisted Install

By setting this, we can suppress the display of FileMaker’s Launch Center, which can be confusing for new users, and instead help developers guide users with their own UI. This gives an experience very much like the now deprecated FileMaker Runtimes used to package up vertical solutions.

Going back to our situation though … the client had already rolled out FileMaker Pro 18 to all their desktops, so it was too late to use the Assisted Install settings during installation. And even if they had been using version 19, telling this many users to manually set preferences would be something to avoid.

Instead, we determined that the best option was to run a command on each user’s desktop. This they could do with their remote management tools, so no user interaction was required.

On Windows, we can set the same startup file option by modifying Windows registry settings.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • the path is specific to the version of FileMaker you want to set, so for here we have specified version 18
  • the path is specific to each user, so it needs to be run while logged in as the user whose settings we want to change
  • FileMaker should be closed (not running) when making this change, or the settings may be overwritten

Here’s what the PowerShell version of the command looks like:

reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FileMaker\FileMaker Pro Advanced\18.0\Preferences" /v Initialfile /t REG_SZ /d "fmnet:/"

In the example here, I’ve used a hosted launcher file. But we could’ve also specified a local file. Just replace the fmnet: part of the path with filewin:.

On macOS, we manipulate the preferences data in a file that both FileMaker 18 & 19 share.

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist "Preferences:Initialfile" "fmnet:/"



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