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Configuring and Troubleshooting Workstation Association

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Ian Parish, Matt Brooks

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Posted: 8 Dec 1999


In the ZENworks 2 release of Application Management (ZAM), one of the largest new features is what we call Workstation Association. This feature extends all of ZAM's capabilities (distribution, copying files, registry setting, INI file editing, text files editing, etc.) to a Workstation using the workstation object and workstation connection to NDS provided by Novell Workstation Manager. Prior to ZENworks 2, these features were only available on a user basis. On the surface, this seems like a simple and subtle addition to the product. The truth is we have essentially doubled the functionality and capabilities of ZAM (Application Launcher and Application Explorer).

This article is intended to be an engineering description of the Workstation Association feature, the components involved in making this feature work, and troubleshooting tips. Users new to ZENworks Application Management may want to read the ZENworks 2 online manual, and this article on Application Launcher for information about using and getting started with Application Management.

Installing Workstation Association Components

To start with, you've got to install ZENworks 2. Once those files are installed on the server you are halfway there. Now for the hard part: run Application Launcher (NAL.EXE) or Application Explorer ( NALEXPLD.EXE). As part of running NAL, the NAL Workstation Association Agent, aka NAL WS Agent (ZENAPPWS), is automatically copied to the workstation and registered with the Workstation Manager Scheduler.


The NAL WS Agent is dependent on the workstation being registered and imported into the tree as a workstation object through Workstation Manager. Once the workstation is properly registered in the tree, Workstation Manager takes care of creating a connection to NDS for the workstation and starting the NAL WS Agent. Without this environment the NAL WS Agent does not get loaded.

Troubleshooting Tips

It is possible that you have associated an application to a workstation and it is not showing up in the Application Launcher or Application Explorer or force running as expected. In that case you should check the following to see if everything is set up correctly.

  1. Check Workstation Manager for the NAL WS Agent in the scheduler.

    Open the Workstation Manager Scheduler (also called Novell Desktop Management) by double-clicking the icon in the task bar.
    It looks like this:

    Once the scheduler is open there should be an entry called "NAL Workstation Association Agent" that should be set to load at scheduler service startup. If the scheduled item is not present, you need to check Launcher Configuration to see if the "Enable Helper" option has been turned to false. Also, you need to run NAL.EXE or NALEXPLD.EXE at least once in order to get the NAL WS Agent scheduled.

  2. Check to see the workstation is registered and logged in.

    Right-click on the same Novell Desktop Management icon in the task bar. Select "Display NDS Information". You should see something like this:

    The Workstation Object and Workstation Tree lines should both be filled in with appropriate information. If either is empty, you need to go back through the documented steps to get your workstation properly registered in the tree. Hint: It involves running WSREG32.EXE more than once.

    For complete instructions about how to register your workstation properly in the tree, read the section on Workstation Management in the ZENworks 2 documentation.
  3. Check to see if the NAL WS Agent is loaded.

    An easy way to check this is from within Application Launcher or Application Explorer.

    1. For Application Launcher, select the Help | About option. OR
    2. For Application Explorer, select Properties on the desktop icon or the icon placed in the task bar.
    3. Now press the "More" button.

    In the "File Information" list you will see an entry for ZENAPPWS.DLL if it is loaded in memory. If it is not loaded, there won't be a ZENAPPWS.DLL entry. If the NAL WS Agent is not loaded, it could be due to the fact that the workstation is not properly registered and logged in to the tree. As in Step 2, consult the documentation on how to get your workstation properly registered in the tree.

    An alternative way to check if the NAL WS Agent is loaded is to use WSUTIL.EXE from the ZENworks 2 Tool Kit. Simply running WSUTIL /PING will check to see if the WS Agent is loaded.

  4. Check System Requirements and Schedule.

    If the application is marked force run, remove the force run option and select one or more other association options. Then, start removing the system requirements until you only have the operating system setting.

    You might also need to check the schedule and/or run once check box. If it still does not show up, check the launcher configuration settings to see if the workstation is able to "see" the association given the current launcher configuration settings. It is very handy to select the workstation object then select the Tools | Application Launcher Tools | Show Inherited Applications option in NWAdmin.

About the Authors

Ian Parish and Matt Brooks are two of the engineers who designed the Workstation Association feature, and provide expert and entertaining information to Cool Solutions readers on a regular basis.

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