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Using ZENworks to Distribute the Microsoft Windows Installer

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Gary Busby

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Posted: 2 Feb 2000
 

The new Microsoft Windows Installer that ships with Office 2000 (and an integral part of the Windows 2000 OS) is quite a change from the standard setup routines of old. It incorporates a new design based on a relational database that requires a product to identify itself via three major pieces: the product, the features, and the components. Each piece is considered a transaction with the Windows Installer service to identify all files, configurations, system dependencies, setup properties, etc.

In addition, since the Windows Installer is actually a system account enabled service on Windows NT 4.0, it has the ability to distribute Windows Installer compliant applications without a user needing elevated (Administrator) privileges. However, the Windows Installer itself requires elevated privileges to be installed and, by default, does not turn on or create all the registry keys needed to enable elevated privileges for applications. This is where ZENworks comes into the picture.

Using ZENworks, you can push out the Windows Installer by itself prior to installing any Windows Installer compliant applications (ex. Office 2000). In addition, you can use ZENworks application objects to toggle the registry keys on and off to enable and disable elevated privileges as desired on your target workstations.

Using the two together can have some real advantages and compliment each other quite well. In some cases, it is the best solution since ZENworks can only give an application's native setup elevated privileges during the initial installation, and not after a subsequent reboot (which is required for some Office 2000 configurations). Granted, you could use the Dynamic Local User policy to grant the user Administrator group membership temporarily to get around this, but the user is able to do anything during this period of time while you're babysitting it (not necessarily a secure method).

Read on to find out how. (Full article in PDF format)


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