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Manipulating the ZENworks Upgrade

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By William Stokes

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Posted: 27 Jun 2006

ENVIRONMENT: We have about 225 computers, running Windows 2000 and the Novell Client, v. 4.9 SP1. Each computer had the ZENworks for Desktops Agent v. 3.2 installed - that is how we pushed apps, policies, etc.

PROBLEM: We decided to upgrade from ZfD v. 3.2 to ZfD v. 7, and wanted to push this install out via an app object. We created the app object from an .msi file, but we hit a snag. When run, the app object did not automatically add a shortcut to NalView.exe in the Startup folder of the Start menu. In addition, the setup required a reboot to complete. This meant that once the object was run, as soon as it reached the reboot dialog, the system went into a sort of ZENworks limbo - 3.2 was no longer installed, and 7 was not yet finished. Even if we had asked the users to restart their systems, we would be unable to push anything to them, or even remote control - without talking users through adding a shortcut to NalView.exe to their Startup folder.

SOLUTION: We tried modifying the .msi using Orca, to force it to automatically put a shortcut in the Startup folder, but we were unable to get that working. We could not create an app or bat file to run after the ZfD 7 app, because the computers would lose all communication with ZENworks as soon as that ZfD 7 app was run.

Our solution was to create a dummy app to run before the ZfD 7 install. All this app did was copy 2 files to a computer - NalView.exe to where it would reside after ZfD 7 was installed (in our case, C:\Program Files\Novell\ZENworks), and a shortcut to NalView.exe into the Startup fold for all users. A few days before the upgrade we pushed this app to everyone. The morning after the upgrade we pushed the ZfD 7 app object - users logged in normally, then were presented with a reboot dialog; they rebooted, and were up and running with the new agent.

We did send an email and notified employees that we would be performing this upgrade, and that the morning after they should be prepared to reboot their machines before starting work.


Shaun Pond: This works, but there's no need to use ORCA to manipulate the install - just using STARTUP_APPEXPLORER=1 in the command line will do it. Also, for upgrades, this TID may do the job much easier.

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