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Cut Distribution Time In Half

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Scott Morris

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Posted: 19 Jun 2002

Here is a way that I have reduced application distribution time by fifty percent for some of our large applications. Microsoft Office 97 used to take about 15 minutes for clients to install on our token ring network. Almost half of that time was spent on distribution of the registry keys. I was able to cut the install time down to approximately 7-8 minutes by completely removing the registry entries from the NAL object. Here's what I did...

  1. Once you have your NAL object just the way you want it, export the entire registry section to a .reg file, then delete all registry entries from the object.
  2. Using Notepad, search and replace all of the system variables with the actual paths. (eg. %*WINDIR% to C:\\Winnt Notice the double back slashes!)
  3. Add a flag to the .reg file that will write to the registry.

  4. Include the .reg file with the application files that get distributed to the target workstation
  5. In the Post Launch Script, place the following code:

    IF "%99"="1" THEN
    Regedit.exe /s C:\Where ever\MSO97.reg
    END IF
  6. Make sure you set the application to always prompt for a reboot after distribution so the app does not run immediately, that way the .reg file will merge into the registry and everything will be in place on the next launch.

The result is, instead of making a DS call for each and every registry key that is to be distributed, we send all of the entries to the workstation in one file and merge it into the registry. Setting the flag with the .reg file ensures the merge only happens at distribution and not after each launch of the application.


  • You must use the Post Launch scripts and not the Post Distribution Scripts. Post Distributions Scripts run in the system context and therefore cannot access the Current User hive of the registry in NT and 2000.(I don't know about Win 9X, never tried it.)
  • You could also use the Pre Launch Script and use a network path to the .reg file. This would remove the need to force for a reboot.
  • I would also suggest that you set the application to delete the registry flag at distribution. That way, whenever you have to "Verify" the installation, the registry flag will be deleted and the Post Launch Script will re-merge the .reg file

Scott Morris is a Technical Analyst with the TD Bank Financial Group. If you have any questions you may contact him at

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Tony Kwok

Just an addition to Scott Morris' article on "Cut Distribution Time In Half". What he says about batching reg files in a file rather than in the app object also applies to INI and text files. My experience with Accpac is that it's 10 times quicker to put the INI files in the Application Files tab rather than the INI Settings tab, provided that's what you want to do.

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