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ConfigMgr Application Deployment Changes

There have been two significant improvements to application deployment over the last two versions of ConfigMgr (1702 and 1706). These new improvements only apply to deploying applications in ConfigMgr, not packages.

Install Behavior

Introduced in ConfigMgr 1702, this allows you to specify processes that cannot be running while your application is installing. I see a lot of use out of this around Internet Explorer, as I’ve had several cases over the years where an application would not install if IE was open. If the process (or executable) is running when the user tries to install their app, the installation will fail (i.e. Software Center never starts the installation) and the user will get this notification:

This is just a quick example to illustrate the process – Notepad ++ and IE have nothing to do with another (I just like to pick on IE).

This is a feature that you have to enable, so go to Administration > Updates and Servicing > Features and enable “Install Behavior for applications”.

Once the feature is enabled, open the deployment type for your application. There’s a new tab called “Install Behavior”.

To add an executable, click the add button.

The only required field is “Executable File Name”, while “Display Name” is only there for your benefit. When the error message displays in Software Center, the system pulls the name from the process, not from this field. If you remember my screenshot of the error, it says “Internet Explorer” and not “IE” like I have typed here. Once you have this configured, click OK and it’s setup.

This is still a new feature, and I think it still lacks a few things. First is the aforementioned “Display Name” field. I would like to see that actually mean something. It works fine for Internet Explorer, but there’s some applications where this could be a problem. There may be apps out there that do not display correctly in this manner and could add confusion for the user. I suspect that Software Center pulls one of the property fields from the file name, which if not set properly, could display incorrectly. Second, when running the application, the install comes up as Failed, and you get all of the same failure notifications that you get if an installation actually fails. I don’t particularly care for this, and would rather the status in Software Center say it failed because an application was running, and I’d also like to see the regular failure notifications muted.

Different Uninstall Content Directory

Another feature that was recently released was the ability to specify a different content directory for application uninstalls.

There’s two additional options here – “Uninstall content settings” and “Uninstall content location”. The settings box allows you to set whether or not the content directory is the name, and if there’s no uninstall content. These settings are important, because if there’s no content, or different content, there may be nothing for the ConfigMgr client to download when uninstalling a product. I’m using Office ProPlus as my example for this section. To install Office ProPlus, you need ~1.5GB of source files. To uninstall Office ProPlus, you need ~5MB of source files. That’s a huge difference.

To use a different uninstall directory, change the “Uninstall content settings” option to “Different from install content” and give it the uninstall location.

Now, when I uninstall Office ProPlus from Software Center, it will use the uninstall content and only download 5MB of source files instead of 1.5GB.

 

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