Monday, October 30, 2006

Windows PowerShell Week: November 06-10, 2006

Windows PowerShell is a new command line shell and task-based scripting technology that provides information technology (IT) administrators comprehensive control and automation of system administration tasks, increasing administrator productivity. Windows PowerShell includes numerous system administration utilities, consistent syntax and naming conventions, and improved navigation of common management data such as the registry, certificate store, or Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Windows PowerShell also includes an intuitive scripting language specifically designed for IT administration.

Between November 06-10, 2006 Microsoft Script Center is organizing Windows PowerShell Week, a series of five Webcasts to be held on TechNet. These Webcasts will provide you with a thorough introduction to Windows PowerShell.

All Webcasts begin at 11:30 AM PST (Pacific Standard Time)

1. And Now for Something Completely Different: Introducing Windows PowerShell

You?ve probably heard by now about this new technology from Microsoft first called ?Monad? and now officially named Windows PowerShell. What is this? Do I want to learn this? Do I have to learn this? Where do I get it? How does it work? Not to worry, the Scripting Guys are here to answer your questions. In this first of five Webcasts you?ll be introduced to Windows PowerShell and given an overview of how it works and what it?s all about.
Monday November 6, 2006

2. One Cmdlet, Two Cmdlet, Three Cmdlet, Four: An Introduction to Windows PowerShell Commands

"Doeth the Eagle mount up at thy commaund?" No, that?s not a typo; apparently, that's how the word command was spelled back in the 1700's. Boy, how things have changed: the word is now spelled Cmdlet, or at least it is if you're a Windows PowerShell user. In this webcast the Script Guys explore these new beasts known as Cmdlets, the heart and sound of Microsoft?s new command shell/scripting technology.
Tuesday November 7, 2006

3. Objects, Objects Everywhere: Working With Objects in Windows PowerShell

One of the coolest new features introduced by Windows PowerShell is the ability to work with objects directly from the command line. Although WSH scripters are somewhat familiar with the concept of objects, as a Windows PowerShell user you need to live and breath objects. In this webcast, the Scripting Guys explore all things object in Windows PowerShell. If you listen carefully and don't speak out during the presentation, they?ll even help you instantiate an itty-bitty .NET object for you to call your own.
Wednesday November 8, 2006

4. New Kid on the Script Block: Writing Scripts with Windows PowerShell

Yes, Windows PowerShell is a great tool for working at the command line; however, it?s an equally good tool for writing scripts. In day 4 of Windows PowerShell week, the Scripting Guys introduce you to the fine art of writing scripts with Windows PowerShell.
Thursday November 9, 2006

5. Amazing But True: Things You Never Dreamt You Could Do With Windows PowerShell

In this, this fifth and final Windows PowerShell Week webcast, you?ll see definitive proof that the Loch Ness monster exists; you?ll meet a man who was abducted by aliens; and you?ll hear from a real, live ghost. But that?s nothing: just wait until you see some of the incredible things that can be done with Windows PowerShell.
Friday November 10, 2006

Register for the Webcasts

Windows PowerShell: FAQ's
Scripting with Windows PowerShell
Microsoft Script Center
Windows PowerShell Blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

10 More Commandments for Software Packaging: Focus on Vista Migration

Previously, DevInstall had posted an Event relating to Webcast: 10 More Commandments for Software Packaging: Focus on Vista Migration. If you missed the live Webcast which was on October 25, Macrovision has now made that available on-demand. Building on the popular 20 Commandments for Software Packaging, this new set of commandments apply to migration projects, and will show you which tools can help you perform these tasks. If you are getting ready for a Vista migration today, take the time to view this Webcast.

10 More Commandments include:

  1. Plan your Project

  2. Learn the New Feature Set

  3. Create your Team

  4. Build your Test Network

  5. Filter Features

  6. Analyze Application Compatibility

  7. Package for Production

  8. Rely on Workflows

  9. Test, Test, Test

  10. Learn your Lessons

Ofcourse, the speakers expand and present these bullets in greater detail with demos.


Nelson Ruest
Wes Day
Michael Snyders

Visit the Webcast

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Designing Application Installations for User Account Control with Windows Installer 4.0 in Windows Vista

Previously, DevInstall had posted an Event relating to Webcast from MSDN: Designing Application Installations for User Account Control with Windows Installer 4.0 in Windows Vista. If you missed the live Webcast which was on October 18, MSDN has now made that available on-demand.

What does the Webcast talk about? Some highlights?

  1. User Account Control (UAC) in Vista and Windows Installer 4.0 Integration
  2. Signing Your Package - some new dialogs
  3. Credential Prompt-Free Patching
  4. Adding the "Shield" to your User Interface
  5. When does elevation happen?
  6. Precautions when using AdminUser
  7. A word about Custom Actions (CAs)
  8. ALLUSERS Property Under UAC
  9. Creating a True "Per-User" Package
  10. Using a Setup.exe Bootstrapper
  11. Testing your Package

In addition, the on-going Q/A session during the presentation was highly informational. Some highlights from the session:


Question: We don't want to make the customer go through the UI and then abort in the Execute sequence if Privileged is False. What can we check in the UI sequence to abort?

Answer: The UAC credential prompt is a one way door. There is no way to tell in advance whether the user will approve the credential prompt. Once the credential prompt is approved you are running as administrator. This is a constraint of UAC.


Question: On Vista, is there a way to run an elevated install silentley? i.e: When using /qb Vista do shows the elevation dailog request - but also shows the progress bar. When using /qn - nothing happens ... Is'nt a way of metigation between the two switches ??

Answer: The UAC functionality does not allow elevate silently. The recommendation from the UAC team is to 1) run from a managability tool such as SMS, Altiris, Tivoli, etc 2) run from an elevated command line 3) (for automated testing in development only) write a service that elevates a command line when passed.


Question: There's some confusion about whether the "no impersonate" bit can be used in the UI sequence. Docs imply it only applies to deferred custom actions.

Answer: NoImpersonate can not be used in the UI Sequence or in the InstallExecuteSequence outside of the script. To have a custom action run inside the script, one needs to mark their custom action deferred.


Question: So where does ALLUSERS=2 bounce to?
Answer: ALLUSERS==1.


And many more?This is a strong recommendation to Application Developers, Installation Developers and also for Application Packagers.

Presenter: Tyler Robinson, Lead Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation
Session Q/A: Robert Flaming, Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation

Watch this on-demand Webcast ||| Read the Full Session Chat Transcript

Windows Installer Team has also scheduled next similar webcast for October 30, 2006 Designing Software Installations for Windows Vista Using Windows Installer 4.0.

Additional Resources:
If you are more interested to learn about UAC in Vista and Windows Installer 4.0, Robert Flaming published a series of articles earlier: Understanding UAC in Vista and Windows Installer. Uday Shivaswamy's earlier webcast about Modifying Your Applications to Run on Windows Vista is an additional support to understand in the sequence. There is also an upcoming event about 10 More Commandments for Software Packaging: Focus on Vista Migration, you may find it more helpful in the context.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Packaging Event 2006

On Friday November 3 2006,  PDS, Macrovision and Altiris is organizing the annual Packaging Event in the Amsterdam Arena for their customers in Belgium, Netherlands & Luxembourg. On this unique (free) event speakers from Macrovision, Altiris, Microsoft and Novell will be presenting the latest developments in the field of Application packaging and Windows installer technology.

At the exhibition space, various packaging organizations will present their solutions to the visitors. The event highlights are detailed as below:

Speakers at the Event

9.30 AM: Windows Installer past, present, future & Microsoft Vista
Tyler Robinson, Windows Installer Program Manager , Microsoft
Exploring the windows Installer elements from a system administrator perspective. How will Vista influence the packaging process & application management.

11.15 AM: Wise Package Studio and SVS
Andre De Meijer, Senior Consultant, Altiris
Wise Package Studio and Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) are two keys components of a successful application management process; both solutions help organizations manage their applications throughout their lifecycle, including preparation, deployment, management and support, patching, upgrading and retiring.

1.30 PM: FLEXnet AdminStudio
Nica Faustino,
Sales Engineer Manager, Macrovision EMEA
Macrovision will host an interactive session during a software demonstration to cover the  complete application repackaging lifecycle from application request through quality assurance and  integration with distribution tools. It will be followed by a questions and answers session

3.15 PM: Novell ZENworks
Roel van Bueren Consultant, ROVABU Networks
How to deploy MSI packages with Novell ZENworks: Past, Present , Future.

You can find the complete details about the event here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Administering ClickOnce Deployments

ClickOnce provides an easy-to-use and flexible deployment mechanism for smart client applications built for the .NET Framework 2.0. ClickOnce offers end-user deployment, ready-made installation dialogs, a built-in security model, and automatic or on-demand updates. But while it's great to have so many built-in features, one area that users often request more control is in tracking who uses which applications, controlling access to those applications, and knowing when something goes wrong. You may just need to keep track of who is using which versions of each application at the user level. You may want to restrict access to certain applications and updates based on a user's identity or their association with a role or group. You may want to know when launch errors have occurred for particular users so that you can troubleshoot deployment problems if they exist.

This whitepaper discusses all of these scenarios. It identifies the places you can insert your own code or tools into the process for control or monitoring purposes. Several alternative solutions are discussed, allowing you to pick the approach that provides the best trade-off of complexity and control given your requirements. This whitepaper also identifies potential hazards of certain solutions that may seem like a good idea, but that can lead to fragility or unexpected results. Along the way, author gives you insight into what artifacts are being placed where when you publish and deploy a ClickOnce application.

White Paper Info - Author: Brian Noyes, Microsoft Regional Director and MVP

Published: June 2006, Revised October 2006 (sample download added)

Applies to:

.NET Framework 2.0

Smart client application deployment

Windows Forms

Visit the WhitePaper at MSDN

Friday, October 13, 2006

Modifying Your Applications to Run on Windows Vista

Previously, DevInstall had posted an Event relating to Webcast from MSDN: Modifying Your Applications to Run on Windows Vista. If you missed the live Webcast which was on October 06, MSDN has now made that available on-demand.

What does the Webcast talk about? Some highlights...

  1. Innovation and Compatibility of applications for Vista

  2. What is Microsoft doing about application compatibility?

  3. Typical Compatibility Failures

  4. User Account Control: Why might application break?

  5. Windows Resource Protection: What's changed? Include it in your application package?

  6. Mitigation: What is Redirection? Is it per user or per machine? How can you avoid redirection?

  7. Application Updates: Who has the privileges?

  8. Service Isolation

  9. Networking, Version Checking, Microsoft GINA, Graphics Device Interface (GDI) and Dots per Inch (DPI)...

  10. Removed Components while going to Vista

And many more...This is a strong recommendation to Application Developers, Installation Developers and also for Application Packagers. 

Presenter: Uday Shivaswamy, Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation

Watch the on-demand Webcast

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So What is Windows Vista Shell? sits down with Director of Development for Windows Shell at Microsoft, Ales Holecek, for an interview about Windows Vista Shell. Ales spends most of the time answering a single, broad question: What is the Windows Vista Shell?

Channel9 references, "of course, you can't talk about Windows Vista shell without talking about UAC (User Account Control), Windows Explorer, Aero, Desktop Search, and, for developers, the improved Shell APIs".

Ales begins with general Windows Shell definition as an application that runs on top of the kernel and gets started once the user logs on. It controls everything...from user's desktop to windows management!

Sounds something of interest to you? Click-Watch-Geek!

Visit the Video Interview

Interview with Jeffrey Snover, "The PowerShell Architect"

Scott Hanselman from interviews Jeffrey Snover, the Architect of Windows PowerShell and gets the history and background of how PowerShell (previously Monad) emerged as such an enhanced management shell. Jeff discusses and educates more about PowerShell and it's 'unique details'.

From the PowerShell Blog, Jeff writes, "BTW - if you ever have a chance to see Scott demo PowerShell - RUN DON'T WALK to the session. He has a great way of explaining what we do". Jeff further adds,"In a couple of weeks, we'll post a link to a Channel9 session where I interview Scott. Tons of fun!".

Visit HanselMinutes for this Interview

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Running Multiple Versions of .NET Framework

If you are an application developer, you definitely understand that sometimes it's a 'pain' for your application if users want to install multiple versions of .NET Framework (may be required for some other applications) because you understand the higher version either didn't exist at the time of coding or 'standard procedures' were NOT followed for upgrade installations. Some enterprises face a huge challenge to deploy higher versions of .NET (as 2.0) if some applications do not run except the desired .NET version, similar to some Java Applications.

"Luckily, the .NET architecture no longer restricts you to such limitations. You can install multiple versions of components on a single server and benefit from their peaceful coexistence by running them simultaneously. Microsoft refers to this as side-by-side versioning", writes Zubair Alexander. He further specifies, "It can be done on a Windows 2003 server, as long as you remember which version is which".

Read the full article

Adding Custom Pre-requisite for ClickOnce Applications

With "ClickOnce", running a Windows Forms application is as simple as clicking a link in a web page. Deploying or updating an application is simply a matter of updating files on a server; no need to individually touch every client. ClickOnce has the requirement pre-requisite of .NET Framework 2.0 or above which is listed on the default pre-requisite items including other runtime packages, windows installer engines and so forth. Through deployment, this becomes easier as we can create a single package with required pre-requisite along the application. However, we can only add those prerequisite through ClickOnce which are by default in prerequisite list while publishing.

To add your own (custom) prerequisite you need to have a boot strapper package. Amol Malpani at codeproject has some simple steps to create your own boot strapper package which will then be automatically included into the prerequisite list. Author guides for how to create custom pre-requisites by using "Bootstrapper Manifest Generator". If you were struggling how to create such a package, this article is worth a start: Add your own custom pre-requisite to ClickOnce Applications

Amol also has other related articles recently published discussing about Publishing an Applicaiton using ClickOnce, without VS 2005 using Mage UI utility and Restore Application to Previous State using ClickOnce

Open Source in the Enterprise

Microsoft does not have "that many" software as open source because of their proprietary nature. Windows Installer XML (WiX) Toolset is one of the first Microsoft's open source software available at the worlds largest development and download repository of open source code,

On the same note, Microsoft is producing a MSDN Webcast for a vigorous and candid panel discussion on the uses and implications of open source software in an enterprise environment. In this webcast, technology experts Scott Hanselman, Rocky Lhotka, Ted Neward, and Chris Sells mix it up and mince no words as they address this important and sometimes confusing topic.

Register for this Webcast

Date:  Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | 6:00 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Language: English-United States
Recommended For: developers

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Understanding UAC in Vista and Windows Installer

The history of UAC, User Account Control, dates back to as early as Windows 95 Operating System. With the 'intense' requirement in the corporate world to have employees their own 'user profile', Microsoft implemented profiling concept many years earlier however reaching Windows Vista, the concept has taken a major and bold changes. Introduction of Windows Installer Technology and it's continuing evolution makes UAC as one of the secure form of application installation and management services.

Robert Flaming, product manager at Windows Installer Team, has recently published a series of articles relating and concerning "User Account Control and Windows Installer". His articles discusses some of the very important concepts that are MUST to understand to create applications in Windows Vista. Windows Installer 4.0 is the latest version available and currently only compatible with Windows Vista.

Flaming's articles (ascending order):

Added October 01, 2006:

Added September 30, 2006:

Earlier Posts:

These articles should be helpful and 'may be' the key discussions of forth coming Webcasts at MSDN about Designing Application Installations for UAC with Windows Installer 4.0 in Windows Vista scheduled on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 10:00AM Pacific Time. If you have any concerns reading these articles and would like to understand more about UAC features in Vista and 'know-hows', you can follow the link and register for the event.

Robert Flaming is adding a series of articles in the same list once in a while. They will be updated here once available with update date stamp of this article.
Original Post: September 24, 2006
Edited Post: October 01, 2006

Windows SDK for September CTP of Windows Vista and .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components

Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for September Customer Technology Preview (CTP) was released on September 28, 2006. The Windows SDK contains documentation, samples, headers, libraries, and tools designed to help you develop Microsoft Windows applications. The documentation, samples, and tools provided in the Windows SDK support application programming interfaces (APIs) available in the Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) versions of Windows. Not all API support all platforms. You can look under the specific API documentation to determine which platform the API supports.

The documentation, samples, and tools provided in this release are preliminary and subject to change. This SDK is designed to use with Windows Vista build 5728 and the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime September Customer Technology Preview. This release of the Windows SDK is compatible with the RTM versions of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. Visual Studio Extensions for .Net Framework 3.0 are available in the related resources.

There are a number of known issues with this release. Please consult the Release Notes associated with this download for more information. Reminder: This version of the Windows SDK will not work with previous pre-release versions of Windows Vista, the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components for Windows XP or Windows Server, or previous pre-release versions of Visual Studio.

Please note that this download contains SDK content only. To build .NET Framework 3.0 applications for Windows XP or Windows Server, the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components for September CTP must be downloaded separately.