Monday, May 29, 2006

Registry Population

Deploying applications is usually done by means of MSIs. In some cases, application installation procedures configure the environment such that the user who installs the application can use it as well. This is fine in a single-user model where the user is in charge of his/her own PC. When deploying applications in a multi-user environment, it can occur that the user needs to have this configuration before actually launching the application for the first time. This is a situation like chicken-or-egg.

We looked for a solution to populate the user-registry before he/she starts a certain application. The solution we found to work uses AD policies in combination with a custom logon-script which does two things: 1) checking whether the required (user- / HKLM) registry keys are present and if they are not 2) configure those registry keys. In combination with Flex Profiles, this populates the flex profile at first logoff as well.

We called our scenario: OpsPopulate (on Citrix, in combination with Flex Profiles) and RegPopulate (on XP). The mechanism is the same. In order to improve logon performance on the Citrix environment, we made sure that the Flex Profile configuration file for the specific application is only parsed for users that actually require the application.

We are currently investigating whether this scenario enables us to configure ODBC settings for users in an automated and centralized way.

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