Deploy SoftGrid MSI's under Limited User context

One of the main advantages of Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid) is that applications that would normally require Administrator privileges now can be virtualized and therefore can run under Limited User context. Application delivery can be done through a “classic” streaming server and through MSI deployment. A downside to the MSI deployment model is that it […]

One of the main advantages of Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid) is that applications that would normally require Administrator privileges now can be virtualized and therefore can run under Limited User context. Application delivery can be done through a “classic” streaming server and through MSI deployment.

A downside to the MSI deployment model is that it needs Administrator privileges to install, not so much for the SoftGrid part (i.e. adding and loading the application) but for the MSI part. In this post I will explain how to get the MSI to install / uninstall to work under Limited User context and to make it suitable for CD/DVD deployment for example.

Disclaimer: only use this post for test purposes, not for production environment.
For this post I used an MSI generated by the Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer version 4.5.0.606

Step 1. Removing the Launch Condition: If you run the MSI with Limited User privileges it will result in an error stating “You must be an administrator to install application”. This error has nothing to do with the MSI actually executing operations that require this. It’s the result of a launch condition in the MSI which just checks it.

What you need to do is:

  • Open the generated MSI with Orca and locate the LaunchCondition table
  • Remove the row containing “Privileged”

Now the MSI won’t check for Administrative privileges anymore. If the MSI were to execute operations that the user isn’t allowed to, it will result in an access denied and a rollback of the MSI. This is probably the case for “normal” MSI’s but not for SoftGrid MSI’s.
SoftGrid MSI’s are merely a wrapper around the Virtual Application and manage the creating and loading of the application. This could also be done through scripting, which was the case with the former SMS connector.

 Step 2. Changing the ALLUSERS property: After removing the Privileged launch condition the MSI launches and you can click through the setup screens. However you will receive the error: “You do not have sufficient privileges to complete this installation for all users. Log on as Administrator and complete the installation”.

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SoftGrid, Microsoft Application Virtualization, MSI, Guide, Knowledgebase