Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Briforum 2013 Application Packaging Smackdown is Available for Streaming

Over the summer Nicke Kallen and myself put on a presentation called the Application Packaging Smackdown in Chicago for Briforum 2013. Our goal was to help people understand some of the tooling available for packagers when making both traditional and virtual application packages. 

You can view the presentation over here at BrianMadden.com:

If you are interested in the slide deck it can be found over on SlideShare:

Feel free to send feedback to applicationpackagingsmackdown@bighatgroup.com.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I’ve been a skeptic about cloud and mostly writing it off as a fad but once in a while you see where different types of cloud infrastructure can come together to form a beautiful solution that empowers the end user. Keep in mind that Office 365 is more than just Office but a suite of applications running in a data center with most of the mundane administration taken out of the experience. This service is built on enterprise grade architecture and data centers so even the smallest user reaps the benefits of the backend design. This post isn’t to get deep into the details of cloud architecture but more to talk about what Office 365 means to me.

One of the most heavily used features for me is SkyDrive Pro because I am finding myself using the same device less throughout my day or I am test driving a new operating system but don’t want to be tied down to the details with migrating data. Think of this as your file server for your documents that can be accessed from a web browser or a native Windows application. If you are in a bind there are web based versions of several common Office applications so you can open and edit from a web browser. You can also share the data with co-workers inside the organization or people outside the organization if the security settings for the account are set to do so. Since I run a small business being able to share accounting data between my bookkeeper and accountant is critical. Rather than emailing out easy to sniff emails with attachments or forcing people to use cumbersome encryption tools I can use their Microsoft or Office365 accounts to give them access.

When I would be on Microsoft campus for MVP Summit one of the things I quickly picked up on was the religious use of OneNote by some of the product managers. I had gone through training from Franklin Covey years before and I thought this might be a helpful progression in my note taking. Hands down having indexed notebooks that can be pulled up on a laptop is great but being able to get at notes on your phone is even better. I’ve become a convert to the point that I even collect other people’s blog articles and papers into a special OneNote notebook. I would say the key isn’t to try to use OneNote exclusively overnight but try making task lists and notes first then if you feel comfortable try using it to take notes in real time.

Device support beyond Windows phone is necessary to survive in today’s mobile device market and I’m glad that Microsoft has made versions of Office 365 for iPhone and Android. It is common to see users using more than one mobile operating system and in some cases having more than one device that is a certain form factor such as a smart phone. I know you aren’t going to write a paper in Word on a phone but I’ve tweaked slide decks and done informal run-throughs of a presentation before a meeting. It comes down to agility when you are in a less than ideal situation.

If you have a business partner or classmate you need to share and edit documents with they can sign up for a Microsoft account online and use the touch friendly web based versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Word and more. And if they happen to be a home user I find the Office 365 Home licensing enticing as it can be installed on up to five Windows PC or Apple OS X devices. In addition the suite can be installed onto another five Android and iPhone devices. Office 365 home is a great way for families to stay legitimate with Microsoft licensing and not have to shell out big money when there is an upgrade or a need for extra licenses. I definitely think this will be the way of the future for Office in the home and small business, I believe the enterprise customer will eventually get on board but will be more conservative when it comes to embracing cloud services such as Office 365 but I definitely do not see this being any sort of fad that will be disappearing any time soon.

If you are a TechNet or MSDN subscriber check out the trail subscription included with your benefits. If you want to do a single user pilot it is less than ten dollars Canadian a month to do so. For more information and to sign up for Office 365 go to the following page and give it a test drive:  http://www.microsoft.com/MicrosoftOffice365

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

CSMUG Winter 2013.1 Meeting: People Centric IT

Worried about consumerization or employee owned devices? Maybe you are looking to empower users with more flexible work styles or cope with the demands of integrating contractors into your organization. Microsoft, Calgary Systems Management User Group and the Calgary IT Pro Community Association present an afternoon showcasing the future of People Centric IT and the technologies to drive solutions to these challenges. Join Microsoft MVP Kevin Kaminski and others on a journey through Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Configuration Manager and Intune.

The event is scheduled to take place from 12:00pm and 5:30pm Thursday November 14, 2013 at Bottlescrew Bills 140 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A3 (courtesy of Inteqna). Lunch and snacks will be supplied (courtesy of CoreTech) along with a prize draw at the end for a Surface 2 Pro and other prizes (courtesy of Microsoft). The event is free and registration can be done via the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/event/8423945247

Mobility with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone – Kalvin Falconar, Microsoft
Time: 12:30-1:00
Mobility has become a widely recognized megatrend. Mobile device use for business has grown rapidly. A high percentage of employees and remote field workers will use at least one mobile device for work and in many cases “bring their own”. The proliferation of small, fast, powerful, ruggedized and highly secure devices enable field workers to be more productive.
The challenge for IT is to evolve rapidly and work with other business leaders to develop and implement enterprise-wide mobile solutions. This includes enabling richer connectivity, better applications and integration, wherever, whenever, while maintaining enterprise-grade security and availability.
·         Demonstration: Windows 8.1 offers dramatic improvements in mobility, management and device choice.  (Bonus content: Five reasons you want to deploy Windows 8.1 over Windows 7.)
·         Demonstration: Rugged, field ready devices, SmartPhones running Windows Phone OS, and Tablets running Windows 8.1 will be showcased.
·         Discussion: What is happening on the immediate horizon with Windows Devices? 

Enable your IT Infrastructure to be People Centric – Jeff Chin, Microsoft
Time: 1:15 - 2:15PM
Don't lose sleep again over desktop and device management. People-centric IT (PCIT) empowers each user to work virtually anywhere on PCs and devices of their choice while providing IT with an easy, consistent, and secure way to manage it all.  Expectations of technology and IT are changing - The lines between personal life and work are blurring; and the people you support want a consistent and personalized experience no matter what device they're using. Supporting an ecosystem of devices and applications can be expensive, consuming valuable IT resources and exposing security risks.  Microsoft's approach helps organizations offer a comprehensive solution, built on top of your existing infrastructure to create a consistent and secure self-service and management experience.

Welcome to Intune – Kevin Kaminski, CoreTech
Time: 2:30-3:00
This session is to bring you up to speed on Windows Intune. There will be a brief overview of current capabilities but the session will drill into the mobile device management, application deployment and reporting improvements in this cloud based service.

System Center Configuration Manager R2 with Intune – Kevin Kaminski, CoreTech
Time: 3:15-4:15
With the new product release schedule for System Center product changes are showing up on a yearly basis. This presentation will introduce some of the cloud based offerings to supporting devices and users using Configuration Manager 2012 R2 with Intune. Discover how you can manage Remote access and WiFi profiles along with the related certificates using Configuration Manager. Deploy Firewall and antivirus profiles with better compliance reporting and remediation. The application model in Configuration Manager 2012 will be introduced where much logic that used to be embedded in package wrappers is now managed and reported on at the infrastructure level. See how this can be leveraged to provide advanced behaviors for application deployment.

Using Intune you can have different management profiles and capabilities to suit the different management requirements between personal and corporate owned devices. See how Intune can complement an existing Configuration Manager environment to manage remote, mobile, personal or non-domain joined devices.

Doing Business Differently with Office 365 - Sheldon Mackarenko, Microsoft
Time: 4:30 – 5:00
The New Office enables your users to be more efficient, sacrifice nothing and become more productive.  From a fluid experience across devices your users can adopt the new technology intuitively.  More and more organizations are eliminating multiple bolt on solutions for a complete end to end integrated productivity solution.  Find out how Office 365 would allow your team to drive productivity and innovation.


Kalvin Falconar, CISSP
Kalvin Falconar holds several certifications in Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Architecture, and Information Security.  He has worked in IT for over 27 years and as of September 1, 2013 has taken a new role at Microsoft in Western Canada helping organizations respond to the need for mobility in industrial and corporate scenarios.
Jeff Chin, TSP
Jeff has filled many roles over the years from being a developer to joining Microsoft as a Premier Field Engineer. Jeff’s current role at Microsoft helps customers understand and implement the latest technologies enabling the optimized desktop and mobile workforce. His proven track record shows how he is able to understand challenges and requirements of diverse customer environments and produce top notch solutions to suit their demands.

Kevin Kaminski, MVP
Kevin is a seasoned consultant focusing mainly on end user type technologies that range from device management to application delivery. Using his experiences from different organizations he is able to draw upon practical knowledge that he incorporates into his speaking engagements, training material and articles. As an App-V MVP, Kevin delivers and maintains an App-V master’s class with fellow MVP Tim Mangan. He also spends time blogging for MyItForum.com and speaking at various engagements such as BriForum and Microsoft Management Summit. To assist his local IT community he sits as a director on the Calgary IT Pro User Group and manages the Calgary Systems Management User Group.

Sheldon Mackarenko

Friday, 1 November 2013

Need App-V 5.0 Training?

It is not often I get a chance to break from the usual pace of consulting to take the time to share some of my knowledge through the classroom. I thought it would be worthwhile to do some shameless self-promotion and mention a few course dates coming up where I’ll be teaching App-V 5.0. The first course is one Tim Mangan and myself developed for Flexera to help people better understand packaging for App-V 5.0 using Flexera AdminStudio over three days in Boston. Check Flexera’s education schedule over here for registration information.

The other two offerings are an expert level class that Tim Mangan and I maintain around App-V 5.0 with a little CM 2012 thrown in. This class runs a full five days because of the need to discuss a larger set of concepts such as the administration of App-V servers and application deployment with CM 2012. The first date is in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) and the second one is an online offering if you have issues getting budget for travel. Because the online class has some challenges keeping on top of the classroom it is limited to five seats but the course in Calgary is a standard ten seat limit I have. If you are interested in either of the five day classes email me directly (kevin.kaminski@bighatgroup.com) and take a look at the following sites for more information.

Also if you are in the USA please take a look at our GridMasterTraining.com class schedule where Tim Mangan runs classes separately from mine.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Calgary Systems Management User Group Fall Meeting 2013.1: Atea Solutions for the Enterprise

This meeting we will explore some of the solutions from Atea that integrate into System Center to optimize operations in a typical enterprise IT environment. We will be exploring thier new take on software asset management using an Azure based solution that can easily plug into most existing environments within minutes. Below is a quick overview from the vendor:

Cloud Software Asset Management

Why purchase a complex solution when it is the resulting reports that matter? Various tools offer different ways of handling Software Asset Management, but all of them require repetitive administrative work. Atea is able to minimize this work by offering Software Asset Management as a service.
Atea Cloud Software Asset Management (Cloud SAM) is a cloud based solution delivering accurate License Compliance Reports with minimal administration required from you.
In 2011 Microsoft recognized Atea Cloud SAM as the world's 1st SAM solution built on the Windows Azure platform.


  • We provide you with online reports that show all necessary information about license compliance and software usage
  • Atea SAM specialists keep reports updated on a daily basis
  • Software recognition identifies all licensable and also blacklisted software such as games
  • The service is offered on a subscription-basis with a fixed price per pc/server per month


  • Lower your license costs dramatically. Reports show the actual usage of licenses to help you cut license costs by uninstalling unused software. There are also specific features showing how well utlized Adobe suites are
  • Trustworthy data. Atea SAM specialists ensure accurate and consistent data delivery
  • Significantly reduced costs for license management. We provide business intelligence (BI) for SAM and your only action is to make decisions on the data in reports
There are two versions of Cloud SAM available:
  • Cloud SAM Standard includes full Microsoft and Adobe license management and software recognition
  • Cloud SAM Enterprise includes license management for an unlimited number of vendors. You also get access to Atea's license management tool, Compliance Manager, plus the additional Cost Saving Report and License Compliance Report for all vendors
Also we will be looking at their self-service offering known as Accelerator:


Software delivery is a complex task, often involving multiple helpdesk calls and numerous manual interventions before the service is successfully delivered to the end user's desktop. Delivery often takes several days, making the user frustrated and non-productive and the helpdesk swamped with calls. Many IT tasks, including software delivery, can be automated within today's IT infrastructures. Accelerator is proof of this.
With Ac­celerator you can automate standard IT tasks that you never thought were possible, like software distribution, access control and other daily tasks.


  • Allows self-service for the most common IT tasks like software delivery, folder access, hardware orders, password reset etc.
  • End user friendly navigation through web interface
  • End users are able to search and install applications from predefined service catalogue
  • Fully configurable and automated workflow with defined com­plex approval chains if required
  • Out-of-the-box integration with System Center Configuration Manager and Service Manager, including support for App-V and OS migration
  • Customizable for your organizations look and feel with multiple language options
  • Scalable to support thousands of users
  • Software Rentals included in service catalogue
  • The solution is aimed at companies and organiza­tions from 500 to thousands of users


  • All services delivered as soon as the appropriate manager has approved the order
  • Reduced number of helpdesk calls
  • All activities logged in one place, enabling detailed report creation and traceable information for SOX and FDA compliance
  • Increased visibility into all resource requests across the business
  • Reduced time, costs and IT resources required for running the environment and therefore can be put towards larger IT projects
  • Improved delivery efficiencies with faster response time to requests and increased accuracy in what is delivered


Accelerator increases IT operation effectiveness. Users have easy access to a web tool where services such as hardware, software, accounts, access rights and resources can be ordered at any time and then automatically delivered as soon as they are approved.


Accelerator includes a service catalogue where you can register and publish available services to users. This makes it easy to find available services and to place IT orders.
All orders are sent to the manager or resource owner for approval. Once the order is approved, it is automatically executed in the IT system. The complete end to end workflow can be configured to be as simple or complex as required.


With Accelerator, the costs for running an IT environment will decrease signi­ficantly. Once the processes are running automatically the need for IT-resources will be reduced. Our experience with customers shows savings on average of $150 per user per year.
By letting your users order IT pro­ducts and services, you can dramatically decrease the number of requests coming to your helpdesk by as much as 40-80%.
Combine Self-Service with back-end process automation and you will take away the most repetitive and time consuming work. Your business value will grow through users receiving accurate and timely solutions - 24/7 - which leads to increased time for IT staff to spend on core business strategies.


Execution through one central system improves the ability to measure the quality of delivery. All activities are logged in Accelerator making it possible to create reports and trace information for SOX and FDA compliance. In addition, quality and security levels will increase with the enforcement of approvals and logging of all transactions.


Accelerator provides a large number of services directly out of the box. If needed, we can extend and customize the solution based on customer requirements.
There are two versions of Accelerator available to choose from:
  • AppMarket with limited Accelerator functionality for software distribution only
  • Accelerator Enterprise with full functionality and opportunities for customization. In addition to full Atea AppMarket functionality, Accelerator Enterprise gives the possibility for extended self-service possibilities and integration to existing systems like ERP and service desk solutions.
If you are in Calgary feel free to show up in person or if you wish we have a Livemeeting broadcast of the event. Go to https://csmugfall20131.eventbrite.com to register.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Configuration Manager 2012: Finding Assets Without a Primary User Defined

If you are using the primary user attribute to define some of your software installations in CM2012 it can be useful to audit the deployed devices in your environment to help troubleshoot issues with application deployment. I use primary user to help define software delivery such as having FAT packages only install on primary devices or have App-V applications only fully cache on a primary device. I quickly put together a query  you can use to check Windows 7 machines to see if they have a primary user assigned or build a collection of machines the helpdesk can look at when trying to troubleshoot application delivery issues.

Select SMS_R_System.ResourceId, SMS_R_System.ResourceType, SMS_R_System.Name, SMS_R_System.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup, SMS_R_System.Client, SMS_R_System.LastLogonUserName, SMS_R_System.LastLogonTimestamp from  SMS_R_System where SMS_R_System.IsAssignedToUser = "False" and (SMS_R_System.OperatingSystemNameandVersion = "Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 6.1" or SMS_R_System.OperatingSystemNameandVersion = "Windows 7 Entreprise 6.1")

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Briforum 2012: Advanced App-V Sequencing

Last year in London I did a presentation on advanced sequencing scenarios with App-V. Basically I broke the session into using application compatibility shims, device drivers and finally how to use Procmon with App-V to do some basic troubleshooting. The presentation video can be found here http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/videos/archive/2013/04/24/briforum-london-2012-advanced-sequencing-for-app-v.aspx and the deck has been uploaded over here. http://sdrv.ms/1cJz91m

Happy sequencing!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Missed the Briforum 2013 Application Packaging Smackdown Session?

This year at Briforum Chicago 2013 Nicke Kallen and myself were selected to deliver a presentation titled Application Packaging Smackdown. What we attempted to do is bring some sort of clarity as to the tooling options that are available to packagers since much has changed recently. These changes include features such as application compatibility analysis, automated application repackaging and support for virtual application packaging.

This presentation has been an interesting journey for both of us as we have discovered some surprises along the way as we took a close look at what is currently available for application packaging. One notable surprise was the inclusion of MSI Studio with ChangeBASE. The significance of this discovery has us wondering if this is the new competition to AdminStudio since there isn't much that supports Windows Installer editing, application compatibility, automated repackaging, and virtual application support into one suite.

We also take a look at more niche tools that could be used to complement other tools and make them more comparable to a suite. Unfortunately I am not going to go into deep detail at this time as we are wrapping up a whitepaper to better describe our findings. What we are doing as a bit of a teaser is to publish the slide deck used at Briforum. We've decided to release this deck on Nicke's blog which you can find over here:


Please let us know what you think, we are always open to suggestion and having our own views challenged. Here is our email alias you can use to provide feedback applicationpackagingsmackdown@bighatgroup.com.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

CM 2012 Software Center Error 0x87D00324 and App-V Detection Methods

Generally when deploying App-V 4.x packages with CM 2012 the publishing is one thing you don't worry about because the information harvested from the package is often sufficient. The problem is that I've found one instance where this can be broken, for example I have a package for HP Quality Center that delivers to the users machine but then the installation is marked as failed. If I look closer in Software Center I have an error 0x87D00324 as shown below.

The Internet suggests that this is a detection method error but this shouldn't be happening with an App-V package. In order to get a better idea of what is going on I decided to load up CMTrace.exe and merge a few CM client logs to get a better idea of what is going on. More specifically in the File -> Open dialogue I selected the Merge selected files checkbox then selected the AppDiscovery.log, AppEnforce.log, AppIntentEval,log and the VirtualApp.log files.


Below in CMTrace you can see the App-V sequence being installed but no errors.

As I went further info the logs I finally spot an indication that there is a problem. I've highlighted in the red box the App-V detection method being marked as failed.

This is where things get interesting because you have to manually validate a few things to find out the cause of the detection failure.  Unfortunately in this case the logs don't identify what detection method failed so I had to do some digging around to find out how App-V detection methods work. According to this Whitepaper CM 2012 checks to make sure that the App-V package and upgrade GUIDs match what is in the App-V client and that all shortcuts are published.

Checking the package and upgrade GUIDs is fairly straight forward, the first thing you want to do is open the _manifest.xml file for your App-V package. The second line of the package should have both the package GUID and the version GUID as shown below.

The next step is to check what is loaded on the client. Open the App-V client MMC in Administrative Tools, right click one of the shortcuts for the application and select Properties.

A window will pop up, select the Package tab and you should see at a minimum the package's GUID but you might not see the version GUID for the package.

If you don't see the version GUID it means the App-V package is not in the client cache. In this instance the package was set to stream from the distribution point rather than download and execute the package. To get the version GUID I launched the application forcing it into the  App-V client cache then refreshed the Applications node in the App-V client MMC. Now when you check the properties of the shortcut the package properties should match the values in the _manifest.xml.

Unfortunately this only proves that these detection methods are accurate and there must be a problem with the shortcuts for the application. It took some work but what was frustrating was that both shortcuts existed but of course the truth is in the details. The disconnect in this case was that the packager edited the shortcut names in one of the OSD files but did not make sure the shortcut name matched in the _manifest.XML. This means that the App-V client is loads the package via CM 2012 using the _manfiest.XML file but does not load the application  names from this file, it gets the application name from the OSD file (not the display name). This means the display name for the shortcut looks correct in the _manifest.xml.

And the Start Menu checks out with the same name as well.

If I go back to the App-V client MMC we start to see where the problem is, it looks to be the application name.

And if I go to the OSD file for the shortcut / application we can see the different name.

To be more specific this is the disconnect.
  • XML: HP-ALM-Explorer 11
  • OSD: HP ALM Explorer 11
In order to fix this scenario there are two solutions. Either change the NAME field in the _manifest.xml to be HP ALM Explorer 11 or change the NAME and DISPLAY fields in the OSD to be HP-ALM-Explorer 11. The deployment type will need its content updated and the deployment will have to be rerun on clients with the sequence previously loaded for the issue to clear up.