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Deploying VB.NET Applications/Updates without administrator rights

Posted on 2004-04-26
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16
The company i work for has its IT infrastructure outsourced.  As a result, we do not have administrator access to install/deploy applications.   We have a windows 2000 network.

We are in the process of developing a new application in VB.net.

Im trying to find out if there are ways of deploying the application without requiring administrator rights?  

We can have the outsource company install the .NET framework, and the app, but installing updated versions still seems to require administrator.....is there another way to install?
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Question by:vsxt
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Expert Comment

by:Dabas
ID: 10925300
Hi vsxt,
Do I understand correctly that you do not have administrator rights for your own computers?
This should raise a big red light, as it would mean that you are at the mercy of the company you have outsourced to.

As far as I know, you should not have a problem if you develop a new application in VB.NET.
As long as the .NET framework is in place, and you are able to run a utility named "Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Wizards", which gets installed with the framework, you should be able to set your own security.
Alternatively, if you install the application on the user's own computer (C drive), without it needing external access ot another computer on the network, it should be OK too.


Dabas
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Author Comment

by:vsxt
ID: 10925384
Hi Dabas,
Yes we are at the mercy of the outsource company, along with the interstate headoffice.....not much we can do about that though.  I do have admin rights to my own pc, but none of the other pcs.

The application will be talking to a Sybase Database, but this isn't an issue.

When i create a deployment .msi file, if its run without admin rights, it cant complete the installation.  I beleive this is because it can't write to the program files folder.

When i run the installation as admin, it works fine.  Then i wanted to atleast be able to install a upgrade without admint, but this wouldn't work.  
When i did msiexec /i file.msi, it gives a message saying a previous version needs to be removed.

When i did msiexec /fa file.msi, it says the application isn't installed.
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Expert Comment

by:Dabas
ID: 10925421
vsxt,
If you install the application with admin rights, then it does not need to be installed again.
While you are logged in as Administrator, click on Administrative Tools (Probably found in Control Panel)
See if the above mentioned "Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Wizards" appears on the list.
If it does, then good news, because as Administrator you will be able to allocate rigths to the user to use the application.

Dabas
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Author Comment

by:vsxt
ID: 10925444
Dabas,

I can only install the application with admin rights on my own pc.....this was just for testing.

When it comes to deployment to users, it will have to be done by the outsource company.....What we are trying to avoid is any bug fixes/updates etc also seem to need admin rights to install.

So im trying to atleast find is a way to upgrade the VB.net App, without requiring admin rights.

We haven't had this problem with existing apps in Powerbuilder.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Dabas earned 125 total points
ID: 10925507
vsxt,
Unfortunately, M$oft has built in strict security measures to be able to run .NET applications.
You can ask your ousource company to set up a semi administrative account that will be allowed to set the relevant admin rights.
Or to set up lighter security on certain folders so that you and the other users can freely install applications there.
Sorry, not the answer you were hoping for.....

Dabas
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Expert Comment

by:tgannetts
ID: 10926434
Do you need to use an installer for your application?

Obviously this depends on the scale of the application, and whether you need to register any dlls, etc. But could you work around the administrator problem by simply copying the application directory to each PC, for example by means of a zip file.

I know this is a crude method, but this would negate the need for an administrator password.

Tom.
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Assisted Solution

by:tgannetts
tgannetts earned 125 total points
ID: 10926525
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Assisted Solution

by:Barkis_
Barkis_ earned 125 total points
ID: 10929061
Hi,

If your clients are configured to allow msi's to be installed with elevated rights then you should not have any trouble to install msi's.
The Msi would then be able to perform admintasks (install dll's into system32 and register them there, it would be able to make users local admins(!!) etc)

In your case I can say for sure that the problem is not that the msi is unable to install files into program files. Of that I am pretty sure.
It is more likely that the msi is trying to write into some subfolder of the local-machine hive of the regsitry.
Or that the msi is configured to require the installing user to have admin rights.

you can try to make an installation that uses part-isolated files.
install ALL files into a program-files folder then cerate a files (empty text file) and name exactly as your exe-file but with the affix .local  (deg  xxxx.exe.local)
this is telling windows that the exe being run is using partly-isolated files and would then not require files to be registered for the app to find them.


/Barkis_
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Assisted Solution

by:tobyphase
tobyphase earned 125 total points
ID: 11043692
vsxt

Rather than giving all your users admin rights to install the software, you could ask your outsource company to run the installs as part of an Active Directory Group Policy

This way the installer is centralized and can be added to the group policy of certain groups or individual users. The MSI will then run when a machine is logged on to by a user

Have a word with your guys about whether they would be happier implementing a group policy which would install the software on the client machines

Toby
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Expert Comment

by:Barkis_
ID: 11210299
Was my addition to small or to insignificant?
/Barkis
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