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Installing software over RDp connection

Posted on 2007-12-02
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I'm setting up a SBS2003 R2 Sp2 for a small non-profit organisation.

Most  of their users will log in over teh internet using RDP.
They will be using Outlook and Access 2003.
When they log on, and try to open Ol for the first time, the installer tries to run. It ends with
"The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur
if you are running Windows in safe mode, or if the Windows Installer is not
correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance."

Googling learned me that the installer does not run over RDp connections.

Is there a work-around for this problem? It's almost impossible to ask those users to come to the server and login locally....
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Question by:tdemeyer
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12 Comments
 
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20390834
Let's be clear about your terminology here... you say that users will be logging in via "RDP"?  That would imply that you have a Terminal Server in addition to your SBS, since SBS doesn't provide Remote Desktop Sessions on it's own.

If you have them logging into the SBS itself via RDP and you've installed Outlook on your SBS, you've most likely caused all sorts of problems because you shouldn't install Outlook on the same server where Exchange is installed.  (and since SBS cannot provide RDP sessions itself, there's no reason to have Outlook on the SBS).

To see how to add a Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server to your network, please see http://sbsurl.com/sbstss

If I've misunderstood your intent here, please advise.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Andrej Pirman
ID: 20390872
Sorry, but I don't get it - users will access Outlook & Access on server via RDP? Isn't this totally wrong approach? Programs executed over RDP run on server, not on client, so if installer script was run over RDP, it was run on server, not on client.
Also, how you plan to use Outlook over RDP is a quest to me.

I think proper way to approach the problem would be to:
- setup clients to login to SBS domain; make client computers part of SBS domain
- migrate user's local profile to domain profile (need help on this?)
- setup SHARES on server to put Access databases there, and set NTFS & Share permissions to be read/write by domain users
- for access via internet, either enable users to dial-in using VPN, or setup special VPN username, which will be used to access server from internet.
- after VPN is established, client Outlook will access Exchange on server, and shares will be accesible
- also, you may close RDP 3389 port on your firewall, which will tighten your security and RDP will be accessible only after successful VPN tunel is established
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20390905
Labsv... your confusion is due to not considering that Outlook installed on a specific machine would actually run an "installer" routine the first time a new user logs onto that machine, even if Outlook is already installed on that machine for other users.

And, I don't want to be too negative about your suggested approach, but it would be about the worst way to resolve this.  If all users are connecting remotely, then you definitely don't want to have roaming profiles ("migrate user's local profile to domain profile"), because I'd assume they are connecting from their own computers, which will not be part of the domain.

Then, Access over a VPN connection is HORRIBLE.  Especially if you have 5 or 6 users connected to the same database.  You might be able to refresh your screen about every three minutes in that scenario...  depending on the DB structure (meaning that if it has more than 2 or 3 fields of data, you're gonna be stuck in "no-go-land"--- and usually Access DB's have about 40 or 50 fields of data in multiple tables).

Outlook doesn't need a VPN connection to work... but that's really the least of the problem here.

There are other ways to provide remote access to an Access DB, by the way... SharePoint is a very good one, as is InfoPath... depending on what the DB is used for and how these remote workers will need to interface with it.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Andrej Pirman
ID: 20390987
TechSoEasy, thanx for your explanations, but on the other hand I obviously did not use proper words to explain what I wanted.
My assupmtion was that Tdemayer has SBS in one location, and users on another location and only internet is inbetween. So to provide RPC ability and to map remote LAN to users, VPN tunel was my suggestion.
With "migrate local profiles to domain profiles" I did NOT mean to migrate profiles to server profiles, but to copy user's old profile (local computer profile) to the new profile (domain user profile) - both profiles are on same user's computer.

I'll be more carefull with explanations from now on :)
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Andrej Pirman
ID: 20390999
One more thing to make it clear. Your add-on made me think some more, TechSoEasy :)

Let's say to create new user in SBS domain.
Then this user first time connection is NOT to join the domain, but instead he connects via RDP to the SBS server.
On server new user's profile is created, and installer scripts are run.
But scripts are run on server, not on client computer, and Outlook gets installed on server, of course, throwing out an error.

I think I am right on this part.
0
 

Author Comment

by:tdemeyer
ID: 20391021
Hi All,

First of all, SBS has Terminal Server pro installed on it, enabling multiple RDP sessions on that machine.
Users will connect from a remote location over internet to that  server.
They need to run an "application" written in access, that is accessed by multiple users at the same time (both internally on the web as externally)
They must have access to exchange mail.

They used to have a win2000 server with terminal services in admin mode. So we could provide login for 2 users max at the same time.

VPN is not much of an option, as I don't want the client machines to appear in the local net (and thus potentially spreading all sorts of viruses etc...)

I have outlook 2003 installed on SBS, and it seems to work without any major problems in this side-by-side situation.

Only problem (and reason for my initial post) is the install routine that fires up the first time an office application is started.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20391259
There are various opinions about Terminal Server Pro... whether or not if violates the SBS EULA.  But for sure you need to follow these guidelines to install Outlook in a TS environment:  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/ork2003/HA011402681033.aspx

Be aware though, that you can only install either the Retail Version or Enterprise Version of Office 2003 on a Terminal Server and you must hold a license for each user desktop that will be accessing the software.

And as for installing Outlook on the same server that has Exchange?  Read on... http://support.microsoft.com/kb/266418.  I can tell you that I've seen it work fine for awhile and then the Outlook MAPI decides to take over and there goes your entire Exchange Server along with SBS.

So, this is not only very risky in terms of performance and reliability... but hosting a Terminal Server on a Domain Controller is one of the greatest security risks around.  Overall... I think you are trying to make something work without much consideration for these things.

If they still have that Win2K Server around, use that for a Terminal Server.  It works just great for that and doesn't require any additional TS CALs.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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LVL 74

Accepted Solution

by:
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 375 total points
ID: 20391271
Labsv... "I think I am right on this part."    Unfortunately, you are still barking up the wrong tree.

tdemeyer... one other thought... if this is a non-profit, then do they qualify for free Microsoft Licensing?  (www.techsoup.com/stock)  Because if they do, you can easily add a Windows Server 2003 as a Virtual Server on SBS running Terminal Services.  This would be the ideal way to go.  It's very secure, and works well.  I've deployed a few servers like this.

See http://sbsurl.com/vs for details.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
0
 

Author Comment

by:tdemeyer
ID: 20392283
TechSoEasy:
Unfortunatly, I live in Belgium, and over here, we have never heard of that free license programme...

Ok, forget the Outlook discussion (already removed it from the server, and replaced the shortcuts with OWA). Even when deploying a 'real' TS, I would still face the problem with first-time connects over RDp wouldn't I? As users need Access, the system will still come up with the same popup about not able to run windows installer?
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20392962
In Belgium, you are covered for this by http://www.socialware.be.  Please review their site to see if the organization is elegible.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
0
 

Author Comment

by:tdemeyer
ID: 20396966
Wow!! First time I've heard from this organisation. Will let them apply first thing tomorrow!!! Thanks for that info.


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