GWKB1113 : Deploying Window-Eyes using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Ryan Shugart
Date Added: 12/11/2009
Last Modified: 12/17/2009

Introduction

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or SCCM for short, is a tool used by organizations to easily manage a large number of client and server computers.  SCCM's features include hardware/software inventory, software usage metering, operating system and software deployment, and software patch management.  This write up will discuss how to use the software deployment feature of SCCM 2007 to automatically install appropriately licensed copies of Window-Eyes on a number of computers at once.  Using this method, a company can use their central IT department to manage Window-Eyes's deployment on all computers with blind users, or an institution can easily manage computers in a lab running Window-Eyes.  It is assumed the reader of this document is familiar with the SCCM 2007 software and how to navigate the administration console.  We will be using SCCM 2007 with service pack 2 for this paper, however, the procedure should not be different for the SCCM 2007 product line as a whole.  Also, while we will be using Window-Eyes 7.11, prior versions of Window-Eyes will install with similar procedures.  At this point, the main Window-Eyes install can be managed, however updates cannot.

Procedure Overview

There are several steps necessary for a successful deployment of Window-Eyes.  These steps will be outlined below, and then will be gone into in more detail.

  1. Extraction of the necessary files from the Window-Eyes CD to the SCCM server.
  2. Creation of an installation batch file.
  3. Creation of a collection of appropriate computers.
  4. Creation of the Window-Eyes install package.
  5. Creation of the Window-Eyes installation program.
  6. Creation of the Window-Eyes installation advertisement and publishing the advertisement to the collection.

Extraction of Necessary files from the Window-Eyes CD

In order for SCCM to install Window-Eyes on a machine, we must create a package consisting of the necessary files to perform the push.  We will extract those files, and place them somewhere where the SCCM server can find them.  For our example, we will place the files on drive D of the SCCM site server, however, you can place these files somewhere else as well so long as the SCCM site server can find them across the network.  Please note that as part of the package creation process, these files will be copied to the servers running the SCCM distribution point component.  This may or may not be the same machine as the site server.  For our example, it is.  To copy the files, copy all files in the wineyes folder of the Window-Eyes CD-rom.  For example, if your CD-rom is in drive D:, you'd copy d:\wineyes.  You do not need to copy any other folders for the install to work properly. 

Creating the Install Batch File

We will need to create a batch file that will call the Window-Eyes setup routine.  SCCM uses a program's exit code to determine if the install succeeded or failed.  SCCM expects a program to return 0 as the exit code for a successful install.  The Window-Eyes install, however, does not return this exit code.  The batch file will allow us to control the exit code returned so SCCM will know the install was successful.  Create a batch file called wineyes.cmd with the following line:

setup /vs /vn"NAME" /vc"COMPANY"

Be sure to replace name and company with the appropriate information from your Window-Eyes license.  Save this batch file in the same place where you saved the Window-Eyes install files.  Using the above command will result in a Window-Eyes install that does not load automatically.  You may add the appropriate command line options for Window-Eyes to start at the login screen and automatically launch after a user logs in if you wish.

Creating the Collection of Computers

You will need to create a collection of computers that the Window-Eyes package will be pushed to.  This collection can be created in many ways, and there are no special considerations that must be taken into account.  It is assumed that the SCCM administrator knows how to create the necessary collection, and it will be ready when the package is advertised.  As an alternative, you can create a collection of users, containing all the Window-Eyes users on your network.  This way, whenever a Window-Eyes user logs onto a new machine, Window-Eyes will automatically install itself.  Keep in mind, however, if this approach is taken the user will not have any speech or Braille until Window-Eyes is installed and the computer is rebooted, so the advertisement schedule should be set appropriately that the user will not have to interact with any dialogs before the install is complete.  Also, while SCCM will automatically install Window-Eyes, it will not remove it when the user logs off.

Creating the Package

It is now time to create the SCCM package for Window-Eyes.  To create the package, perform the following steps:

  1. Launch the SCCM administration console and make sure you are connected to the appropriate SCCM database.
  2. In the tree view, expand System Center Configuration Manager, Site Database, Computer Management, Software Deployment. 
  3. Right click the packages node to bring up a context menu, and select new.
  4. Select new package from the menu.
  5. The New Package wizard will be displayed. 
  6. On the first screen, fill in the information as follows:
    1. Name: Window-Eyes
    2. Version: 7.11 (substitute the version you're working with)
    3. Manufacturer: GW-Micro
    4. Language: English (replace with local language if installing a localized version)
  7. Click next.
  8. On the datasource page, fill out the fields as follows:
    1. The "This Package contains source files" check box should be checked.
    2. Press the "set" button, and fill out the dialog as appropriate.  The prompts will be different depending on whether the source files were copied to the site server itself or to another server the site server has access to over the network.
    3. The radio button, "always obtain files from the source directory" should be checked.
    4. Make sure the check box "persist content in the client cache" is unchecked.
    5. If you will be installing Window-Eyes on computers in multiple sites, you may wish to check the "Enable binary differential replication" box to make updates transfer faster.
  9. Click the next button.
  10. On the data access page of the wizard, fill out the information as shown below:
    1. The "access the distribution folder through common config mgr package share" radio button should be checked. 
  11. Click next.
  12. On the distribution settings page, fill out the dialog as appropriate for your organization.
  13. On the reporting page, make sure the fields are filled out as follows:
    1. The "use package properties for status MIF matching" radio button should be checked.  Note there is no custom .mif file for Window-Eyes, so the batch file approach mentioned above will be used to make sure the proper exit code is generated. 
  14. Click next.
  15. Make sure the security page is filled out according to your organizations needs.
  16. Review the summary, click next then close.  At this point, if you expand packages, you should see GW-Micro Window-Eyes 7.11 English listed as a node.

At this point, the package has been created successfully.  We now need to distribute it to the various distribution points in the SCCM site.  To do so, expand the new GW-Micro Window-Eyes 7.11 English tree branch, and find the distribution points node.  Right click it, and select new distribution point.  The new distribution point wizard will be displayed.  Fill it out as follows:

  1. On the welcome page, click next.
  2. On the copy package page, check the various distribution points you wish to copy the Window-Eyes software to.  You may also press select all if you want to copy the package to all distribution points.
  3. On the confirmation page, confirm the package copied successfully, and click close.  Note the copy may take some considerable time, depending on your network layout and the number of distribution points.

At this point, we have created the package, and assigned it to the various distribution points.  We will now tell SCCM which program to launch.

Creating the Window-Eyes Installation Program

It is now necessary to tell SCCM which program it needs to run to launch the Window-Eyes setup.  We will use the batch file we created earlier for this purpose.  To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the package we created earlier, find and right click the programs node.
  2. Right click on programs, click new from the context menu, and program from the new pulldown.
  3. On the general page, fill out the various fields as follows:
    1. In the name field type "Window-Eyes Manual Start."  This will mean that this program will run Window-Eyes with no automatic start up for the user.
    2. Fill in the comment field as you desire.
    3. In the command line field, click browse to bring up the browse dialog.  Make sure the files of type combo box is set to all files, otherwise only .exe files will be shown.  Browse to the cmd file you created previously.  Click open.
    4. Leave the start in edit box blank.
    5. In the run combo box, select hidden so that the install windows are not shown to the user.
    6. In the after running combo box, make sure Config Mgr restarts computer is selected.  Important, if this is not done the install of Window-Eyes will not be successful!
    7. In the category field, select a category as standard for your organization. 
  4. Click next.
  5. On the requirements page, fill out the fields as follows:
    1. In the estimated disk space edit box, type 96.  Select MB in the next combo box.  Window-Eyes will use a different amount of disk space depending on the operating system you install it on, this is a rough estimate.
    2. In the maximum allowable runtime minutes edit box, change the number from 120 to 10.  If the Window-Eyes silent install fails, instead of quitting it displays a message, and does not advise SCCM of the failure.  The install should, however, take less than 10 minutes, so if the install runs for more than 10 minutes SCCM should consider the install to have failed.
    3. The "this program can run on any platform" radio button should be checked.  If you are installing an earlier version of Window-Eyes you may need to limit the platforms it can install on to 32-bit platforms only.
    4. In the additional requirements edit box, type any additional requirements the user should know about, this information will be displayed to the user before the install launches.  
  6. Click next.
  7. On the environment page of the wizard, fill out the fields as below:
    1. In the program can run combo box, select whether or not a user is logged on.
    2. Make sure the "Run with administrative rights" radio button is checked.  Important, the install will not work unless this radio button is checked!
    3. The "allow users to interact with this program" checkbox should be unchecked.
    4. The "runs with UNC name" radio button should be checked. 
  8. Click next.
  9. On the advanced page, leave all settings at their default. 
  10. Click next.
  11. On the "Windows Installer Product Code" page, click next.
  12. On the "MOM maintenance mode" page, leave all fields at their default.
  13. Click next.
  14. On the summary page, confirm all of the entered information is correct, and click next.
  15. Click close.  The program has been created successfully.
  16. Note, if you have created other batch files that enable various automatic startup options, repeat the above steps to add those programs to the package.

Creating the Advertisement

 

Now that the package has been created and distributed, and SCCM knows how to run it, we will now advertise the package to the computers that will be running it.  In this example I will be making an advertisement for the "ALL XP computers" collection, although in a production environment you will advertise Window-Eyes to the collection you created earlier in this guide. 

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Under computer management, software deployment, right click advertisements.
  2. Click new, and then advertisement.  The New Advertisement wizard will launch.
  3. On the general page, fill out the fields as indicated below:
    1. In the name edit box, type Window-Eyes.
    2. In the comment edit box, enter any information you feel relevant.
    3. Under package, click browse and select the GW-Micro Window-Eyes 7.11 English package we created. 
    4. Click OK in the browse dialog.
    5. By default, the "Window-Eyes Manual Start" program we created above will be selected in the program combo box, this need not be changed unless you created another batch file and program with different startup options.
    6. Under collection, click browse and select the collection you created earlier.  Note we are using all XP systems only as an example.
    7. Click next.
  4. Click next.
  5. On the schedule page, fill out the information for the assignment and mandatory schedule as required.  Note, if this is being auto installed for a blind user, the mandatory schedule should be made relatively short, because unless there is other access software on the computer the blind user will not be able to install Window-Eyes using the run advertised programs control panel applet. 
  6. On the distribution points page, make selections as appropriate for your environment.
  7. Complete the interaction page as appropriate for your environment.
  8. Complete the security page as appropriate for your environment.
  9. The advertisement is now complete.
You have successfully deployed Window-Eyes 7.11 using SCCM 2007.

User Experience

The following describes what the user will experience during the install.  This is done on a Windows XP system, however, other supported operating systems will behave very similarly.  Exact steps may vary due to different choices made when configuring the advertisement, however, the following will show the process when configured as shown above.

  1. At some point on the client machine, a help balloon will appear indicating that a new program is available to be ran.  At that point, the user may either click on the balloon, or access the run advertised programs applet in control panel.  If neither of these steps are taken, at some point, the mandatory assignment will go into effect and Window-Eyes will be installed with no action on the user's part.
  2. If the user chooses to install Window-Eyes before the mandatory assignment, select the appropriate category in run advertised programs, make sure Window-Eyes is selected in the list and click run.
  3. Eventually another popup balloon will come up indicating a restart is required.  The user can either click the balloon to initiate the restart manually, or once the countdown finishes the machine will restart on its own.

At this point, Window-Eyes is installed.  It can be launched in the normal ways, including the shortcut key set up by the installation.

Conclusion

This document has described how to install Window-Eyes using System Center Configuration Manager 2007.  This method can be used by organizations wishing to deploy Window-Eyes to a large number of computers quickly.  In addition, once these steps have completed, as soon as a new computer is added to the collection, the Window-Eyes package will automatically be installed.  This makes upgrading computers easy as the SCCM administrator need only insure the SCCM client is installed on the machine and the computer is in the right collection.  The steps above take the user through the packaging and advertising of Window-Eyes 7.11.