Ramblings From The Litter Tray of Life

Archive for June, 2009

Deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO (Bringing it all together)

Posted by graycat on 16 June 2009

Now we’re a good four posts into my trial and tribulations of deploying this application via GPO, I thought it’d be a good time to round it all up together in what should hopefully be my last post on this subject for a while. Ok, I may do a complete “how to” once it gets out of the testing phase but one step at a time, ok?

The basic process of installing this application unfortunately requires more than just the deployment package from AutoDesk. To successfully install AutoCAD 2010 you will need to also install the following:

  • DirectX 9.0c and its latest updates.
  • 2008 C++ redistributable library / package
  • the missing files from the deployment

This also have to be installed in the above order with the AutoCAD package slotting in nicely before the missing files. To do this I’ve split the deployment into two GPO’s – the first installs DirectX and updates it to the latest version whilst the second installs both the C++ and AutoCAD msi packages before running a startup script to pull the missing files. To make sure these GPOs run in the right order (ie: AutoCAD doesn’t try installing before its got DirectX etc) I’ve use a WMI filter to control the second GPO.

For those of you familiar with GPOs you will no doubt be familiar with WMI filters. If you’re not familiar with them already, they can be summed up as a local check on the PC for a defined condition to be true before the GPO will activate. A lot of cases will look for an installed applicaiton (Office 2003 if you’re installing the 2007 compatability pack for example) or many other things.

In this case I’ve used the WMI filter to look for a directory under C:\Windows that only arrives after the DIrectX update. Here’s the filter:

Select * from Win32_Directory where name = ‘c:\\Windows\\Microsoft.Net\\DirectX for Managed Code’

It’s set in the root\CIMv2 namespace incase you were awake and wondering about that. ūüôā

Once you’ve set the DIrectX update / deployment GPO up successfully and controlled the AutoCAD GPO via this WMI filter it should all install fine. I’ve moved on to testing this on a large group of live production machines and these little changes have really helped. The only tweaks I do have are for neatness of scripts and installs (eg: the copy script needs to hide the copy section from view) but that’s minor and more to do with me being picky.

Hope that helps somewhat with your endeavours of deploying this application via GPO.

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Deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO (Part 4)

Posted by graycat on 10 June 2009

Or  Death by Application Rollout!

Now that I’m into the testing phase on live machines, all manner of lovely issues seem to crop up. Here’s some of the major ones and how to resolve them.

FATAL ERROR: Unhandled e0434f4dh Exception at 7c812a5bh

This is related to the .NET installs on the local machine. The latest version I have allowed here is 3.5 SP1 and there seems to have been issues with the initial release from MS. A quick an easy resolution to this is to uninstall the SP1, reboot the machine and let it pick up the updated SP1 from WSUS or wherever. In all the cases I’ve had here, this has resolved the issue nicely.

Various DLL, cui / cuix and chm files missing

This was a tough one to figure out but it seems for some reason that the msi package doens’t copy all the dll files down from the install point. To resolve this, I added a start up script to the policy like this:

REM     check if done previously
if exist “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\dllsynch.flg” exit else
goto copy

REM    synchronise dll files from install point
start /wait xcopy /d/e/h/c/y “\\domain\dfs\it\Deployment\ACAD2010_Fixed\AdminImage\x86\acad\en-us\Acad\Program Files\Root” “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\”

REM    create dllsynch.flg to prevent rerun.
echo done > “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\dllsynch.flg”


As you can tell I’ve added a bit more into it to synchronise the whole directory. At first it was just the dll files but there was a later issue involving chm and cuix files. No idea why these files don’t make it down to the computer but this seemed to resolve various issues.

New Features Workshop

This was due to missing chm files in the install directory. The script sorted that one out.

Missing acad.chm

This is the help menu which I’m told could be pretty useful and fortunately it’s a simple missing chm file. Thankfully, the script (I’m beginning to think it needs a proper name!) sorted this one out again.

Well, second round of installs is tomorrow so we’ll see how things go. Watch this space as they say. ūüėČ

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Deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO (Part 3)

Posted by graycat on 9 June 2009

or  AutoCAD 2010 and my DLL HELL!

Following on from my previous posts on deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO you may will noticed that I’ve run into the dreaded dll issues that sometimes plague these installs. In most cases a rebuild of the initial admin install point of msi is required but that hasn’t worked in this case.

My slightly off the wall but works solution is to synchronise the dll directory in the installation package with the local install directory. Here’s my little script that has a few extra bits in:

REM     check if done previously
if exist “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\dllsynch.flg” exit else
goto copy

REM    synchronise dll files from install point
xcopy /d/e/h/c/y “\\domain\dfs_share\it\Deployment\ACAD2010Fixed\AdminImage\x86\acad\en-us\Acad\Program Files\Root\*.dll” “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\”

REM    create dllsynch.flg to prevent rerun.
echo done > “c:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\dllsynch.flg”


As you can see that does a quick flag file check then synchronises the dll files in there and creates the flag file so it only does it the once.

Fortunately that seemed to cover most if not all of the dll errors I ran into and at which point the application runs smoothly.

After retesting from scratch on a blank machine, I found the group policy was working and the application was deploying ok but it took two restarts – the intial one to get the gpo and start the install and the second to finish it off.

I’ve tracked this down to the scripted installs of DirectX running after the msi package of AutoCAD 2010 has tried to install. As DirectX isn’t installed by this point, AutoCAD aborts then the DirectX installs. A reboot finishes off the AutoCAD install fine.

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Deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO (Part 2)

Posted by graycat on 9 June 2009

Carrying on from my previous post on deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO here’s an update with the latest problems and solutions I’ve run into.

AutoCAD LT¬† deploys fine now. I think after the scripted installs had finished doing their thing, it was happy. Since then all the deployments have gone through fine including those on live machines. Now it’s all down to the CAD guys to let me know how it works.

I’ve since rolled up my sleeves and am taking a swing at the bigger one with the full fixed licence install.

The installation package went up to the server / dfs share fine as you would expect but my god it’s huge! 1.4Gb to be slightly more accurate!! Ok, so that is with all the packages included but it’s still a touch large in my opinion. The price of progression and all that.

So post package upload I was looking through it and it claims to have the C++ package embedded so I decided to leave my own package off at this point and see how it rolls. I created the new GPO, security group, wiped the test rig and linked it all together.

Unfortunately it failed.

DirectX – error message¬† saying “must install DirectX first” was he only indicator which was a bit frustrating as DirectX was already installed! A quick test using “dxdiag” confirmed it was there but the install package was just not having it.

Looking into deploying DirectX showed some interesting approaches out there. A quick try of a few and the most reliable one was using the web setup. To do this you need to download the dwebsetup.exe from Microsoft and then setup a nice startup script to actually run the install. Here’s mine:

REM    Check if dxwebsetup.exe exists already
if exist %windir%\system32\DirectX\DXWebSetup.exe exit else

REM     make folder and copy down base installer
md %windir%\system32\DirectX

xcopy /c/y \\domain\dfs\it\deployment\directx\dxwebsetup.exe %windir%\system32\DirectX\

REM     install DirectX
%windir%\system32\DirectX\DXWebSetup.exe /c:”DXwSetup.exe /windowsupdate” /q /r:n


Let that one rip and ……. AutoCAD 2010 installs like a dream!!

Kinda. Well, until you try to run it and then you get an error message stating: “adui18res.dll no found”


Watch out for part 3 when I tackle that particular issue!

Edit: After further testing it seems the script needs to hang on for a bit whilst DirectX finishes the download and install. To make it do this, simply add “start /wait” to the front of the line running dxwebsetup.exe and the PC will launch it as a seperate process and wait until it terminates before moving on.

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Deploying AutoCAD 2010 via GPO

Posted by graycat on 2 June 2009

If you’re in the engineering or architectural business at all then I’m sure you’ll be familiar with AutoDesk’s AutoCAD offerings. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying it’s probably the most commonly used CAD program around the world. I’ve used a few others here and there but by far the most common is AutoCAD.

So when a new version comes out, you’d think it’s be pretty easy to roll out? You’d be wrong. In fact I don’t think I’ve had a smooth roll out of AutoCAD since the 2007 version. The 2008 had a materials libary with texture files that were longer than 256 characters in length not to mention the .NET problems that seem to have plagues AutoCAD for years.

It was with a slight feeling of anticipation of the challenge and a resigned air of “this is not going to be straight forward at all” that I downloaded the latest version and set about creating the deployment package. Thinking I was being clever, I went for the LT version as a starting point as they are usualy the easiest. Boy was I wrong!

The creating of the initial image is a plain and straightforward as ever – stuff disc in / run package, tell it what you’re doing, point it at the server share and you’re away. For most applications that’s the most difficult bit.

Initial problems were calling out with many “side-by-side” errors in the system log. I kid you not, one of my admins checked this machine looking at a Java rollout we’re doing and just about died of panic! Fortunately he wasn’t holding anything when he fainted so we just left him to get on with it.

These erros are pointing towards a C++ error rather than my expected .NET runtime issue (don’t worry though, they’re in there to!) and a quick google points towards having to install the libaries. Fortunately Microsoft provide a redistributable package for just that …… unfortunately it’s in the form of an exectuable though. There are a bunch of exmples on their websites for deploying this via scripts (ie: xcopy it to the local machine then run the exe with “/q” on the end) so had to suffer it.

The 2005 C++ redist package made no effect what-so-ever and really depressed me. My few living braincells then kicked in with the thought that it’s a brand new app so why not use the latest C++ package (ie: 2008). A quick Google found me not only the package but also a throw away line in a forum saying that it extracts to an msi! Now we’re talking my language! A quick download and double click gets the first install menu whilst a quick search for “*.msi” locates a new msi in a temp directory. Just to be safe, I copied all of this folder up to our deployment share ready to go.

A quick edit of the original GPO to add the 2008 C++ package, restart the test rig and ……. it works!!

well, it gets you to the front page at least. now it’s just a matter of working through the rest of the bugs….. but that’s a job for tomorrow I think.

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