Ramblings From The Litter Tray of Life

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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