• Active Setup

    Posted on March 20, 2012 by in Application Packaging, Desktop Engineering


    What is Active setup:

    1. Active setup is a process that runs automatically during the login process.
    2. It is mainly used to complete specific run once setup tasks for each user as they log in to a given machine after an active setup based package is installed.

    When to use Active Setup:

    1. Active Setup is used when the application requires user based components such as HKCU registries and/or Configuration files to run, But the application has no Advertised shortcuts or Entry points.
    2. Most common examples are Office Addins. These Addins do not have shortcuts or entry points, and in enterprise deployments they are installed by System accounts. In this scenario the current user registries will be installed to Adminstrator’s profile and not the user profile.
    3. Donot use Active setup when the application has advertised shortcuts as this will unnecessarily increase the login time for the users.

    How to implement Active Setup:

    1. When a User logs into a machine then the registry keys at the two locations are compared:
      (For 32 bit applications on 32 bit OS or 64 bit applications on 64 bit OS)
      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{GUID}
      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{GUID}

      and if the HKCU entries don’t exist or if version number is less than HKLM then the specified application is executed for the current user.
    2. For 32 bit applications on 64 bit OS the following locations are compared:
      HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{GUID}
      HKCU\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{GUID}
    3. Values for the KEY:
      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{GUID}

      1. {GUID}, it can be anything that is unique, in case of MSI it can be product code
      2. VALUE1  is StubPath

                                                                  i.      If the application is installed via Setup.exe then you can package all the required user related entries into an MYActiveSetup.exe using wisescript or installscript. StubPath=<fullpath>\MYActiveSetup.exe

                                                                ii.      If the application installed is an msi then StubPath=msiexec /fauvs {ProductCode} /qb

                           3.   VALUE2 is Version=1 (If using more complex version numbers, use a comma as delimiter and not a period, eg: 1,0,3 not 1.0.3)

    4. When a user logs on for the first time after an Active Setup has been configured in HKLM, the operating system compares Active Setup keys between HKLM and HKCU, and runs the Value in the StubPath if the HKCU entry is missing or the version in HKCU is less than HKLM.

    5. When you need to update the MYActiveSetup.exe executable, just install a new version, and increment the Version=2 in registry key in HKLM. Next time the user logs on, the active setup will run again for that user.


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    Senior Desktop/Infrastructure Engineer with over 10 years of proven experience in planning,designing & implementation of enterprise level Workstation builds for Finance, Pharmaceuticals, Telecommunication and other Domains. Desktop Engineer cannot rest as, Desktop world is very different it is fast paced, new technologies evolve and change at a rapid pace. For more info please visit: www.linkedin.com/in/srinivaskolla

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