ServersPackaging Internet Explorer for distribution (Issues and Concerns)

Packaging Internet Explorer for distribution (Issues and Concerns)




Christopher Rice

   I’ve spent some serious time cranking
through the IEAK’s (versions 4 and 5) and have found that some problems are inherent to
the idea of packaging IE 4 or 5 for NT or 2000. 

I’ve spent some serious time cranking through the IEAK’s (versions 4 and 5) and have found that some problems are inherent to the idea of packaging IE 4 or 5 for NT or 2000.

The idea behind distribution is to be able to reach many clients with no user end intervention. Now, the IEAK gives you two different possibilities for such and end:

    The idea behind distribution is
to be able to reach many clients with no user end intervention.  Now, the IEAK gives
you two different possibilities for such and end:

1.  Silent Install – Kind of creeps up and
shuts the machine off, no matter what the user is doing.

2.  “Hands-Free” Install – This is
the method that I prefer, as the user can actually see that something is going on on there
machine.

    Both of these methods work fine
(providing you made it through the wizard with no problems), but leave the machine at a
critical juncture.  The machine now rests at Logon awaiting someone’s
intervention.  If that someone happens to be a user without total administrative
rights to the machine, the installation will fail.  There are files (the normal
assortment of DLL’s and OCX’s) waiting to be registered, more settings to complete, etc.

    The AutoLog feature, I have
found, does not work through complex enterprise environments.  Users also have a
problem when their machines remain in a state where their keyboard and mouse are locked,
which also happens about 5% of the time.  In this instance, you will have to remotely
shut the machine and the process down.

     Another important feature
to keep in mind is the security encryption.  Many of the banks that I have worked for
like to have 128 bit encryption, so naturally, you would want a package that would put
this encryption down on the desktop.  What happens with these IEAK packages is that
they read what is on the machine and install that level of security.  So, if you
create a package that has 128 bit encryption, it will only load that level of security
onto a clean machine (one that has never had IE) or onto a machine that currently has 128
bit on it.  When you create a package and load it onto a machine and see that the
security has not increased, keep this in mind.  My advise is to create a package for
distribution that upgrades your level of security prior to upgrading your IE.

     The solution is that if you
have a rather simple environment, where you can get your hands around everything, then
packaging this for massive distribution might be the way to go for you.  If you have
a rather large environment that is layered and you don’t have administrative rights over
the whole thing, you might want to reconsider doing this, or be ready to put out some
serious fires.

     If you want more
information about the IEAK, you can go to Microsoft’s site and check it out.  They
will answer some of your FAQ’s.  Personally, I’m waiting for IEAK 6 so I can try to
deploy across W2K and see what issues will arise.  I’ll keep you all up to date.

The link to Microsoft’s IEAK information arena is:

http://microsoft.com/windows/ieak/en/support/default.asp

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