Virtual CD Distribution


By Bryan Keadle

Did you know you can "export" one or more NAL objects to removable media (CD, USB) so that an application(s) can be distributed to a disconnected workstation? This is called creating a Virtual CD.

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This process of creating a virtual CD with one or more application is well documented. However, to follow is a tip for deploying this virtual CD to any disconnected workstation, especially ones that do not have the ZENworks components installed.

I had a need to distribute a corporate application to a non-standard, disconnected field laptop, which did not have the Novell or ZENworks client installed. I discovered that there are only a handful of files required to actually run the NALDesk component for distributing an application object. Additionally, I needed an easy, convenient method for applying any of the "exported" NAL object(s) to a machine. Because of the nature of these exported NAL objects, they did not appear anywhere as icons to be launched, or in the application launcher window.

When you create a Virtual CD, you will find a directory structure like this:

| Autorun.exe
| autorun.inf
| ---.SomeApp_1.OU.O
| |
| ---.SomeApp_2.OU.O
| |
| \---.SomeApp_3.OU.O

By overlaying this VCD_Distrib.ZIP file to this same directory structure, and running the VCD_Distrib.cmd file at the root, you will be able to easily select and apply the available objects contained on the virtual CD:

| VCD_Distrib.cmd
| autorun.inf

(the bold items are free batch file utilities for VCD_Distrib.cmd functionality)

The autorun.inf has been modified to launch VCD_Distrib.cmd instead of the autorun.exe that the Virtual CD Wizard defined.

When VCD_Distrib.cmd runs, it will first add the .\bin directory to the path, so that these support files are found. It will next check to see if NALDesk.exe is running, and if not, load it; if it is, it will do a refresh of the Application Explorer, and prompt you to press any key to continue after it has finished loading and scanning:

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(You may get an Application Explorer error message about not being able to locate resource file nalexprs.dll. You may disregard this message)

If more than one tree name is found under the nalcache directory, you'll be prompted to choose one. Next, if more than one application object is found under the tree directory, you will be prompted to choose one of the listed objects.

Click to view.

Click to view.

Once the tree and application object has been specified, it will be applied using this command line:

nalwin32.exe /A=%TREE%:%OBJ% /f /u /h

Click to view.

It's that easy. Alternatively, you can specify the application object to be applied from the command line by typing:

SYNTAX: VCD_Distrib Tree AppObject

So for the example above, instead of answering the prompts, I could manually run:

VCD_Distrib My_Tree .SomeApp_2.OU.O


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