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Aug 21

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Using Application “bundles” in MDT 2010

One of the more interesting things in MDT is the “Application bundle” application install option.  What an application bundle allows is the ability to install multiple applications, in order, as dependencies.  Think of it more as a logical container for applications that need to be installed, perhaps in a specific order, or as prerequisites for another application (like, for instance, installing Visual Studio 2008 prerequisites, Visual Studio itself, and then the latest service pack).

Adding the application(s)

To create an application bundle that will show up in the list of applications to install (or be available to configure via a task sequence), you first need to add all of the applications to MDT that will make up the bundle.  This is done similar to adding Office 2007 as I documented in my post on creating an MDT deployment point – you must create a New Application and add it’s source files to the deployment share.  I’ll document quickly how to add the Windows Live Essentials components to your deployment share and “bundle” them (instructions on getting the .msi packages you’ll need from the Windows Live Essentials downloadable package can be found here, if you do actually want to try this).

First, right-click on the Applications folder in the deployment share (in this example I’ve created a folder underneath applications to hold all of the Windows Live installation apps – this is purely for cosmetic reasons) and select “New Application” from the drop-down list:

New Application

Select “Application with source files” from the first wizard page, click “Next”, and then fill out the information about the application and click “Next” again – in this example, I’m adding the x86 package for the Application Error Reporting component of Windows Live:

New Application Wizard

Point the wizard to the local path that contains the setup package, and click “Next”:

Source directory

You will need to provide the actual installation command used to run the setup – in this case, the command is “msiexec /i dw20shared.msi /qn”, so I’ve entered that into the “Command line” field:

Command line

Once that’s done, click “Next” a few times and the application will be added to your Applications in your deployment share.  Next, right-click the new Application and select “Properties” from the drop-down list:

Properties

Make sure to *check* the box labeled “Hide this application in the Deployment Wizard” – this will keep the individual installers from showing up in the list of applications to be installed during deployment, ensuring only the bundle will be used to install the apps, in the correct order – click “OK” to save the changes:

Hide application

Creating the bundle

Once you’ve added all the other components necessary (repeating the above steps for each application that will make up your bundle), the bundle itself needs to be created.  To do this, right-click on the Applications folder (or any subfolder, as in my example) in the deployment share, and select “New Application”:

New Application Bundle

This time, select the “Application bundle” option from the list of application types, and click “Next”:

Application bundle

Fill out the details of the application as you would any other application, and click “Next” a few times until the new bundle is added to your Applications list:

Application bundle details

Next, right-click on the new Application bundle in the Applications list, and select “Properties” from the drop-down list:

Properties

Go to the “Dependencies” tab, and click the “Add” button:

Add dependencies

In the “Select an item” window that pops up, select the application installers from the list, one at a time (clicking “OK” after selecting each to add to the list), until you’ve got all of the applications that will make up this “bundle” in your list, in the order you want or need.  Note that you can use the “Up” and “Down” buttons to move applications up and down the list in this window if you didn’t add them from the Applications list in the order required:

Application dependencies list

Lastly, right-click your deployment share and choose “Update Deployment Share” to update it, and also right click on your Media and select “Update Media Content” (again, as per previous posts on this subject).  Once these complete, you can copy the updated media to your USB key, or burn the .ISO.  The new “bundle” will show up in the applications list during deployment, and will install each application, in the order it is listed in the “Dependencies” tab during deployment if it’s selected to be installed.

If you’ve got lots of applications that you deploy to each and every build you do, this is a great way to cut down on the clicking in the deployment wizard – or makes for fewer entries in your task sequences for applications.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.cluberti.com/blog/2009/08/21/using-application-bundles-in-mdt-2010/

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