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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2072 of /home/scslive/public_html/includes/common.inc).
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  • Warning: date_format() expects parameter 1 to be DateTimeInterface, boolean given in format_date() (line 2072 of /home/scslive/public_html/includes/common.inc).

What FSLogix Cloud Cache can do for your Office 365 Deployment

Theresa Miller - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 05:30

It’s no secret that organizations that have a native Microsoft Office 365 deployment and non-persistent VDI will experience latencies when using Outlook. This will happen with the full Outlook client, because Outlook uses a cache file for email called an .ost file. The size of the .ost file is often quite large, is always changing, […]

The post What FSLogix Cloud Cache can do for your Office 365 Deployment appeared first on 24x7ITConnection.

IT Checklist: what are your must-haves?

Theresa Miller - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 05:30

If you’ve been in IT for a while, you probably have an IT checklist of some sort. Even if you’re not working in a full-on ITIL or Six Sigma shop, there is a basic list of items that you consider and plan out for each of the applications in your environment. A Basic IT Checklist […]

The post IT Checklist: what are your must-haves? appeared first on 24x7ITConnection.

Adobe Reader DC deployment with Microsoft Intune Part 2

Aaron Parker's stealthpuppy - Sun, 07/22/2018 - 11:44

In the previous article we saw how to customise the Adobe Reader DC installation and deploy it via Microsoft Intune. Now that it’s installed on Windows 10 end-points let’s look at how updates work.

First though, it’s important to point out that the version of Adobe Reader DC deployed from the single file Windows Installer is 2015.07.20033, while the version that is current as of July 2018 is 2018.011.20055. The deployed version then is extremely out of date, and given that Intune cannot deploy Windows Installer Patch (MSP) files directly, the end-point needs to rely on the Adobe Acrobat update service to download and install updates.

Updating Adobe Reader DC

Adobe Reader (and Acrobat) installs the Adobe Acrobat Update Service. On typical enterprise PCs or virtual desktop environments this service may not be desirable, because updates are managed by Configuration Manager or monthly image updates. On a Windows 10 desktop deployed modern management style, it can be up to the device to ensure the OS and applications are kept up to date; thus, this service should remain enabled on those end-points.

The updater is actually two components – the Update service and a scheduled task that runs ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe’ to check for, download and install updates.

The task has two triggers – one after user logon, but with a delay of 12 minutes, and the other at a scheduled time that is possibly different per device. Here’s the scheduled task:

Adobe Acrobat Update Task

In theory, the service should download and apply an Adobe Reader update within 24-hours after installation. In practice, your mileage will most certainly vary. In my testing (which wasn’t exhaustive), it would take more than that to download an update and I resorted to using the ‘Check for Updates’ option from within Adobe Reader manually. 

Update Process

Downloading and installing updates does not unfortunately go straight to the latest version. In my testing, my target PCs downloaded an intermediate update to 2015.023.20070 before the second update to 2018.011.20055. This means that in the real world, it could be several days before a PC has the most recent version installed.

Adobe Reader DC – An update is available

Fortunately, the updates are downloaded and installed without user intervention, meaning that the update process works for users without administrative rights to their PC.

To Deploy or Not Deploy

So understanding that to deploy Adobe Reader DC via Microsoft Intune requires deploying a version that is more than 3 years old and relying on the end-point to download and install updates, the question that should be asked – should you deploy Adobe Reader to Windows 10 machines via Microsoft Intune?

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Many organisations prefer Adobe Reader over 3rd party PDF readers for first party features and support.
  • Of the top 50 Windows desktop applications in 2018, Adobe Reader had the most vulnerabilities (source: Flexera), beaten only by Windows itself. If the option is to install an old version of Adobe Reader and rely on the automatic updater on the end-point to install the latest version, the time to update may be unacceptable for some organisations
  • PowerShell can be used to deploy Adobe Reader to Windows 10 PCs via Intune; however, this does not allow for user self-service installs and will require building in logic to account for failures in network connectivity during the download or retrying the installation if it were to fail
  • Windows 10 includes a capable PDF Reader in Microsoft Edge and other browsers also implement native PDF viewing features
  • Other PDF readers are available from the Microsoft Store, so it is possible to deploy and keep a PDF reader up to date simpler than the process I’ve outlined in these articles; however, many of these are less than ideal – the UI is often not great and many have up sell features built into them
Summary

In these articles, I’ve demonstrated how to package and deploy Adobe Reader DC as a native application via Microsoft Intune, while relying on the automatic updater installed by the application for an end-point to keep Reader up to date. This approach allows you to deploy Adobe Reader in the same way as other line-of-business applications for required or optional user-driven installs and then reporting in the Intune console.

Because Adobe haven’t released a newer version of the single file Windows Installer for Adobe Reader, you should consider carefully whether this approach is right for your organisation. Deployment of an old version of a high-target, popular application on Windows with the highest number of patched vulnerabilities is probably not a great idea. You might though have good reason to deploy it for features that your users require.

So what can you do if you need to deploy it?

  1. Make it an optional user-driven install and make most users rely on the PDF viewer built into their browser
  2. Deploy via PowerShell if you want to enforce the install on end-points (this could be targeted by Azure AD groups)
  3. Look at alternatives readers from the Store
  4. Request Adobe update their installer or make Adobe Reader available from the Microsoft Store

I would prefer install from the Store but that will require enough organisations asking for this feature. Adobe has a Feature Request form and I would encourage you to use it.

unsplash-logoRuss McCabe

This article by Aaron Parker, Adobe Reader DC deployment with Microsoft Intune Part 2 appeared first on Aaron Parker.

Categories: Community, Virtualisation

Adobe Reader DC deployment with Microsoft Intune Part 1

Aaron Parker's stealthpuppy - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 12:46

Adobe Reader is of course one of the most common applications on Windows desktops and if you’re moving to a Modern Management approach you’re likely looking at how to deploy Adobe Reader DC to Windows 10 via Microsoft Intune. 

This is a challenge today because Adobe Reader DC comes as an executable, that while it can be extracted for the MSI, it includes support files that cannot be deployed via Intune. Microsoft only enables Windows desktop applications to be deployed from Intune where the installer is contained in a single file Windows Installer.

Adobe Reader DC Executable Installer

The Adobe Reader installer hasn’t changed much since as long as I’ve been writing about it (which has been way too long). What is different with Adobe Reader DC is that Adobe has moved to an evergreen model whereby they’re largely moved away from major releases and instead now deliver a continuous release cycle.

The current installer for Adobe Reader DC is a single executable that can run as is, or can be extracted for customisation typical of enterprise environments. When extracted it looks like this:

Adobe Reader DC extracted files

This just won’t work for deployment via Intune or the Windows 10 MDM channel. We need that single Windows Installer file. Better yet, we need Adobe to make Reader DC available via the Windows Store, but that’s a topic for another article.

Adobe Reader Windows Installer

Adobe does make a single file Windows Installer available for Adobe Reader DC, in various languages; however, the file was released in 2015 and unfortunately they’ve not updated it since. There has been several major releases and updates since March 2005.

Adobe Reader DC single file Windows Installer on the public FTP site

So, now we have a way to deploy the file, let’s see how to customise it and deploy via Intune.

Customising the Installer

Customisation of the Adobe Reader installer for enterprise deployment is well documented and I’ve written about previous versions several times. The same process applies but pay attention to any version specific settings.

Just like previous versions, you use the Adobe Customization Wizard to customise the installer for your needs and deploy a custom package.

Adobe Customization Wizard DC

However, we can’t customise the single file Windows Installer directly because when saving the customisations, we get this:

Adobe Customization Wizard DC – setup.ini was not found

To customise the installer, we need to use a 3 step process:

  1. Download and extract Adobe Reader DC executable installer
  2. Create a custom transform for this installer
  3. Apply the transform to the single file Windows Installer, so that the customisations are embedded into the installer. InstEd It! is a great free MSI editor to do that

I won’t go into a detailed step-by-step on how to use the Adobe Customization Wizard here because the documentation is detailed enough, but I will include a list of options I recommend you embed into the installer. There are some additional defaults and you may have specific options applicable to your environment.

OptionValue Personalization Options / EULA OptionSuppress display of End User License Agreement (EULA) Installation Options / Run InstallationSilently Installation Options / If reboot required at the end of installationSuppress reboot Shortcuts / DesktopRemove the Adobe Reader DC shortcut (no one needs that one on the desktop...) Online Services and Features / Disable product updatesDisabled (i.e. not ticked) - ensure Adobe Reader can update post-deployment Online Services and Features / Disable UpsellEnabled

As I’ve listed in the table, it’s important to keep the Adobe Updater enabled, so that once Reader is deployed via Intune, end-points can manage updates themselves. I’ll cover more on updates in the next article.

Now that you have a customised single file Windows Installer for Adobe Reader DC, you can import that into Microsoft Intune, and make it available for deployment.

Adobe Reader DC installed via Intune

Summary

In this article, I’ve taken a look at how to deploy Adobe Reader DC as a mobile application for Windows 10 devices enrolled in Microsoft Intune via MDM by creating a customised package based on a single file Windows Installer.

In part 2, I’ll take a look at how Adobe Reader is updated post-deployment and discuss whether this type of deployment is the right approach. There are other options and ideally I’d like to see Adobe make Reader DC available via the Microsoft Store.

Larry Costales

This article by Aaron Parker, Adobe Reader DC deployment with Microsoft Intune Part 1 appeared first on Aaron Parker.

Categories: Community, Virtualisation

Is Speech Recognition or Dictation in Windows 10 Good Enough Yet?

Theresa Miller - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 05:30

Is Speech Recognition or Dictation in Windows 10 Good Enough Yet? In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1803), a new voice recognition option turned up. There was still the older ‘Windows Speech Recognition’ which has been around for a while, but Dictation https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/4042244/windows-10-use-dictation seems to be a more modern implementation. I couldn’t find too […]

The post Is Speech Recognition or Dictation in Windows 10 Good Enough Yet? appeared first on 24x7ITConnection.

Simplify Troubleshooting your IT Healthcare Virtual Architecture with Goliath Technologies

Theresa Miller - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 05:30

Virtual architecture is complex to stand-up and deploy, and when it comes to the ability of your support team to fix an issue it needs to be done fast and when possible – proactively.  This is extremely important from the business user perspective in all organizations, but even more importantly in healthcare where there is […]

The post Simplify Troubleshooting your IT Healthcare Virtual Architecture with Goliath Technologies appeared first on 24x7ITConnection.

10ZiG: Citrix Ready, Synergy & H.265 (sponsored)

Citrix UK User Group - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 10:37

Citrix Ready, Synergy & H.265 10ZiG are annual exhibitors of Citrix Synergy and this year gave us the opportunity for our CTO to take some time with the Citrix Ready Team. Kevin Greenway is based here with us in the …

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The post 10ZiG: Citrix Ready, Synergy & H.265 (sponsored) appeared first on UK Citrix User Group.

Your Guide to Secure Web Browsing

Theresa Miller - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 05:30

For as long as many of us can remember we have been starting our World Wide Web journeys by typing http://. If you have not already noticed, many sites now require https:// to access them. As a refresher, recall that HTTP actually stands for hyper text transfer protocol, and when we add an S on […]

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