Designing Application Installation
Updated: March 28, 2003
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
There are several ways in which to install the applications you plan to host on the terminal server. The size of your deployment and whether you have Active Directory installed are factors in deciding which method to use.
Installing Applications Manually
With manual installations, in order for Terminal Services to replicate the necessary registry entries or .ini files for each user, the user must install the application by using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. You can also install applications from the command line by using the change user /install command, but using Add or Remove Programs is preferable.
Installing Applications Using Group Policy and Windows Installer
A recommended way to distribute applications to a server in a Terminal Services farm is to use Group Policy. Active Directory is required for this. By separating the terminal servers into their own OU, you can create a Group Policy object that is linked to only that OU, and you can then assign Windows Installer (.msi) packages to it. Assigned applications are installed on the server when the server is turned on. For more information, see "Assigned and published programs" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003. For more information about deploying software using Group Policy, see "Deploying and upgrading software" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003 and "Deploying a Managed Software Environment" in Designing a Managed Environment of this kit.
Terminal Server cannot accept published programs because publishing occurs on a per-user basis. Additionally, you must assign programs on a per-computer basis, rather than on a per-user basis.
Some applications require a transform file (.mst) when when you install them by using Windows Installer. Transform files are modifications to .msi packages that you create to instruct Windows Installer to install the application and all the needed components locally on the terminal server. Test your application installation to determine if a transform file is needed. For more information about .mst files, see "Deploying a Managed Software Environment" in Designing a Managed Environment of this kit.
To create and install applications using an .mst file, see the Office 2000 Resource Kit at the MSDN Library link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources. Search for the topics under "Installing Office in a Windows Terminal Server Environment" in the Office 2000 Resource Kit on this Web site.
Microsoft® Office XP installs and runs on a terminal server correctly without requiring a transform file.
Running Compatibility Scripts
If it is necessary to run application compatibility scripts for any of the applications that you are hosting with Terminal Server, you must run them after you install the application, but before you restart the server. For more information about compatibility scripts, see "Identifying Ideal Candidates for Hosting" earlier in this chapter and the Optimizing Applications for Windows 2000 Terminal Services link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.
When you run the first compatibility script, you are asked to select a drive letter to be used by this script and all future compatibility scripts. This drive letter must be the same as the users’ home directory. For more information about using home directories with Terminal Server, see "Using Home Directories with Terminal Server" earlier in this chapter.