I recently got a chance to try out the Advanced Application Deployment feature of Miradore MDM for the Windows 10 clients that we are managing for a customer. I was originally going to use the MSI Application Deployment feature, but then I realized that while the application is packaged as an MSI, the MSI does not install correctly if the MSI is renamed prior to installation. Before I dive into the details, let me provide some background about how application deployment works with MDM on Windows 10.
If you are familiar with Microsoft CSPs for Windows 10 client management, then you may already know about the EnterpriseDesktopAppManagement CSP. The EnterpriseDesktopAppManagement CSP is great in that it allows you to deploy MSI applications to Windows 10 using the built-in MDM capability and does not require a separate client. If you are interested in staying MDM agnostic as much as I am, then you will understand why MDM deployment is desirable.
Here’s the problem…the EnterpriseDesktopAppManagement CSP actually renames the MSI as part of the download and installation process. If your app package doesn’t depend on the name, then it’s no big deal. But if your app package does depend on the name then it’s a deal breaker.
Of course, the app that I needed to deploy does not install correctly if it gets renamed during deployment so I needed to leverage a client-dependent solution.
The Miradore Client is a component of the Miradore MDM solution that is leveraged when you use the Advanced Application Deployment feature. The client allows you to do more than you can do with the EnterpriseDesktopAppManagement CSP alone. In this case, I needed a way to deploy the MSI without it being renamed. This is where the Miradore Client shined. The Miradore Client allowed me to do the one thing that makes it possible to install literally any app on Windows 10 — you can upload an install using a ZIP file format. This capability saved the day for me because otherwise I would have probably had to manually install that application on every computer in the environment because they are all Workgroup computers and not Domain-joined.
Create an Application Package in the ZIP File Format
Just in case you are wondering how to easily use ZIP file format for your MSI apps, here is the basic formula:
- Create a Powershell script that calls the MSI installation and waits for the exit code
- ZIP the Powershell script and the MSI
- Upload the ZIP to Miradore MDM for deployment
The Miradore Advanced Application Deployment feature does ask for an Exit Code and the Command Line to run the installation so you want to install this manually before loading it to Miradore so that you can gather this information.
Here is the example of the Command Line and Exit Code for my example:
Why Miradore is still my favorite MDM for very small businesses?
It is probably worth noting that VMWare Workspace One has this same Application Deployment functionality available thru its client, but unfortunately it has a minimum requirement of 25 users/devices in order to setup an environment. In contrast, Miradore MDM only requires a $10 minimum credit card charge each month for an environment with Enterprise Licenses (there is a free version if you don’t need to install apps).