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Installing and registering Balsamiq Mockups for a Terminal Server (Remote Desktop Server) environment

June 8th, 2011 7 comments

 

A bit of a specialised how-to here, but this is the process I did to allow this Adobe Air application to run on a Terminal Server (now known as Remote Desktop Session Host Server) environment for multiple users. The issue with just installing it for all users to start with, is that the licensing information that you register does not apply to all users. This is because license information is stored in each single user’s local profile / Documents (therefore is not applicable to all users). Here is the process I did to install the software and allow all users with access to the software to run it in licensed mode. (As well as a quick section on creating a security group to restrict access to the software based on group membership).

 

1. Install Mockups using terminal services install mode from the command line.

change user /install

MockupsForDesktop.exe -silent -desktopShortcut -programMenu -location "C:\Program files" -allowDownload

– Run the application from the start menu, then exit. Now use the command line to set the server back to execute mode.

change user /execute

2. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Balsamiq Mockups

– Create a new batch file (for example RegisterStartBalsamiqMockups.bat) in this folder and enter the following as content:

"Balsamiq Mockups.exe" register "Your registered company name" yourlonglicensekeynumber

– Save this batch file and close it.

– Now open the Local Profiles Folder for the terminal server, and navigate to \All Users\Start Menu\Programs

– Right click and drag your batch file into your \All Users\Start Menu\Programs folder and select to create a new shortcut.

– Right click your shortcut and change the icon to use the Icon from the Balsamiq Mockups.exe if you wish to make it look better.

– Also change the “Run” parameter to “Minimized” in the shortcut properties window and then OK this.

– Rename the shortcut to something user friendly, then remove the actual Balsamiq Mockups shortcut that the silent installer put in there earlier.

 

Now login with a normal Terminal Server user, and they should have the new shortcut file available in the start menu. Ensure they use this to start the application. It will register the license key each time they start the application, but it at least provides a way to automatically register the application for any user running the software.

Finally, ensure you set up a security group in Active Directory called “Balsamiq Mockups Users” and add only the users that are licensed for the software to this security group as members. Right-click the executable in C:\Program Files\Balsamiq Mockups for the application, go to properties, security, then remove the “Domain Users” or “All Users” groups from this executable (Effectively preventing them from running it). Add the “Balsamiq Mockups Users” security group in the place of the domain users group, and allow Read and Read & Execute permissions.

Now only the members of this security group (licensed for the software) will be able to run the software.

Hope that helps those of you looking to get this done. While this may not be a very general instruction set or how-to, some of the above principles can be used elsewhere – for example the security group method can be used to restrict access to certain applications within your organization for specific users.