Howto: upgrade the zenworks for desktops agent from version 6.5 to 7.0.1




[edited August 10, 2007]

I just posted my method for installing/upgrading the ZfD agent via a Novell login script

[begin original post]

I ran a Zenworks software inventory report against my database today, and was suprised to find two things:

1) I still has a bunch of machines running the old zfd 6.5 agent, even though its supposed to automatically upgrade itself to 7.0.1.

2) I had over 300 machines that had the 7.0.1 agent installed, but were missing the imaging and remote management components.


My first thought was to deploy an app that reinstalled over the top of the existing agents, but the 6.5 agent machines wouldn’t do an in-place upgrade, and the 7.0.1 agents didn’t want to add new components. After it was apparent this was not the way to go, I started scouring the Internet, looking for solutions to problems similar to mine. I didn’t find any complete solutions, but was able to piece this together from about 20 different sites:

The existing agents had to be removed and the computers had to be rebooted before the new agent could be deployed.

I created a distribution rule (figure a) that checked for the file version of nalagent.exe (the NAL agent), zenrem32.exe (the main remote management) and ziswin.exe (the main imaging component). If any of these files were not version 7.0.1 (except zenrem32.exe, more on that later), the uninstaller runs. Why did I do it this way? If any of those three main .exe’s are not the expected version, I want to uninstall and then reinstall the agent.

uninstaller availability rules

figure a

Next I setup the run options (figure b). Remember how I mentioned that very specific GUID in the previous section? Well, you have to specify it in the msiexec command listed in the “path to file” section. You can find the agent GUID in the registry by searching the HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Uninstall key for ‘zenworks’

zfdagent uninstaller distribution
figure b

The full path to file is (all on one line):

MsiExec.exe /X{7878B1D4-B2CB-4EA8-9A0A-7E0575D23B96} /passive REMOVE=ALL /promptrestart

I then set this nal app to force run for my test group, and watched it work it’s magic. Notice the /promptrestart option? Its not necessary, I did it just for testing purposes. If you leave it out, it just restarts the machine when the uninstall finishes.After the machine reboots and I logged back into the network, I verified the Zenworks Desktop Management Agent was removed from add/remove programs, and the c:\program files\novell\zenworks folder had been removed.

Next, I had to figure out why the old zfdagent nal app for 7.0.1 did not install the imaging and remote management components. I decided to scrap my existing nal app and start fresh. In figure c, you can see the installation command I specified.

zfdagent run install options
figure c

Notice I specified the /norestart option – again, if you don’t specify this, the machine will automatically reboot after installation completes.

Next, I set some availability rules (figure d). I basically said if these three files don’t exist OR nalapp.exe or ziswin.exe aren’t version 7.0.1 or zenrem32.exe isn’t version 7.0.01, run the installer.


figure d

I thought that was odd that zenrem32.exe is version, while nalagent.exe and ziswin.exe are version 7.0.1., so I re-extracted the zfdagent.msi from my zfd 7.0.1 .iso. That zenrem32.exe is version as well, so I guess that’s just the way it is.

Lastly, I had to configure my msi options. In my previous zfdagent nal app, I had specified agent settings in the msiexec command line. I decided to take a different route this time, and specify those options in the msi properties tab (figure e)


installer MSI options
figure e

ADDLOCAL = install all zfd components

LOGIN_PASSIVE_MODE = 0 display Novell login screen

LOGIN_PASSIVE_MODE = 1 display Windows login screen

I then set the nal app to force distribute to my test group. It deployed, prompted for a reboot, and after my next login I had all the components of the Zenworks for Desktops agent installed on my Windows XP SP2 machine.

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