Monday, February 16, 2009

OCS 2007 R2 Group Chat Installation - Part 3, Client install

Earlier, in Part One, we installed Group Chat Server and in Part Two, we learned how to connect to the admin tools and to create a channel and allow people in it. Now it is time to Deploy the client.

The Group Chat client requires the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Visual C++ runtime installed. Unfortunately, Microsoft provided only an executable client install, so we cannot easily GPO this installation without an MSI file. There are the below options for the clientsetup.exe executable:

Working with this, I created a logon script to do this installation. If a client does not have .NET 3.5 SP1 installed, and you skip that install, the unattended install will give an error.

\\2008dc\netlogon\dotnetfx35setup.exe /qb \\2008dc\netlogon\Clientsetup.exe /Unattend

An added dose of fun - .NET requires a reboot, and /qb tries to force that reboot.

The actual manual install process is very simple - just take all the defaults.

Getting the software installed is just one part - getting it configured is another. First I will cover the manual configuration. Then I will discuss deploying these settings in an enterprise.

The more critical knowledge here is how to deploy this to clients and have the logins work out of the box. Using the "Automatic Configuration" provided, my first sign in was less than desirable. I got the below error:

And was unable to search for a channel (it just seems to hang there trying) so I created a new configuration named like I did in Part 2. I had to investigate further.

So I decided to try the Administrator account. It worked fine. So for some reason - the "Server Address" had to be "" and then when I actually log on, I use my SIP URI. Very odd behavior. Above is the NON working config. Below is the working config.

Odd for sure. Again, when I sign into the application, I am clearly me, not admin:

Now, configuring another piece of client software might be easy for us, but not for most users, so it's time to learn how to deploy these settings.

So I downloaded the OCS 2007 R2 ADM files and went to create a new GPO, and quickly found that none of the GPO names in the XLS document for Group chat are in there.

It seems as is there should be an additional ADM coming, or an updated one with these settings.

I did find that you can manipulate these by dropping an XML file into the workstation directory of:

C:\Users\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Group Chat\Common\Accounts (on Vista) and by editing or replacing the file at:
C:\Users\chris\Application Data\Microsoft\Group Chat\Group Chat Console\Accounts\_default.account_.xml

So I made a second script:

copy \\2008dc\netlogon\_default.account_.xml "%userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Group Chat\Common\Accounts"
\\2008dc\netlogon\Internal.xml "%userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Group Chat\Group Chat Console\Accounts"

Since these folders won't exist until the application is installed, you may want to stagger your install and your configuration GPOs/Scripts.

If anyone has any better way to roll out the configuration, please let me know, I really do feel like these are some non-enterprise level workarounds.


Anonymous said...

Hi, great post. I'm dealing with the same issues here regarding Enterprise Deployment. Although I'm trying to deploy it via SCCM and through an automated installer so that when the user logs in they have all the settings configured. I figure I'll just script the install and then copy the .xml files to the proper locations. Have you made any further progress yet on it?

Mark said...

There is a separate GroupChatConsole.adm for Group Chat policies. It's in the Group Chat Server\Policy Template folder after you install.

Regarding the server address, you should enter the SIP address of your Lookup Server account. Or, to make life easier, give your Lookup Server user a SIP address of ocschat@yourdomain. ("ocschat" is the default server address.) This way, end-users can just leave the "Use default server address" checkbox checked.

Mark said...

Following up on my last comment... here's some further information on account configuration for Microsoft Group Chat:

- Automatic Configuration of Group Chat
- Group Chat Policies
- Setting Up and Enabling Accounts for Group Chat Servers

Anonymous said...

Just in the process of packaging this. If you want an MSI of this to make deploying by GPO easier. Disable your windows installer service, run ClientSetup.exe and when it errors because the service is not running, you'll have a MgcClient.msi in %temp% which is the chat client installer file (without the visualC++ redist).