Part 3, Deep dive Microsoft Intune Management Extension – Win32 Apps

IntuneWin32ComboLogoMicrosoft made it finally happen and provides an integrated way to deploy Win32 Apps via the Intune Management Extension. This is by far the biggest step forward in the Modern Management field. Until now the community came up with lots of ways to utilize PowerShell scripts to finally install some Win32 Apps. By doing this you need to take care of the content location, availability, distribution, the app install, and verification logic. All this is now available in the enhanced Intune Management Extension. As a short refresh regarding Intune Management Extension, I recommend to read my blog articles about it, where you find a lot of information regarding the architecture, the inner workings, and troubleshooting advises:

Part 1 Deep dive Microsoft Intune Management Extension – PowerShell Scripts
Part 2 Deep dive Microsoft Intune Management Extension – PowerShell Scripts

Both articles are very relevant to this new feature as they all describe the architecture and technical details regarding the Intune Management Extension itself. Exactly this Intune Management Extension is used now for deploying Win32 apps packaged as .intunewin file format. It’s even better, the new functionality can be used to basically transport everything in a package and trigger a certain command line for execution. This is not a end to end walk-through how to use the feature in regards of the Intune portal or on the client itself. For this check out other great articles found in my last section End to end usage walk-throughs?. This is an article all about the inner workings of this new capability, a deep dive into the new technology itself.

Table of content for easy navigation

How do we get packaged apps now?

To get a Win32 apps deployed via the Intune Management Extension we first need to package the content we want to distribute. Microsoft decided to use the same approach like they did for the macOS world, where they provide a small tool to create the packages – Microsoft Intune App Wrapping Tool for macOS. A similar tool to create these packages is available for the Windows world now. This tool is called:

Microsoft Intune Win32 App Packaging Tool

For all of you with ConfigMgr experience, the new feature to deploy Win32 apps with Intune can be compared a little bit with the Packages and Programs functionality within ConfigMgr, but with some additions.

The usage of the Microsoft Intune Win32 App Packaging Tool (IntuneWinAppUtil.exe) is quite simple. We specify a folder and the executable and create then an yourappname.intunewin file. This is our packaged app which we then can upload to the Intune service. The command line of the tool is this:

IntuneWinAppUtil -c  -s  -o  <-q>

To dig a little deeper we inspect the resulting package in detail now. After successful execution it will generate the .intunewin file from the specified source folder and setup file. For MSI setup files, this tool will retrieve required information for later usage in the Intune portal. To explore this a little bit I captured the output and highlighted some important facts there, to gain understanding how the tool is working.

IntuneWin32AppToolOutput

As seen the tool is executed with the necessary parameters to create a package for Google Chrome Enterprise Edition Browser, which is provided as a .msi file. A sub folder called Chrome is in the same folder as the IntuneWinAppUtil. The command line then is:

IntuneWinAppUtil.exe -c .\Chrome -s GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise64.msi -o .\ -q

If we look at the green highlighted output now we find some very important information appearing which is exactly describing the workflow:

  1. Compressing the source folder and its files to a sub folder ‘content’ with the new extension .intunewin
  2. Encrypting the compressed file
  3. Computing SHA265 hash
  4. Generating a detection.xml file in a sub folder ‘metadata’
  5. Compressing complete working folder and create again an .intunewin file

As we can see a normal zip compression is used and therefore it is easy to verify all this by opening the generated package with our favorite archive application:

IntuneWinContentRoot

We can see the content folder and metadata folder. Where the content folder stores the encrypted .intunewin file:

IntuneWinContentSubContent

and the metadata folder contains the detection.xml file:

IntuneWinContentSubMetadata

If we now have a look at the detection.xml file we can see the information gathered about the package and msi file:

<ApplicationInfo xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" ToolVersion="1.0.0.0">
  <Name>Google Chrome</Name>
  <UnencryptedContentSize>52284458</UnencryptedContentSize>
  <FileName>GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise64.intunewin</FileName>
  <SetupFile>GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise64.msi</SetupFile>
  <EncryptionInfo>
    <EncryptionKey>Rj9EtHeHGYMv5HCBpyobrmp0rVg0pzIy0TwO9PnSRg8=</EncryptionKey>
    <MacKey>5kxZeuk6xfeMak+r/9hzbsS0vBUW1jBMhgN10Jy7XBQ=</MacKey>
    <InitializationVector>2AK05qM2tm/5ijDnlFPISA==</InitializationVector>
    <Mac>zI8vragiGb1VtbVRiKo3lPkJlaZGZB4juX50MCNrmDw=</Mac>
    <ProfileIdentifier>ProfileVersion1</ProfileIdentifier>
    <FileDigest>Nzl3O6e70W1P0kJDJiEh3eU6gCVOhODNNy7mspfplQA=</FileDigest>
    <FileDigestAlgorithm>SHA256</FileDigestAlgorithm>
  </EncryptionInfo>
  <MsiInfo>
    <MsiProductCode>{A4BC9C54-4589-3A4C-8217-9FA00262F471}</MsiProductCode>
    <MsiProductVersion>67.92.84</MsiProductVersion>
    <MsiUpgradeCode>{C1DFDF69-5945-32F2-A35E-EE94C99C7CF4}</MsiUpgradeCode>
    <MsiExecutionContext>System</MsiExecutionContext>
    <MsiRequiresLogon>false</MsiRequiresLogon>
    <MsiRequiresReboot>false</MsiRequiresReboot>
    <MsiIsMachineInstall>true</MsiIsMachineInstall>
    <MsiIsUserInstall>false</MsiIsUserInstall>
    <MsiIncludesServices>false</MsiIncludesServices>
    <MsiIncludesODBCDataSource>false</MsiIncludesODBCDataSource>
    <MsiContainsSystemRegistryKeys>true</MsiContainsSystemRegistryKeys>
    <MsiContainsSystemFolders>false</MsiContainsSystemFolders>
  </MsiInfo>
</ApplicationInfo>

A detailed review shows us the file and encryption information and in addition the MSI file information. This information is used by the Intune portal to pre-populate some Intune app definitions for us.

The MSI information is only available when a msi file is packaged. If we package a setup.exe for example you will not see the entire section in the detection.xml file.

Why is the .intunewin packaged like this?

This is pretty simple to explain. The portal and the Intune service gets all necessary information to deal with the app (in this case Google Chrome). The msi information listed in the detection.xml is used to simplify the setup within the Intune UI by pre-filling the app form during creation. For example by adding the install and uninstall commands for the msi automatically:

IntuneWin32AppsMSIInstallCommand

The EncryptionInfo is used to store it with your Intune tenant to gain access to the uploaded .intunewin package. The encrtypted .intunewin (located in the content folder) can be distributed safely to the Intune back-end services responsible for content distribution without getting exposed to others, only the tenant who uploaded the file has the EncryptionInfo and can decrypt the file.

Where can I find details of the Win32 App deployment?

The Intune Management Extension tracks some details of the Win32 apps in the registry at: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\IntuneManagementExtension\Apps\

IntuneWin32AppDetailsRegistry

The yellow highlighted names provide us the execution commands for install and uninstall and the attempts and results of it.

If we look at the green highlighted GUID at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\IntuneManagementExtension\Win32Apps\73d664e4-0886-4a… we can see it matches my Azure AD user object ID. To compare it I got the details via Azure AD PowerShell:

GetAzureADUser

The red highlighted GUID (b0f62b79-e464-4f95-afe2-ed99eb612fe5) is the application GUID which is assigned by the Intune service back-end. This can be easily traced by looking at the graph data with the Graph Explorer from Microsoft:

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/graph-explorer

In my example I used this to retrieve the details of my uploaded app:

https://graph.microsoft.com/test_intune_apps/deviceAppManagement/mobileApps/b0f62b79-e464-4f95-afe2-ed99eb612fe5

Important note:

The graph endpoint is still subject to change as the feature is still in preview! Therefor you see test_intune_apps endpoint currently!

This is the detailed information about the uploaded Win32 .intunewin app:

{
"@odata.context": "https://graph.microsoft.com/test_intune_apps/$metadata#deviceAppManagement/mobileApps/$entity",
"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.win32LobApp",
"id": "b0f62b79-e464-4f95-afe2-ed99eb612fe5",
"displayName": "Google Chrome (new)",
"description": "Google Browser",
"publisher": "Google",
"largeIcon": null,
"createdDateTime": "2018-09-21T09:38:11.4343585Z",
"lastModifiedDateTime": "2018-09-21T09:39:16.2037636Z",
"isFeatured": true,
"privacyInformationUrl": null,
"informationUrl": null,
"owner": "",
"developer": "",
"notes": "",
"uploadState": 1,
"publishingState": "published",
"committedContentVersion": "1",
"fileName": null,
"size": 52284512,
"installCommandLine": "msiexec /i \"GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise64.msi\" /q",
"uninstallCommandLine": "msiexec /x {A4BC9C54-4589-3A4C-8217-9FA00262F471} /q",
"applicableArchitectures": "x64",
"minimumFreeDiskSpaceInMB": null,
"minimumMemoryInMB": null,
"minimumNumberOfProcessors": null,
"minimumCpuSpeedInMHz": null,
"minimumSupportedOperatingSystem": {
"v8_0": false,
"v8_1": false,
"v10_0": false,
"v10_1607": true,
"v10_1703": false,
"v10_1709": false,
"v10_1803": false
},
"detectionRules": [
{
"@odata.type": "#microsoft.graph.win32LobAppProductCodeDetection",
"productCode": "{A4BC9C54-4589-3A4C-8217-9FA00262F471}",
"productVersionOperator": "notConfigured",
"productVersion": null
}
],
"returnCodes": [
{
"returnCode": 0,
"type": "success"
},
{
"returnCode": 1707,
"type": "success"
},
{
"returnCode": 3010,
"type": "softReboot"
},
{
"returnCode": 1641,
"type": "hardReboot"
},
{
"returnCode": 1618,
"type": "retry"
}
]
}

 

Intune Management Extension Agent working folders?

If we have a look at the file system at:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Intune Management Extension\Content

we can find some interesting folders where the agent is downloading the content and detection scripts and stores the actual MSI log files:

ItnuneWin32AppsFolders

 

Agent execution context when processing .intunewin files?

The agent is bound to the same restrictions during execution like we know them for PowerShell scripts, meaning the calling process (the Intune Management Extension agent) is a 32-bit process. This can result in some unexpected behavior. For example when trying to package a simple .ps1 file within a .intunewin and trying to execute cmdlets in this scripts which are only available in a 64-bit environment. We then have to use a technique to restart the PowerShell script as a 64-bit process. This is described in my previous articles and I have built a Intune PowerShell script template to simplify the start for this, which can be found on my GitHub here https://github.com/okieselbach/Intune/blob/master/ManagementExtension-Samples/IntunePSTemplate.ps1. This can also affect installers packaged as .intunewin when they assume a 64-bit environment!

 

Current Limitations (as per date Oct-02-2018)?

  • No user context app installation
  • No system context installation without user logged on
  • No dependency support
  • No supersedence
  • No support for Delivery Optimization
  • No integration into Enrollment Status Page, no wait for Win32 app installs
  • No notification suppression
  • No ordered installations, sequencing like .NET Framework install before App X
  • Current application size is capped at 2GB per app

 

End to end usage walk-throughs?

Good walk-throughs on how to use the feature with the Intune portal and the end user experience can be found here:

Deploy Win32 Applications with Microsoft Intune
http://www.scconfigmgr.com/2018/09/24/deploy-win32-applications-with-microsoft-intune/

Deploy customized Win32 apps via Microsoft Intune
https://www.petervanderwoude.nl/post/deploy-customized-win32-apps-via-microsoft-intune/

Intune – sidecar for Win32 apps revealed
http://gerryhampsoncm.blogspot.com/2018/09/intune-sidecar-for-win32-apps-revealed.html

Intune Win32 App deployment – A gamechanger
https://ccmexec.com/2018/10/intune-win32-app-deployment-a-gamechanger/

 

Official documentation can be seen here

Intune Standalone – Win32 app management
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/intune/apps-win32-app-management

 

Remember to check back frequently as Intune progresses and the feature will be enhanced in short cycles. I will update the article accordingly.

Happy packaging, deploying and troubleshooting Win32 apps with Intune!