Somewhere between the physical and the virtual
At the Dynamics Convergence 2010 conference I mentioned to several people that it is possible to create a dynamic group based on whether a piece of software is installed or not but I never went into the details of how to do it. This posting describes how to create a group for a particular piece of installed software (Microsoft Office 2003 Web Component for the purpose of illustrating the process).
Creating a group based on if software is installed is helpful for approving new versions of software for installation (e.g. you want to upgrade from version 2 to version 3),
There is a three step process to create a dynamic group based on if a software application is installed:
The first step is to create an attribute that we can use to evaluate whether a computer has a piece of software installed or not. This can be based on either a registry key or WMI query. If you have a choice between using a registry key or a WMI query, opt for a registry key – the lookup process is more efficient.
You can use any registry key or WMI query. For this blog, since I am looking for a 32bit application installed on a 64bit computer, I’m going to use a registry entry under
If I was searching for a 32bit application on 32bit computer (or a 64bit application on a 64bit computer) then I could look in:
I’m using the above registry key location since it tends to be a reliable way to determine which software is installed. In the above registry locations will be any currently installed software that has an uninstall program or feature.
To create an attribute:
We have now created an attribute, whose value will be collected every 12 hours from each Windows Computer managed by Essentials.
Now that we have an attribute, we can use the attribute to define a group whose membership will change based on whether the value of the attribute is true (i.e. Office 2003 Web Components are installed).
To create the Managed Group:
We have now created a group whose membership is controlled by the value of the attribute defined earlier. In our case, we now have a group for all computers with the Microsoft Office 2003 Web Component installed.
Managed groups do not show in the Computers workspace by default. Our final step is to add the group we created in the previous step into the Computers workspace, where it will then be available for approving software and updates.
You now have a computer group whose membership will change depending on the software installed on the computers managed by Essentials.
By saving the attributes and group definitions in their own management pack you can export and share your software groups with other people. You can also export the management pack and manually edit it (its XML) if you want to create multiple groups without stepping through the wizards.
Before you create lots and lots of groups, it is important to know that we’ve tested Essentials 2010 to be able to handle up to 100 computer groups. While the process above will also work with Essentials 2007, we are aware of scale issues that can cause group synchronization to stop working in Essentials 2007 when there are around 30 groups (for some people the number is higher, for others it is lower).
I've made an dynamic groups for parsing MS Office version, but it still empty.
how can I troubleshoot this?
Also did exactly like this, but the groups do not populate. Also checked of for the MP in scoping, but still no difference. How to troubleshoot?