Deploying a .MSI line-of-business app using Intune
Aim: To understand one method of deploying Windows line-of-business applications using Microsoft Intune.
As mentioned in the Level 100 course, “device management” can mean a lot of things to different people but for education institutions such as schools and colleges, it comes down to ensuring staff and students can securely access the apps they need. In that course we touched on web app deployment. Another type of app that can be deployed to Windows devices using Intune are pre-packaged line-of-business (LOB) apps.
Intune supports different LOB apps for Windows:
- .msi, .appx, .appxbundle, .msix, and .msixbundle
Note that a trial subscription of Intune includes 2 gigabytes (GB) of cloud-based storage that is used to store managed apps and updates and the maximum file size for any file that you upload is 8 GB.
For Windows apps, consider the app install context (user or device). When deploying an app to a group of devices, typically you would want the app to install in the device context so that any users who sign in to use that device can run that app. Intune will attempt to install the app by sending an install command whenever the device checks-in if (a) the app is not detected and (b) the app’s install state is not “Install Pending”.
On the other hand, when there are only specific users that require a given app, you may wish to deploy that app just to that group of users and allow the app to install in the user context. When the user signs in to the Intune managed device, Intune will evaluate whether the app has been deployed to that user and issue an instruction to install the app as necessary.
Intune allows you to specify command-line arguments when deploying a LOB app. For example, the documentation for Mozilla Firefox Windows 64-bit .MSI at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/deploy-firefox-msi-installers lists parameters, such as DESKTOP_SHORTCUT=false (default value would otherwise be true). Tip: you can use Orca to find .MSI parameters that can be set using command-line arguments (see https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/msi/orca-exe).
To update an .MSI app already deployed simply edit the existing deployment and choose “Select file to update”. This update will then override the existing .MSI deployed app and apply an in-place upgrade as necessary when the device next checks in to Intune or when the user next signs in.