|In an earlier blog posting, I covered Locking Users into Autodesk DWF Viewer 7.0 Company-Wide. This article included how to disable automatic updates from Autodesk, how to disable manual checking for updates by users, and how to disable user registration. In essence, this article shows how to defeat the update process! |
It is customary for an IT department to control software updates across an organization. An alternative to defeating the Autodesk DWF Viewer update process is to divert the update process (much like a traffic cop) from Autodesk to a company's own internal server controlled by IT. This is possible with Autodesk DWF Viewer 7.0.
Software Quality Assurance Engineer, John Schmier has outlined the steps.
On a private or public web server, a text file needs to be created, The name is DWFViewerSetup.txt. The contents of the file looks something like this:
126.96.36.1999 http://www.autodesk.com/global/dwfviewer/installer/DwfViewerSetup.000 17729648
MM0.0.0.1 http://www.autodesk.com/dwf 0
- The first line represents the installer and version number. Let’s break this string down:
- 188.8.131.529 represents the DWF Version number that is on the server. If a client system has a version of the DWF Viewer that is lower than the version number specified, the installer begins a download and install process. You can see your current version number in the Help -> About box in the viewer.
DwfViewerSetup.000 represents the location and name of the installer. 000 is the extension and will be re-named to exe once the download completes.
- 17729648 is the size of the exe in bytes.
- The second line represents a marketing message. When the Autodesk DWF Viewer sees a new message available, a dialog box is displayed on a client system asking if the user is interested in reading more. Breaking down this string, it looks like this:
- MM0.0.0.1 is the marketing message tracker. The client system stores this to determine if the message has already been presented to the user. This is stored in the registry under the name "MarketMessageID" in the AutoUpdate key.
- http://www.autodesk.com/dwf is the location where the browser should navigate if the user selects "OK" to read the message. This can be changed to a company-specific HTML page on an internal or externally available server.
- 0 is not currently used but is required to be 0.
Client Registry update
In addition to setting up the server, each client that has the Autodesk DWF Viewer requires an update to point the viewer to the location of the new text file created in the previous section.
- Open regedit (or create a .reg file to run).
- Find the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\DWF Viewer\Settings\AutoUpdate.
- Find the entry URL and update it to reference the URL where the DWFViewerSetup.txt file is located.
Changes to each client machine can be applied with IT company-wide installation processes such as SMS. That’s it. You are now in control of what version each client should download and where the client should go to get the installer.
If you are an Autodesk Design Review user, the same method of controlling downloads can be accomplished with a few changes.
- The text file name on the server is "DesignReviewSetup.txt."
- The client key location for Design Review is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Design Review\Settings\AutoUpdate.
By repointing the update process to an internal company server, an IT department can obtain a new Autodesk DWF Viewer release, analyze and certify it, deploy it to the internal server, and allow the regular update process to deploy it across the company. The IT department can even have a place for its own messaging.
Applying these changes across the company ensures that computers will remain with Autodesk DWF Viewer 7.0 even when newer versions are released. The changes outlined in this blog article are applicable to Autodesk DWF Viewer 7.0. The approach to redirecting updates for future Autodesk DWF Viewer releases may be different. Any unanticipated side-effects as a result of these changes should not be reported as defects. The ability to control changes to software for viewing of design data allows DWF to be integrated into company-wide workflows that go beyond what can be done with plain paper.