About Software Distribution and Custom Scripts with 64-bit Windows

Version 4

    Verified Product Versions

    Endpoint Manager 9.6Endpoint Manager 2016.xEndpoint Manager 2017.x

    Description

    There are some special considerations that need to be taken when sending a software distribution job to 64-bit Windows operating systems using Ivanti EPM. This applies to Windows 7, Server 2003 and later Operating Systems

    What is going on

    In order to run 32-bit applications, Microsoft created the Windows-on-Windows 64-bit (WOW64) subsystem. This creates an environment that allows 32-bit applications to run unmodified on 64-bit systems. More information about the WOW64 system can be found here: Running 32-bit Applications (Windows)

     

    Part of the WOW64 system includes file-redirection. The %windir% directory is for 64-bit applications only, so 32-bit versions are located in %windir%\SysWOW64. The File System Redirector is used to redirect 32-bit process calls made to the %windir%\system32 directory to the %windir%\SysWOW64 directory. This is done seamlessly and by the WOW64 subsystem. More information about the File System Redirector can be found here: File System Redirector (Windows)

     

    This is of concern for Ivanti EPM users and administrators who need to make use of applications contained in the %windir%\System32 directory. At this time, Ivanti EPM software distribution runs as 32-bit processes. This means that any batch file distributions, as well as custom scripts, will be run as 32-bit processes and any calls to the %windir%\System32 directory will be redirected to %windir%\SysWOW64 directory.

     

    What to do

    If the needed application is available in the SysWOW64 directory and running as a 32-bit process is acceptable, no changes need to be made to batch files or custom scripts. However, if the application is not available or must be run as a 64-bit process you will need to make some changes to the scripts. The recommended modification would be to use the Sysnative alias. Starting with Windows Vista, the Sysnative alias has been present in order to bypass the File System Redirector. The Sysnative alias can be used as if it were a directory. For example, instead of running %windir%\System32\wbadmin.exe you would run %windir%\Sysnative\wbadmin.exe. The wbadmin (Windows Backup) is not available in the SysWOW64 directory because it is a 64-bit application, but it can be accessed from a 32-bit process (Ivanti EPM software distribution) by using the Sysnative alias.

     

    More information about the Sysnative alias can be found here: File System Redirector (Windows).

     

    Additionally, Microsoft has created a patch for Windows 2003 x64 that adds the Sysnative alias. It can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;942589

     

    Conclusion

    If you are going to be running custom scripts or batch files that make use of applications in the %windir%\System32 directory, you will need to modify these scripts for 64-bit versions of Windows. The scripts should use %windir%\Sysnative instead of %windir%\System32.