ActiveSetup vs. Execute-ProcessAsUser vs. Invoke-HKCURegistrySettingsForAllUsers
Some applications need each user profile or HKCU registry hive to be updated to make them work.
Sadly, most users of PSADT do not know how to use the different methods or when to use which.
Some can only make the user changes during installation AND need to have the user logged-on at installation time to do this with success.
Below is a table showing what each solution have to offer and their limitations.
|File changes as the user||Yes||Yes||No|
|HKCU registry changes as the user||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can do HKLM registry changes||No||No||No|
|Can launch exe as the user||Yes||Yes||No|
|Updates current logged-on||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Updates existing user profiles||Yes||No||Yes|
|Can update future users||Yes||No||No|
|Changes Triggered by||Registry value||Scheduled task||Deploy-Application.ps1|
|Intended purpose||User changes||Interact with user||Cleanup of user registry (one or many)|
|Target User MUST be logged-on at install time||No||Yes||No|
|Creates Scheduled Tasks to run as the user||No||Yes||No|
|Depends on PSADT functions to work||No||Yes||Yes|
|Needs external script/EXE to perform changes||Yes||Yes||No|
|External script or EXE must be user accessible||Yes||Yes||No|
|Cleanup needed at Uninstallation||Yes||No||No|
While ActiveSetup is the preferred choice, there are few examples of scripts used as the “payload” for ActiveSetup. I hope to publish my PowerShell version in an other post with instructions on how to use it.
NOTE: Some documentation will claim MSI can update user profiles/HKCU hives but it is tricky and unreliable. Many times it just doesn’t work and when it does, the entire MSI file must be read to accomplish the task.