Last year, I wrote couple of posts on Intune win32 based app deployment (Part 1 and Part 2). For both posts, many Intune admins shared their challenges. In this post, we are going to discuss the most common System32 Vs Syswow64 challenges with apps deployment (Intune Win32 App) and how to address it.
By default, Intune trigger installation in 32-bit process context. Unlike SCCM, Intune doesn’t have out of box option to trigger apps installation in 64-bit context. There is a User Voice related to this issue. In this post we will discuss how we can trigger apps installation from Intune in 64-bit context.
System32 Vs Syswow64
Let’s understand the difference between cmd.exe inside system32 and syswow64 folder.
- Running C:\windows\SysWOW64\cmd.exe will launch a 32-bit instance of CMD.exe
- Syswow64 registry hive is for 32-bit applications.
- Syswow64 folder use a file system redirector. Refer here for more details.
- Running C:\windows\System32\cmd.exe will launch a 64-bit instance of CMD.exe
- System32 directory reserved for 64-bit applications on 64-bit Windows.
- System32 registry hive is for 64-bit applications.
SysWOW64 is for 32-bit. Do you think naming of the folder is confusing… right? 😊
Application packagers test the offline installation in system context before uploading to Intune. In this scenario cmd.exe executes from location C:\Windows\System32. The installation process execute as 64-bit. This is default behavior on 64-bit OS.
But the same application when Intune deploys installation process executed as 32-bit. cmd.exe execute from location C:\Windows\SysWOW64\cmd.exe. This is default deployment behavior for Intune win32 apps. Since Intune use 32-bit process, you may experience different behavior in some areas. For example: actions like registry import, etc. Registry gets imported to syswow64 hive instead of system32 hive.
How to force Intune to launch apps installation in 64-bit context?
We need to change the command line with the path to the command shell as shown below example. This approach is flexible and easy to use to bypass file system redirection. For more details refer here.
“%systemroot%\sysnative\cmd.exe” /c “Install.bat”
Now its time to compare the default and the modified Intune apps deployment behavior. For analysis, I added below WMI command to my Install batch file. This WMI command will export all the process details at that run time to the text file. We can analyze text file to understand whether Intune command shell executed in 32- or 64-bit process.
You can add below command to your install batch file for testing purpose only.
wmic process > c:\windows\temp\ProcessList.txt
Default Intune application deployment behavior
Open the processlist.txt. You can find the installation command line is from SysWOW64 path.
You can see application registry imported to SysWOW64 Hive
Modified Intune application deployment behavior
You can now see that the installation command line gets changed to “system32” path.
Note : In txt file, you need to check the column executable path and command line
Now you can see application registry values imported to System32 Hive (64 bit )
Thanks to Andres, Kanchana and Nazrin for troubleshooting this issue. Happy Testing!
Please comment below your Intunewin32 challenges and observations.