Deploying Project Web Access (PWA) ActiveX Controls

Wednesday, 19 August 2009 23:47 by RanjanBanerji

A recent problem I faced was that of deploying Microsoft Project PWA ActiveX controls.  When you use PWA you are required to download and install this ActiveX control.  The problem is that if you work at an organization that does not give you local admin rights to your machine then individual users cannot deploy these ActiveX controls.  One way to deploy in such cases is via SMS and is explained here

However, I find deploying via a GPO to be easier and so do some others as can be witnessed by the comments in the above mentioned link.  Now one may argue over SMS vs. GPO so lets just say deploying via a GPO is yet another way to do so.  The problem is that the ActiveX control is deployed using a CAB file.  Internet Explorer knows exactly what to do in order to install this control but not a GPO.  In the article link I provided above the author talks about writing a batch file and deploying via SMS.  The approach I took is to create a MSI file and deploying via a GPO.

There are two cab files that are used in the deployment of the ActiveX control and they can be found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\PWA\OBJECTS\PJCLIENT.CAB and C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\PWA\OBJECTS\1033\PJCINTL.CAB on the server where Project Server is installed.

To create an MSI file you need to extract the content of these CAB files, create a Visual Studio installer project using the DLLs and OCXs and you are good to go.  I have attached my Visual Studio 2008 project for reference.  I will strongly recommend you replace any DLLs provided in my VS project with DLLs extracted from your own CAB files.

Also, please note that I did not deploy the DLLs to the “Downloaded Program Files” folder.  No real reason.  This VS project is just a proof of concept.

Once you have the MSI file you can now create a GPO and distribute the ActiveX control to users in your organization.

The VS 2008 project can be downloaded here.