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Outlook '03 add-in that doesn't require admin rights to install?

We have a COM Outlook plugin developed a few years ago in VB6 that allows our (internal) customers to post the contents of an email directly to our web site.  This allows them to create what is essentially a new issue*.

We've discovered that our customers are rapidly being switched over to thin clients and will not have administrator rights on these machines, losing the ability to install our add-in.  My group has no admin access to these thin-clients and getting any software on the "approved" list takes reams of paperwork and years of waiting (literally years).

Is it possible to develop an add-in for Outlook 2003 that does not require admin rights to install and use?

*These are business issues, not IT issues.  This functionality is considered critical by our users who unfortunately don't have the clout to change policy or get exceptions, etc.
ChloraPhil Send private email
Thursday, May 24, 2007
 
 
I just saw the Excel add-in post below.  I would prefer to develop in C#/.Net.  Come to think of it, I don't know if the .Net framework will be installed, I need to find out.

I'd be willing to learn any technology to get this working.
ChloraPhil Send private email
Thursday, May 24, 2007
 
 
The usual reason why an add-in requires Admin rights to install is their COM registration. For Windows XP at least, there is a way around this.

Normally, COM components register themselves under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, which is a pseudonym for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Classes. On XP, you can also register a component under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Classes, which is effectively a per-user COM component registration, and can be done by any user.

VB components are normally self-registered, and the automatically generated self-registration writes the registration data to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. You will need to find out your add-in's registration information, and create a new installer that manually writes this to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Classes.
Raj Chaudhuri Send private email
Thursday, May 24, 2007
 
 
Thanks.

These servers will be Windows Server 2003.  Anyone know if the rules will be different there than XP?
ChloraPhil Send private email
Thursday, May 24, 2007
 
 
The rules are the same there.
Raj Chaudhuri Send private email
Friday, May 25, 2007
 
 
Raj,

Do you mean HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes? I don't see HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Classes in my registry.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Thursday, May 31, 2007
 
 
Sorry, I meant HKEY_CURENT_USER\Software\Classes.
Raj Chaudhuri Send private email
Friday, June 01, 2007
 
 
... similarly the Add-in can be register with Outlook by using
  HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins
instead of:
  HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins
Duncan Smart
Friday, June 01, 2007
 
 
>Sorry, I meant HKEY_CURENT_USER\Software\Classes.

Yeah, I figured that out after about a day.  :)

I got it working, thanks for all the input!
ChloraPhil Send private email
Friday, June 01, 2007
 
 
What about Vista?  Is it possible to install a COM add in without administrator privileges?  Are there other issues I should be aware of?
ChloraPhil Send private email
Friday, June 01, 2007
 
 
This doesn't get around the issue of installing common control updates, though, does it?
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Friday, June 01, 2007
 
 
I usually depend on Windows update for common controls. Over time, I have got into the practice of not packaging any Microsoft-supplied components in my installers - they get listed as "dependencies". I thought this would cause severe customer backlash, but somehow, it hasn't. Once installed using Microsoft-provided installers, their components stay updated. Thanks to Windows Update, I guess.
Raj Chaudhuri Send private email
Saturday, June 02, 2007
 
 

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