While I would much prefer alternatives like Camstudio or others, my work feels differently and has forked out money for Camtasia Studio 6. While they did this upgrade in bulk, it’s my job to come up with a clever way of deploying this software so that I don’t have to go around to each machine, install the software, and license it. Instead, I came up with a way of doing just that while still only using our Active Directory/Group Policy infrastructure to deploy and license Camtasia Studio 6.0.3, which should also allow me to deploy any updates smoothly.
In compliance with new FTC guidelines, I received no freebies or incentives from TechSmith to write this post. I, alone, thought this would help others and was a process worth documenting. You should only use this method if you remain compliant with your licensing.
Camtasia is actually a convenient product. They provide the full version of the application as a 30 day trial that just needs to be licensed to fully-activate it and that trial comes as a .msi file, making for easy deployment. Browse the Camtasia website and download the latest version of the trial. This will provide you with the .msi file and we will largely deploy this like normal.
Place the .msi file in your normal deployment directory, a place that will allow computers across your intranet to access the file, and then create a new Group Policy at the OU level needed or at the top of the structure and limit access to it as necessary (as licensed). Edit the Group Policy and create the Software Installation by just pointing a new package to the .msi file. I would recommend using the “Uninstall this application when it falls out of the scope of management” setting, but that is up to your preference.
At this point, the computers with this group policy being applied to them will have the 30 day trial of Camtasia Studio 6 installed the next time they restart. The prompt asking to register the full version or continue the trial will pop-up each time before the application launches. You can either distribute the license key, run around to all of the machines, or follow my next few steps to register the software just as easily as it has been distributed.
I monitored the application while I added the license key and noticed that two registry keys were written with the license information. I then tested if I could just write these registry keys as part of the deployment process and happily found out that it is that simple. We just need to write the RegisteredTo and RegistrationKey keys with valid values and the program will work fully licensed.
There are a few options to write the registry keys with a Group Policy: we could use a logon script, capture the registry keys as another .msi file, or write the registry values directly with an .adm template through the Group Policy. The latter option was the sexiest as it was sleek and would remove the registry keys at the same trigger that would uninstall the software.
After a quick cram session, I learned to write an .adm file that would do what I wanted from some of these sources:
- Microsoft: Writing Custom ADM Files for System Policy Editor
- Group Policy, Profiles, and Intellimirror for Windows 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000
- How to Write a Simple .Adm File for Registry-based Group Policy
Finally, I ended up with this tested and true .adm file:
You can download the Camtasia.adm file from the 404 Tech Support server and open it in any text editor to verify the contents. It’s pretty straight forward code that lists registry locations and provides some “pretty” prompts for the configuration aspect that you’ll see in a few steps.
Under Computer Configuration, right-click on Administrative Templates and choose ‘Add/Remove Templates…’ In the window that pops up choose ‘Add…’ and browse to the Camtasia.adm file you just downloaded.
In order to view this homemade template, we’ll need to change some filtering options. Go to the View menu and choose Filtering… Then on the window that pops up, uncheck “Only show policy settings that can be fully managed” and hit OK.
Now, under the Computer ConfigurationAdministrative Templates, you should find a folder called ‘Camtasia License’. The settings for the Registered To and License Key values should be seen in the right pane. When you first view them, they will be listed in a “Not Configured” state. Right-click on each and go to Properties to configure them.
Switch the value to Enabled and then type in your license key (with the hyphens) for the License Key setting. Do the same thing for the Registered To value by switching it to Enabled and typing in the name of who the product is registered with. After you hit Ok, you should see the State change to Enabled. The next time a machine having this group policy applied restarts, it will have these registry keys written.
This works great with a multi-volume license key, but you could always create separate GPO’s if you needed individual license keys. The registry keys are removed from the computer when the computer is moved from the OU or from a group having this GPO applied.
- Download the .msi from the TechSmith website and deploy it to those machines needing it.
- Download the Camtasia.adm file I created and add it to your templates in the same GPO deploying the software.
- Enter your license information in the Admin Template.
- Restart any computer that needs the software and it will be fully licensed upon installation.