Start shared HTA with PowerShell

I have some tools made as HTML Applications (HTAs). And I am not the only one to use such a tool, but HTAs runs locally and still the tool must be updated for all users.
A solution is to have a launch script. In my case it is made in PowerShell. The launch script is called from a shortcut, that the user can either use from a fileshare or copy to a local place like the Windows Desktop.

The launch script is like this:
$Source_Folder = '\\filesrv42.sqladmin.lan\DBA\SqlAnchor\SqlAnchor_Hta'
$Destination_Folder = 'C:\SQLAdmin\SqlAnchor'
$SqlAnchor_Filenames = 'SqlAnchor.hta','anchor.ico','SqlAnchor.DetailPages.js'

# Make sure destination folder is available
if (!(Test-Path -path $Destination_Folder)) { New-Item $Destination_Folder -Type Directory }

# Copy HTA files
foreach ($Filename in $SqlAnchor_Filenames) {
  Copy-Item "$Source_Folder\$Filename" -Destination "$Destination_Folder\$Filename" -Force

# Start HTA
& "$env:SystemRoot\System32\mshta.exe" "$Destination_Folder\SqlAnchor.hta"

The shortcut for the launch script is
powershell.exe -WindowStyle "Hidden" -File "\\filesrv42.sqladmin.lan\DBA\SqlAnchor\SqlAnchor.Launch.ps1" -ExecutionPolicy "Bypass"

When the shortcut is activated by the user, PowerShell is started and the launch script is loaded. This can be done from a file share as the PowerShell execution policy is bypassed.
Disclaimer: If you use this solution, it is your responsibility to be compliant.

The launch script copies the files for the HTA to a local folder. If the folder does not exist, it is created.
If the files are present in the local folder, they are replaced.

Finally the launch script starts the HTA host „mshta.exe“ and load the hta script.
When the hta script is loaded, the launch script finish with PowerShell.


El buhleini said...


I tried your solution, but it doesn't start the Launch ps script. Does this still work?

Niels Grove-Rasmussen said...

@El Buhleini : Yes, but you can easily have some challenges with GPO's. You might have to hack the solution to fit your environment. Usually I start by working locally exclusive on the C-drive, and work out of the workstation to a fileshare from there.
Thank you so much for your comment - and happy hacking'!