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Our organization uses SPO for internal communication. So, we have a number of Team sites built for different groups. On the appropriate Team sites, I'd like to add a shortcuts/links/buttons to open a few of our legacy desktop applications (e.g. an RMS program and a timecard program). Basically, I want to run an .exe from SPO, similar to this question, but opening a non-MS application.

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Well, you can register your applications to a URI scheme according to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/windows/internet-explorer/ie-developer/platform-apis/aa767914(v=vs.85).

Example: You can have a URL thisapp:var1 which will run an app in the user's PC C:\Program Files\thisapp.exe by registering your application to a URI scheme in Windows.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
    thisapp
        (Default) = "URL:thisapp link"
        URL Protocol = ""
        shell
            open
                command
                    (Default) = "C:\Program Files\thisapp.exe" "%1"

Test it on your PC first to understand how it works.

Next:

  • Deploy the registry entry using Group Policy to your organization so that all PC will have this URL protocol.
  • Ensure that all PCs have installed the application you want to run with this protocol with the same path.
  • Then you can set up a SharePoint page contains all apps' URL protocol to launch it and plug it into a tab in Teams or put it under your Team sites.
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  • Thanks, I got this to work from a browser, but I can't get it to make the jump to SPO. All the web parts that seem appropriate (e.g. links) require https. Any thoughts on how to execute from SPO?
    – dav
    Jan 26 at 12:59
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That would not be possible using JSON formatting if that’s what you plan.

You can create custom hyperlink using custom code like JavaScript and embed it using SPFx.

See a few references here: How to run a exe file using a java script. / Run local exe file from href link and SharePoint Top Navigation.

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