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Learn AD in 15 Minutes a Week: Windows 2000 GPO Software Deployment Page 3
After software has been deployed throughout the enterprise, it will often need to be updated due to the release of a service pack, service update, a version upgrade, or any number of other reasons.
Upgrades will usually involve some level of change to the base software install on the systems. You can use Group Policy to upgrade an existing application to a new release.
In order to upgrade applications through Group Policy you need to select the Software Installation node in the Software Settings under either Computer or User Configuration (depending on where it is being installed from) in the Group Policy Object.
In the details pane (the right hand side), you would right-click the new Windows Installer package that will deploy the upgrade (not the original MSI package that has already been deployed throughout the enterprise), then select Properties.
In the Upgrades tab of the application's Properties dialog box, click Add to add to the list of packages that are to be upgraded by the current package.
In the Add Upgrade Package dialog box (shown below) you would specify either "Current Group Policy Object" or "A Specific GPO" as the source of the package to be upgraded in the "Choose a Package From" section of the property page.
A list of all the other packages assigned to be published within the selected GPO appears under the heading "Package To Upgrade" if there are any others available.
In the "Package To Upgrade" section you would highlight the package to upgrade, and you can then choose to either "Uninstall The Existing Package, Then Install The Upgrade Package" or "Package Can Upgrade Over The Existing Package".
Once you have made your selection and returned to the Upgrades tab you can enable the "Required Upgrade For Existing Packages" check box if you want the upgrade to be mandatory, then click OK to close out of the page.
You will notice that if you are making the upgrade on the Computer Configuration node of the Group Policy snap-in, the "Required Upgrade For Existing Packages" check box is selected and grayed out because packages can only be assigned to computers, not published.