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Group Policy Practical Software Deployments
by Michael Day
This article will provide some examples
of when you would want to use Group Policies to install software to
Windows 2000 Computers.
For information on how to create install packages or how to deploy programs with Group Policies see Software Installation Via Group Policies.
Practical Uses for Computer Based Installation
The first use, and only use I have right now, for a Computer Based Installation is the Windows 2000 Service Pack. By Using a computer Based install you can update Windows as soon as the machine boots up. Microsoft provides the MSI files you need at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/recommended/sp1/msi/default.asp (This link will opes in a new window). The install of SP1 takes about 10 Minutes over our network and ends with a reboot.
The other use I have heard of is for Payroll or other sensitive software that you only want installed on specific secured computers.
Practical Uses for User Based Installation
I am using User Based Installation to create a standard set of programs.
I am Assigning Microsoft Office 2000 with Service Pack 1 via group policies. This is being done because not every user needs to have all of Office installed locally and by using assigning the programs the only parts that are installed are what is used. When the user clicks on Word only Word is installed so if he never needs PowerPoint he will never have it installed. Also when the next Service Pack is released I can simply create a new package and deploy it as an upgrade to the original package.
I am also Assigning Winzip and Adobe Acrobat Reader to all the users. They only take about 10-15 seconds to install when they are first used so there is no real performance problems and when we get an update I can simply create a new package and set it to upgrade the existing program.
Finally I am Publishing the Windows 2000 Admin Tools to the Network Management OU so that I have access to all my Admininstration Tools if I need to no matter where I log on.
There are plenty of other uses for Group Policy software installation. This list is just a basic example showing what I am using it to install right now. I plan on creating packages for all of our specific programs to improve our service to the users.