HOW TO: Use Group Policy to Set Automatic Installation Options Based on File Name Extensions in Windows 2000

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Article ID: 321713 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to use a group policy to specify automatic installation options based on file name extensions in Microsoft Windows 2000.

You can use group policy to automatically install a published program when a user clicks a program file with which that published program is associated. You can publish a program distribution to users. When a user logs on to the computer, the published program is displayed in the Add/Remove Programs dialog box, and it can be installed from there.

NOTE: Windows 2000 group policy automated-program installation requires client computers that are running Windows 2000 or later.

Create a Distribution Point

To publish or assign a computer program, you must create a distribution point on the publishing server. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to the server computer as an administrator.
  2. Create a shared network folder in which to place the Windows Installer package (.msi file) that you want to distribute.
  3. Set permissions on the share to allow access to the distribution package.
  4. Copy or install the Windows Installer package to the distribution point. For example, to distribute Microsoft Office XP, run the administrative installation (setup.exe /a) to copy the files to the distribution point.

Create a Group Policy Object

To create a Group Policy Object (GPO) with which to distribute the software package, follow these steps:
  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, and then click New.
  4. Type the name that you want to use for this policy (for example, Office XP distribution), and then press ENTER.
  5. Click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  6. Click to clear the Apply Group Policy check box for the security groups that you want to prevent from having this policy applied. Click to select the Apply Group Policy check box for the groups to which you want to apply this policy. When you are finished, click OK.

Publish a Package

To publish a package to computer users, and to have it automatically installed when a user double-clicks a file with which that program is associated, follow these steps:
  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, select the group policy object that you want, and then click Edit.
  4. Under User Configuration, expand Software Settings.
  5. Right-click Software installation, point to New, and then click Package.
  6. In the Open dialog box, type the full UNC path to the shared folder that contains the Windows Installer package that you want. For example, \\file server\share\file name.msi.

    IMPORTANT: Do not browse to the location. Ensure that you use the UNC path to the shared folder.
  7. Click Open.
  8. Click Published, and then click OK. The package is listed in the right pane of the Group Policy window.
  9. Right-click Software installation, and then click Properties.
  10. Click the File Extensions tab, and then click the extension with which you want to trigger the automatic installation of the published package in the Select file extension list. For example, click .dot.
  11. Click OK, and then close the Group Policy snap-in.
  12. Click OK, and then quit the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
  13. Test the package. To do this, follow these steps.

    NOTE: The following steps assume that you published Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office XP, and that you selected .dot in the Select file extension list when you configured the Group Policy.

    The purpose of selecting .dot as the file extension that triggers the installation of the published package is for example purposes only. In this case, the .dot extension is not associated with another program and as such, will start the Office XP installation.
    1. Log on to a workstation that is running Windows 2000 Professional by using an account to which you published the package.
    2. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click WordPad.
    3. Type test in the document window.
    4. On the File menu, click Save As.
    5. In the Save As dialog box, click Save.
    6. Quit WordPad.
    7. Double-click the My Documents folder to open it.
    8. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
    9. Click the View tab, click to clear the Hide file extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.
    10. Right-click the saved document, and then click Rename.
    11. Type test.dot, and then press ENTER.
    12. Click Yes to confirm the changing of the file name extension.
    13. Double-click the Test.dot file.

      The published program installation starts.

REFERENCES

For more information about how to use a Group Policy to deploy software, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
304953 How to deploy Office XP over a network
302430 How to assign software to a specific group by using Group Policy
314934 How to use Group Policy to install software remotely in Windows 2000

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Article ID: 321713 - Last Review: March 14, 2007 - Revision: 3.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB321713

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