How to use Group Policy to install software remotely in Windows 2000

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Article ID: 314934 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q314934
Notice
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
Notice
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to use Group Policy to automatically distribute programs to client computers or users.

You can use Group Policy to distribute computer programs by using the following methods.

Assigning Software

You can assign a program distribution to users or computers. If you assign the program to a user, it is installed when the user logs on to the computer. When the user first runs the program, the installation is finalized.

If you assign the program to a computer, it is installed when the computer starts and is available to all users that log on to the computer. When a user first runs the program, the installation is finalized.

Publishing Software

You can publish a program distribution to users. When the 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: Microsoft 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:
  1. Log on to the server computer as an administrator.
  2. Create a shared network folder in which to place the Microsoft Software Installer (MSI) package that you want to distribute.
  3. Set permissions on the share to allow access to the distribution package.
  4. Copy or install the MSI 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:
  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 call 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.

Assign a Package

To assign a program to computers that are running Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional, or to users that are logging on to one of these workstations:
  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 Computer 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 Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to the shared folder that contains the MSI 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 Assigned, and then click OK. The package is listed in the right pane of the Group Policy window.
  9. Close the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then quit the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. When the client computer starts, the managed software package is automatically installed.

Publish a Package

To publish a package to computer users and make it available for installation from the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel:
  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 MSI 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. Close the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then quit the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
  10. Test the package:
    1. Log on to a workstation that is running Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional by using an account to which you published the package.
    2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. In Windows XP, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    3. Double-click Add/Remove Programs or click Add or Remove Programs), and then click Add New Programs.
    4. In the Add programs from your network list, click the program that you published, and then click Add. The program is installed.
    5. Click OK, and then click Close.

Redeploy a Package

In some cases you may want to redeploy a software package. For example, if you upgrade or modify the package. To redeploy a package:
  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, click the group policy object with which you deployed the package, and then click Edit.
  4. Expand the Software Settings container that contains the Software installation item with which you deployed the package.
  5. Click the Software installation container that contains the package.
  6. In the right pane of the Group Policy window, right-click the program, point to All Tasks, and then click Redeploy application. The following message is displayed:
    Redeploying this application will reinstall the application everywhere it is already installed. Do you want to continue?
  7. Click Yes.
  8. Quit the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then quit the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.

Remove a Package

To remove a published or assigned package:
  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, click the group policy object with which you deployed the package, and then click Edit.
  4. Expand the Software Settings container that contains the Software installation item with which you deployed the package.
  5. Click the Software installation container that contains the package.
  6. In the right pane of the Group Policy window, right-click the program, point to All Tasks, and then click Remove.
  7. Do one of the following:
    • Click Immediately uninstall the software from users and computers, and then click OK.
    • Click Allow users to continue to use the software, but prevent new installations, and then click OK.
  8. Quit the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then quit the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.

Troubleshooting

Published Packages Displayed on Client Computer After You Use a Group Policy to Remove Them

This situation can occur when a user has installed the program but has not used it. When the user first starts the published program, the installation is finalized. Group Policy then removes the program.




REFERENCES

For more information about how to use 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

Properties

Article ID: 314934 - Last Review: March 14, 2007 - Revision: 2.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbhowtomaster kbsetup KB314934

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