2.5. Installing an Application or Service Pack via Group Policy

Problem

You want to push an application or service pack to a group of users or computers using group policy.

Solution

Using a graphical user interface

  1. Open the Group Policy Management snap-in.

  2. In the left pane, navigate to the GPO you want to modify. Left-click on it and select Edit.

  3. If you want to publish an application to computers the GPO applies to, expand Software Settings under Computer Configuration. If you want it to apply to users, expand Software Settings under User Configuration.

  4. Right-click Software installation and select New Package.

  5. Enter the UNC path of the location of the MSI installation file (even if it resides on a local drive on the domain controller.

  6. Select the MSI file and click Open.

  7. Select Assigned if you want this application to be installed automatically on each client the GPO applies to. Select Published if you want this application to be downloaded and made available to be installed via an Add/Remove Programs applet if the client chooses to install it (this option is only available for the User Configuration section of a GPO).

  8. Click OK.

Discussion

You can use group policy to install applications, hotfixes, and service packs on servers. The preferred method for installation is to use Microsoft Installer files, but you can also use something called a ZAW down-level application package (ZAP) file to do non-MSI-based installations (for example, using Setup.exe instead). ZAP installations can be configured ...

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