Software Installation on workstations (easyway)

Posted on 2004-09-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Well, hello..

i'm trying to find a way to automaticly install software on our workstations.
we use win 2k and xp pro , but our server is linux/samba.
so my guess is that System Management Server, will be out of the question..

i was thinking of useing the startup script setting (when the WS starts up) to
make it look if there are software pakages to install, and if there are to let them install.
the only prolem i have is, that 9 out of 10 software pakages need to be clicked (yes/no where to install, agree ect ect..)
so is there a tool or solution, to automate an installation, to pre-define all questions of an install and to let it run at the startup of a PC.. ??

Thx, Collen Blijenberg.. (MLHJ)

Question by:collen
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Expert Comment

ID: 12169519
The install applications would have to allow for parameters to be entered then you would have to set a location for the parameter file so that it can be run by a batch file or schedule.

Expert Comment

ID: 12174396
use your AD's GPO's for new software installations.  this will require MSI's to work, but you can work wonders with them once you've mastered creating them.  you can use Wise's software to do this, and i believe they have a lightweight free version.

in each OU in the AD, setup a GPO under the "software installation" option.  many packages from MS already come with ready-to-go MSI's.  Service packs come with a ready to go MSI, and office suites come with programs that'll help you deploy them via MSI.

hope that helps some.

Accepted Solution

TeeSeePeeEyePee earned 2000 total points
ID: 12177239
As zero noted, most Microsoft programs come with MSI files, but if you are distributing anything else. you can use WinstallLE to capture a snapshot before and after installation of a new piece of software, and then create an .MSI file which contains the difference (ie. all of the files installed, the options you chose, etc.)

Once you have the .MSI file, you could put it in a share on your server and use a login script command to run a silent install from the share ("Msiexec /i").  This will work even if you do not have Windows Policies and Active Directory.

Here's a step-by-step article on the process (you can skip the whole Group Policy section)

Here's some info from Microsoft on this process (again, don't worry about the server-side)

And a link to download WinstallLE (It's free!)
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Expert Comment

ID: 12179402
That's the program who's name i couldnt remember :)  We have a licensed version of the expensive Wise stuff, i forgot what the freebie one was called.

Just as a heads up, I've used the free one in the past.  It really works *best* if you have a template machine (ie: a butt naked machine with nothing but windows with the same service pack as the machines you're targetting) to install the software to, and then re-image it with a ghost image or whatnot back to a blank install once you're done with that particular package.

It'll work without doing this, but in my experience, this will remove half of the troubleshooting process if there's a problem.

Expert Comment

ID: 12180550
zerofield is right on with this.  The way we do it is take a base system image, and do the capture.  Then we keep that system isolated until the next capture (or at least image it to use next time, or boot up another base image and reapply any distributed software).  This way your captures include any variables due to other software you have already installed using automated distribution.

Expert Comment

ID: 12189960
guess he liked yours better than mine ;)

i was needing the name of that free one myself.. its honest to god easier than the expensive Wise stuff we use here.

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