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What's the Process for transferring MSI packages to a new server?

Posted on 2006-07-24
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Hi,

I'm getting ready to format a 2003 server that holds all of the MSI packages that I deploy using Group Policies.  I want to transfer these packages to a different server that's going to be taking over that role.  Currently, I'm planning to do the following:

1)  Copy all the packages into the Share I created on my new server.
2)  Go to each GPO and mark software using "Immediatly uninstall the software from users and computers" option.
3)  Add the packages back to the GPO using the new server share.
4)  Go turn on all of the computers in my network (~120) so they remove the software from the old server, and install from the new one.


Now this is a simple of enough process to handle, but is there an easier way to just change the source of the packages so that all of my clients know to look at the new server instead of the old server?  Even though I only have 120 machines, it's still a pain to have to go to each workstation myself.  Normally, I would just have the users reboot it themselves, but it's summer time and I'm in a K-12 enviornment so no one is around or using their computer on a daily basis.  I can't imagine a company with 10,000 client computers would go to every machine...

I know enough not to select to uninstall the software, then delete the package on the old server before I have the client computers reboot, otherwise they will get a failed removal process and it will just hang on startup (learned the hard way).  So in step 2 of my process above, do I stick with what I have, or select the "Allow users to continue to use the software, but prevent new installations" option instead when removing?  I forsee problems with this in the future if I dont remove it now...i.e Manual uninstall when I want to remove the package for upgrades/updates, etc.

There has to be an easier way.  Have any of you experts had to do this and how did you implement it?

Thanks.


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Question by:rmurdockfed
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Netman66 earned 250 total points
ID: 17170522
There's no need to touch the packages in the GPO, you can simply edit them to change the path to the distribution point.  There will be no need to redeploy from the new location.

Run ADSIEDIT.MSC
Expand the Domain container, then the domain.
Expand CN=System
Expand CN=Policies
Expand each policy in turn down to CN=Machine,CN=Class Store, CN=Packages.
If the policy doesn't have Packages then that GPO isn't deploying packages.
Select CN=Packages on the left
On the right double click each entry and edit this attribute: msiFileList.
Write down the old values exactly as they appear then Remove them.
Re-Add them with the correct path.

Do this for each deployment you move.
You may find packages that are published or assigned to the user underneath the CN=User branch of the policy.

Move one package or complete GPO at a time to make sure you get the path correct and no client's are complaining.

I would copy the source completely then edit each policy one by one to make sure you can roll back to the old source if something fails.

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by:Pber
ID: 17170546
If you are permanently removing the old server you could just rename the new server will the old server name and make sure your GPO shares are configured identical.

What you could do that would be real simple if the old server is being removed permanently is create an alias in DNS pointing to the old gpo server and point the alias to the new gpo server.

Just make the share names and folder structures the same.

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by:rmurdockfed
ID: 17171228
Netman66,

I really had my doubts about this and wasn't sure if I felt comfortable enough to carry it out, but I tried it on 1 GPO....Everything went Perfectly!  I made the changes as you said, then went into my old server, renamed that package folder so the client computers would lose the path name.  Then went to a workstation in that OU see if it would pick up from my new server, and it worked like a charm.  I even went to Event Viewer on that local workstation because I still had doubts....everything checked out fine.  As I was editing in ADSI, after I closed the dialog boxes where I made the changes to the path, I checked my GPO > Computer Config > Software Installation and it showed reflection upon the changes I was making after a simple refresh of the screen.

Pure Genius!  This will save me at least a day of work.  Points are yours.

Lucky me, I don't push out software packages via User Configuration...only Computer.  So that will save me some extra time as well.
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by:Netman66
ID: 17171335
Good stuff.  Glad to help.

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