I am currently trialling admin arsenal. Windows Administration Software | Admin Arsenal you can deploy either msi's or .exe's quite easily.
More info and vids on their website
Just wondering how people go about deploying software in a Windows domain.
I have been using/looking in to three methods.
Pros: When you move a machine into an OU you know what software is going to be automatically installed. When combined with an imaging solution that puts machines into correct OU you have a completely automatic process.
Cons: Quite inflexible, no way to easily force a reinstall and requires user to wait while software is installed before logging on. Only installs msi.
Pros: Silent installs work flawlessly and installs msi and exe.
Cons: Can't assign software to groups of machines in the same way as using GPOs meaning if you reimage you have to manually plug in all the required packages.
Pros: Silent installs work flawlessly, it can install MSI, InstallShield, PackagefortheWeb, Inno Setup, Nullsoft, .exe packages, .bat and .cmd scripts. You can assign software to groups as per GPO and after reimaging change hostname to match WPKG record and auto install software. Also has a great repository of installer files.
Cons: Fiddly to use when mucking about with config files (but haven't checked out the new front end yet)
What do other people do?
sparkeh (7th January 2010)
Thanks looks interesting I'll take a look.
I use ghost solution suite, basically creates a snapshot before installation, you install the software and make any customisations. Then it creates a snapshot after installation and compares the two.
From there it make a exe which can be assigned to a group of computers and it gets pushed out when you want it too...
Only downside is that its not automatic, you have to push the image out manually.
Works well here though
I m a GPO fan, it has its cons (needing to reboot) but I always make sure my machines shutdown overnight and startup early morning plus I like to keep everything in one place
As a general recommendation installing as many applications and updates on a single image will save you the most time. You're also clear in your mind what applications users have access to. For the rest MSIs are definitely preferable or alternatively scripts.
I generally use scripts for tweaking or registry edits. Not so much application deployment.
Here i use a combination of msi through group policy and scripts for registry tweaks or single dll file installs.
As you have pointed out there are limitations to this, but due to not being able to purchase any software relating to software distribution this was simply the only option available rather than the best choice.
I use WPKG as it works with any server be it W2K3/8, Linux Samba or Win98SE
I use it if time taken to debug why it doesn't work is less than time taken to go around all computers and install manually
I don't worry about scripts installing silently as I just run it as an all users/startup folder bat file.
I use whatever scripting language comes to hand - bat,vbs and Autoit ones.
Gpo for straightforward small msi's and msts made with orca.
Purgos for larger applications, and exe's with silent install.
If I have a few updates eg adobe, flash etc I will use purgos to install on pupil machines, but will visit staff laptops as it gives me a chance to give them the once over (only 15 so not many to get round)
For what it's worth, GPOs can be used to deploy EXEs as well as MSIs, by creating a ZAP file (fairly straightforward as I recall), but that's when they really become inflexible. As long as you're deploying MSIs, then the options on the GPOs allow some flexibility in when installation occurs.
GPO at the minute. You can also use mdt to deploy apps which could be useful after deployment.
We use Specops Deploy in our environment to deploy software to 6000 workstations. It's very powerful with the ability to target a computer with all kinds of targeting criteria. Can install MSI's and legacy apps such as exe's.
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