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Windows 7 Thread, Deploying an .EXE across the network using GPO, can it be done? in Technical; Hi there, I've Googled the hell out of this topic but can't seem to find a solution (I'm fairly new ...
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    Question Deploying an .EXE across the network using GPO, can it be done?

    Hi there,

    I've Googled the hell out of this topic but can't seem to find a solution (I'm fairly new to ICT so please bare with me). I need to install an .EXE setup to approximately 200 machines, it's for MIT App Inventor (installation .exe). I clutched at straws and tried to give it an .MSI wrapper but of course no luck.

    Is there a way I can deploy this software in an .EXE format without physically installing it on individual machines?

    Many thanks for your help.

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    You can create your own MSI wrapper for an EXE http://http://stackoverflow.com/ques...ps-an-exe-file, this link has a good discussion about the various alternatives.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    We've used GPO to deploy a script which has then fired off the EXE file... Thats how we deploy Office 2010.

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    Hi dfinan,
    I do this as follows:

    Download a program called "CPAU.EXE". It doesn't need installing. Just save it in a network share. In your NETLOGON share you may have a .bat file which allocates shared drives etc. Add this to that file, or create a file for it.

    if exist "C:\Program Files\MyProgramFolder" goto :eof
    "\\MyServer\MyShare\cpau.exe" -u domain\administrator -p password -ex "\\MyServer\Path-to-the-exe-file\MyProgram.exe /s" -lwp -cwd

    Assuming: MyProgramFolder is the folder created when the .exe is actually installed (Install it manually to find out what this is)
    MyServer is, of course, the name of your server
    MyShare is the shared folder where CPAU.EXE lives
    domain is your domain name
    password is the administrator password
    Path-to-the-exe-file is erm the path to the exe file stored on the server
    MyProgram.exe is the exe file you wish to install

    You may have spotted the problem with this....the password is there for all to see should they be so inclined. It is possible to encode this (google cpau to find instructions) but as I work in a Primary School I don't consider this necessay.

    The /s switch after the filename sometimes needs to be /silent or /q or /quiet but usually one of those will work so that you don't need user input.

    Dave

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    dfinan (12th December 2013)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Can I just point out how massively insecure your method is @nimrodel? You're saving your domain admin password in a universally accessible network share (NETLOGON is available to read by every user). I would *strongly* advise against it.

    The option I use for this sort of problem is to re-package using Scalable's Smart Packager CE Free. Basically, you set up a 'blank' PC, install Smart Packager CE, run it and using it run the installer. It captures the before and after state of the PC and compares them. Then generates a proper MSI from that differential.

    Its always worth checking the MSI afterwards though, go through and check the files and registry entries to make sure no 'non-software specific' entries exist (Windows update can sneak in there, as can some log files and Scalable adds some registry entries for itself that can be deleted also).

    Link for the software - http://www.scalable.com/smart-packager-ce-msi-package/

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    dfinan (12th December 2013)

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    I understand the security implication but really have no choice. I have very limited time (10 hrs a week on my own to include all repairs, maintenance, upgrades...you know the score) and absolutely no budget. I don't have the luxury of a spare PC to make MSIs on. I wouldn't do this in a secondary school unless I encrypted the password which is possible. Just getting things like WDS to work can take several weeks of work, and the removal of IE Maintenance has caused a week or so of head scratching which takes up all of my time.
    Thanks for the advice though. I know it is the best way, just hellishly time consuming
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Can I just point out how massively insecure your method is @nimrodel? You're saving your domain admin password in a universally accessible network share (NETLOGON is available to read by every user). I would *strongly* advise against it.

    The option I use for this sort of problem is to re-package using Scalable's Smart Packager CE Free. Basically, you set up a 'blank' PC, install Smart Packager CE, run it and using it run the installer. It captures the before and after state of the PC and compares them. Then generates a proper MSI from that differential.

    Its always worth checking the MSI afterwards though, go through and check the files and registry entries to make sure no 'non-software specific' entries exist (Windows update can sneak in there, as can some log files and Scalable adds some registry entries for itself that can be deleted also).

    Link for the software - Smart Packager CE Free MSI Package Tool | Scalable Software
    I really do like this solution, it 'seem's very easy to do - although I'm stuck at one point. I've ran discovery, it's picked up all of the changes through installation. However the output has given me a folder containing the changes. There is an .msi file there but it outputted a mere 16kb and does not work. Am I missing something or do I need to go through Smart Packager too once discovery has finished?


    Many thanks for everyone's help so far.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I believe you can choose what type of MSI to create in the software - MSI with folder, MSI with CAB, MSI with internal CAB etc... You'll need to change the MSI type somewhere. Not used it in a while (we moved to SCCM so the need to repackage things is lower), so can't remember where exactly the setting is.

  11. Thanks to localzuk from:

    dfinan (12th December 2013)

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    All sorted! Thanks for your recommendation. The only reason it wouldn't work as I had planned was because I was using the free version. I tried the free trial for the Pro version and it worked a treat - I'll probably purchase this now. Nice one!

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    You can download the univetsal switch finder. Check the exe. It may be installshield/nullsoft etc The best course of action is a startup script runnng the install from a share where system has permissions. Any reg keys or files can be created using gpp.

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    As localzuk says check the registry stuff before you create the msi and test it on a pc first. When i was first looking to do this i created a msi and tested it ot and it cause some side-by-side error which stopped lots of things working.

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