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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, Beginners guide to msi and gpo deployments in Technical; I've taken over a school with Viglen classlink and as you all know - I can't spell Active Duriectory /demain/restrikted ...
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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Beginners guide to msi and gpo deployments

    I've taken over a school with Viglen classlink and as you all know - I can't spell Active Duriectory /demain/restrikted user.

    I'm trying to get to grips with it and I thought I'd try and use the big boys and girls software deployment method e.g. msi and GPO. (For Scratch BTW)

    So I googled and it said - stick msi in a share, add gpo thingy to whoever I want to deploy it to and bob's your uncle next time computers boot/login - the software will be ready to use


    1. Is it that simple?

    2. It seemed to install fine on some computers (no shortcuts on the desktops but I was expecting that and I know (well think anyway) how to do that one - e.g it was installed into "c:\program files\Scratch" as expected.

    But on some machines (I think just the laptops as I'm not there till next monday again) it didn't seem to do so (but I think I applied the gpo at the top level) and when I log into one of these and look at the shortcut on the desktop - it was point off to "\\somemachine\\c$\program files\Scratch" !!!

    Is this the sort of thing that happens?
    Am I being "too simple" here?

    Si

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    DAZZD88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    1. Is it that simple?
    It's Microsoft, so not always. In the past we've deployed software fine via GPO but then some software is just downright awkward.

    For Scratch (if it's the "kiddies" programming software that I think it is) just install the program to a folder on a share and run it from there. It's how we've done it and means that we don't have to faff on with an MSI.

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    SimpleSi (9th November 2011)

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    adhutton's Avatar
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    It works fairly well and is simple, but I would always test by deploying to a few PCs or a single room first before deploying network-wide.

    I have had a faulty MSI in the past which caused untold problems and we had to re-image a few classrooms of PCs because it broke stuff!

    Andrew

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    SimpleSi (9th November 2011)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    1. Is it that simple?
    In theory yes.
    But IMO it relies on well authored msi, which unfortunately you I don't think you can rely on. I used this method briefly but never really got on with it, crappily made msi were really screwing things up for me (Testbase I am looking at you!).

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    SimpleSi (9th November 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    In theory yes.
    But IMO it relies on well authored msi, which unfortunately you I don't think you can rely on. I used this method briefly but never really got on with it, crappily made msi were really screwing things up for me (Testbase I am looking at you!).
    did testbase have an msi i dont remember ever seeing one just scripted that

    as to why laptops diddnt get scratch id guess they arnt set to wait for network at startup (or wireless takes too long to get an ip) so the policy never gets applied try running this reg file on one assuming its xp

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
    "GpNetworkStartTimeoutPolicyValue"=dword:0000003c
    generally speaking it ias that easy you just need a share your pc accounts can read (usually i just give authenticated users read access ntfs and sharing perms everyone full). It can get a bit more complex with say smartboard where you have to select advanced and feed it an mst file but it isnt rocket science i just wish it would do some reporting so say pc3 failed to install smartboard as its missing installer 4.5 its in teh pcs event log but it would be nice if the server could automatically pull that into some coherent log file

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    SimpleSi (9th November 2011)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    did testbase have an msi i dont remember ever seeing one just scripted that
    Of sorts. It used to require a really odd setup routine before you could deploy it: "Create network share, run installer on server, press button A, press button B, do a little jig, throw salt over your left shoulder whilst praying to the Gods of Testbase in Aramaic, sacrifice a chicken, attempt to run software on client. Cry as it fails"
    Or at least that's how I remember it. Its online now, there is much rejoicing.

    as to why laptops diddnt get scratch id guess they arnt set to wait for network at startup (or wireless takes too long to get an ip) so the policy never gets applied try running this reg file on one assuming its xp
    My first thought, but it appears that the laptops are getting a shortcut?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    My first thought, but it appears that the laptops are getting a shortcut?!
    id guess tbh thats on someones roaming desktop or similar

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Check your application logs after startup and it should give you some clues there - you might see an error along the lines of "group policy processing aborted, domain controller could not be found" or other errors in a simialr vein, in which case your laptops are starting up quicker than the NICs so aren't grabbing GPOs. Google the error code (or ask here) and there's usually a fix for that.

    If it is processing group policies, there may be a problem with the installer itself, which you should see under Software Installer, and it may give you clues as to the specific error the installer is throwing up.


    Otherwise, with a decent MSI, yes, it is as easy as - Create GPO; Add Software Package; Tweak Advanced Preferences (usually just renaming it to something more useful to you); OK. Wait for GP updates (or force them) and then reboot. In practice, though, old Flash version won't uninstall correctly, dodgy MSIs will need access to a shared file, all sorts will go wrong. But it's all part of the fun

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    I think the problem with this method is its far too restrictive, any out of the norm can cause problems.
    I would be more inclined to use something like WPKG (which I used successfully for many years) over GPO as its far more flexible.

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    SimpleSi (9th November 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    I think the problem with this method is its far too restrictive, any out of the norm can cause problems.
    I would be more inclined to use something like WPKG (which I used successfully for many years) over GPO as its far more flexible.
    I'm a bit fan of WPKG, it's a bit fiddly but also very flexibal. We use it for virtualy all our software installs.

    One big advantage is you can configure it to do installations on shutdown instead of startup. This is a real killer for us, increasing a computer's startup time by more then a minute is really a no no, shutdown isn't such an issue.

    So of the bigger packages (I'm looking at you CS4) we try to do in the holidays (still using WPKG), because they do take a long time.

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    Thanks for all the feed back

    I use WPKG in all my other schools so I'll get it set up at this one as well

    Just thought I wouldn't need to
    Si

    PS At my other schools, the machines autologon as an admin user and run wpkg from a .bat file in allusers\startup folder - is there a a quick way of acheiving the same in a w2k3 ad/domain setup?

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    Andie's Avatar
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    I've found this pdf really useful, as I've had to learn AD/GP myself too. It is produced by the folk at 2Simple software, but would be equally applicable for other stuff, and goes into more detail than anything else I've ever seen that comes with educational software:

    http://support.2simpleweb.com/public...O_installs.pdf

    I agree that some software can be installed just to a share on the server, and then you just create a shortcut to that to run the software. So you won't need to use GPO/msi for everything.

    If the school still has Viglen Classlink, does that mean they have relented and given you the administrator login?? We moved from that back in 2003 as it drove me nuts not being able to do anything useful without reference to Viglen.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    If the school still has Viglen Classlink, does that mean they have relented and given you the administrator login?? We moved from that back in 2003 as it drove me nuts not being able to do anything useful without reference to Viglen.
    We are not going to renew support but still keep it till the server fall over then I'll just stick in plain (w2k8)

    Si

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