Software Deployment in Visual Studio .NET

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Although more sophisticated solutions exist for software deployment, such as System Center Con guration Manager and even System Center
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Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)
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Essentials, Group Policy is still a great way to deploy software in the absence of a better solution Group Policy has two types of software deployment:
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Assigned When software is assigned, if the assignment is to a user, the software is installed when the user logs on to the computer; upon rst execution, the software installation is nalized If software is assigned to a computer, then the software is installed when the computer starts, and it is available to any users of the computer Once again, the rst time the software is used, the installation is considered nalized The time to nalize an installation should be minimal (seconds) but depends on the application Published When software is published to a user, the software is displayed in the Add or Remove Programs control panel applet for manually triggered installation You cannot publish software to a computer
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Notice that for assigned software, either the user must log on or the computer must be restarted Software installations are not performed as part of a Group Policy refresh They are only performed at startup/logon as part of foreground Group Policy processing One big advantage of using Group Policy to deploy software is the installation of the software is executed in a privileged context, which means the logged-on user does not need to be an Administrator or highly privileged/power user
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Distribution Point on the Network The rst requirement to deploy software is a distribution point on the network, where the installation les for the software can exist and be accessed from the clients; this is a share on a server, or for a more distributed organization, part of a distributed le system namespace It is recommended to create a sub-folder for each product with a meaningful name (for example, Of ce2003SP1), which allows the folder structure to also be used outside of GPO deployments Microsoft Software Installer This brings us to the second requirement Software should be in the format of Microsoft Software Installer, preferably an MSI le for full Group Policy deployment support Although you can deploy other types of installation media, the preferred and fully supported option is an MSI le
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21 GROUP POLICY
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The method to assign software is the same for both computer and user; it affects whether you select the User Con guration or Computer Con guration area of the GPO: 1 Open the GPO you want to use to deploy the software (ensuring the software installation les are already on a network location) 2 Expand Policies, Software Settings and right-click on Software installation; select New, Package from the displayed context menu (see Figure 21-26)
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FIGURE 21-26 Select New, Package from the context menu 3 In the Open dialog, enter the network path where the software resides (for example, \\savtstdc01\software) and select the MSI le you want to deploy In this case, just deploy the administrative tools (see Figure 21-27) Click Open
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FIGURE 21-27 Enter the network path where the software resides
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Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)
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4 A list of deployment options is displayed (see Figure 21-28) If you are pushing software for a computer, the option to publish is grayed out and you can only select Assigned The Advanced option is beyond the scope of this chapter, but it enables the deployment properties to be modi ed, con guration of application categories, designation of the package as an upgrade to an existing package, and controlling the install based on security group However, you can set most of these after initial con guration by changing the properties of the software
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FIGURE 21-28 Choosing the deployment method for the application 5 The new software is displayed in the Software installation window and installed on the computers for users who have the GPO applied on next startup/logon Right-click a Software installation entry and a dialog appears, enabling advanced con guration options, such as categories, upgrades, security, and so on, to be con gured One useful area in particular is under the Deployment tab You can choose to uninstall the software if the GPO is no longer assigned to the user/computer, as shown in Figure 21-29 By default, this is not the case, and software stays installed Software is removed only at computer startup/logon and not during a user session, when the user could be using the software The process to publish an application is identical, except the option of Published is selected in step 4 If you publish a lot of software applications, you might want to de ne categories to make it easy for users Right-click on Software installation to show the options for software deployment For example, you can set applications for certain le types under the File Extensions tab, so you can set Winzip application for ZIP le extensions The Categories tab is used to add categories for the domain, which can then be selected for a published application to be displayed within via the
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