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Deploying a Data Collection Package

Published: June 11, 2010

Updated: June 11, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

There are several ways to distribute a data-collection package (DCP) to your desired destination computers. Four recommended methods are:

  • Group Policy Software Installation. Use the Group Policy Software Installation feature of Active Directory in Windows Server® 2008 R2 for deployment.

    ImportantImportant
    All client computers to which you will deploy the DCP must be part of the Active Directory forest.

  • Logon script. You can use Windows Script Host (WSH) to create a logon script for deploying the data-collection package. Installing with a logon script requires administrator credentials on the local computer.

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and customized deployment methods. You can use Configuration Manager or a customized deployment method to deploy the data-collection package in your organization.

    noteNote
    For more information about using Configuration Manager, refer to the product documentation.

  • Manual distribution. You can use a file server on your network as a software distribution point for the ACT data-collection packages. At rollout time, you can send an e-mail to users, explaining the pending upgrade and providing a link to the distribution point. Please note that self-installation of a data-collection package requires administrator credentials on the local computer.

The method that you choose will depend on your specific organization and preferences.

ImportantImportant
ACT uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) instead of the local time. Therefore, if you set your data-collection package to start at 6:05 P.M. Eastern Standard Time and run for five minutes, the data-collection package will actually start at 3:05 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, 5:05 P.M. Central Standard Time, 6:05 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, and so on.

Deploying a DCP by Using Group Policy

If your organization has an existing Active Directory infrastructure, you can deploy the DCPs to your identified subset of client computers by using Group Policy Software Installation.

To deploy a DCP by using Group Policy Software Installation

  1. Ensure that your identified client computers are members of the Active Directory forest.

  2. Create a Group Policy object (GPO) for publishing the data-collection package.

  3. Assign the GPO to the organizational units (OUs) containing your identified subset of client computers.

  4. Create and publish a new software installation package by using Group Policy Software Installation.

    noteNote
    For more information about the Group Policy Software Installation process, see Best practices for Group Policy Software Installation.

Deploying a DCP by Using a Logon Script and Active Directory

You can deploy your data-collection packages to your client computers by creating a logon script and then assigning the script to your organizational unit through the Microsoft Active Directory service and Group Policy.

noteNote
For more information about logon scripts, see Assign a Logon Script to a User in the Active Directory.

Creating a Logon Script

The following is a simple logon script example.

Set ws = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
ws.Run("\\servername\collector\DCP_name.exe")

After creating the script, you must save it to a network location that is accessible to everyone who is required to run the script. When users log on to their computers, the script automatically runs, collecting the data and storing it in the location defined by the script.

Deploying a Data-Collection package

You can assign your logon script to run for a specific Group Policy, by using the Active Directory Users and Computers console. From the console, you can modify the properties for an Active Directory container, and then assign your Group Policy to your specific Active Directory organizational unit.

ImportantImportant
To change Group Policy, you must be a Domain Administrator and have security access to the organization unit.

To assign a logon script to an organization unit by using Active Directory

  1. Save your script in the SYSVOL\Scripts folder.

  2. To open the Active Directory console, click Start, then point to All Programs, then Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.

  3. Right-click the organizational unit that you intend to assign the logon script to, click Properties, and then click the Group Policy tab.

  4. Click New to add a new Group Policy object, or select an existing Group Policy object, and then click Edit.

    The Group Policy Management Console appears.

  5. In the left pane, expand the User Configuration object, expand the Windows Setting object, and then click Scripts (Logon/Logoff).

  6. In the right pane, double-click the Logon script.

    The Logon Properties dialog box appears.

  7. Click Add.

    The Add a Script dialog box appears.

  8. Click Browse, browse to the \\<domain>\Sysvol\Scripts folder, select your script, and then click Open.

    The script appears in the Add a Script dialog box.

  9. Click OK to close the Logon Properties dialog box.

  10. Close the Group Policy Management console and the Active Directory Users and Computers console.

  11. On a client computer that is both a member of the domain and a part of the organization unit, log on as an organization unit user.

  12. Open a Command Prompt window, and then type GPUPDATE /force to force the update of the Group Policy.

  13. At the command prompt, type RSOP.msc to verify your Group Policy assignment.

    The Resultant Set of Policy console appears.

  14. In the left pane, expand the Computer Configuration object, expand the Windows Setting object, and then click Security Settings.

  15. Expand Account Policies, click Password Policy, and verify the assigned Group Policy.

  16. Close the Resultant Set of Policy console and the Command Prompt window.

    ImportantImportant
    To keep the installation from running repeatedly, your script needs to create a marker.

Deploying a DCP by Using System Center Configuration Manager

If your organization has existing Configuration Manager infrastructure, you can deploy the DCPs to your identified subset of client computers by using the Configuration Manager software distribution feature.

To deploy a DCP by using System Center Configuration Manager

  1. Verify that the specified client computers are included in your Configuration Manager inventory.

  2. Create a Configuration Manager computer collection that includes the specified computers.

  3. Create a shared folder with the source image of the DCP.

  4. Create a Configuration Manager package that is based on the source image in the shared folder.

    noteNote
    For more information about creating a package, see How to Create a Package.

  5. Specify the Configuration Manager software distribution points.

  6. Create a Configuration Manager program, including the required commands and command-line options to deploy the DCP.

    noteNote
    For more information about creating a program, see How to Create a Program.

  7. Create a Configuration Manager advertisement, instructing Configuration Manager clients to run the program specified in the previous step.

    noteNote
    For more information about creating an advertisement, see How to Create an Advertisement.

Manually Deploying a Data-Collection package

You can deploy your data-collection package to your client computers, either by saving the package to a CD or by placing the executable file on a network share and instructing your users how to download and to run the file.

ImportantImportant
Regardless of the deployment method that you use, you must indicate an output path where the log file should appear on the user's computer. If you do not define an output path, the log file will appear on your current ACT Log Processing Service share. Additionally, if you specify local when you create your data-collection package, your default local folder will appear within the All Users\Application Data folder.

Deploying a Data-Collection Package from a Network Share

The following procedure explains how to deploy your data-collection package executable file from a network share.

To deploy a data-collection package from a network share

  1. Store your data-collection package (.msi) file in a shared folder on your network.

  2. Create an e-mail message for distribution to all of the client computers that require the data-collection package.

  3. Create a hyperlink to the shared folder that you created in step 1.

    noteNote
    An example of the hyperlink is File://\\server\share\collect.exe. In this case, the output log will be stored on the user's desktop by default.

  4. Instruct your users to run the executable file and to return the generated log file, either by sending it in an e-mail message or by placing it on a network share created for this purpose.

Deploying a Data-Collection Package from a CD

If you have remote users who rarely connect to your network, you can choose to distribute your data-collection package, by using a CD.

To deploy a data-collection package by using a CD

  1. Burn your data-collection package (.msi) file to a CD.

    noteNote
    You can also create an Autorun.inf file to cause the DCP file to run automatically when the user inserts the CD into the CD drive.

  2. Send the CD to your users, instructing them to run the file and to return the generated log file, either by sending it in an e-mail message or by placing it on a network share created for this purpose.

See Also

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