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Patching, Upgrading, and Removing Software Examples

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

An essential part of the software life cycle involves patching, updating, upgrading, and removing software. This section describes how to use Group Policy–based software deployment to simplify managing this life cycle.

Patching an Installed Application Example

The address of corporate headquarters for the organization has changed and the software administrators want to deploy a Microsoft® Word version 2002 fax and letterhead template patch to replace the previous fax and letterhead template files. Except for the sales offices, the OU structure is designed around the organization’s departmental structure. With this in mind, the IT administrator must selectively deploy the fax and letterhead templates to the departmental OUs and the Seattle-based sales office. The sales offices in San Jose, Boston, and Atlanta do not need to receive the patch. The administrator performed the following tasks to patch some previously deployed, computer-assigned software:

  1. Copied the patched (.msp) file to the applicable software distribution points. This replaced only the previously deployed fax and letterhead files for Word 2002 on each file server.

  2. Opened the software installation extension in the GPO. The GPO includes the software installation extension that contains the application deployment properties of Word 2002.

  3. Applied the patch to the source image by running msiexec /a <package.msi> /p <patch.msp>.

  4. Redeployed the fax and letterhead files. In the GPO, the administrator right-clicked Word 2002, selected All Tasks, and then selected Redeploy Application from the available menu.

  5. Prompted users by e-mail to restart their computers to make the computers recognize the patched software. After the users restarted their computers, the GPO applied the patched file, and the users had access to the new fax and letterhead templates.

Performing an In-Place Upgrade Example

For years, everyone at the organization has used a custom application specific to company business. This software is mission-critical for all users. Therefore, it will continue to be assigned to everyone in the organization. Recently, the company recruited developers to rewrite the application to include a Windows Installer package. The software administrator wants to deploy the new .msi package, and has chosen to perform an in-place upgrade. The administrator used the following process to upgrade the software:

  1. Copied the new .msi package upgrade to the software distribution points.

  2. Created a GPO that published the new software to all users.

  3. Advised all users to update their software by the established date, with a reasonable grace period to accomplish the task.

  4. After verifying that all users had upgraded, changed the software installation configuration in the GPO to assign the new version to all users.

  5. Sent e-mail prompting the users to restart their computers.

After the users restarted their computers, the new Group Policy setting applied, and the users had access to the new custom application.

Performing an Upgrade to Remove and Replace Software Example

The organization signed a global licensing agreement with a new antivirus software provider. Until then, all computers in the organization had X antivirus software installed. By using the software installation extension of Group Policy, IT administrators safely replaced X antivirus software with Y antivirus software.

Antivirus software is critical to any network operating environment. Therefore, IT administrators assigned Y antivirus software to all computers in the organization. The IT administrator used the following process to replace X antivirus software with Y antivirus software:

  1. Opened the software installation extension in the GPO. The software installation extension contained the application deployment properties of both X antivirus software and Y antivirus software.

  2. Created an upgrade relationship between X antivirus software and Y antivirus software. On the Upgrade tab of the Y antivirus software Properties, the administrator selected the Required upgrade for existing packages check box. This makes all users of X antivirus software receive the upgrade to Y antivirus software.

  3. Sent e-mail to prompt users to restart their computers.

    After the users restarted their computers, the computers recognized the new Y antivirus software.

Removing Software Example

The organization terminated a site license agreement with a certain software distributor for a marketing application that was previously published to users in the Marketing department. Software administrators of the organization needed to verify the removal of all copies of the unlicensed software. The software administrator used the following procedure to remove the unlicensed software in a GPO:

  1. Opened the software installation extension in the GPO, which included the deployment properties of the application to be removed.

  2. Right-clicked the application that the administrator wanted to remove.

  3. Selected All Tasks, and then selected Remove.

  4. In the Remove dialog box, selected the Immediately Uninstall check box.

After completing the removal procedure, the administrator did not prompt users to restart their computers. Instead, users were allowed to restart their computers at various times, in the course of their own work routines. That approach naturally reduced network load. However, use care at peak times, such as Monday mornings, when many people arrive at work at the same time. If the software is assigned to the users, their typical log off and log on process performs the same function.

After the users restarted their computers, the GPO was applied, and the users no longer had access to the unlicensed software.

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