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Deploying and upgrading software

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Deploying and upgrading software

You can deploy and upgrade software to remote computers in managed environments by using Group Policy Software Installation to assign Windows Installer packages. Windows Installer packages are deployed and managed within a Group Policy object, which is in turn associated with a particular Active Directory container--either a site, a domain, or an organizational unit. You can use Add or Remove programs in Control Panel to install, upgrade, or manage an application on a local computer. You can also use Remote Desktop Connection to install or upgrade an application by using Add or Remove programs on a remote computer. For more information, see Add or Remove programs overview and Remote Desktop Connection.

Some of the most common tasks are deploying software to remote computers, upgrading software on remote computers, and installing or upgrading software on a local computer.

To deploy software to remote computers

  1. Open Group Policy Object Editor.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To assign software applications to computers, in the console tree, double-click Computer Configuration.

    • To assign or publish software applications to users, in the console tree, double-click User Configuration.

  3. Double-click Software Settings, and then click Software Installation.

    Where?

    • Group Policy object/Computer Configuration or User Configuration/Software Settings/Software Installation

  4. Right-click Software Installation, click New, and then click Package.

  5. Click the Windows Installer package you want to assign, and then click Open.

  6. In Deploy Software, click Assigned.

Notes

  • To complete this procedure, you must be logged on as a member of the Domain Administrators security group, the Enterprise Administrators security group, or the Group Policy Creator Owners security group.

  • Group Policy Software Installation is available to computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, and the Windows Server 2003 family in an Active Directory environment.

  • To use Group Policy Software Installation, you must create a new Group Policy object or edit an existing Group Policy object for a site, domain, or organizational unit. You can also link a Group Policy object to a site, domain, or organizational unit in Active Directory Users and Computers or Active Directory Sites and Services. For more information about ways to open Group Policy Object Editor, see Group Policy.

  • Many software applications come with Windows Installer packages (.msi files). For more information, see your software manufacturer’s documentation.

To upgrade software on remote computers

  1. Open Group Policy Object Editor.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To upgrade software applications on remote computers, in the console tree double-click, Computer Configuration.

    • To upgrade software applications for users, in the console tree, double-click User Configuration.

  3. Double-click Software Settings, and then click Software Installation.

    Where?

    • Group Policy object/Computer Configuration or User Configuration/Software Settings/Software Installation

  4. Right-click Software Installation, click New, and then click Package.

  5. Click the Windows Installer package that will serve as the upgrade package, and then click Open.

  6. In Deploy Software, click Assigned.

  7. In the details pane, right-click the Windows Installer package that will function as the upgrade (not the package to be upgraded).

  8. Click properties, and then click the Upgrades tab.

  9. Click Add to create or add to the list of packages that are to be upgraded by the current package.

  10. Under Choose a package from, click Current Group Policy object (GPO) or A specific GPO as the source of the package to be upgraded. If you click A specific GPO, click Browse, and then click the Group Policy object that you want.

  11. Review the list of packages under Package to upgrade, which lists all of the other packages that are assigned or published within the selected Group Policy object. Depending on the Group Policy object, this list may have zero or more entries.

  12. Click the package that you want to upgrade, and then do one of the following:

    • To replace an application with a completely different application, click Uninstall the existing package, then install the upgrade package.

    • To install a newer version of the same product while retaining the user's application preferences, click Package can upgrade over the existing package.

  13. On the Upgrades tab, select the Required upgrade for existing packages check box if you want the upgrade to be mandatory. If this is an upgrade under Computer Configuration in the Group Policy console tree, the check box is unavailable and selected, because packages can only be assigned to computers, not published.

Notes

  • To complete this procedure, you must be logged on as a member of the Domain Administrators security group, the Enterprise Administrators security group, or the Group Policy Creator Owners security group.

  • Group Policy Software Installation is available to computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, and the Windows Server 2003 family in an Active Directory environment.

  • To use Group Policy Software Installation, you must create a new Group Policy object or edit an existing Group Policy object for a site, domain, or organizational unit. You can also link a Group Policy object to a site, domain, or organizational unit in Active Directory Users and Computers or Active Directory Sites and Services. For more information about ways to open Group Policy Object Editor, see Group Policy.

  • Many software applications come with Windows Installer packages (.msi files). For more information, see your software manufacturer’s documentation.

To install or upgrade software on a local computer by using Add or Remove programs

  1. Open Add or Remove programs in Control Panel.

  2. Click Add New programs, and then click CD or Floppy.

  3. Follow the instructions on your screen.

Notes

  • To open Add or Remove programs, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Add or Remove programs.

  • When using Add or Remove programs, you can only install programs that were written for Windows operating systems.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

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