Assigning packages without assignment

 

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Assigning packages without assignment

The two main ways to deploy MSI package by group policy are Assigning it and Publishing it. Administrator can assign package to the machine or to the user, or publish it for the user.

 If the package is published, the user has to initiate the installation by going to add/remove programs in control panel, finding the product in “Add New Programs” (which is populated by the packages available from all group policies applied to the user), and select “Add”.

 If the package is assigned, then the user has all advertised shortcuts for the package. Clicking such shortcut will trigger the installation. The advantage of this method over publishing is that no action is required from the user when the package becomes needed, but the drawback is in potential clogging user’s desktop and start menu with shortcuts that in fact particular user may never need.

 There is however one more method that seems to combine the benefits of both methods.

 If the package is published and its advertising information includes file extensions, then Active Directory makes them available to the user in the same way as when the package is assigned. If the user tries to open a file with such advertised extension, the installation is triggered automatically.

 This way, it becomes possible to trigger installation of the package by user’s opening file extension advertised by the package.

 One might expect that the same would be possible by user’s attempt to use COM object belonging to the package, provided that the checkbox “Include class and OLE information” is checked in the Advanced properties of the package, but this does not happen – the said checkbox is completely ignored due to the bug in GPMC discovered by Adrian Accinelly.

 If one policy includes several packages advertising the same file extension, the one that is installed can be selected in the properties of Software Installation node.

 

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This site was last updated 12/31/12