How to use Group Policy to remotely install software in Windows Server 2008

Published by Claro Software on

This guide will show you how to deploy ClaroRead using Windows Server 2008. This guide assumes you are familiar with how to operate your Windows network, that you have already setup Windows Server 2008 and have configured your users and groups in Active Directory. Windows Server 2003 is very similar.

We use Microsoft Windows Installer MSI files for all our installers so they work well with Windows networks and they all install in a similar way. You can use this guide for ClaroView, ScreenRuler and so on. On the ClaroRead installation disk for the UK we include eight voice installers, as these are quite large in size and will take some time to install, you may want to consider only installing two or three of these voices.

Some of our programs have pre-requisites – redistributables and other files that must be installed before or with the program. For example, ClaroRead Plus requires the Visual Studio 2005 C++ Runtime and Microsoft XML 4.0. You should also add these to the installation over the network if these are not already installed. The readme.txt file found with your installer will contain any necessary information, or contact us directly.

Setting up a share

The first step to distributing ClaroRead across a network is to provide a shared location from which clients can access the ClaroRead setup files. If there is not already a shared folder set up for this purpose then one can be created in the following manner:

  1. Create a folder in a suitable location with a suitable name

    Windows Explorer window showing the creation of a new folder called 'Shared'

  2. Right-click on the new folder and select Properties
  3. In the properties dialog select the ‘Sharing’ tab and then click on ‘Advanced Sharing…’

    Shared Properties settings window for the folder created in step 1

  4. Tick ‘Share this folder’ and then click on the ‘Permissions’ button

    Advanced Sharing options window for the folder created in step 1 with the 'Share this folder' setting enabled

  5. Add the ‘Read’ permission to users or groups that should be able to install ClaroRead

    Permissions settings window for the folder created in step 1 with the 'Read' permission enabled for the group 'Everyone'

  6. ‘OK’ all of the dialogs and open the new folder in Windows Explorer
  7. Create any further folders desired to make it easier to manage the file system
  8. Open the ClaroRead CD in Windows Explorer and navigate to ‘\Programs\ClaroRead’ or ‘\Programs\ClaroReadPlus’ depending on the version.
  9. Copy all files in this folder to the new shared folder

Setting up the distribution script

Once the files are in a suitable shared location use the following steps to distribute them across the network:

  1. Open up the ‘Group Policy Management’ window by going to ‘Start Menu > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management’

    Windows Server 2008 Start Menu showing the Group Policy Management shortcut

  2. Expand ‘Forest: [The Forest] > Domains > [The Domain]’. Right-click on ‘Group Policy Objects’ and select ‘New’

    Group Policy Management window showing 'New' selected in the menu that opens when the above instructions are followed

  3. Enter a suitable name for the new policy (e.g. ClaroRead Install Policy) and leave ‘Source Starter GPO’ as ‘(none)’

    New GPO dialog showing the default values

  4. Click on the new policy and then select the ‘Settings’ tab from the right-hand pane. In this tab are 2 configuration headings: ‘Computer Configuration’ and ‘User Configuration’. Right-click anywhere in the panel and select ‘Edit?’

    Group Policy Management window showing the Settings tab of the new policy

  5. Expand ‘User Configuration > Policies > Software Settings’, right-click on ‘Software installation’ and select ‘New > Package?’

    Group Policy Management Editor window showing the context menu which opens when 'Software installation' is clicked on using the right mouse button

  6. Select the network location of the ClaroRead installation files

    Open File dialog showing the location of the target installation files on the network

  7. In the dialog that appears select ‘Assigned’ and click ‘OK’
  8. The selected installer will appear in the ‘Software installation’ panel. (This might take a couple of minutes to happen)
  9. When the package does appear, double-click on it to open properties and then select the ‘Deployment’ tab.

    Policy properties window showing 'Deployment Type' set to 'Assigned', 'Install this application at logon' checked and 'Installation user interface options' set to 'Basic'

  10. Tick ‘Install this application at logon’ and select ‘Basic’ for the user interface. Click ‘OK’
  11. Repeat steps 5 to 10 for the other 2 installation files in the shared folder (msxml and msxml6).
  12. Close the ‘Group Policy Management Editor’ window and return to the ‘Group Policy Management’ window. Right click on the domain name in the tree and select ‘Link an Existing GPO?’ from the drop-down.

    The 'Link an Existing GPO...' menu item shown in the Group Policy Management context menu

  13. Select the new policy from the list and click ‘OK’

ClaroRead should now install on users’ computers when they log in.

This page was last updated on 30th March 2020.

Categories: NetworkWindows software