Some of my findings, and methods i’d use to set up the infrastructure to roll out software using Group Policy on a Windows 2000/2003 domain.
1. Set up a DFS shared folder to contain all your installation source files and any other related files
2. Create one GPO to install most of your software. I called mine “Software Deployment”. I still use a seperate GPO for Microsoft Office Std & Microsoft Office Pro, as they usually need to be installed first.
1. Assign permissions on a “Software Installation” level, and not on a GPO level
3. You can use ZAP files to publish non-MSI apps. You’ll need a way to run the install as another user, i’ll cover this later. (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/231747)
My reasoning behind the use of a DFS share is that you can move the location of the software, decommission servers, commission new servers, etc without breaking the GPO (Group Policy Object)
If you’re not already using the Group Policy Management Console, download it from MS (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=23529)
I haven’t figured out how to consolidate everything into one GPO, as I can’t see any way of ordering the individual software installations contained within a GPO. This causes problems where certain applications have prerequisites. For example, our phone system’s software client needs Outlook installed first. If Outlook isn’t installed, it won’t install the Outlook integration part. Therefore Office needs to be installed first. In order to overcome this problem, I have had to seperate our Office deployments from the main ‘Software Deployment’ GPO. That way I can change the ordering of the GPOs so that the Office ones take effect first.