6. Desktop Management
In a managed desktop environment, application deployment generally needs to be automated. There are many tools and application suites that may be used to deploy applications across multiple computers. Those known to be in use across the University include Group Policy via Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft SMS, Novell Zenworks for Desktop and Altiris Deployment Solution. There are many other products available.
Application installations may need to be customised in order to deploy them via these methods. Broadly speaking there are two main approaches to package customisation; scripting using the existing installer mechanism, or repackaging. They each have advantages and disadvantages, and the method chosen may depend in part on the method chosen to deploy the application. Often a combination of methods is used, depending on the application.
- AppDeploy.com — Tips, FAQs, articles and a large database of packages.
- Silent installation overview from Sourceforge — useful starting point for scripted installations that summarises the key points on the main installers
- Installshield Setup.exe and Update.exe Command-Line Parameters — for scripting Installshield installations.
- Sysinternals — great source of free utilities particularly to help diagnose problems caused by file and registry permissions issues on locked down workstations. Look for RegMon and FileMon in particular
- WindowsNetworking.com — articles, tutorials and more