Deploy Software: Install to Multiple Computers at Once 

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Deploying software over a network can be tricky, but saves immense amounts of time. Most solutions require expensive solutions, but there are several free options. In this article, two different methods will be discussed. Both methods are easily accessible in Windows, and are available at no cost. 



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Method 1: Group Policy

  1. Check to see if the software includes a Windows Installer Package. The installer package will end with a .msi file extension.
  2. Create your own Windows Installer Package. If an installer package does not exist, then there are many free tools available to create a .msi file. Experience writing script files may be required.
  3. Decide how to publish the software. Software can be published to either the user or the computer. If published to user: the software is placed on the user’s desktop, and will be installed when the user attempts to open it. If published to computer: the software will be installed when the computer is rebooted. 
  4. Copy the .msi to the shared network. Ensure all users have proper share and read access to run the application
  5. Open the group policy editor. To assign or publish to a user, navigate to User Configuration, Software Settings, Software Installation. Click "New" and "Package Commands." Choose the file to be installed. To assign to a computer, open Computer Configuration, Software settings, Software Installation.

Multiple Computers


Method 2: Remote Desktop

  1. Configure the computers on your network for remote access. Open Control Panel>System>Remote on each computer, and ensure the option to connect remotely is enabled.
  2. Make note of the names of the networked computers. Ensure all computers have unique names. Store the names in a spreadsheet or text list on the admin computer. 
  3. Share the disc drive of the admin computer from which you are installing the software. Right click the drive and select “Share”
  4. Plan the installation for a time when the users computers will be turned on, but not in use. Night is typically the best time.
  5. Open Accessories>Remote Desktop. When the remote desktop windows opens, enter the computer name you wish to install to.
  6. Login to the remote computer. You must login to an admin account on that computer.
  7. Open the shared disc. Run the install program
  8. (Optional) Create desktop shortcut on each user’s desktop.

Final Thoughts

Installing software over the network to multiple users can save hours of time. For best performance, a fast network is required. Packetworks specializes in creating low latency, high bandwidth, networks. Contact us today to speak to a network specialist. 


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