I often hear from customers wanting to deploy software, but their business is to small to leverage System Center Configuration Manager. They ask me for advice on how to deploy software. Should we use Group policy or what? I then ask them if they have tried to use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. They often answer: But that’s only for OS deployment……Right?
As you probably guessed already you can deploy applications with MDT, it is just a matter of configuring it. I will list up the necessary steps for configure it.
I assume that you have some applications available in you workbench. On important thing to notice is the uninstall part of each application. Here is an example of the SilverLight 4.0 application property:
If you are afraid of software being installed twice it is important to define this one. MDT has built in logic to not install software that is already present based on this uninstall key.
If you need to extract the GUID / uninstall key of the application the easiest way is to install the software manually on a computer and run regedit. Then browse down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
This of course depends on the software and whether or not you are running X64 version of Windows or not.
Here you will find every GUID for each installed software. Just hit F3 to do a search or browse your way through the list until you find your application. Take a copy of the GUID. I have outlined the GUID and and the display name.
Okay, back to the install software part. We now have a task sequence for application install and a application with an uninstall key / GUID defined. Let us go into a client and test this.
What you need to know is that you actually can start the litetouch.wsf script with parameters and override the customsettings.ini / rules that are defined. That’s pretty neat. My command to get this the way I wanted it to be, looks like this:
(I wrapped it for readability)
So what happens if I run this command from my test computer?
I end up straight at the choice of applications. In this example I will choose Silverlight and hit next. It will then install the software, but since I already have this application installed it will just skip. Here is the output from the BDD.log:
If I did not had it already installed it would install it.
In production you would probably deploy the command as a shortcut to the users with a fancy icon. And of course I recommend Group Policy Preferences to deploy the shortcut.
So there it is. Software deployment with MDT and the end user can choose by himself. Easy as a piece of cake.