Push Service Packs to client machines with Group Policies

All the things you need to push Windows 2000 Service Packs to your client machines without visiting each one manually...

Windows 2000 Group Policy Objects (GPOs) are great. They let an administrator do all sorts of things. One of the nicest features is pushing and advertising software installations. Pushing software allows and administrator to dictate what is loaded on a machine. Advertising allows the user to choose what he/she would like to install. Applying Service Packs to Windows 2000 can be pushed to a computer via GPOs, saving an administrator the hassle of visiting every machine -- which in a large environment, can take a very long time.

Here is how to do it:

1. From Microsoft's Web site

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download the network version of Service Pack 1.

2. Also, you need to get the Service Pack MSI file. You can get that here.

3. Uncompress the Service Pack at a command prompt with the -x switch to a folder on a server somewhere. Share out the folder with a $ at the end to make it hidden. Copy the update.msi file to the folder too.

4. Create a new GPO from the Active Directory Users and Computers console at the Domain level. Call it something like Win2kPS1.

5. Open the GPO and navigate to Computer Settings/Software Settings. Right-click on the Software Installation node and choose Properties. Fill in all the information for the name of the package, its location and all that kind of stuff. The important thing is to Assign the package. This will force Windows 2000 to install the Service Pack the next time the computer is restarted.

Try it out on some sample machines by moving the GPO to an OU somewhere, instead of at the domain level, and putting some computers in your test OU. You will find that software distribution in this manner is a whole lot better than doing it manually or with SMS.

This was first published in April 2001

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