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Deploying the .NET Framework 2.0 Using Active Directory (Windows 2000 Server)

 

Microsoft Corporation

March 2006

Applies to:
   Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

Summary: This article describes deployment scenario for .NET Framework 2.0 using Active Directory. (7 printed pages)

Contents

Introduction
Extract the Dotnetfx.exe Files to Deploy the .NET Framework
Create a .NET Framework Package in Active Directory
Setting the Elevated Privileges via Group Policy
Verification That Package Is Ready to be Assigned to Machines
Verify an Active Directory Package
Install the .NET Framework Package

Introduction

Active Directory allows you to deploy software with administrative privileges across a network. This section describes the specific procedures for using Active Directory to deploy the Windows Installer setup package for Dotnetfx.exe across a network. For additional Active Directory product information and documentation, see the Active Directory home page.

To deploy the .NET Framework redistributable package, Dotnetfx.exe, with administrator privileges, you must extract the Windows Installer file, netfx.msi, from the Dotnetfx.exe file. Netfx.msi is the file you will use to deploy the .NET Framework.

Before you can install a Windows Installer setup package on an Active Directory client computer, the client computer must have the Windows Installer installation service installed. The procedure described in this section assumes that Windows Installer 3.0 or later is installed on all client computers prior to the deployment of Dotnetfx.exe. Windows Installer 3.1 is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center. Note that these installer files are not designed for deployment using Active Directory. They must either be installed on each computer individually or electronically using Systems Management Server.

In addition, there are minimum configuration requirements that must be met in order to install the .NET Framework on a computer. For specific software and hardware requirements and recommendations, see the Minimum Configuration Requirements. After the network administrator has ensured that all networked computers on which Dotnetfx.exe will be installed meet the minimum configuration requirements, perform the following tasks and their individual procedures in the order presented.

Extract the Dotnetfx.exe Files to Deploy the .NET Framework

First step is to extract files contained in redistributable dotnetfx.exe file.

  1. Download Dotnetfx.exe to the root directory of the C drive on your local computer.
  2. Open a command prompt.
  3. Change the directory to the root of the C drive, type:
    c:
    cd \ 
    
  4. From the command prompt to create a directory in which to copy Dotnetfx.exe, type:
    mkdir dotnetfx
  5. Extract the files to the dotnetfx directory, type:
    dotnetfx.exe /q /c:"msiexec /qb /a netfx.msi TARGETDIR=c:\dotnetfx"
  6. Close the command prompt window.
  7. Navigate to the C:\dotnetfx folder in Windows Explorer and verify that the files were extracted.
  8. Move the dotnetfx folder and all its contents to the server that you will use for deployment.

Create a .NET Framework Package in Active Directory

After you have moved the dotnetfx folder to the proper location for deployment, the next step is to create an Active Directory package for the .NET Framework.

  1. Click the Start button, point to Programs, and then point to Administrative Tools. Click Active Directory Users and Computers. The Active Directory Users and Computers tree is displayed.
  2. Right-click the domain node at the top of the tree. Click Properties on the shortcut menu. The Properties dialog box is displayed.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab.
  4. Click the Edit button. A window is displayed with the Default Domain Policy tree.
  5. There are two alternatives when choosing how the software will be assigned. You can select the Computer Configuration node in Group Policy to set policies that are applied to computers, regardless of who logs on to them. Alternatively, you can select the User Configuration node in Group Policy to set policies that apply to users, regardless of the logon computer. For the purpose of the example, select and expand the User Configuration node. Expand the Software Settings folder located under the User Configuration node.
    Note   Ensure that you map to the shared location on the Active Directory server; otherwise, it will not let you create a package for installation.

  6. Right-click Software installation. Point to New, and then click Package on the shortcut menu.
  7. A dialog box is displayed that prompts you for the path to the Windows Installer file (.msi) for the package. Browse to the location where you copied the dotnetfx folder, and click the netfx.msi file.
  8. Choose the Advanced Published or Assigned selection and click the OK button.
  9. A window is displayed where you can choose to auto install or publish the software. If you choose Auto Install, the software will be installed automatically on every computer in the domain. If you choose Publish, the software is added to the list of available products, but is not installed unless a user chooses to install it. After you have modified all necessary items, click the OK button.
  10. Exit the Active Directory Users and Computers console.

Alternatively, if you selected the User Configuration node in Group Policy to set policies that apply to users, regardless of the logon computer, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click Software installation. Point to New, and then click Package on the shortcut menu.
  2. A dialog box is displayed that prompts you for the path to the Windows Installer file (.msi) for the package. Browse to the location where you copied the dotnetfx folder, and click the netfx.msi file.
  3. Select Advanced Published or Assigned and click OK.
  4. A window is displayed where you can choose to auto install or publish the software. If you choose Auto Install, the software will be installed automatically on every computer in the domain. If you choose Publish, the software is added to the list of available products, but is not installed unless a user chooses to install it. After you have modified all necessary items, click OK.
  5. Exit the Active Directory Users and Computers console.

Setting the Elevated Privileges via Group Policy

Since .NET Framework package (like most packages) allows only local administrators of the machine to install the package, you should use elevated privileges to advertise the package per-machine in Group Policy.

As an administrator you can create policies for one user, one computer, or a group of users. See the System Policy Editor Help for more information on creating special policy profiles. Also, see the Group Policy snap-in Help for more information on configuring policies.

Follow these steps to set this policy for deploying the .NET Framework:

  1. On the Start menu, point to Programs, then Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click the domain or organizational unit for which you want to set the policy.
  3. Click Properties, and then click the Group Policy tab.
  4. Select a Group Policy Object in the Group Policy Objects Links box and click Edit.
  5. Open the Local Computer Policy\Administrative Templates\Windows Component\Windows Installer folder.
  6. In the details pane, double-click the Always install with elevated privileges policy.
  7. In the Group Policy Property dialog box, enable the policy, select the check box to turn the setting on, and then click OK.
  8. Open the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Component\Windows Installer folder and repeat Steps 6 and 7.

You can use the System Policy Editor and Windows Installer policy to set the Always install with elevated privileges policy.

Verification That Package Is Ready to be Assigned to Machines

After you complete the setup of the .NET Framework package in Group Policy, the next step is to verify that package is available for installation. To follow are instructions on how administrators need to modify settings for the newly created package within Active Directory.

General Tab

Once you have assigned the .NET Framework package, relevant information about the package is automatically displayed on the General tab.

Deployment Tab

On the Deployment tab, you can specify whether to publish or assign .NET Framework. Note that if an administrator chooses to open the snap-in under Computer Configuration, the Published option is unavailable.

Under Deployment options, select check boxes to specify when and how the .NET Framework is installed on users' computers. You can set any of the following options:

  • Install the .NET Framework automatically when users open a file associated with a .NET Framework application. This setting is turned on by default.
  • For other options please check for details in the Group Policy Help and ensure we provide coverage on those areas.

Under Installation user interface options, you can specify how much of the .NET Framework Setup is displayed to users during the installation process. The recommended setting (and the default) is Basic, which installs redistributable quietly and requires no user interaction. (The Basic setting corresponds to the /qb- command-line option.)

To set additional deployment options, click Advanced. In the Advanced Deployment Options dialog box, you can:

  • Specify that Windows 2000 or .NET Server should install Redist even if the Redist installation language differs from the Windows 2000 or .NET Server's installation language.
  • Remove unmanaged Redist installations when you deploy Redist through Group Policy software installation and maintenance.

Upgrades Tab

If you are already managing a .NET Framework installation, you can use the Upgrades tab to deploy a new version of the product.

Categories Tab

Associating the .NET Framework with a category can make the .NET Framework appear in Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel when using publishing.

Modifications Tab

Use the Modifications tab to apply a transform (.mst file) to your .NET Framework (if any). Click Add, select your transform, and then click Open to add it to the Modifications tab.

Note that you can add multiple transforms, but you can apply only one transform to a given .NET Framework installation, and you can apply the transform only when you assign the .NET Framework.

Security Tab

The Security tab displays standard Windows-based security options. You can fine-tune your .NET Framework deployment by filtering the Group Policy software installation settings through ACLs.

Verify an Active Directory Package

  1. Log on to any computer that is a part of the domain. Click the Start button, point to Control Panel, and then click Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Add New Programs button. The .NET Framework installation package should appear in the list of available software.
  3. If the .NET Framework installation package does not appear in the list of available software, the package is incorrectly configured in Active Directory. Return to the Active Directory Users and Computers console and double-click the package to reconfigure it.

Install the .NET Framework Package

If the network administrator chooses the Publish option when creating the .NET Framework package in Active Directory, the package is added to the list of software available to computers in the domain. Users who want to install the package can follow these procedures on a client computer.

  1. Click the Start button, point to Control Panel, and then click Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Add New Programs button.
  3. In the list of available software, select the .NET Framework package and click the Add button. This will launch Microsoft .NET Framework Setup.
    Note   Windows Installer 3.0 must be installed on the client computer prior to launching Microsoft .NET Framework Setup. Setup will fail if Windows Installer 3.0 is not installed.
  4. When the installer displays the Microsoft .NET Framework Setup window, click the Next button.
  5. To proceed with installation, click the Accept option button, and then click the Next button. The installer will begin to copy files and update the system.
  6. When installation is complete, the installer displays a dialog box. Click the OK button.
    Note   To properly uninstall the .NET Framework package, you should also use the Windows Add or Remove Programs option.
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