Installing SoftLINK via Active Directory

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Guide to creating a package and distributing SoftLINK via Group Policy.

DISTRIBUTION DIRECTIONS:

  1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers. Ensure you are running in advanced mode. View > Advanced Features
  2. Right click the Organizational Unit that contains the machines you wish to deploy and select Properties.
  3. Select the Group Policy Tab
    NOTE: You may wish to create an additional organizational unit if you require one specifically to contain machines that are required to have the package deployed too.
  4. Create a Group Policy Object that will be used to deploy the software by selecting New. Name the object so it is clear what package you will be distributing. Example: SoftLINK.
  5. Select the group policy object you have created and click Edit. This will open the Group Policy Object Editor.
  6. In the group policy window, you are given two possible installation types / levels for the SoftLINK package: “Computer Configuration” and “User Configuration”. If you are using the “Computer Configuration” the package will be installed before the user is prompted to login. The installation will use the System Service Account to install the package. If you use the “User Configuration” the package will be installed when a user logs on. Please note that the user will require administrator rights to install the software at this level. We would advise to install the package under the “Computer Configuration” in order to prevent the possibility of any issues installing at the “User” level.
  7. Select the type of configuration you require either “Computer Configuration” or User Configuration” then select Software Settings.
  8. Right Click Software settings and select New > Package.
  9. You will be prompted for the location of the package installer files (the SoftLINK .MSI file). This location must be accessible by all client machines you wish to deploy too, they must also have read access for these files. We would recommend you use a UNC path and not a mapped drive as the client machines mapped drives may differ from machine to machine i.e. \\server\share\SoftLINK.msi.
  10. When prompted for the deployment method, select Assigned.
  11. After a brief delay the Package will be displayed. Right Click the package and select Properties.
  12. Under the Deployment Tab > Deployment Options check the “Install this application at logon” Tick box and select ok.
  13. Close the Group Policy Editor.

If you have deployed at the “Computer Configuration” level the client machines will need to be restarted for the software package to be installed. If the package is set at the “User Configuration” level it will require the user to log off and back on again.

CREATING THE PACKAGE

To properly create a package for distribution, you will need to following files in the distribution folder.

  • msi – the Microsoft installer. This can be obtained from our website – http://www.acs-linksystems.com/resources/downloads/SoftLink/setup.msi
  • ini – this is the install parameters file. This is the file that will be used to define which components of SoftLINK you would like to install.
  • lic – this is the license file and will ensure that your license is applied during the installation. This file is not required for a standard evaluation installation.
  • ini – this is the configuration file for the Client/Student component. This is an optional file if you are configuring your Students using Group Policy.

SETTING INSTALLATION OPTIONS

The installation options required by a SoftLINK deployment can be easily set up via the NSS.INI. The location is normally C:\Program Files (x86)\SoftLINK Class Control\Deploy\ on a standard Tutor installation. This NSS.ini file should be copied to the package storage location as specified above. The deployment installation will automatically detect the presence of the file and install the application with the specified installation options. The NSS.ini file contains full examples of the installations options that can be set, making it very easy to configure. The file can be modified using Notepad. We recommend only changing the options for which components are installed and leaving the other items with their default settings.

SETTING THE CLIENT/STUDENT CONFIGURATION

The Client/Student configuration is stored in the Client32u.ini file. This file is located in the program files application folder in a default installation. The file should be copied to the package storage location as specified above. The deployment installation will automatically detect the presence of the file and install the application with the specified Student configuration. This file should only be modified using the SoftLINK Class Control Configurator as it is a protected (checksummed) file. The Configurator will be located in your list of SoftLINK programs on a machine with a default Tutor installation.

INCLUDING THE LICENSE FILE

Add the NSM.LIC file from any machine which has been successfully updated with your license information. The NSM.LIC can be found in the default installation folder for the product. A default installation, without this file, will result in the evaluation license being installed. Including this file in your package will bypass the need to fully license the installations later.

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