SEMTEC The SE MN preK-12 Technology Coordinators

Welcome to SEMTEC! Home of SE MN Educational Technology Leaders!

Deployment of ExamView, Treasures and other poorly written software

I've been tasked with trying to deploy ExamView, Treasures, and other similar software.  The included installers provide zero means of deployment.  Running silent installs errors out.  Sitting at each workstation is out of the question.

Are any of you using this software, and if so, how are you managing / deploying the software?

535 reports they are using AdminStudio to repackage these programs.  Looks great, but we'll be selling candy bars for years to cover the cost.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!  :)

Views: 1289

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I've used a program (I need to look it up) that creates an MSI file and then you can use group Policy to install.  You start with a freshly imaged computer, run this program, it creates a snapshot of the system, registry, etc,  then you manually install the software and rin the program.  It compares all of the changes then cheates an MSI file based on teh changes, thn run your group policy to install that MSI and you're golden.  I had to do that with something we here but for the life of me I can't remember what itwas.

I looked at software like that - (InstallRite 2.5c) http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/InstallRite.shtml is one that comes up often in discussions.  My problem is I don't always have a fresh machine to install it to, and doing a reimage to build a software deployment isn't always an option.  I was able to create some packages with this, but it ended up snagging so many other idle system files and configurations that it was a headache to sort them all out. 

We ended up purchasing AdminStudio. http://www.flexerasoftware.com/products/adminstudio.htm  (you'll likely choke on the price a bit...) and this software works great!  I've been able to create MSI installers, and use SCCM to deploy them.  If needbe, they can be deployed via GPO, but we're shifting away from that method, except for out of the box critical apps like Flash, Java, and a PDF reader.

It's been pretty much touch each workstation for us, though the teachers that are fine doing so we've given the green light to install themselves and haven't had much problems with that. I'd have to look into AdminStudio to learn more about that...sounds like it ain't cheap though. Pizza sales may be more profitable??!!

We've removed all local admin rights and don't want to go back to ever granting it again.  Amazing how clean the systems stay, and how any bug that manages to land on a system, can only impact the local user account.  Easy cleanup.  Took us years to get to a proactive stance on this.  So, while the cost may be high, the tradeoff for increased system security and knowledge of what is installed on your systems is well worth it.

Wow, Sorry I'm late to the discussion on this one.  Maybe we can talk about this at next the next SEMTEC meeting.

I think I can give some suggestions here and some ideas.

First of all, www.itninja.com has some awesome suggestions on how to deploy software via GPO.  Some software explanations are up to date on there, some are not.  When at the site, hove over research, then hit software.

2nd, admin rights on PCs.  That went away in St. Charles when I came on board to St. Charles Public Schools.  Since then, we haven't had one issue with malware, viruses, etc.  Amazing when the user on the keyboard don't have rights jack up their system anymore.

3rd, I know Microsoft Security Essentials is not a "corporate".  But it is what we use for anti-virus here in St. Charles right now.  We will, after I deploy an SCCM server, use MS Forefront in the near future.  But this is what we use right now and for the life of me, can not deploy this via GPO.  So......Windows XP Pro or Windows 7 Pro and MS Security Essentials are the only two pieces of software I have on my base images.  Everything else is deployed via GPO....and in the near future, hopefully SCCM.

I'm in your same boat.  Some software titles I can not get to deploy without errors on a GPO.  Sucks.

But some titles I've used Dell's Kace free tool called AppDeploy Repackager.  It has worked for some and not others.  It's a free tool.  It does exactly what  Brian Bartley stated above.  Takes snapshot of the system and then takes another after the install of the software, then it makes an msi out of it to deploy via GPO.

I can tell you that I have not had luck with ExamView.  In the case of this software and others that I either don't have time to test out or can't get to work, I do have a special username that the staff member can log in to their computer and install the software.  Username:  teacherinstaller   The teacherinstaller has admin rights to that machine, not the whole domain.  I set this via GPO.

This way, the staff member can continue to educate the students with the tools they desire to do so.  But there are requirements of the staff members before I give them the password.  First of all, I will ask the teacher when they want to install the software.  They say that day, I will set the teacherinstaller account to expire at the end of the day that day.  This can be done on the bottom of the Account tab in the teacherinstaller properties in ADUC.  2nd, I require them to send me a support ticket stating what software they are wanting to load and any details pertaining to where they got it, what licensing we have for that particular product, etc.  They need to know the licensing that we have.  If we only have 1 disk of that software title, it's only going on 1 computer.  Period.  No exceptions to the rules unless they scan in a document or email me a document from the software vendor/manufacturer stating we have multiple licenses.  Being a one man IT shop, it's tough for me to track down our licensing schema.  Let the end user do the work for you in that regard.  And lastly, they have to then reply to that support ticket stating they have completed the install and tested the software to be working when logged in as themselves to the machine.  If it doesn't, it's usually always permissions on the c:\program files\<software title> directory, in which case, I assign modify rights by authenticated users to that directory only.  Occasionally, I'll have to modify settings on a registry key also.  In both cases of changing permissions, I don't have to leave my workstation.

With the end user submitting a trouble ticket to me, I have documentation as to what the user did to install the software and it also allows me to follow up in the future to try and build a software package.

Hope the above helps.  I hope we can continue this conversation in the future here.  I'd like to know what other people are doing to make their lives easier with software deployment in education.  

Not sure if all school's staff are like St. Charles, but we have a lot of teachers using very old software, which of course, was not designed to be deployed via GPO.  Sucks, but that's the way it is.

Mind if I ask how much AdminStudio was?  I'd be willing to take a look at it if it's going to make life easier.

TI Calc.....has anyone gotten this to work being pushed out via GPO?  We have invested a lot of money in to TI-83+ calculators.  Each of these come with a license to install the "virtual" edition on a computer.  I have had success to push out the software on to Windows 7 32 bit, but not XP Pro or Win 7 64 bit.  

Oh, the other thing I was going to say is to get a test environment if you don't already have one.  Grab a spare box with a half way decent processor in it.  Install the free version of VMWare Vsphere on it.  The latest version is 5.1 I believe.  Install a few workstations on it.  For example, on our network here in St. Charles, we have Windows XP Pro, Windows 7 32 bit and Windows 7 64 bit.  Update them to the hilt from MS Updates.

Then, take a snapshot of each one of them.  

After taking the snapshot, change the computer name and join to the domain.  You now have your "clean" machine that you require.  When testing all the software and successful deployment to it, revert back to the snapshot and disable and delete the machine from ADUC.  You are back to square one with another base "clean" computer.  

Works for me.

I just spoke with Flexera software.  AdminStudio Standard was quoted to me at $3499 and the 1st yr of maintenance/support/updates are included.  After that, $999/yr for them.  Samantha did say that resellers could provide a "more competitive" price.

Indeed.  Buying directly through Flexera is spendy.  Look into a purchase through Symantec.  We ultimately made our purchase through SHI.  They found Admin Studio Standard through their Symantec channel, and I believe our cost was around $2,400.  I sent out quote requests to all our vendors and set them into a bit of a bidding war to get it to this point.  :)



Mike Plass said:

I just spoke with Flexera software.  AdminStudio Standard was quoted to me at $3499 and the 1st yr of maintenance/support/updates are included.  After that, $999/yr for them.  Samantha did say that resellers could provide a "more competitive" price.

With Admin Stuido I now have 2 systems.  One clean system that I use to build the packages on, which directly uses AdminStudio components to monitor and build.  I then have a 2nd system that is a standard district install which I do my test deployments to.  If / when I need to clean it, I simply reimage it with FOG, which automatically drops my default image on it, joins it to the domain, applies my GPOs and installs my packages through SCCM.  I've reimaged 5 times in one day with this process.  Quite effective.  :)

Mike Plass said:

Oh, the other thing I was going to say is to get a test environment if you don't already have one.  Grab a spare box with a half way decent processor in it.  Install the free version of VMWare Vsphere on it.  The latest version is 5.1 I believe.  Install a few workstations on it.  For example, on our network here in St. Charles, we have Windows XP Pro, Windows 7 32 bit and Windows 7 64 bit.  Update them to the hilt from MS Updates.

Then, take a snapshot of each one of them.  

After taking the snapshot, change the computer name and join to the domain.  You now have your "clean" machine that you require.  When testing all the software and successful deployment to it, revert back to the snapshot and disable and delete the machine from ADUC.  You are back to square one with another base "clean" computer.  

Works for me.

I can't wait to get that SCCM server up and running.  Sounds like the way to go.

On thing with the FOG server.  Are your machine names random?  Is it possible to have a specific machine name go to a particular machine?  Maybe set up to name it according to MAC address?  

I have a naming convention for every device on the network.  I need to stick with it.  And the PCs in the labs are in order, in case we have a machine that goes down, I have a map on the wall that a teacher can look at to see what the machine name is and then submit a trouble ticket on it.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2017   Created by Bryan Berg.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service