Create an Active Directory Test Lab on your computer

ms_AD_logo

Create an Active Directory Test Lab on your computer

Hello and welcome! I decided to make this post as a help for people who are getting into IT administration business or would like to setup a test environment for a network they are administrating. As a base guide, where it is explained how to setup the basics I have used a very nice guide which can be found here.  The article is split into 3 parts and is a very nice guide on how to setup the test lab environment.

I am testing this on a computer that is based around the following components:

  • i5 – 3570K CPU
  • 16 GB Ram
  • RAID 0 HDD’s

You can setup this lab testing on slower computers also, just be careful when setting the number of vCPU’s, RAM etc. Also, if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a message through the contact form on the bottom of the page.

Using Group policy to remotely install software

I. Create a distribution point

  1. Log on to the server as an administrator.
  2. Create a shared network folder where you will put the Microsoft Windows Installer package (.msi file) that you want to distribute.
  3. Set permissions on the share to allow access to the distribution package.
  4. Copy or install the package to the distribution point. For example, to distribute Microsoft Office, run the administrative installation (setup.exe /a) to copy the files to the distribution point.

II. Create a Group Policy Object

  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, and then click New.
  4. Type a name for this new policy (for example, Office XP distribution), and then press Enter.
  5. Click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  6. Clear the Apply Group Policy check box for the security groups that you don’t want this policy to apply to.
  7. Select the Apply Group Policy check box for the groups that you want this policy to apply to.
  8. When you are finished, click OK.

III. Publish a package

  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, click the policy that you want, and then click Edit.
  4. Under User Configuration, expand Software Settings.
  5. Right-click Software installation, point to New, and then click Package.
  6. In the Open dialog box, type the full UNC path of the shared installer package that you want. For example, \\file server\share\file name.msi.
    Alert icon

    Important Do not use the Browse button to access the location. Make sure that you use the UNC path of the shared installer package.

  7. Click Open.
  8. Click Publish, and then click OK.
  9. The package is listed in the right-pane of the Group Policy window.
  10. Close the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then close the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
  11. Test the package.

III.a. Redeploying a package

  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, click the Group Policy Object that you used to deploy the package, and then click Edit.
  4. Expand the Software Settings container that contains the software installation item that you used to deploy the package.
  5. Click the software installation container that contains the package.
  6. In the right-pane of the Group Policy window, right-click the program, point to All Tasks, and then click Redeploy application. You will receive the following message:
    Redeploying this application will reinstall the application everywhere it is already installed. Do you want to continue?
  7. Click Yes.
  8. Quit the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then close the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.

III.b. Removing a package

  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To do this, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. In the console tree, right-click your domain, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, click the Group Policy Object that you used to deploy the package, and then click Edit.
  4. Expand the Software Settings container that contains the software installation item that you used to deploy the package.
  5. Click the software installation container that contains the package.
  6. In the right-pane of the Group Policy window, right-click the program, point to All Tasks, and then click Remove.
  7. Do one of the following:
    • Click Immediately uninstall the software from users and computers, and then click OK.
    • Click Allow users to continue to use the software but prevent new installations, and then click OK.
  8. Close the Group Policy snap-in, click OK, and then closet the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *