Recently with the new vulnerabilities with Java, I needed to push the latest Java update remotely to all of my clients currently using my companies “Managed Services”.
The upgrade was being scheduled for certain dates per location, however as of Tuesday morning I noticed that some computers were being hit with some of the newer vulnerabilities recently discovered.
This all of a sudden changed the priority from “high priority” to “emergency”. I needed a quick and efficient means of pushing this update to computers at client sites.
Active Directory allows system administrators to push, allow, or make available software installations to users. This is all controlled inside of Active Directory Group Policy Management.
To push the latest Java update to all computers on a network, I had to perform the steps below:
1. Download the “Offline Installation” of Java from the Java website. Open the file, do not proceed to continue the installation. (You will simply hit cancel after you extract the MSI and other files needed).
2. Open a explorer and browse to C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\LocalLow\Sun\Java\jre1.6.0_20. After navigating to this location copy “Data1.cab”, “jre1.6.0_20.msi”, and “sp1033.MST” to a new folder (I chose a folder on my desktop).
3. Log into the remote server, create a file share (for example NetInstall), and configure users read access only.
4. Copy the folder you created on your desktop to the new file share on the server. Remember to use a naming scheme for the applications you wish to push so that they all make sense and can be organized.
5. On the server, go to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Group Policy Management
6. Either create a new GPO, or use an existing on that you have configured. If you are unfamiliar with this, it may be worth while doing some online research on GPOs. In my case I right clicked, and chose edit on the “Windows SBS Client Policy” GPO on SBS 2008.
7. Expand Computer Configuration, policies, Software Settings, Software installation. Right click on “Software Installation” and select new package. Follow the instructions.
8. When choosing the location of the .msi file, PLEASE make sure that you browse to it using your UNC network path. This location has to be somewhere where all the computers have access to. (I.E. don’t use C:\Folder\file.msi, you would rather use \\servername\sharename\programname\file.msi).
At this point you have now configured the server to force install Java on all the computers that apply to that GPO. This is perfect to make sure that all your clients are running the latest versions of free software available. It will also help with managing vulnerabilities with aging software, etc…
Please note: If this doesn’t work right away it is because the client workstations need to refresh their GPO. After the GPO is refreshed on the client workstation side, the system should install the package on next reboot.
There are some other neat things you can do with GPOs, and pushing applications on your network, however I’m not covering it in this document. For example instead of using “Computer Configuration”, you could use “User Configuration”, and instead of forcing applications you could actually make applications available for install through “Add/Remove Programs” for users to install.
Please always make sure that any applications you use are properly paid for and/or licensed.