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Desktop Deployment:

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Lead: Chris Hughes


IFAS IT will be building a supported image for Co-Managed that will include MSI based installations of common programs, made using Wise Installation Studio or modifications of existing MSI packages. We will also support the patching of these applications. This project was waiting on the arrival of the new DHCP server, which was not approved by Joe Joyce as part of this year’s budget, pending the report from the IT Taskforce commitee. Dan Cromer made the decision to purchase this server anyways, with the hopes that the IT Taskforce Committee would recommend its purchase and the funding would be approved. This server has just arrived and the image will take a number of weeks before it is in production.

If you are interested in making MSI packages for yourself, Chris suggests a repackaging program like Wise Installation Studio or Installshield. Many packages are already in MSI form and can be easily added to a GPO already without modification. http://www.appdeploy.com is a good site for information on doing slight modifications to these packages and doing other automatic installations.

IFAS IT is not currently staffed well enough to create and support GPO based software installs on request for OU admins, but OU admins do have the ability to create the packages and deploy them for their own OU, and also make the package available to others. There are scripting and GPO guides at http://it-train.ifas.ufl.edu.

People want IFAS IT to do everything for their users, but when it comes down to it, they are not staffed adequately to be able to do so. If it is important for your department to have an increased level of service, they should look into hiring additional IT staff, as has been done in other departments or make sure that an increase in IFAS IT staffing is included in the IT Taskforce report.

List of programs installed on IFAS machines as of 18 May 2006:


Windows Vista Technology Adoption Program Information:

Participation in the Vista TAP is managed via Microsoft Connect. Access was originally arranged by contacting Mike Kanofsky, who forwarded your name and Microsoft Passport address to our Microsoft rep--after which one receivee an invite via e-mail. Note that downloads from that site require installation of the Microsoft File Transfer Manager and you must install the "error reporting tool" (see local link below) to provide feedback to the program. The Connect site allows one to search feedback from others to see if you should submit a problem as a new issue or as a comment to an existing post.

That has now changed, however. As per an announcement by Mike Conlon which was forwarded by Mike Kanofsky on April 6th, Vista TAP participation for system admins at UF is now two-tiered. Microsoft wants access to http://connect.microsoft.com to be more limited and the implementation of that will be to create a formal "Vista TAP group". If you want access you must join that group. The prerequisite is a donation of .25 FTE.

Chris Hughes expects at least two people from IFAS to be members of the formal Vista TAP group. Chris will be on that, as will Torrence Zellner of the IFAS Help Desk. Others willing to donate time and wishing to participate are welcome; you may contact Dom Vila (dvila@ufl.edu) concerning that.

CTP builds are limited to 10 installs per key and the keys are associated to memberships in the Connect site. This means that Chris cannot dole those out to others or he wouldn't have enough to do his own work. The builds are available via MSDN if you have a subscription there.

Chris Hughes intends to develop a virtual PC image which will be distributed out. Individuals can then test that via a Virtual PC player that is not yet available. That will ensure that everyone is working off the same image for installation and testing. In a couple of months there will also be builds available, at least on campus, via SMS. Perhaps Remote Desktop access can be provided to some on-campus test machines for access by remote IT support staff--that would at least give them a way to keep in touch with what should eventually be available remotely as well as the SMS development progresses.

There are both weekly and monthly UF Vista TAP meetings. There is lab work Tuesdays and Thursdays for members of the official Vista TAP group.

VirusScan does not work with the current version of Vista, but the VirusScan 8.5 beta is supposed to work with the May release. Also, Windows Defender blocks vbscripts so our admin scripts, for example, do not run. We will be able to change the defaults on that to get around the problem. Chris also warned against joining a Vista machine to the domain. Our license states that we can not use these releases in a production environment and it could cause problems if you used such a machine to edit GPOs, as Vista changes the format of those. If anyone has a 64-bit machine that could be donated temporarily for testing, Chris really needs one. IFAS IT does not have the resources to provide such a machine for testing.

Resource Links

Other Windows Vista resources: