Managing PCs using Windows Intune (Part 6) - Deploy Software

by [Published on 5 Jan. 2012 / Last Updated on 5 Jan. 2012]

This article demonstrates how to deploy software from the cloud to managed PCs using Windows Intune.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

Introducton

The previous articles in this series showed how to perform various PC management tasks using the System Overview, Computers, Updates, Endpoint Protection and Alerts workspaces of the Windows Intune admin console. And you also learned how the Windows Intune administrator can use Microsoft Easy Assist to remotely assist users who have problems with their computers. This present article explains how to deploy software to managed PCs using Windows Intune.

Note:
This series of articles is based upon a prerelease version of Windows Intune and the final released version may include additional features not included in this version.

Uploading software for deployment

Deploying software to managed PCs using Windows Intune involves two steps:

  1. Upload the software you want to deploy to the Windows Intune cloud storage service.
  2. Configure the uploaded software to deploy to the PCs you want it installed on.

Let’s start by uploading our software to the cloud. For this walkthrough, we’re going to deploy the Windows Desktop Search 4.0 software update (WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe) to a standalone (not domain-joined) Windows XP computer being managed by Windows Intune. This example was chosen to show that not only can you deploy software to older Windows XP clients using Windows Intune, but you can even deploy software to non-domain-joined computers using Windows Intune. And if you can manage standalone Windows XP computers with Windows Intune, you can manage anything!

Start by opening the Windows Intune administrator console and selecting the Software workspace on the left side of the console. Selecting the Managed Software page of this workspace shows that there is currently no software ready for deployment:


Figure 1: Step 1 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs.

Click the Upload button to upload the software you want to deploy. For this walkthrough, the Windows Search 4.0 for Windows XP (KB940157) software update was obtained from the Microsoft Download Center.

If this is the first time you are uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage, you will be prompted to install the Windows Intune Software Publisher tool:


Figure 2: Step 2 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs.

Clicking Run in the above dialog begins the download of this tool:


Figure 3: Step 3 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Once this tool is installed on your Windows Intune admin workstation, you will be prompted to provide the Windows Live credentials you use for accessing Windows Intune services:


Figure 4: Step 4 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

After signing in using Windows Live, the Upload Software wizard will appear:


Figure 5: Step 5 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Note the text in the above screen that says Windows Intune can only deploy software that requires no user interaction during installation. To see if this is possible when deploying the Windows Search 4.0 for Windows XP (KB940157) software update, we can check the Deployment Options page of the Windows Search 4.0 Administrator’s Guide on Microsoft TechNet. The Guide states “Windows Search can be deployed in attended mode or unattended mode, depending on the level of interaction you want your users to have with the computer during the installation. Installations for both modes can be performed through a combination of command-line options.” We’ll use some of these command-line options for unattended install soon as we configure our uploaded software for deployment to managed PCs.

Note:
For more information on deploying software in unattended mode, see the Windows Intune help on this topic, which can be found here.

Clicking Next prompts you to specify the location of the software you want to upload:


Figure 6: Step 6 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Clicking Browse lets us specify the file WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe which was previously obtained from the Microsoft Download Center:


Figure 7: Step 7 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Clicking Open returns us to the Upload Software wizard and shows us the size of the file being uploaded:


Figure 8: Step 8 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

When you click Next, the Publisher, Name and Description fields should be automatically populated. If not, you can enter these manually:


Figure 9: Step 9 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

On the Requirements page of the wizard, you can select the architecture (32- and/or 64-bit) of the PCs that the uploaded software can be deployed to:


Figure 10: Step 10 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Since we’re going to deploy it to a Windows XP machine, we’ll select only the 32-bit checkbox in the above screen. We’ll also specify the operating system of the target computers as Windows XP only:


Figure 11: Step 11 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

On the Rules page you can specify rules to be used for determining whether the software has already been installed on the target computers:


Figure 12: Step 12 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

We’ll select “Use the default detection rules” in the above screen.

On the Command Line Arguments page, you can specify any parameters needed to enable the software to be installed in unattended mode without any user interaction required. From the Windows Search 4.0 Administrators Guide and this page on MSDN we determine that two switches (/quiet and /norestart) are needed to be able to install WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe in unattended mode:


Figure 13: Step 13 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

The Return Codes page lets you specify how the installer interprets any return codes from the installation process:


Figure 14: Step 14 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

We’ll select No in the above screen.

The final page of the wizard summarizes the options we have selected:


Figure 15: Step 15 of uploading software to Windows Intune cloud storage for deployment to managed PCs

Clicking Upload causes the software to be compressed, then encrypted, and finally uploaded to Windows Intune cloud storage. For large files, the upload process can take some time:


Figure 16: The software is being uploaded to Windows Intune cloud storage

The wizard notifies us when the software has been successfully uploaded:


Figure 17: The software has been successfully uploaded to Windows Intune cloud storage

Deploying the uploaded software

Now that we’ve uploaded our software to the cloud and configured it so it can be installed in unattended mode on suitable machines, we’re ready to deploy it to our target computers. Begin by selecting the Managed Software page of the Software workspace:


Figure 18: Step 1 of deploying the uploaded software to managed PCs

Tip: If the uploaded software is not listed on the above page, press F5 to refresh your browser and it should appear. Note that the Deploy field for WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe is listed as No in the above screen, which indicates that the software has not yet been deployed.

With WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe selected on the above page, click the Deploy button to open the Deploy Software dialog:


Figure 19: Step 2 of deploying the uploaded software to managed PCs

Our Windows XP machine is in the group named Workgroup, so we’ll select this group and change the Deployment setting to Install and the Deadline to a time later today:


Figure 20: Step 3 of deploying the uploaded software to managed PCs

Clicking OK returns us to the Managed Software page of the Software workspace. Note that the Deploy field for WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe is now listed as Yes, which indicates that the software has been configured for automatic deployment:


Figure 21: Step 4 of deploying the uploaded software to managed PCs

Note:
At this point, should the user of the target computer get impatient and not want to wait for deployment to occur, she can initiate deployment manually by opening the Windows Intune Center on her computer and clicking Check For Updates (see below). After she does this, Windows Intune should indicate that there is (at least) one important update available for installation, and at that point she can click Install Updates to manually kick-off the unattended installation of WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe on her computer.


Figure 22: Users can also use the Windows Intune Center to manually initiate software deployment

Verifying software installation

For verification that automatic deployment of WindowsSearch-KB940157-XP-x86-enu.exe was successful, here is what Karen’s desktop looked like when she opened Search from the Start menu before the update was installed on her computer:


Figure 23: The managed Windows XP computer before the software was installed.

And here is what her desktop looks like when she opened Search from the Start menu after the update has been automatically deployed by Windows Intune:


Figure 24: The managed Windows XP computer after the software has been installed

Managing cloud storage

During the beta for Windows Intune, participants were provided with 2 GB of free cloud storage. This can be seen by selecting the Overview page of the Software workspace:


Figure 25: The Overview page of the Software workspace.

Clicking Manage Storage in the above screen takes us to the Storage Use page of the Administrator workspace where we can view the contents of our allocated cloud storage:


Figure 26: Viewing your cloud storage usage.

From the above page, you can:

  • View the number of computers to which the software has been successfully deployed
  • Delete uploaded installation files that are no longer needed
  • Purchase additional storage if required

Conclusion

This article has examined how to deploy software from the cloud to managed PCs using Windows Intune. The next and final article in this series will examine other management capabilities that are available from the Windows Intune admin console.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

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