Deploying Print&Share MSI via Group Policy (GPO)

Note that this is only a guidance, the actual implementation might differ based on your environment.


This article will help you, the administrator, with some guidance on how to deply an MSI file (e.g. the Print&Share setup) to several computers.


Windows Server 2012 R2 was used as OS for this article.

1. Creating a central location

When you deploy an MSI file to several computers in your network, each computer that will be targeted in the roll out has to have access to the MSI setup file.
We start with creating a Windows File Share, optionally but recommended is also creating a DFS-Namespace.

  1. Create a File Share
  2. Create a Distributed File System Namespace (DFS-N or DFS-Namespace)

1. Create a File Share

  1. Log in to the Windows Server
  2. Open Windows Explorer and create a new folder
  3. Right-mouse click the Folder and select [Properties]
  4. Select the [Sharing]-tab and click the [Share...] button
  5. Select the drop down option [Find people...] and type Domain Computers and click [Check Names] and [OK]
  6. In the File Sharing dialog give the Domain Computers Read permissions and click [Share]
  7. On the [Security]-tab grant the group Domain Computers Read access (give yourself also Write access)
  8. Create a subdirectory called PrintandShare (or give it also a version number).
    Verify the subdirectory also has the same permissions
  9. Put the MSI file in the subdirectory

2. Create a Distributed File System Namespace (DFS-N)

(Optional, but recommended)

  1. Log in to the Windows Server
  2. Go to [Server Manager] and [Add roles and features]
  3. Install the role [DFS Namespaces] located under [File and Storage Services] > [File and iSCSI Services]
  4. Go to [Server Manager] and select [DFS Management] from the [Tools] menu
  5. Right-mouse click Namespaces and select [New Namespace...]
  6. Follow the New Namespace Wizard to create a new domain based DFS Namespace
  7. Select the newly created Namespace and in the Actions menu select [New Folder...]
  8. Point it to the shared folder containing the MSI files.

This article does not go into detail about DFS but more advanced and better scenarios are possible when combining DFS-N and DFS-R to replicate across multiple servers.

Group Policy Management

In order to work with Group Policies, you have to install the Group Policy Management on your Windows Server.

  1. Log in to the Windows Server
  2. Go to [Server Manager] and [Add roles and features]
  3. In the left pane click on [Features] and enable Group Policy Management to install this feature

Creating a new Group Policy

  1. Log in to the Windows Server
  2. Go to [Server Manager] and select Group Policy Management from the [Tools] menu
  3. Navigate to Forest: MYDOMAIN > Domains > MYDOMAIN > Group Policy Objects
  4. Right-mouse click Group Policy Objects and select [New]
  5. Give a clear name to your GPO, e.g. Winking Print&Share install
  6. Double click the GPO Winking Print&Share install
  7. Under [Security Filtering] remove the Authenticated Users group and add specific computer names to deploy the software on. For all computers add the group Domain Computers.
  8. In the treeview, select MYDOMAIN, right-mouse click it and select [Link an Existing GPO...]
  9. Select the GPO Winking Print&Share install and click [OK]
  10. To add the MSI file select [Group Policy Objects] again in the treeview
  11. Right-mouse click the GPO Winking Print&Share install and select [Edit] to open the Group Policy Management Editor
  12. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Software Settings > Software installation
  13. Right-mouse click [Software installation] or in the (empty) pane and select [New] > [Package...]
  14. Select the MSI file to deploy. If you only created a Windows File Share, navigate to that share or select the MSI file via the DFS name. Don't use the local path e.g. C:\MyFolder but use the share name!
    File Share: \\MYSERVER\MYSHARE
  15. After selecting the MSI and clicking [Open], click on [Advanced] (this can take a minute).
  16. Go to the [Deployment]-tab and check the option [Uninstall this application when it falls out of the scope of management], to allow a later uninstallation through GPO
  17. Click [OK]

Note that if you want to do a silent installation (quiet mode) you have to create an MST e.g. via Orcas to enabled these parameters. This article does not go into detail about setting custom parameters.

Now when the Group Policies are updated on the clients and they reboot their PCs, it should install the application.