Installing the Altiris Agent using a group policy for versions prior to 7.5

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Article ID: 179602

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Updated On:

Products

Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server)

Issue/Introduction

 

Resolution

Question
How do I install the Altiris Agent using a group policy?

Answer

The information is in the Notification Server 6.0 SP3 Reference (page 16) found at http://www.altiris.com/Support/Documentation.aspx. It can also be found in article 18712.

It contains the following information:

Installing the Altiris Agent Using Active Directory Policies (Intellimirror)

This section describes how to install the Altiris Agent to computers and automatically configure it using Group Policy. The Altiris Agent installation service requires parameters to specify the Notification Server to download and report to once the Altiris Agent is installed. Using MsiExec.exe, you can create an Administrative Install containing the required public properties.

Note: If you want to install the Altiris Agent to remote computers, behind a firewall, use the Altiris Agent Bootstrap Program on page 19.

The installation process consists of the following steps:

  1. Create the Administrative Install.
  2. Create a file share to distribute the Install service.
  3. Create the AD Group Policy.
  4. Add/move computers to the target OU.

When using Active Directory Group Policies (Intellimirror) to install the Altiris Agent, the Altiris Agent software should be assigned to the Computer Configuration section of the Group Policy Object. This ensures the software will be installed on all computers and will not rely on the user interaction required to install software that is either Assigned or Published to users. This is because the software should be installed according to the computers on the network and not the users of those computers. (The Altiris Agent collects user information during its operation, but the installation should be targeted to computers.)

Installation using Active Directory/Group Policy Objects should be performed following the Windows 2000/2003 documentation. It is suggested that you create organizational units (OUs) to contain the computers you will be deploying the Altiris Agent to.

For information on this process, see the Microsoft KB Article “HOW TO: Use Group Policy to Remotely Install Software in Windows 2000 (Q314934)” that outlines the steps required to do this. You can find this article by clicking on the following URL: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q314934

For suggestions on how to use Active Directory Group Policies to install the Altiris Agent, see the Altiris Support Forums on the Altiris Web site. Go to www.altiris.com and select Support > Forums.

Step 1—Create the Administrative Install

At \\nsserver\NSCap\Bin\Win32\X86\NS Client Installation\ enter the following path and your required public properties:

msiexec /a <path to AeXNSCInstSvc.msi> [MSI Public Properties]

MSI Public Properties

 

Properties

Description

NS

Name of the Notification Server the Altiris Agent will report to (without leading \\). This argument is required. See AeXNSC
Command Line Arguments on page 15.

NS_WEB

Specifies the Notification Server Web the Altiris Agent connects to.
This is optional. By default, it is http://NSName/Altiris. See AeXNSC
Command Line Arguments on page 15.

SOURCE_URL

URL used to download AEXNSC. By default, it will be retrieved from he Notification Server. See AeXNSC Command Line Arguments on page 15.

AGENT_PARAMS

Altiris Agent parameters in AexSVCInstSvc that can be passed to AEXNSC.EXE:

  • notrayicon
  • nostartmenu
  • preconfig

See AeXSWDInstSvc Command Line Arguments on page 20 for information.

SERVICE_PARAMS

Parameters that can be passed to AexSVCInstSvc:

  • -d path
  • -c chunk_size
  • -p pause_interval
  • -checkonly
  • -exe

See AeXSWDInstSvc Command Line Arguments on page 20 for information.


Example:

msiexec /a AeXNSCInstSvc.msi NS="www.yourserver.com"
AGENT_PARAMS="-notrayicon -nostartmenu" SERVICE_PARAMS="-c 2048 -p 15"


This Altiris Agent install will not show the tray icon on initial startup and no start menu item will be installed. Also, the Altiris Agent is configured to download 2048 bytes of data each time, with 15ms between each chunk download. See AeXSWDInstSvc Command Line Arguments on page 20 for information.

 

Step 2—Create a file share to distribute the Install Service

Once the transform is created, it must be placed on a share so all target computers have
access. See http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;278472 for information.

Step 3—Create the AD Group Policy

  1. Create a new OU for machines that will have the "AeXNSCInstSvc.msi" deployed to them in Active Directory Users and Computers MMC.
  2. Right-click the OU and select Properties from the right-click menu.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab of the displayed dialog.
  4. Click New to create a new group policy object and then name it.
  5. Select the new group policy object and click Edit to display the Group Policy Object Editor window.
  6. Select the Computer Configuration\Software Settings\Software installation item, right-click and select New > Package.
  7. Select the MSI from the share on the DC. When the Deploy software dialog appears select the Assigned option and click OK to continue. AGENT_PARAMS Altiris Agent parameters in AexSVCInstSvc that can be passed to AEXNSC.EXE:
  8. To install the software at next logon click the Deployment tab and click Assigned.
  9. Select the Install the software at logon checkbox.
  10. Click OK to save the options to the package.

Step 4—Add machines to Target OU

After creating the AD group policy add or move the machines, that will have the
software deployed to them, to the new OU with the Agent GPO applied.

Note: For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 machines, it may be necessary to set the Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon policy if the package deployment is required at logon. See http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;305293.

Note: The Agent install service only will be downloaded from the file share and the Agent install executable will be 'trickle' downloaded from the /NScap share on the Notification Server itself.

 

NOTE: There is a problem with installing using the MSI. The AeXAgentUtil.exe /Clean switch will remove the agent installed by the MSI install but does not uninstall using the MSI. As a consequence if you try to run the msi install again in quiet mode, it finishes without doing anything. Normally it would bring up a Repair/Remove dialog but since this is running in quiet mode nothing occurs.

I would recommend using the AeXNSC.exe found in the "NS Client Package" folder. Refer to HOWTO1567 for command line parameters.