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I've heard of folks having a sort of "software repository" which contains a database of product keys and then network installation media for operating systems and other Microsoft software, such as Office.

With this, they were then able to join a computer to the domain and grant that user privileges to a set of software and then the client was able to use it either remotely or locally on their machine. I believe it installed from the server on to their local machine.

Does anyone happen to know what this is?

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closed as too localized by MDMarra, Ward, Scott Pack, Chris S Oct 8 '12 at 19:31

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

What you probably are looking for are Group Policies, they can be used to do all kinds of things including deploying software packages onto machines. Basically you join a computer to a domain and configure it using GPOs (Group Policy Objects). You can apply configuration settings, firewall settings, connect network shares and printers, install/update software and lots of other things depending on the clients and servers Windows version.

Using GPOs you are able to install software onto all or select machines. Also you can easily update previously deployed software by adding another, newer version of the package. You can also define separate packages for 32- and 64-bit machines.

If you don't already know what Group Policies are and how to use them you should start learning if you want to be able to effectively administer a Windows Domain.

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Note that the software must be packaged as an MSI for group policy deployment. – Ansgar Wiechers Sep 30 '12 at 12:58
@AnsgarWiechers It must be an MSI for Group Policy Software Distribution, but Group Policy Login/Startup scripts can install other things as well. – Chris S Oct 8 '12 at 19:33
@ChrisS With scripts you can do (virtually) anything, but maintaining them is a pain, because they (or rather their contents) are not integrated in the group policy management tools. That's why I'd only use them as a last resort, particularly in a software deployment scenario. – Ansgar Wiechers Oct 8 '12 at 21:35

Group Policy Software Distribution like lsmooth said, or System Center Configuration Manager. Or probably lots of other tools that can automate software delivery.

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Group Policy Software Distribution was what worked for me. Thanks to you both. – Michael J. Gray Oct 10 '12 at 1:23

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