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Is there some way I can use the Software Installation GPO in Server 2012 to deploy things like Java and Adobe Reader? Problem is these are .exe setup files and it seems that Software Installation GPO requires a .msi file.

I have read about .zap files but Server 2012 does not seem to support these, .msi files only.

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You'll need an .MSI to deploy through GPO. There are ways to convert your .exe to .msi, or wrap your .exe in an .msi, but both products you mention have .msi packages available.

Java:

How do I deploy Java using Active Directory across a network?

Adobe Reader:

Distribute free Adobe Reader in volume

For the Adobe Reader, you'll need to fill out an "application" to receive a link to the downloadable .msi.

If .msi packages weren't available, you could use something like PsExec to deploy the .exe.

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Thanks Cheekaleak, I have applied for the Adobe Reader (and Flash) .msi installers. Also obtained the Java.msi and tried that, unfortunately that fails with error: 1603 Fatal error during installation... Hang-on just found the solution to that, there is a Data1.cab file which needs to be copied as well. Nope still fails, will come back to this tomorrow. –  NickC Nov 25 '12 at 0:38
    
Now works, it seems if the user loggs on too quickly windows 8 cancels the software deployment. Just had to reboot and let the machine sit for a minute before logging on. Thanks for your help –  NickC Nov 25 '12 at 0:45
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Glad to help @NickC, but if the answer was what you needed, please mark it as accepted. You have a very low accept rate, which will lead to people overlooking your questions in the future. –  Cheekaleak Nov 25 '12 at 1:57
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Thanks for pointing that out Cheekaleak, I hadn't noticed that marking answers as accept was important but now I do. Cheers –  NickC Nov 25 '12 at 15:15

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