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I am going to frequently deploy different versions of a program on a cluster of Windows machines (mostly Windows XP), so I am willing to use a command-line broadcasting tool (either built-in or 3rd-party) to (1) download a file from some URL, and (2) execute the same command, on all the machines.

I googled for a very long time but got nothing related to my goal. (Only pages about broadcasting a message, broadcasting ping, or programmatically broadcast via TCP/IP, etc.)

Are there any tool for this purpose? Or is it possible to do it pragmatically (without installing extra client programs on those machines)?

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migrated from superuser.com Oct 23 '13 at 18:54

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There is Puppet which recently added basic support for Windows, but using it would requires learning a lot about it's Ruby-based config language. If you did get it up and running, though, you could use it for a lot more than just executing commands. –  MetaNova Oct 19 '13 at 15:45
@MetaNova Thanks for pointing out. That's fine since I am quite familiar with Ruby. –  Xiao Jia Oct 19 '13 at 15:46
Also, if you want to avoid some wading through links, Windows downloads can be found here. –  MetaNova Oct 19 '13 at 15:50
@MetaNova however I still prefer if there is something that doesn't need to be installed on all those machines –  Xiao Jia Oct 19 '13 at 15:51

2 Answers 2

If your systems are set up in a domain, you could deploy appliations via Group Policy.

You'd have to package or unpackage installations into an MSI or scriptable installation form, but this should handle what you're looking for. For this, the applications would reside on a network share, and the scripts in the GPO would handle launching the scripts to install the application.

Another route, if you have SCCM or the older SMS, you could deploy applications via that. SCCM has much better tools for deploying applications than Group Policy alone.

Worse case scenario, you could build VBS or Batch scripts and have them loaded into GPO, or script them into the login sequence.

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Can I deploy applications using GPO on Windows XP? I searched for the documentation of GPO and only found stuff related to Windows Server systems. –  Xiao Jia Oct 20 '13 at 1:21
Yes, if you have an Active Directory set up in your domain. If you don't, then, no. –  CIA Oct 20 '13 at 15:39

You could script this quite easily with PSEXEC which is now maintained by Microsoft. As you can see from the description, it has built-in support for copying the file from the central PC to the target and also supports using a textfile full of target computer names so you don't have to write a "for" loop in your batch file.

I've used it successfully in the past to roll out an urgent patch and it seems fine.

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