Hi there I'm a developer looking at introducing ClickOnce deployment for an internal .NET Winforms application that will be distributed via the corporate network.

Currently the product roll out and updates are handled by Group Policy however I would like to control the updates via ClickOnce deployment now.

What I would like to know is, how should I initially roll out the package to make sure that all users have got it. Can I use a combination of Group Policy (the roll out) and then rely on the ClickOnce deployment model for any further updates?


I haven't heard of anyone successfully using Group Policy to deploy a ClickOnce application. ClickOnce, while providing ease of updates, is not very flexible in terms of installation mechanisms. So, as far as I know, the answer is no.

Joel Coehoorn suggests a possible hybrid approach in this Stack Overflow post: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1841435/is-it-possible-to-automate-a-clickonce-deployment. Basically, build a traditional MSI install package that installs a shortcut to the ClickOnce installer.

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  • Yeah as far as I've seen all you need is the correct path/url to the application file... it should service well as an end-user shortcut to launch the program (and this'll install it if it isn't already), unless there're weird dependencies. – Oskar Duveborn May 19 '10 at 16:59

It might be possible to deploy ClickOnce via an msi install of a shortcut but that pretty much defeats the point of "Click Once". ClickOnce was specifically designed not to be automatically deployable because it's designed for the user to deploy and update (that's why it's called ClickOnce and not deployonce) Deployment via group policy should be done via Windows Installer packages (.MSI files), Transform Files (.MST files), and patch files (.MSP files).

If you choose the ClickOnce route you will not be able to rely that all users have the package installed even if you do roll your own MSI to install the clickonce app shortcut. The MSI installer will always report back as installed regardles of actual package status as Clickonce can't report back to the MSI.

From a windows admin perspective I'd just flat out say no to this idea, if you want to deply using Clickonce I'd tell you to send out an email to the users that want this app and send them a link to the installer

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