Network Deployment

How can I deploy the Network version of the program over multiple networked computers?

Network Deployment / Installation

Some of the more recent editions of EdAlive programs come with a new installation system for both Windows and Macintosh in order to ease the workload of school network administrators wishing to deploy the program to multiple computers on their network. To install to multiple networked Macintosh computers, use the Package installers with Apple Remote Desktop. To install to multiple networked Windows computers, use the MSI (Microsoft InStaller package) along with Group Policy.

When installing the Network version of of the program on standalone Windows computers, you have the option of specifying the IP address of the computer on which the EdAlive Server application is running, as well as the port number on which the EdAlive Server application will be listening. However, these properties cannot usually be specified when deploying the MSI over networked Windows computers using Group Policy. In order to specify the IP address and port settings, you must manually copy the system configuration file (called “system.ini” in the “Profiles” directory) or modify the MSI installer using an MSI modification tool, such as Microsoft’s Orca.

Copying the system configuration file to each client computer needs no explanation, but can be an ineffective method if you are installing the Network version on a large number of client computers. By using Microsoft’s Orca, you can modify the MSI so that you do not need to manually copy the system configuration file. To modify the MSI, follow the steps below.

Modifying the MSI with Orca

Step 1 – Download and Install Orca

Download and install Orca. Orca is only available in the Windows SDK Components for Windows Installer Developers. At the time of writing, Microsoft allows users to download and install this free of charge.

Step 2 – Run Orca and Open the MSI

Open the Start menu and click “Orca”. Once Orca is running, open the “File” menu, click “Open” and choose the appropriate MSI. (You should work on a copy of the original MSI file as you will NOT be able to use the “Save As” command after modifying the file)

Step 3 – Change the IP Address and Port Properties

Once the MSI file is open, you will see a list of tables in the frame on the left. When you click a table, you will see a list of records displayed in the frame on the right. Each record will have values separated into columns. Click the “IniFile” table. For the record where the “Key” columns is “ForceIP”, change the “Value” column to the IP address of the computer on which the EdAlive Server application will be running (surround the IP address in double quotation marks). For the record where they “Key” column is “ForcePort”, change the “Value” column to the port on which the EdAlive Server application will be listening (again, surround the port number in quotation marks).

Step 4 – Save the MSI

Open the “File” menu and click “Save”. Do NOT click “Save As” as this will corrupt the MSI due to a bug in Orca.

Step 5 – Install the MSI

You can now install the program over multiple networked computers via Group Policy and Active Directory. This installation will have use the IP address and port settings you specified, meaning that you do not have to manually copy the system configuration file to each client computer.

Note that EdAlive does not provide technical support for the usage of MSIs, Orca, Group Policy or Active Directory. Contact Microsoft for technical support (http://support.microsoft.com/).