How do I add a Network Install tab to Windows NT 4.0?

A. Windows 2000 provides built in ability to publish applications to users, groups of users and domains however some of this functionality is still possible with Windows NT 4.0.

It's possible to add a Network Install tab to the 4.0 based clients with a list of installable applications as follows:

  1. Copy the file apps.inf from the %systemroot%\inf directory of a server to a network share on a server
  2. Open the copied version of apps.inf and insert the lines in red (although your applications and their locations will be different)
    \[Version\]
    Signature = $Chicago$
    ClassGUID=\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000\}
    LayoutFile = layout.inf

    \[appinstalllist\]
    Office 2000=\\titanic\Apps\off2000\setup.exe
    Paint Shop Pro=\\titanic\Apps\psp\setup.exe


    \[PIF95\]
    123.COM=%123.COM%,moricons.dll,50,,123.COM
    ..

The clients need to be configured to look at the updated apps.inf file on the server by a registry update:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Move to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
  3. From the Edit menu select New - String Value
  4. Enter a name of AppInstallPath
  5. Double click the new value and set to the location of the shares apps.inf file, e.g. \\titanic\inffiles\apps.inf
  6. Close the registry editor

Starting the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet will now show a new Network Install tab.

Click here to view image

Obviously editing the registry on every client will be time consuming and so if you implement system policies you can include this as part of the policy using the following .adm file:

CLASS MACHINE

 CATEGORY "Network Install"
  POLICY "Location of the Network install information"
   KEYNAME SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
   PART "Locations" EDITTEXT
   VALUENAME "AppInstallPath"
   DEFAULT \\SERVER\INFSHARE\APPS.INF
   END PART 
   PART "Create Network Install ability" TEXT END PART

  END POLICY
 END CATEGORY ; 


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