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My organization has standard business application software that resides on 700 Windows 2000 Professional machines. Upgrading the software (i.e., running apps_upgrade.exe) requires administrator rights. We don't want users to know the local administrator's password; therefore, we can't use the RunAs command because it prompts for a password. We could theoretically use Win2K's Group Policy to roll out the software upgrade, but our corporate IT department doesn't give us permission to create or modify policies.

To solve the problem, I downloaded Jonathan Bennett's freeware scripting tool AutoIt 3.0 ( This tool lets you write scripts that resemble Visual Basic (VB) and compile code into .exe binary format.

First, I created an Active Directory (AD) domain user called domain\appsinstaller and put it in an AD global group I created called apps_grp. My organization's standard practice is to place this global group in the Administrators group on all local machines. This technique, called AGLP (for Accounts, Global, Local, Permissions), makes domain\appsinstaller a user with administrator rights on all local machines. Next, I used AutoIt and Notepad to write the script Myapps.au3, which Listing 1 shows, and compiled the script into an .exe file (i.e., myapps.exe). Users can then simply run the file myapps.exe to upgrade the software.

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