How do I deploy old applications in Windows 2000 via ZAP files?

A. New applications in Windows 2000 have .MSI files which are used to deploy them via Group Policies however your older applications will not have MSI files.

In 'How do I create a MSI file from a legacy application?' we saw how to create an MSI file from a legacy application however there is a large amount of work involved with this and an alternative method is available via ZAP files however I should stress MSI is the approach to take where possible.

ZAP files are just text files that provide instructions for deploying older applications however there are some restrictions:

  • Applications cannot be assigned to users or computers, they can only be published
  • Applications do not automatically repair themselves
  • Normally require user intervention
  • Do not install with elevated privileges, users require the privilege to install software

The ZAP file consists of two sections, the \[Application\] and \[Ext\] sections.

The application section contains the name of the setup command, a version to display, a friendly name and a URL, for example:

FriendlyName = WinInfo Version 2.2<br>
SetupCommand = setup.exe /unattend<br>
DisplayVersion =2.2<br>
Publisher = SavillTech<br>

The file extension section just lists extensions which should be associated with the new application, e.g.


To publish a ZAP file perform the following:

  1. Start the Group Policy editor and open a group policy
  2. Select the 'User Configuration' branch
  3. Expand 'Software Settings'
  4. Right click on 'Software installation' and select New - Package
  5. Select the File type "ZAW Down-level application packages (*.zap)" and select the created ZAP file. Click Open
  6. Select 'Published' from the deployment method and click OK
  7. It will now be displayed as a published application

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