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Deploying Files and Folders and those Pesky Non-Package Installed Apps

Sometimes you might need to make certain that files are available locally on a workstation. These files can be documents intended for use by users of the computer (which for one reason or another may not be appropriate to place on a share point), but more often you will want to place certain Unix configuration files or application preferences files on workstations. Because Mac OS X is Unix-based, virtually all configuration settings are stored in designated files. The ability to simply place new versions of those files onto a workstation rather than manually changing the configuration can be a great tool for administrators. Likewise, deploying application preferences or registration files by remote can also be helpful.

The Copy Files command does exactly what its name implies: it places a copy of the specified files onto the selected computers. You can specify whether the files are to be placed in the same location as they are on the administrator computer or in one of the following locations: the Applications folder, the current user’s home or desktop folders, the Fonts folder, the Preferences folder, the System folder, the root level of the startup drive, or a specific file path location.

With some extra effort, this command can also be used to deploy applications that rely on non-package installer files. In some cases, you can simply copy the application files (and any supporting files) directly to the corresponding location on the remote workstation. In such instances, you will also likely need to copy configuration, preferences, and/or registration files as well. This may take some detective work to figure out exactly which files were installed along with an application.

You can also take a different tactic to deploying non-package installer applications. You can use the Copy Items command to place the actual installer application on the remote workstation. If the installer application doesn’t require user interaction, you can then use Remote Desktop’s Open Application command to open and run the installer application (this command requires that the installer be in the same file path location on both the remote workstation and the administrator computer). Alternatively, you can use Remote Desktop’s Control command to control the workstation and run the installer application locally on the remote computer (albeit while controlling it remotely).

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