Deploy ShoreTel Communicator With Group Policy

I realized that I didn’t have any instructions on how to push ShoreTel Communicator out through Group Policy even though I talk about it a lot.

Also welcome Redditors! Yeah I know this article was published in 2012, but it’s updated fairly frequently. Thanks for stopping by! 

You’ll find a couple of other processes to do this and they work with varying degrees of success. If you’re running older versions of ShoreTel, it’s a good idea to uninstall Call Manager from your workstations before deploying Communicator.

You might want to read my article on Active Directory Integration and do that first as that will make most of the deployment process through group policy a LOT simpler. It will actually make a lot of things simpler for your day-to-day maintenance of the ShoreTel system.

Please note that newer versions of Communicator need .NET Framework 3.5 or higher. You’ll want to push this update out before attempting to deploy Communicator like this. The install package allegedly installs this but don’t count on it if your users aren’t allowed to install packages.

So on to the process…

Prepping Your Install Files

So first step is to download Communicator.  Go to the following URL and click the “Click Here to install ShoreTel Communicator” link at the top:

http://[your ShoreTel server name]/shorewaredirector/clientinstall

Run the install but do not click the “Next” button for the first time, or any other button. You’ll want to find the MSI file it just extracted. You can do a search on your hard drive for “Shoretel Communicator.msi”. This takes a while, so here’s how to find it faster. Go to the following directory:

C:\users\[username you are now logged in as]\AppData\Local\Temp

You’ll see a bunch of directories that look like this: {B4249ECA-4C17-4CE3-AAC6-5F110F8238D5}. The Communicator MSI file and all the files it needs are located in one of these folders, so you can either click-through them all or do a search in them. Select all these files and copy them.

There are a few options for where to put these files, but basically you just need  a shared folder on your network. I typically make a folder in the “Netlogon” folder on my domain controller called “ShoreTel Communicator”. Paste the files you copied before into this new folder.

You can cancel or finish your ShoreTel Communicator Installation now.

Alternative Way To Find MSI Files

Thanks to Dmitry who commented below with a quicker way to find the MSI files. Here’s what I did to make this work.

Download the setup.exe file for Communicator. Here’s a quicker link to the file:

http://[your ShoreTel server name]/ShoreWareResources/ClientInstall/setup.exe

I like to put it in my C:Temp directory but put it anywhere you want.

Step 1 – Open a command prompt and type cd temp

Step 2 – Type “setup.exe /a”

Step 3 – It will open up the installation program and ask you for a path, type in “C:\Temp” or wherever you want the files to be unzipped to. It will then dump contents of the installation package to that directory. The Shoretel Communicator.msi file will be in the C:\Temp directory.

Deploy ShoreTel Communicator

I’ve done this with both Server 2003 and Server 2008, it works equally well with both. The instructions below are for the 2008 style Group Policy Editor. It’s not much different for 2003. I am assuming at least a basic knowledge of Group Policy here.

  1. Open Group Policy Management under Administrative Tools on your Domain Controller (you can do this remotely if you have these tools installed on your workstation).
  2. Go to whichever OU, or Group Policy for whichever group of users that need the ShoreTel application and Select “Edit”. I do this on a user basis, but some admins will do this on a computer basis, either works.
  3. Under “User Configuration” drill down to Policies -> Software Settings -> Published Applications.
  4. Right click on the white space on the right hand panel and click “New” -> “Package”.
  5. Point it to the MSI file in the Netlogon directory you made before.
  6. Choose between Published, or Assigned. You can manually set this up if you choose advanced. You can refer to this article here for an explanation if you need it: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/group-policy-deploy-applications.html
  7. Click OK, make any changes you need and depending on what you chose, the next time your users log in they should get the software.

I usually Publish the application and reboot all the machines after hours. I will typically send out an e-mail warning about this as it can force a reboot as soon as the user logs in.

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9 Replies to “Deploy ShoreTel Communicator With Group Policy”

  1. Great post! I usually unzip the setup.exe using the following command: setup.exe /a

    That was I don’t have to go digging for the files.

    1. I’m going to test that right quick and slap that in the post. It’s amazingly hard to find details like that.

  2. Is there a way to run the updates to the communicator without needing to be an Admin? I used your tutorial to deploy the Communicator but now it needs to be updated and cannot go to all those PC’s at once.

    1. I replied to the user via e-mail. Hadn’t put the post here. Essentially just push the updates out via MSI file again every time there’s an update. Just repeat the process in this article every time there’s an update.

    1. I’ve got a list of topics to update and this is actually one of them as 14.2 has some pre-requisites that the version I wrote this article for doesn’t. Real quick though, it depends. When I installed 14.2, I did it exactly like my article suggests and had no issues at all, on most of the PCs I worked on. All the pre-requisite software is in the folders and the MSI file can find them.

      The only pre-req I had issues with other than the normal .NET Framework stuff, which I push out with WSUS is the VSTO package, and the short answer is I had to make a GPO that installed this my first run though. I’ve had this problem with previous versions, but its rare.

      The other one was the Office Interop Assemblies. I’ve had a few machines not get this. Again, I just made a GPO with this and instead of doing the Auto-Install at login, I just had it available from the network.

  3. Nice, but can you push the server name, username and password this way? I want a hands-off approach but the MSI doesn’t seem to offer a way to embed that info. Or, maybe more appropriately, the tables/rows offered in the MSI aren’t well enough documented to find that.

    Sending the installation is great, but doesn’t help if the helpdesk still has to jump on and configure the program.

    1. With GPO, no. With registry entries, yes in fact you can. You can modify a few registry entries after the Communicator is installed and it will more or less deploy automatically. Users still have to hit next a few times, but you don’t have to tell them to put “ShoreTel” in the server name or anything like that. I’ve had some small success with this but never actually deployed it. You could probably cobble together some kind of post install script or add something to a ‘first time login’ script to make that happen fairly seamlessly. It’s fairly version specific so you’d have got modify it every time you upgraded, but it’s not that difficult. Here’s an article you can check out for reference.

      http://workendtech.com/shoretel-communicator-registry-keys-scripting/

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