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
SetupCommand = setup.exe /unattend
DisplayVersion =2.2
Publisher = SavillTech
URL = http://www.savilltech.com/wininfo.html

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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