There are a variety of products that deal with this scenario. For example, AutoProf Profile Maker can install software in locked-down environments. Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) is an obvious solution, but it requires a pretty hefty commitment. On the lighter side, I'm interested in a product called SiteKeeper from Executive Software International for the smaller end of the market (the pricing on SiteKeeper is very reasonable). You can learn more at Executive Software International's Web site.
This was first published in September 2003