Deploying software via Group Policy requires an MSI-based installer. Starting with the recent version the WMI Providers are distributed as EXE installers, which somewhat complicates this process.
The WMI Providers are also available in the third-party updates catalog and can be distributed via WSUS as an approved update and installed by the Windows Update Agent. They can also be distributed directly from Patch Manager using the Check and Manage Computer Connectivity tool for WMI-enabled machines, and automatic deployment can also be enabled.
I'm curious, is there a particular reason you're considering using Group Policy for distributing the providers?
In my company the different departments are responsible for the workplace management of the clients of their users. Every computer uses our central WSUS and therefor the packages from the patchmanager.
Our actual problem is that we updated to the latest WSUS SP and the clients have to upgrade to windows update client 7.6. We have about 500 clients which do not upgrade to the latest release. For them we want to
- add a technical user for patchmanager to the local admin group
- install the wmi provider
- use the update client maintenance jobs of patchmanager to get the clients to update again.
Doing these steps manually we could get a few test systems to work again. Two of them had network problems as a root cause of the update problems (identified by a timeout in the windowsupdate.log). With this systems step 2 was not possible as the download/upload of the WMI provider did need 15 Minutes and because of this the install had also a timeout. But without the provider I could not get a look at the windowsupdate.log file. For this cases I want to create a group policy which does steps 1&2 for me.
I think it's worthy of note that if clients are currently experiencing network problems, it's highly unlikely that distribution via Group Policy is going to behave any better. The WMI Provider installer is only 8MB, so if you're experiencing 15 minute installation times for the WMI Provider, I would be skeptical that deploying via Group Policy would provide any better results.
All of which is rather moot, anyway, since the new EXE-based WMI Provider is not eligible for distribution via Group Policy.
If the root cause of some (most/all) of these systems are network performance issues, its highly unlikely that any network-based activities are going to be successful. I would also suggest that the timeouts are not a root cause, but rather a symptom, and identifying the actual root cause may produce better results for a number of systems with less effort than trying to use the WUAgent Maintenance & Repair tool on a system that might not actually have a WUAgent-based problem.