Deploy Java 7 and Java 8 to Your Company Computers

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Apr 16, 2014 3:23:23 PM

java_logo_1Java 7 and 8 updated

Oracle has released Java 7 update 55 and Java 8 update 5. (Oracle is no longer providing GA support for the Java 6 family).

Pro and Enterprise mode users of PDQ Deploy will notice that the Java updates are already in the Package Library. Lex walks you through using the Java packages from the Package Library in the video at the end of this article. (Basically, if you have access to the Package Library you won't need to build your own Java package).

Create a PDQ Package to Deploy the Java JRE

For free mode users or Pro/Enterprise trial users, you will not have access to the pre-made Java package that we host in the Package Library, but you can still use PDQ Deploy free mode or trial mode to push these updates to your computers. You'll just need to create the packages

Download Java from java.com

Go to the manual download section for Java. It's very important that you download the offline version. (The offline version has all the binaries included. The online version will start a download once the installation is started. PDQ Deploy requires the full version).

The file you download will be an EXE. It is recommended that you extract the MSI for the silent install. (PDQ can push out EXE's, however there are some extra features you can use by running the MSI directly). 

Extract the MSI

java-splash-screenTo extract the MSI, simply double-click on the EXE that you downloaded from java.com. In this example the name is jre-7u55-windows-i586.exe. DO NOT PROCEED with the install wizard. By starting the wizard you have successfully extracted the MSI.

Open a window and go to %APPDATA%\..\LocalLow\Sun\Java. Go to the jre1.7.0_55 or jre1.8.0_05 depending on which version of Java you want to deploy.

Copy these to your PDQ repository or to any other location on your computer (if you don't know where your PDQ Repository is). Just don't keep it in the LocalLow directory. 

Close your Java install wizard (just cancel it).

Create a new PDQ Deploy Package

With your EXE and CAB files in your repository or another location on your computer, open PDQ Deploy and create a new Package. Point the package to the EXE. Be sure to check the "Include Entire Directory" box. Then enter the parameters below.

The image below shows you the three areas that you need to enter info. NOTE: The other steps shown in the left pane are steps that we have researched and added to our package library to help make a clean install. Free versions of PDQ Deploy are not able to run multiple steps. If you are on a Pro trial you can create these steps if you wish. There's quite a bit of research needed to remove older versions and kill browsers (recommended) but it's all publicly available info. (Can you see why many of our customers prefer to use our Package Library? We do all that garbage for them.)

deploy-java-from-pdq

That's it. You're ready to roll. Remember that it's recommended that you kill any Internet browsers before pushing out. You may see errors if you don't do that. It's an inconvenience to users, which is why you may want to consider scheduling the install to occur at night. (Scheduling is a Pro Mode feature).

Here's a video of Lex demonstrating how to install Java silently. He did the easy method by using the Package Library which thousands of our Pro/Enterprise users have access to. To purchase a Pro or Enterprise license click here.

NOTE: Trials to PDQ Deploy do not include full access to our package library. The trial does include access to some packages to allow you to test it out. To see the different levels available to Pro and Enterprise, see our Package Library page. 

 

 

 

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Topics: java

Deploy Adobe Flash 13 and AIR 13

Posted by Shane Corellian

Apr 8, 2014 2:07:30 PM

Adobe released Flash Player 13.0.0.182 and AIR 13.0.0.83 today. Check out the changelog to see specifics on what was fixed as well as new features.

Of course you can deploy Adobe Flash and Adobe AIRboth of these products using PDQ Deploy. The pre-built packages are ready to be downloaded from the Package Library. Here are some points to remember:

  • If a target computer is currently running an Adobe AIR app the upgrade will probably fail with error code 1. If this happens you can either ask the target user to log off or you can deploy the Log Off Users package. 
  • If you want to update Flash Player for IE on Windows 8 or 8.1 targets then you will need to deploy the Adobe Flash (All IE) package. This requires PDQ Deploy running in Pro mode. (Screenshot below)

FlashAllIE182

If you have PDQ Inventory you can use Collections to find which computers you need to deploy Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash. If you have an Advanced / Enterprise subscription then these collections are already built and are available in the Collection Library. (Screenshot below)

Flash182CollectionLibrary

 

 

 

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Topics: Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR,

Set Up Custom Scans for Full Version Number Installed

Posted by Shane Corellian

Mar 24, 2014 7:00:00 AM

There a few applications in the wild that can be somewhat difficult to trace exactly which version they are. Google Picasa is one of them, which is the application I will be using to show you how to see the full version number of using PDQ Inventory. 

Notice that we can see that the machine, Lisa, has Picasa 3.9. Remember that data in the Applications panel of PDQ Inventory is extracted from the registry. Specifically we grab the data under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall (for 32-bit apps on 64-bit machines). The screenshot below shows the entry for Picasa. This entry is created by the app vendor, in this case, Google. Notice they only show 3.9 as the Display Version value. This is not the full version number.

PicasaRegEntry-1

This is what the Applications panel would look like for this same computer.

PicasaInvComputerWindow

How do we find the exact version? In this case we will use a file scanner. You can create your own Scan Profile or you can add your file scanners to an existing Scan Profile. In this example, I modified the Applications Scan Profile. 

AddFileScannerToApplicationsSP

I used the file pattern *.exe in the path where Google Picasa is installed. Notice that I added two files scanners with different paths (for 32 and 64 bit machines).

Next, I scanned my computers with the new Applications Scan Profile. After scanning the computer open the Computer window but instead of Applications go to the Files panel. In the image below you can see the file picasa3.exe has file version 3.9.137.118.

Inv-ComputerFilesPanelPicasa

Now you can create a report to see which versions of Picasa you have in your environment.

First thing to do is define which columns to show. In this example I want to show the name of the computer, the name of the file (picasa3.exe), the path and the file version.

Inv-Report-PicasaColumns

After defining the columns we need to create the filters. Select the Filters tab. I used two value filters.

Inv-Report-PicasaFilters

Run the report.

PicasaReport

 There you go. File Scanners can be very handy and, at times, necessary. Play around with scanning for other files, directories, etc.

 

 

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Topics: Inventory Reports

Install Java 8 Silently

Posted by Shane Corellian

Mar 20, 2014 3:16:00 PM

Java 8 has been released and is, of course, available in the PDQ Deploy Package Library.

While there are many, many changes to the JRE, not a lot has changed with how it is deployed. We still call the Java MSI file (jre1.8.0.msi) and we modify some of the default properties. We have removed, at this point, many of the steps found in Java 7 packages. It appears that Java is actually *gasp*  honoring the properties which disable Auto Update therefore the additional steps used previously appear to be unnecessary for the 32-bit Java. Here is the data that we provide in the Parameters field.

JU=0 JAVAUPDATE=0 AUTOUPDATECHECK=0 RebootYesNo=No WEB_JAVA=1

 The first three parameters are used to disable Java updating or even checking for updates. The RebootYesNo=No obviously suppresses rebooting and WEB_JAVA=1 instructs the installation to register Java with the installed browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.)

blog-20140320-Java8-Package

 

Deploying Java to all of your computers is impressively easy when you use PDQ Deploy. The Java 8 package is available for Pro Mode and Enterprise. You can see a video of a deployment below.

Here are a few things that you should know.

  1. Don't deploy Java 8 if your end-users don't need it.
  2. Deploy the 32-bit version of Java. This is very important. Just because a target computer runs 64-bit Windows does not necessarily mean it needs the 64-bit Java. The vast majority of browsers are 32-bit (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) or run in 32-bit mode (Internet Explorer). This means that these browsers will NOT be able to utilize a 64-bit Java. I can't stress this point enough without resorting to my usual profanity-laced method of communication. If your users run 64-bit Java apps then, by all means, deploy the 64-bit Java.
  3. Java 8 is its own family. Other Java JRE families (Java 7, Java 6, etc.) will NOT get removed when you install Java 8. There are Java Uninstall packages available in the Package Library if you want to uninstall earlier Java versions.
  4. Unless you change the default behavior Java 8 will be registered as the preferred JRE for your browsers. Many Java applets in the wild were written for Java 7, Java 6 and, in some unbelievably pathetic cases of overt deniability, Java 5. This means that they may not work with Java 8. Remember, Java 8 is effectively a new-born baby. It's wet, wrinkled, maybe a little squishy in the head and your friends won't say it's ugly. As it gets older it will start to fill out and you can actually make it do some chores. Keep this in mind.

We will get some other blog posts describing some advanced methods of deployment if you need them.

It's 2 PM... where's my Guinness?!

 

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Topics: software deployment, java

PDQ Deploy Introduces Enterprise Mode

Posted by Shane Corellian

Mar 18, 2014 3:43:00 PM

For the last four years PDQ Deploy has provided the ability to deploy/distribute software to thousands of organizations. One of our primary objectives has always been to keep Systems Management simple. While we have added dozens of awesome features over the last four years we have still tried to stick to the Keep It Simple, Stupid approach. This means that we have delayed adding certain complex features.

Well, we are now ready to rock. We have decided to replace the old Advanced subscription with what is now called Enterprise. The first new feature available in PDQ Deploy Enterprise is Package SharingCustomers that have Enterprise licenses can easily share packages from one user to another user.

Setting up Package Sharing

Now that we have nailed down how we can offer these enterprise-level features the flood gates of new features are getting opened.

Remember that there are three "modes":

Free - $0 This mode allows to build packages that contain one install step. We are proud of our free mode. It is very functional and, of course, it is free. There is no bundled software, no crapware and no advertisements. We absorb the costs of providing the free versions of our software. You're welcome.

Pro - $250 per user (admin) per year. There is no licensing limit to the number of target computers that a single user license may deploy to. This mode allows you to build highly complex packages. Multi-Step, Conditions, Scheduling, etc.

Enterprise - $500 per user (admin) per year. This provides access to all of the packages in the Package Library including old versions, Service Packs, Uninstall packages, etc. This also allows Package Sharing.

Click here to download PDQ Deploy for free, or to get a trial of PDQ Deploy Pro Mode.  

 

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Topics: Announcements

Deploy Adobe Flash Critical Patch

Posted by Shane Corellian

Feb 20, 2014 1:39:00 PM

describe the imageAdobe released a critical security patch for Adobe Flash. This affects both the Plugin (for Firefox, Safari and Opera) and the ActiveX (Internet Explorer) installations of Flash Player.

According to Adobe's security bulletin: "These updates address vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. Adobe is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2014-0502 exists in the wild, and recommends users update their product installations to the latest versions."

These vulnerabilities are patched in Flash Player 12.0.0.70. You can deploy Flash Player to your Windows computers using PDQ Deploy.

To download the new Flash packages simply go to the Package Library (in PDQ Deploy) and select Adobe Flash (this is Plugin) and/or Adobe Flash for IE. You may notice another package called Adobe Flash (All IE). This package includes Flash IE from Adobe as well as the Microsoft Flash patches for Windows 8 and 8.1.

Here is a video of Lex and me using deploying the latest Flash to our computers.

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Topics: Adobe Flash, pdq deploy, Flash Player

Announcing PDQ Deploy 3.1 Beta Test

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Feb 17, 2014 3:46:00 PM

PDQ Deploy 3.1 Beta TestAgainst a total lack of fanfare, we have started beta testing PDQ Deploy 3.1

This version is a big deal because it introduces a new level in our PDQ Family; Enterprise.

In short, PDQ Enterprise allows pro mode users with an active Advanced Subscription to share packages with other users. This is a common request that we've received and we're really excited to bring it to beta. 

Here are some other additions to PDQ Deploy 3.1.

  • Changed Advanced subscription to Enterprise (only affects current Advanced customers)
  • Bundled old Basic subscription into Pro mode
  • Added feature to share packages with other PDQ Deploy users (Enterprise)
  • Added ability to Deploy packages or steps the Deployment User in Interactive Mode
  • Moved License control from File menu to Preferences window
  • Added Sharing panel to Preferences Window
  • Added new icons to show when Packages and Folders are Shared
  • Upgraded DevExpress controls to fix certain Console problems on Windows 8.x touch screens

Plus the general assortment of bug fixes and other enhancements... blah blah blah.

I'm tired. We normally don't celebrate fake holidays like Presidents Day or Columbus Day, but the whole office is dragging today (Presidents Day). I think everyone is just dreaming of the ski slopes. I feel like we're running in sand. Shane just came into my office and mentioned that we should probably add Presidents Day to our list o' paid holidays. Don't tell our employees though, k. That stuff spreads. Quickly.

Anyway, enjoy the beta. If you're a current Advanced level subscriber then you can request an Enterprise key to test out the multi-user sharing features. After you upgrade look at the bottom of your PDQ Deploy console and if you need a new license you'll see a link that says "A new license is available" (or something like that).  I suppose that I could just check it right now but that would require something that resembles work, and I'm tired enough as it is. I still need to post some sort of a picture since blogs are supposed to have pictures, or at least that's what "they" tell me. 

I think I'll just post a photo of a Despair.com photo with a link. Well on second thought I'll just post the link. I don't feel like asking permission to post their photo, even though I would be linking it to their order page. We have most of the despair.com posters in our office. I love 'em.

We've been doing interviews the past week or so. The first poster that a person sees when they come into our office is a despair.com poster that pretty much calls them an idiot. Well, not them, exactly. Just anyone stupid enough to take a kayak down a waterfall

I just looked at the Despair website. Did you know that they've been liked by over 370 million people? Just think, if every one of those people purchased a poster then Despair would make like 20 thousand dollars. 

That'd be awesome. 

Cheers. 

Oh, you can get the PDQ Deploy 3.1 download here.

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Topics: pdq deploy, software deployment

Copy Files To Multiple Computers

Posted by Shane Corellian

Feb 12, 2014 8:58:00 AM

Some of our users have recently commented that they've discovered that they can copy files and shortcuts to all their computers using PDQ Deploy. That's correct. While we don't often discuss other smaller features, it's worth latching on to one or two from time-to-time. There are several different ways you can copy files to your target computers. One method is to include the files you wish to copy as part of your PDQ Package. (Using the Additional Files feature). Another method is to have the source files stored on an accessible file server and simply run a command to copy the files from the source to the target. Both examples are discussed below.

Copying Shortcuts

In this example we will be using the Command step in PDQ Deploy. 

  1. Open a new PDQ Deploy package. Add a Command Step. 
    (note: the default step is an Install step. Simply create a command step and then delete the default Install step). 
  2. Create the shortcuts you want to use. Specify these shortcut files that you wish to copy in the Additional Files field. You can specify multiple files. Remember that a shortcut which points to a folder or file on a mapped drive or a UNC path ends with a .LNK extension and a shortcut file that points to a website will have a .URL extension.
  3. Enter the copy command. Here's an example where we copy all the included files that end with .LNK to the Public desktop of our target computers.
copy .\*.lnk %PUBLIC%\Desktop /Y
blog 20140212 deployshortcuts

If there are any conditions that you wish to add then simply click on the Conditions tab. A common example of a condition would be to specify OS. For instance the above command uses the %PUBLIC% variable, which is only used in Vista and higher. (XP and Server 2003 wouldn't recognize this variable).

See the video below for examples of how to only run the copy on specific OS's by using the Conditions tab.

That's it. Your package is created and you're ready to deploy to multiple computers. Save and close the package and then click on the Deploy... button. From the Deploy screen you can deploy to computers in Active Directory, Spiceworks, PDQ Inventory, text files, or you can manually type the computer hostnames.

Copy Files

In this example we will copy the appropriately popular PSTools to multiple computers.

Create a new package for PSTools. In this case we're not going to add each of the PSTools files separately (that's a lot of files). Rather we're going to run xcopy in our command step.

Follow the same procedure as above to create a new package and add a Command step. This time however keep the Additional Files blank and in the command window, type the following:

xcopy "<path>\PSTools" "%WINDIR\PSTools\PSTools" /I /E /Y

This command will grab all the files in PSTools and copy the files to the target computers Windows directory and create a subdirectory called PSTools (if it isn't already created).

***Important*** If you use this method of copying files you cannot use the Run as Local System option when you deploy. Why? When a deployment is set to Run as Local System then any command that attempts to access a remote file share (such as our xcopy command) will fail because the Local System account won't have access to the file server. (unless you allow your local computer accounts access to the file share. This is hardly ever allowed in corporate networks). See image below for an example.

blog 20140212 nolocalsystem

If you want to use Robocopy (I've always loved this utility) then you should be aware that you will need to modify the Success Codes values for the Robocopy Step. Basically use the Success Codes 0,1. Otherwise a successful Robocopy will be reported as a failure. For a more detailed look at Robocopy and PDQ Deploy visit this article

Video - Copying Shortcuts and Files

Shane and Lex walk you through both of these examples using PDQ Deploy. Remember that running command steps are a pro mode feature of PDQ Deploy.

 

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Topics: pdq deploy, PSTools

Deploy Adobe Updates Silently using PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory

Posted by Shane Corellian

Jan 15, 2014 1:12:00 PM

Adobe released some critical patches yesterday (Patch Tuesday). Using PDQ Deploy you can install these updated apps on your Windows machines, in minutes. 

See the following video on downloading these updates from the Package Library. 

As an added feature the Collection Library, in PDQ Inventory, automatically groups the computers that need these various updates. For example, to find the computers with old versions of Flash Plugin go to the Collection Library in PDQ Inventory. The collection path to follow is

Collection Library > Runtimes > Flash > Flash Plugin > Flash Plugin (Old)

Collection Library in PDQ Inventory

At this point you can simply right click on this Collection. Select Tools > PDQ Deploy. In the "Select PDQ Deploy Package" window select Adobe Flash 12.0.0.43. You can then deploy Flash to only the computers that need it.

CallDeployFromInventory

 

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Topics: Adobe Flash, pdq inventory, pdq deploy

Remotely execute VBS scripts to all your computers

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Jan 7, 2014 3:44:00 PM

We've had a few users tell us that they have been trying to run .vbs scripts using the "Command Step" in PDQ Deploy. To run scripts, including .vbs scripts, in PDQ Deploy, you'll want to use an "Install Step".

.VBS Scripts use the Install Step

Simply point the "Install File" to your script. If you need to add any special arguments or switches, you do so in the Parameters field. 

Use the "Install Step" to run .vbs, .bat, .cmd, .reg and .ps1 scripts. (Did we mention you use the Install Step for EXE and MSI files, too? We probably didn't mention that because it's... well... kinda obvious.)

Need Multiple Steps?

To have multiple steps in a package you will need to move to our pro mode. With pro mode you're not limited to Install Steps. You also have Command, Reboot, Sleep, and Nested package steps. 

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Topics: scripting, .vbs, VBScripting

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