How To Install Firefox Silently

Posted by Annalisa Williams

Oct 1, 2014 12:18:39 PM

There a couple ways to silently install Firefox. First, you'll want to get your free download of PDQ Deploy and do the initial set up. There is a more in-depth explanation on how to build your own deployment packages here. 

To create the package you will go to File>New Package. Name your Firefox package. In the Install step click the ellipsis button in the Install File and navigate to the Firefox Setup xx.exe file. 

At this point you have two options to do a silently install Firefox. In the parameters field you can type

-ms

or use an INI file. Copy and paste the following into a text file and save as a .INI in the same directory as your Firefox setup exe. 

[Install]
InstallDirectoryName=Mozilla Firefox
CloseAppNoPrompt=true
QuickLaunchShortcut=true
DesktopShortcut=true
StartMenuShortcuts=true

Then in the parameters field enter:

/INI=<full path to the INI>\Firefox.ini

In the Additional Files field add the Firefox.ini file.  (You could also just check the Include Entire Directory checkbox but if you do this you want to make sure there aren't unnecessary files in the directory such as earlier Firefox Setup executables)

firefox

Now you're all set to deploy your silent install. Now, the easier way to do this of course is to deploy it from the package in the Package Library that silently installs Mozilla Firefox that is available with either a PDQ Deploy Pro mode or Enterprise mode license. Easier yet, with Enterprise mode you can set up Firefox to automatically deploy whenever a new version is released. 

Note: Do not use /S (a common silent install parameter) because /S for Firefox performs a silent uninstall

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Topics: install silently

Attaching Multiple Packages to an Auto Deployment Schedule

Posted by Annalisa Williams

Sep 29, 2014 12:24:00 PM

One nifty thing about setting up Auto Deployments is you can attach multiple packages from the Package 150pxAutoDLibrary to a single Auto Deployment schedule. The video below is a tutorial on how attaching and detaching packages to a single schedule works. 

While in the Package Library click the checkboxes next to the applications you would like grouped in the same schedule. Once you have those selected you can go ahead and click the "Add Auto Deployment" button in the upper right corner of your screen. This will bring up a window that will allow you to set the frequency at which your schedule runs and what workstations you want to this schedule to deploy to.

Attaching and Detaching Packages

After you have made your schedule you may want to make changes to your Auto Deployment Schedule.

Making changes to an already existing auto deployment schedule is easy, you can easily add or remove packages by opening up the schedule (All Schedules, then double-click the schedule you wish to modify and click the packages tab) from here you have two buttons in the upper right corner, Detach from Selected or Attach to Package. Remove packages by selecting them and clicking Detach from Selected. Add new packages by clicking attach to package. You can come back to this window at anytime and make changes. 

multiple_package_auto_deployment

When attaching new packages, be sure to select the packages from the package library and NOT the packages folder. If you select from the packages folder (imported packages) you will not get the latest versions of applications as the come out, it will only deploy that version of the application.

In an earlier blog we also explained how approval periods work and how to change your approval policy for individual packages as well as your default approval policy for all auto deployment schedules. A video tutorial on that is available in that blog post. Below is a tutorial showing how to attach and detach packages from an auto deployment schedule. 

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Topics: Auto Deployments

PowerShell: Console Window Tips

Posted by Kris Powell

Sep 25, 2014 11:30:00 AM

kris_resized

If you use PowerShell on a regular or semi-regular basis you may already know these tricks of the trade, but in case you were not aware here are some neat tricks to use in the PowerShell console window.

Tab Completion

Go ahead and type a partial command and press your Tab key. PowerShell magically knows what you’re trying to look for, or at least it will venture an educated guess.

Get-Da<Tab> should autocomplete to Get-Date.

Get-Date - Animated.gif

You can even press Tab (and Shift-Tab) multiple times to cycle through multiple matches.

Get- should autocomplete to multiple commands. Just keep pressing Tab to cycle forwards alphabetically and press Shift-Tab to cycle backwards alphabetically.

Get- - Expansion - Animated.gif

This is great for typing commands more quickly or for trying to type commands that you may not fully remember.

Show Recent Command List

You can show all recently typed commands at a console window by tapping the F7 key. You can then select a command by highlighting it and hitting the Enter key.

F7 - Animated.gif

Scroll Through Recent Commands

You type a command and realize you have a syntax error. Rather than type the command all over again, you can simply tap the Up arrow key to scroll backwards through your recent commands. You can tap the Down arrow key to scroll forwards.

Pause Results On Screen

Have you ever run a command that output more results than fit the screen? Usually, the results will zoom past faster than most of us can read, so we often find ourselves having to scroll to view the results.

No more!

There are two common methods for accomplishing this:

<command> | Out-Host -Paging

<command> | more

Something to note, however, is that it will evaluate the results of a command before outputting them to the console window.

I know that there are many other tips that each of us have come across (aliases, for example). Please feel free to add any suggestions to the comments below so that other readers may be able to benefit from your experience!
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Topics: powershell

Auto Deployment Deep Dive: Approval Periods

Posted by Annalisa Williams

Sep 24, 2014 11:46:00 AM

AutoDeployment400px_(1)

It's here. Auto Deployment. This is the feature that will allow you to get the next level of lazy as a sys admin, making you the world's greatest sys admin. Set it and forget it and let PDQ Deploy worry about getting the latest Flash, Java or any number of packages in the Package Library deployed. (See video below.) 

Approval Policy

Hopefully you don't need to be told twice, but you should be doing test deployments before unleashing a new version to all your company's workstations to make sure these new versions don't bring a mini-Armageddon upon your network. This why when setting up an auto deployment schedule, you have a default seven day "approval period". What this does is hold off on attaching the new version to the auto deployment schedule giving you an opportunity to test out the deployment first before it goes out. 

You can adjust the approval policy default for all packages or change the approval policy on individual applications. To change the default by going into File>Preferences>Package Library. After changing this, future auto deployments set will be assigned this approval period. However, if you have a lot of faith in Oracle and want to get latest Java 7 out right way you can change the approval policy for that particular package in your auto deployment schedule. 

Adjusting Approval Policy for Specific Packages

Under the Auto Deployment Packages section (located in the left side panel) select the auto deployment schedule you wish to modify, then in the main window select the package you want changed. Over in the right panel under the Auto Deployment field click the link to change and a window will pop up and you can set the approval period to immediately approve. Once set to immediately approve, this package (when a new version comes out) will automatically deploy upon the next time the schedule is run.

Changing the approval policy in this way will ONLY impact that particular package and not any other packages that are in this same auto deployment schedule. Also a package set to immediately approve does not mean that the package will necessarily automatically deploy, it will deploy when the schedule is set to run next. You can adjust when the schedule runs by double-clicking the schedule in the main window. In the window that pops up go to the schedule tab and there you can make those changes. 

This video tutorial shows step-by-step how to set up an Auto Deployment schedule and adjust the approval period. 

Auto Deployments are a PDQ Deploy Enterprise mode feature. Current customers can upgrade or make sure their Enterprise license is up-to-date at the customer portal. 

 

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Topics: Auto Deployments

Powershell: Get-Help

Posted by Kris Powell

Sep 18, 2014 1:48:00 PM

kris_resizedFrom the results of my last Powershell blog post (Get-Command and Get-Member), we should have a list of commands (cmdlets, aliases, etc).

But, how do we know what each cmdlet does?  Or, what if we know how a command works but want to see some examples?

We need some more information about how to use those commands in more detail.  Let’s learn more about the Get-Member cmdlet that we introduced last time by utilizing the tools built into Powershell.

Get-Help

Get-Help displays detailed information about how to use a command and any examples that may exist.

The basic syntax is pretty simple and straightforward.

Get-Help <cmdlet>

In order to find out more about the Get-Member cmdlet, we type:

Get-Help Get-Member

This will give us some basic syntax and usage information about Get-Member as well as a brief description.  Let’s introduce some of the parameters that give us even more information about the cmdlet that you’d like to know more about.

Get-Help <cmdlet> -Examples

This will show usage examples for the cmdlet

Get-Help <cmdlet> -Detailed

This will show more detailed information than the basic syntax

Get-Help <cmdlet> -Full

This shows the entire help file relating to the cmdlet, including details/examples.

Get-Help <cmdlet> -ShowWindow

This will show the full help file for a cmdlet in a new window.  It includes a search box and a settings button to help you configure which information you want displayed.

Get-Help <cmdlet> -Online

This will pull up the online help files for the cmdlet.


Note: If you find that you’re help files seem to be lacking, it’s possible that they’re not fully installed or up-to-date.  In that case, run Powershell as an Administrator and type the cmdlet, Update-Help and it will update all the associated help files.)

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Topics: powershell

PDQ Deploy 3.2 Beta 3 (Release Candidate)

Posted by Shane Corellian

Sep 12, 2014 3:50:30 PM

PDQ Deploy Beta 3.2Dress rehearsal is just about over, my friends. We have just released the final (we hope) beta for the new PDQ Deploy 3.2.

If you haven't heard yet, the big news is that we have added Auto Deployments from the Package Library! Yep, this means you can select packages that you want to have automatically deployed as new versions become available. This is the ultimate in Set It and Forget It.

Watch these videos to see how Auto Deployments work.

This version also follows PDQ Deploy Schedules as they leave monogamy and delve into open relationships. OK, that may be a tad too subtle. PDQ Deploy schedules can now be attached to more than one package at a time. This means that one schedule can deploy multiple packages to the same target machines.


Here is a video showing how this can be done.

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PowerShell: Get-Command and Get-Member

Posted by Kris Powell

Sep 11, 2014 9:10:00 AM

kris_resized

Today, I want to show you a couple great cmdlets that can really strengthen your understanding of 

PowerShell: Get-Command and Get-Member.

Get-Command

Get-Command will list all commands that are installed on the computer, including cmdlets, aliases, functions, etc.

Try it out. The results should look something like this:

 

Get-Commandget-command

There’s a lot of output on the screen, so we can clean this up a little bit to make it easier to read.

Let’s say we just want the name of the commands. We’re going to select only one object property by piping the results of Get-Command and selecting the property that we want to see.

Get-Command | Select-Object Nameget-command select-object name

But, how do we know which object properties exist to select and sort? We’re going to introduce another command today called Get-Member.  

Get-Member

Get-Member tells us about the Properties and Methods of an object.

The easiest way to use it is to pipe in an object that you want to know more about.

Get-Command | Get-Memberget-command get-member

We can see that there are many properties for Get-Command that we can use to sort and view.  Let’s use CommandType and Name.

Get-Command | Select-Object CommandType, Name get-command select-object commandtype name

You should be able to look at that list and find any cmdlet that’s installed that you can use.

In the next blog, we will go over another tool that will help get more detailed information about each cmdlet from within PowerShell itself.

In the meantime, here is more help about Get-Command and Get-Member from Microsoft's Technet:

Get-Command

Get-Member

 
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Topics: powershell

Lunch with the PDQ Developers

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Sep 9, 2014 12:26:41 PM

Dev-Fix-bwWe've been holding formal training at our offices now for several months. One of the perks of onsite training is the ability to rub shoulders with our crew. 

We've decided to do a little more. Each training class will now have lunch with the developers. No support guys. No marketing. Just our attendees and the guys who are writing the code (Adam, Chase, and Zach). Ask any question. Plead, rant, extort, beg, criticize, or exploit. You have 'em for an hour. 

Is there a feature that you are dying to have? Ask 'em. Are you curious about why a feature was implemented a certain way? Maybe you just want to know if programmers have social skills (ours do, by the way). 

For more information on our onsite training click here

We also offer private online training and free webinars, click here to view all available training options

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Topics: Admin Arsenal

Auto Deployment - The Feature That Keeps On Giving

Posted by Shane Corellian

Sep 4, 2014 3:20:37 PM

PDQ_Deploy_Beta_3-2We just released the second public beta of PDQ Deploy 3.2. We made some changes to Auto Deployments (an Enterprise mode feature) - particularly in setting them up - that beta 1 users will notice.

The biggest change is related to the Approval Policy settings. There is now a global default setting in Preferences > Package Library.

What is the Approval Policy?

This is a setting that determines when new versions of packages are approved for auto deployments. Let's say you create an Auto Deployment Package for Mozilla Firefox. The current version is 32.0. When the next version is added to the package library (for example, version 33.0) the Approval settings are used to let PDQ Deploy know when it is safe to automatically deploy the new version. All new versions must be approved before they can be deployed. For those who want to Set It and Forget It you can specify when to automatically approve new versions.

AutoApprovalPreferences

Setting Up a Package for Auto Deployment

Go to your Package Library, then select the package(s) you want to have automatically deployed. Push the Add Auto Deployment button. You'll be presented with two options. Create a New Schedule or Use Existing Schedule. In the example below will create a new schedule. 

SetUpAutoDeploymentFirefox

 

Can I Change the Approval Settings for a Specific Auto Deployment Package?

Yes. If you want to change the Approval settings (remember the Approval initial settings are whatever your default configuration is in Preferences) select the package under Auto Deployment Packages and go to the Schedules tab. Highlight the schedule and click the Change link in the right side panel (you can also right click the schedule and choose the Change Approval Policy option). Select the Approval policy that you want for this schedule. ***Note*** The deployment policy is maintained per package per schedule. This means you can have one schedule that immediately approves a new package version (perhaps for test machines) and then another schedule which deploys to the rest of your target machines that gets approved in 3 days (or manually or whatever).

ChangeAutoApprovalPerPackage

If you want to change the package version that is currently being used for Auto Deployment you can click the Change link under Current Version. If you choose an older version the Approval setting (for this schedule / package) will be set to Manual. Also note that you may need to uninstall the later version on target machines that have already had the new version deployed.

The video below walks you through setting up an Auto Deployment for Adobe Flash for IE.

 

 

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Topics: beta

Auto Deployment and Proxy Servers

Posted by Shane Corellian

Aug 27, 2014 3:30:00 PM

To facilitate the new Auto Deployment feature in PDQ Deploy 3.2 we had to modify how we handle proxy servers.

PDQ Deploy now connects to the Package Library using the background service user account. If you use the same account to open the PDQ Deploy console AND to run the Background Service then you're probably going to be fine. The real gotcha is if you use a different account to run the Background Service.

Why would this be the case? Well, most environments have a proxy server. Generally, proxy server configurations are usually pushed down --via a User level GPO-- to your Windows systems when a user logs on. If the user account that runs the Background Service has never logged on to your console system then there is not proxy information for PDQ Deploy to use. In these cases you have one of two options:

  1. Log on (once) to your console machine using the background service credentials. If your proxy information is populated via a GPO or a login script then you should be OK. After logging in you can log out and log back in using your normal account. 
  2. Specify the proxy information in the Proxy panel in your Preferences window of PDQ Deploy.

Look at the screenshots below. One shows the Background Service credentials in the PDQ Deploy Preferences window. You can see that the user account deadwood.local\Al.Swearengen is used to run the Background Service. 

PDQDeploy-BackgroundServiceCreds

 

Take a look at the running processes screenshot. You can see the PDQDeployConsole.exe (the console) is running under the Quintana account (because Quintana is the account logged into Windows). The PDQDeployService.exe (Background Service) is running as Al.Swearengen.

PDQDeploy-DifferentCreds

When the Console is started PDQ Deploy will attempt to connect to the internet (for the Package Library) as Al.Swearengen. If it can't connect then it would attempt (in this case) as Quintana (the account running the Console). This doesn't solve the problem, however, of connecting to the Package Library when no one is logged onto the console. In this case if the background service user (Al.Swearengen) doesn't have proxy information defined then the Package Library won't be able to be accessed.

If you find yourself in this position then choose one of the options listed above. If you want to simply hard-code the proxy information into PDQ Deploy then it would look something like this:

PDQDeploy-ProxyConfiguration

 

This setting tells PDQ Deploy to always use this proxy info and to ignore proxy settings in the Control Panel of Windows.

I hope this helps head off any proxy related problems you may encounter as you upgrade to PDQ Deploy 3.2.

 

 

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Topics: pdq deploy

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