We're pleased to announce the release of PDQ Inventory 1.1 (Release 2). As always, you can download it from here. This release fixes a number of bugs and adds a couple of new features that you should hopefully find helpful.
- Version Comparisons in Reports and Collections
Useful for filtering on file and application version numbers. Shane has already gone into this in some detail.
- Added O/S Serial Number
- When upgrading to a new version the whole database is backed up
- File and Registry scanner row limits can now be configured
- Reports can now have a global filter, like the collection window
- Fixed an issue where scans were showing up multiple times in the scan or computer window.
- Fixed issue with Active Directory renames not being properly synchronized.
- Fixed occasional "CreateProcess error 32" when anti-virus software would lock the scanner program.
- Fixed bug preventing credentials in name@domain format.
- Fixed issue comparing empty date/time values in report filters.
- Fixed n duplicate key error in scanning certain computer Windows Features.
- Fixed an issue with the Design Report menu being disabled.
- Fixed an issue where some computers would get Access Denied to the service manager.
As always we hope you enjoy the software and please let us know what more we can do in our Feature Request Forum.
Installing .NET Framework 4 on your client computers is almost mandatory these days. So many applications require .NET 4. Not to worry, the installation doesn't need to be a pain.
In these examples I will be using PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory which are free Systems Management tools available from Admin Arsenal.
The Get-it-done-now-dammit Way
If you haven't already, download Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Standalone Installer) from Microsoft. Save it to a directory on your computer (or on an accessible shared directory on your network).
Create a new Installer in PDQ Deploy. (File > New Installer). Name your new PDQ Installer something like "Microsoft .NET Framework 4. In the Install File field enter the path to your .NET 4 executable (actually click the elipsis button and navigate to the .NET 4 executable).
Save your new Installer. Highlight the installer and push the Deploy Now button.
The Deploy Now window appears. This is where we will choose the computers which will receive .NET 4. You can either enter the names of your target computers or you can import computers from PDQ Inventory (the next example will show you how to do this), Active Directory, Spiceworks or text files. In this example we will just type in two target computers: Lebowski and Quintana.
After you have defined your targets simply hit the Deploy Now button.
You can see a quick view of your deployment by highlighting the Installer and selecting the Deployment tab.
You can see more detailed information by opening up the deployment
The Slightly More Elegant Way
In this example we will take the Installer that we built earlier but instead of just typing in our target computers we will only deploy to workstations (non-server systems) which we know do not have .NET 4 already installed. We will use PDQ Inventory to do this. (The data in PDQ Inventory is only as good as the last scan so make sure you have recently scanned your computers)
Open up PDQ Inventory. Create a new Collection (CTRL+N or Collection > New Dynamic Collection). Give your new Collection a name. Add three different filters.
- Computer > .NET Versions does not contain 4.0
- Computer > Never Scanned is not true
- Operating System > Name does not contain server
The first filter effectively says: Only Show computers that do not have .NET Framework 4 installed.
The second filter effectively says: Only show computers that have a successful inventory scan. (This is important since a computer in PDQ Inventory that has NEVER been scanned will pass the first filter)
The third filter effectively says: Only show me computers with Operating System name that does not contain the word "Server". All Windows servers have the word server in their OS Name. (e.g. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise)
Your Collection filters should look something like this:
Right click on your new collection and select Tools > PDQ Deploy. A window will appear asking you which PDQ Deploy Installer to use. Select the Installer you created earlier.
When you select your Installer PDQ Deploy will display the Deploy Now window with your target computers already populated. These are the workstations which do not have .NET 4 installed.
Hit Deploy Now and go pour yourself a Guinness.
Like many of my Sys Admin brethren and sisters I often travel for work. Last year I spent over 250 nights in different hotels. Sure there are plenty of perks to traveling but I'm going to focus on the negative stuff because, well, that's how I am.
Let's get started shall we?
Know the local liquor laws before you travel
Few things suck more than spending 5 hours on a flight, 3 hours in airports and an hour in a rental car that runs on 3 squirrels only to find that you can't buy liquor on a Sunday or even buy beer at a grocery store. This is very important since the days of packing a flask or two on your flight have gone bye bye. Plus, purchasing booze from your mini-bar is rarely a reimbursable expense. Trust me.
Pack your Aux audio cable first and then, if you have time, your passport
When you get your rental car you'll thank me. Hell, you don't know where your driving anyway so if you're going to get lost you may as well be blasting your tunes. Plus, many hotels are leaving 1985 and replacing the old-school clock radios with Clock radios that actually have aux ports. You may as well wake up to Monty Python's All Things Dull and Ugly as opposed some staticky morning douche jockey who should be DJing Karaoke at an Idaho truck stop.
Carry a few music CDs with you
You know that MSDN DVD pack you lug everywhere? Just Replace the BizTalk 2006 and Microsoft Customer Care Framework DVDs that you have never used with some choice CDs. You'll thank me when Hertz gives you the latest Hyundai Sphincter that has a stereo with no Aux port.
Be friendly to the TSA \ Security agents at your home airport
After the same agents have seen your fake, smiling mug about 3 dozen times they will give you less crap. You want them to be as comfortable with you as your favorite bartenders are. No, you won't get a free Guinness while you wait but you just may avoid an extra few finger-rapings at the hands of that bitter agent who's going through a divorce.
You're out of luck with TSA agents at airports that you don't often frequent. Just pick the line with the most business travelers. How can you tell a business travler? Well, first we all look like we have a plate of crap under our noses and we roll our eyes a lot. If that doesn't help then just pick the line with the fewest cameras. If the ratio of SLR cameras to non-Apple laptops is greater than 1:3 you're in the wrong line. Also, business travelers don't usually travel with diaper bags and Dora backpacks.
Don't be a tool when it comes to trading seats on a plane
If someone wants to trade seats then it's usually cool to accomodate them. I'm not talking about giving up seat 3B for 43E. Just don't act like you just dilated to 9cm when a guy asks if he can sit next to his kid. It's better anyway... It's discombobulating watching Saw IV with an 11 year old kid sittin' next to you.
Hoarde your drink coupons
Remove all the crap in your seat pocket
C'mon, you need to make room for your iPad, that 6 year old company-supplied Dell PP09S laptop and that 763 page Group Policy Guide from Microsoft Press.
If you're going to access the Internet inflight, establish your session the moment you hit 10,000 feet
If you wait 'til you finish your movie then chances are good that you won't get a session.
Also, keep an eye out for that one person who tries stream Breaking Bad from Netflix at 1.3 kbps. Chances are they'll ask for a refund within 15 minutes and then complain the rest of the flight.
Finally, don't wear that vendor-supplied polo shirt
First, that skin-tight CA shirt doesn't even fit you and that Tech-Ed 2007 hat has never helped you score a hot (or even luke-warm) date. Second, computer vendor apparel only invites discussions or comments from other travelers and, if you're a Sys Admin, human interaction probably isn't your strong suit.
Check out Adam's Sys Admin Drinking Game post. Still one of my favs.
We have added some new filter comparisons that you can use in your PDQ Inventory collection and report filters. These are known as the Version comparisons and are available in at least version 1.1.1 beta 1 (which is a public beta for Inventory 1.2). If you want to be notified when new beta versions are available you can sign up for notifications here.
The available Version comparisons are:
- version between
- version does not equal
- version equals
- version higher than
- version lower than
- version not between
- version not higher than
- version not lower than
Let's say you want to breakddown all the machines in your network by their Microsoft Office Service Pack versions. This is very handy if you want deploy Office 2010 SP1 to all systems with Microsoft Office 2010 but which don't have SP1.
Go to your Systems with Microsoft Office collection and expand it. Right click on the Systems with Microsoft Office 2010 and select Duplicate.
A new Collection will be created called Systems with Microsoft Office 2010 Copy. Drag this new collection on top of the Systems with Microsoft Office 2010. This will make your new collection a sub-collection (aka Child Collection). With your new collection selected press the Edit button or right click and select "Edit Collection" at the top of your menu.
At this point, rename this new collection to something like Office 2010 (No SP).
Click the Version link and select the version lower than comparison. Enter the value 14.0.6023.1000 in the comparison field. (Enter this value for any filter you have specified)
Your new Collection filter should look something like this:
This collection has two filters. In order for a computer to be a member it must meet the requirements for 1 of these filters (that is where the Match Any grouping comes in). Notice that we have added a version lower than comparison on the Version column in both filters.
What if you want to group computers that only have Office 2007 SP2? Well Office 2007 SP2 has a version that is at least 12.0.6425.1000. So you could use a version higher than comparison, correct? No. If you use a higher than comparison on that value you will also match systems that are running Office 2007 SP3. In this case you would want to use the version between comparison. All you have to do is identify the range of versions that constitute Office 2007 SP2. Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 will have a version no lower than 12.0.6425.1000 and SP3 will have no version lower than 12.0.6612.1000After finding the appropriate values (Microsoft didn't have the versions for Office 2007 SP3 readily available to I installed SP3 to determine it's version which turned out to be 12.0.6612.1000) I created a filter that looked like this:
Let's create a report showing all computers that are running Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 with update lower than 31. To know what version to look for, just go to open a computer (in PDQ Inventory) that is running version 31 and see how it's version is displayed in the Applications panel. I can tell from the screenshot below that Java 6 Update 31 will have a version of 6.0.310.
Go to the Report menu and select New Report > Basic. Call your new report something like "Java 6 lower than Update 31". On the Columns tab click the Add Column button and add Computer > Name. The Computer Name column should show up. Add two more columns, Applications > Name and Applications Version.
After you have entered which columns you want to display go to the Filters tab. Click the Add Filter button. A new Filter will be created. At this point click the Add Column button and select Application > Name. Choose the starts with comparison and enter Java(TM) 6 in the field. Click Add Column and choose Application > Version. Choose the version lower than comparison and type in 6.0.310.
Click the Run Report icon and (assuming you have computers that meet these filter criteria) you should see a window which looks something like the image below. In order to save your new report you must be running PDQ Inventory in Pro Mode.
Remember, in order to use the Version comparisons you must be running PDQ Inventory version 1.1.1. beta 1 or higher.
*Note - The Version comparisons expect digits and can be delimited by dots or commas. The values will stop evaluating at the 4th delimeter or when it hits the first non-digit (dots and commas excluded) character.
Version 220.127.116.11.5.6 will be evaluated as 18.104.22.168
Version 10.2.3R2 will be evaluated as 10.2.3
Version one.two.three will be evaluated as NULL
To determine Microsoft Office Service Pack versions I referred to these KB articles. The Office 2010 article did not, at this writing, contain the version info for Office 2010 SP3.