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

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

Getting Java 7 under control

Posted by Shane Corellian

Dec 20, 2013 3:55:00 PM

Today we'll discuss Java 7 in your environment. Many of your users probably have older versions of Java installed. Some may not need Java at all, and others just need to be updated. We will be focusing on the the 32-bit version of Java 7 since this is by far the most common Java.

Let's get down to it. Grab some egg nog, splash in some dark spiced rum. The bottle is most likely behind that un-used gym bag that has been next to your desk since January. (We'll get to ignoring your New Year Resolutions later)

Make sure your target computers have recently been scanned.

If you have access to the Collection Library (available for PDQ Inventory with an Advanced Subscription) you can view your Java installations right now. Simply go to Collection Library > Runtimes > Java (JRE) > Java 7.

Java 32 bit collection library

The collection in the image above will contain computers which have an older version of Java 7 (32-bit version). The Collection Library is constantly updated so, at this writing, any installation of Java 7 that is below update 45 is considered old.

If you don't have access to the Collection Library then I'll walk you through creating your own Java 7 collections. (Well, I'll show you screenshots, how's that?)
This collection will show you all computers that have any version of Java 7 installed. (Including 64-bit versions)
describe the image 

This collection will show you all computers that have an older version of Java 7 32-bit.
 describe the image

Now you know which systems have an old version of Java 7 installed.
Notice that we used a regular expression to filter on Java. Why? Because the first Java 7 updates (through Update 10) reported the application name as "Java(TM) 7 Update xx". Post Update 10 the name is reported as "Java 7 Update xx". In order to catch installations of early Java 7 we wanted to account for either Java(TM) 7 or Java 7.
We don't NEED to use a regular expression. Here are two other alternatives you can use for identical results.
describe the image 
describe the image 

If you want to upgrade Java on these computers you can download a "ready-to-go" silent installation of Java from the PDQ Deploy Package Library. You can select which computers to update or just update all the computers in the collection.

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Topics: pdq inventory, pdq deploy, java, Package Library, collections

The Horror of The Ask Toolbar

Posted by Admin Arsenal

Nov 25, 2013 4:16:00 PM

How many times has this happened to you?

Photo by Viri GIt is 4:30 on a Friday afternoon and you are considering the endless possibilities that the weekend has to offer.  You skipped the birthday cake in the break room during the lunch hour; instead you spent the time waiting in line at the bank.  Why?  Because tonight is poker night!

The clock continues its agonizing crawl to the top of the hour as you muse on David's tells. You already have the case of Heineken in your trunk.  It is probably going to be too warm to drink right away, but if you put the first bottle in the freezer right when you get to Peter's...

The phone rings at your desk pulling you back into the corporate world.  The clock now reads 4:34.

"Hello," you say hoping that the confusion in your tone is misconstrued as frustration at being torn away from an important project.

"This is Sally.  The C.E.O. needs someone from IT to come and fix something on his computer," the voice on the phone relays.

Sally, of course.  "Someone from IT" has been you, since they let Roger go 3 months ago when the accounting department decided that a Sys Admin was the same position as help desk, and that the company would be better served by cutting out the "redundancy."

"Sure Sally.  What seems to be the trouble," you say in the I am just glad it was Roger tone you have learned so well.

"He says that you installed some kind of Ask thing on his computer, and now his internet doesn't work correctly," Sally says.

Oh, no.  "Ask thing."  Did he download the Ask Toolbar?  

"Let him know that I will be right up," you say, hoping that your voice isn't trembling.

Three floors later, the chills in your spine have grown to the point of being at risk of causing a seizure.  If he installed the Ask Toolbar, and wants me to get rid of it I could miss the first buy in.

Stepping out of the elevator you see Sally packing up her bag.  She flashes you that smug "not my problem" smile and tells you to head on in.

When you enter Mr. Krupke's office he is seething. "How many times have I told you not to install junk on to my computer without testing it first.  I need to download my tickets to Pebble Beach.  I have an 8:00am tee time tomorrow!"

"Sorry sir," is all you manage to mutter while trying bring up a browser.  There it is, in all of its passive aggressive glory, the Ask Toolbar.
.  How could he have downloaded this?  Then you see the culprit, a new weather app on his desktop, broadcasting a Sunny 82 degrees in Pebble Beach.  Do you dare tell your boss how it really got installed?  How many registries must you o go through while the impatient heat emanating from his breath lands stale on the back of your neck?  Are you feeling faint?

Not if you have PDQ Deploy and a subscription to the package library.

Watch Lex as he easily removes the Ask Toolbar without feeling the need to cry even once.

 

   Photo by Viri G

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Topics: pdq deploy, ask toolbar

Version 3.0 (release 2) of PDQ Deploy

Posted by Admin Arsenal

Nov 22, 2013 8:56:00 AM

Admin Arsenal is excited to announce the public release 3.0 (release 2) of PDQ Deploy.

Download the latest release. 

What is new in Release 2

  • Improvements to database connections to prevent time outs.
  • Performance improvements in console start up.
  • Fixed a bug which could cause the background service to stop after a target reboot.
  • Fixed a bug preventing filters from finding certain nested objects.
As always, check out our videos for more information on how to best utilize our PDQ line of products. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: pdq deploy

The Save Button

Posted by JJ Bateman

Nov 15, 2013 12:59:00 PM

The Redesign

If you've downloaded the new PDQ Deploy 3, you might notice that it looks a lot different than our previous versions. This past summer we thought it was high time to pull an Extreme Makeover:Software Edition. We renovated every menu, window, toolbar, icon, button and status bar we had. You may love it, you may hate it, you may really hate the all caps menu (We agree with Microsoft's design decision standard: "we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area", and in our words, the menu gets lost in the mix without it).

A floppy disk? Huh..

After redesigning about 75 icons I got to the old save.ico and noticed the object that represented it, the floppy disk. I don't know about you, but the last time I used a floppy disk was probably right before I bought my first 8 mb key chain flash drive (that's like 5 floppy disks!!). So why after most of us not using them for a better part of a decade and certain hardware companies phasing them out 15 years ago, are floppy disks the symbolic representation of one of the most prevalent verbs knowing to computing? Many explanations exist, and a few designers have made attempts to supplant the image, yet it persists, and at the same time transcends it's original meaning in an awkwardly timeless symbolic embodiment. I'd be very entertained and amused to find that in a hundred years from now, the floppy disk stands for some yet-to-be-invented nebulous method of writing data to a futuristic storage medium. jims beemerMuch like the phrase "riding shotgun" has replaced actually carrying a shotgun as the armed-guard front-seat passenger -- to simply describing "sitting in the front seat", the floppy may continue to follow the same course. (Although, I must admit, I'd love to careen down the canyon from Park City on an insect rampage, sitting in the front of my friend Jim's BMW convertible wielding a shotgun, if such things weren't frowned upon by the local authorities. I can't say the same about wanting to save a word document to a floppy disk for the sake of nostalgia). 


RIP Floppy: 1971-2010Following in the tradition of using one of the worlds' most outdated storage media containers, and thinking better of changing the object to represent "Save", I decided to design a floppy logo with a subtle twist: an old, weather worn, possibly sun damaged label as if to say "I may not be around in physical form any more, but I'll always be seered in your memory".

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Topics: pdq deploy, PDQ

PDQ Deploy Version 3

Posted by Admin Arsenal

Nov 14, 2013 11:57:00 AM

Admin Arsenal has released PDQ Deploy 3.0.  We are happy that the infighting, blaiming, and eventual crying have led to the release of a great tool for Sys Admins that need to deploy EXEs and MSIs silently.

Some of the new features include:

  • An updated look with faster performance
  • New OS Conditions for Windows 8.1 & 2012 R2.
  • More control at the package level.
Video: PDQ Deploy 3.0 What's New
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Topics: pdq deploy, software deployment

How to use the Office Customization Tool (OCT) for MS Office 2013

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Oct 22, 2013 8:11:00 AM

Introducing the Office 2013 OCT

To customize or install Microsoft Office 2013 silently you will want to use the Office Customization Tool (OCT). 

The OCT comes with the volume and MSDN versions of Office. A quick test to see if your media will support the OCT is to verify the existence of the admin folder, which should sit at the same level as your setup.exe. If there isn't an admin folder, you will not be able to launch the OCT.

NOTE: The retail versions of Office do not support the OCT. 

Video: Office 2013 Step-by-step

Launching the OCT

To start the OCT simply run the setup.exe with the argument 

/admin

Modifying Your Office Installation

The OCT will open. While there are a lot of options that you can tweak, we're going to focus on just a few common changes.

Install location and organization name

This section allows you brand your Office installation to your corporate identity. The name that you add in the "Organization name" will appear as the Organization in each new document that your users create. (They can change if they wish). 

Licensing and user interface -- IMPORTANT

If you use KMS, no change is necessary for this first step. Otherwise enter your volume license key. 

Here is the most important change that you can make. Telling the installation to proceed silently. 

1. Check the "I accept the terms in the License Agreement" checkbox.

2. Change the display level from "Full - default" to "None". 

3. Check the "Suppress modal" and "No cancel" checkboxes. 

Remove previous installations

By default Office wants to remove previous versions of Office. This is usually not a problem. If however you wanted to keep certain versions, like Outlook 2010, for example, this is where you would make that change.

Modify Setup properities

OK - this one has bitten a few of our users. Office likes to initiate a reboot following an install. IN OUR EXPERIENCE it is best to do a reboot following an office install, however we prefer to control the reboot ourselves. Therefore we suggest putting a reboot property value in this section.

1. Click Add. 

2. Enter the Name of the property: SETUP_REBOOT

3. Enter the value: Never

Click OK. 

NOTE: Some users have stated that not doing a reboot after the installation has caused a BSOD. Not good. We strongly recommend doing a reboot. 

Set feature installation states

This will be a familiar interface if you've ever performed manual office installations. Simply select which features you want (or don't want) installed. 

Save your MSP. Be sure that the file you create is saved in the same directory as your setup.exe. 

You are now ready to deploy.

Your install media and the MSP file can be run from a network share, or you can use the media with a deployment tool. 

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Topics: pdq deploy

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