Retry Queue

Posted by Annalisa Williams

Nov 17, 2014 3:23:24 PM

Bigger and badder than ever, PDQ Deploy 4 is here. This new version has great solutions to making sure computers receive updates even if they are offline at the time you kick off your deployment. Below is the beginning of a playlist of video tutorials on using the Retry Queue.

Retry QueueRetryQueue250

Retry Queue is an Enterprise mode feature. The Retry Queue screen (the icon on left side of screen) is where your computers that are offline, but listed to be deployed to will appear with the computer name and name of the application package you were attempting to deploy. 

 

Managing Settings 

Under Preferences>Deployments, you'll notice a new section: Offline Retry Queue. This is where you set the interval at which PDQ Deploy will attempt to re-deploy. The interval value is a global setting. Below that is where you'll set the number of retry attempts before it is dropped from the queue. The number of attempts may be overwritten at the Package and Deploy levels.

Preferences_Retry_Queue

Settings at the Package and Deployment Level

To change a package's settings, simply double-click a package to open it up and go into "Package Properties" and there you'll see "Offline Settings" where by default it will use the setting from preferences. Uncheck that to modify the number of retries on that package. 

The retry queue attempts can be about as granular as you need them. You can adjust on the package level and individual deployment levels as well. To adjust and individual deployment, when you select the package and click "Deploy Once". In the Deploy Once or Schedule windows you'll have the option to change number of retries before the computer is removed from the queue. 

Forcing a Retry

Details_Retry_Queue

You're not stuck waiting until the interval completes to retry a deployment on a computer. When in the Retry Queue, highlight a queued deployment and on the right side of the window you'll see the Try Now option. The deployment will reattempt and increment one of your tries. 

 

Things to note with the Retry Queue...there are actually instances when you would not want a deployment to place computers in the Retry Queue. If you send out a package to reboot computers that are offline...well, if you have some sort of sick sense of humor then, sure...put a computer in the Retry Queue and have it restart right after your user turns on the computer.

 

 

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Topics: pdq deploy

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

Up 'n' Coming - Auto Deployments

Posted by Shawn Anderson

Aug 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

PDQ Deploy 3.2 is finishing up alpha testing. The next step will be beta and we are excited. We're bringing a very commonly requested feature to the plate with Auto Deployments.

It's kind of interesting what you learn from your customers. When we started PDQ Deploy we assumed that every admin wanted total control over every aspect of the environment (not to mention their users' lives). After all, we had all been admins before and that's how we operated.

But lo and behold, there are quite a few admins who would actually prefer to let deployments just automatically happen, kind of a "set it and forget it" thing. So, we're very pleased to provide this new feature. 

We call it Auto Deployment, and it will be an Enterprise level feature in PDQ Deploy. 

What is Auto Deployment?

Auto Deployment will allow an IT Admin to select which packages from our Package Library should be automatically deployed to computers when new updates are released. The setting will allow the admin to select the number of days after a release to automatically deploy a package (or packages). 

DEP32-MainWindow-AutoDeployPage

Finally, you can set Java or Flash (or any other package in the Package Library) to just push out to your environment after it's released.

Beta testing will hopefully be starting next week. To sign up to receive beta notification click here.

If you are an existing PDQ Deploy user you can be notified when betas are ready for download by checking the "Include Beta Versions" checkbox in File > Preferences > Auto Update.

We have a lot of users waiting for this and we hope that they like it. If you have suggestions for product enhancements please post (or vote up) your favorites in our forums

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Topics: pdq deploy

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

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