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You've Just Installed PDQ Deploy. Now What?

Brock BinghamBrock Bingham
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For years, you've been fighting a losing battle. With an unrelenting stream of new hires joining the ranks of such departments as "sales" and "accounting," you quickly find yourself outnumbered by the very people you serve. Bolstered by their unquenching desire for the latest technological advancements, you know it's only a matter of time before you are unable to keep up with their patch management needs, putting your users and your company at risk.

Unshaken and undeterred, you embark on a quest seeking aid in your fight against unpatched devices. Suddenly, as if sent by destiny itself, an ally emerges—PDQ Deploy. Priced to meet the needs of even the strictest of budgets, PDQ Deploy promises to put you back in control of your ballooning infrastructure, yet simple enough to be used by a single sysadmin.

"Is this the chosen one, the utility that will bring balance back to the workplace?" you think to yourself.

Filled with hope, you hastily download and install PDQ Deploy. As the installation concludes, you are presented with a simplistic user interface brimming with options. Bathed in the cool glow of your monitor, you look in awe as your mind stirs upon a solitary philosophical question—"Now what?"

Table Of Contents

Where To Begin

PDQ Deploy is the ultimate deployment utility. Whether you're a small shop on a tight budget or a larger organization with thousands of devices, PDQ Deploy will help you ensure your devices stay up to date.

However, as with any new application, you may be wondering where to begin. Don't worry. We've got your back. In this article, we'll take you through the in's and out's of PDQ Deploy so you can hit the ground running.

Familiarize Yourself With Preferences

The first thing you should do after installing PDQ Deploy is browse through the preference menu. You can access the preferences menu by clicking on Options > Preferences.

The preference menu allows you to customize and configure PDQ Deploy to best fit the needs of your environment. Settings such as offline target handling and repository location are found here. Here are a few key preferences we recommend reviewing.

  • Alerts:  Configure auto-update settings for PDQ Deploy. You can specify if you want updates for the release channel or beta channel.

  • Auto Download:  Auto Download allows you to configure the download behavior for packages downloaded from the package library. This setting is enabled by default and should be left enabled if you want your packages to be updated automatically. You can also configure the approval settings for new packages. By default, this setting is set to approve new versions of packages after seven days automatically. This configuration is a good starting point for new users.

  • Database:  Shows the location and backup location of the PDQ Deploy database. Access the Optimize Database option through this menu.

  • Deployments:  Configure your deployment settings, including your scan after deployments settings (requires PDQ Inventory) and offline target settings.

  • Interface:  When you're looking for that dark mode setting, this is where you'll find it.

  • Performance:  Performance settings such as concurrent targets per deployment and total concurrent targets. Push and pull copy mode settings can be found here as well.

  • Repository:  You can configure your repository location in this menu.

Check Out The Package Library

The package library is your gateway to hundreds of personally handcrafted packages. Built by our very own package experts, the package library is where you'll find everything from Windows cumulative updates to mainstream applications such as Google Chrome and Notepad++.

Simply click the Package Library menu option to start exploring.

Don't want to injure your scroll finger? Use the filter box to enter what you're searching for, and it'll narrow the results for you.

Download Some Packages

Now that you've had a chance to scope out the packages let's download a couple.

  1. Select the packages you want to download. I've selected the FileZilla and GIMP packages.

2. Next, click Download Selected (As Auto Download).

3. The packages will be downloaded and added to your Packages directory.

That's all there is to it. These packages are ready to be deployed.

Deploy A Package

Armed with our newly downloaded packages, let's take a look at how easy it is to deploy those packages out to our machines.

  1. Right-click on the package you want to deploy and click Deploy Once.

  2. Enter the name or IP address of the computer you want to target and click Add Computer. Alternatively, click the Choose Targets button and select a target from Active Directory or PDQ Inventory if you have it.

  3. After you have added your targets, click Deploy Now.

  4. Once the deployment starts, you'll be taken to the deployment window to view the status. You'll also be able to see if the deployment failed or completed successfully.

Create A Scheduled Deployment

Deploying things one at a time is great and all, but scheduled deployments are where it's at. Scheduling deployments means that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show while PDQ Deploy does all the heavy lifting. Let's create a scheduled deployment for the other package we downloaded.

  1. Click New Schedule.

  2. Name the schedule.

  3. Select the trigger you want to use. Keep in mind that you can use multiple triggers. I've selected the Interval trigger, and I want it to run every two weeks, so I've set it to 14 days.

  4. Click the Targets tab.

  5. Enter the name or IP address of the machines you want to target and click Add Computer. You can also click Choose Targets to add targets from a source like Active Directory or PDQ Inventory.

  6. Click the Packages tab.

  7. Click Attach Packages.

  8. Select the package you want to attach, click the arrow (>) key, then click OK.

  9. Click the Options tab.

  10. Ensure Stop deploying to targets once they succeed is selected.

  11. If you want to ping targets before deploying, attempt to wake targets using wake-on-LAN, or put targets into the retry queue, you can do so in the Offline Settings tab.

  12. When you are finished, click OK.

Keep in mind that since we used an auto-download package from the package library, the package will automatically update itself, which will cause it to re-deploy to targets, bypassing the "Stop deploying to targets once they succeed" setting once the package is updated. If you configured this schedule with a custom or standard package, targets would only get the package once unless you manually update the package.

Create A Custom Package

Need to deploy an application that isn't part of the package library? With PDQ Deploy, you can create custom packages to deploy scripts and applications easily. Let's create a custom package for an application that isn't found in the package library. For this example, I've downloaded the EXE installer for the application AutoHotkey.

  1. Create a new directory containing the application you want to deploy in the PDQ Deploy repository. Remember, the location of the repository can be found in the preferences menu.

2. In PDQ Deploy, click New Package.

3 Give the package a name. 4. Click New Step > Install

5. Click the ellipses next to the Install File field to navigate to the repository and select the EXE or MSI file. Click Open.

6. If you are using an EXE file, make sure to add the silent install parameter into the Parameters field. For my EXE file, the silent parameter is /S which I found online.

7. Click Save.

Your custom package is now ready to be deployed.

Wrapping Up

Congratulations! You've successfully completed your PDQ Deploy crash course. Once you've set up your packages and schedules, you can simply let PDQ Deploy do its thing while you take all the credit for the job well done.

If you're using both PDQ Inventory and PDQ Deploy, you'll have access to additional features like scanning after deployments and the heartbeat trigger, which can detect when devices come online. Check out our companion blog on those next steps after you install PDQ Inventory, for a crash course on PDQ Inventory.

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