How to handle updates on workstations

jadams

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We're a small shop. But even being small I don't have time to run around to everyones PC's every time their Adobe Reader, QuickBooks, or whatever other piece of software they're using needs updating.

How do you guys handle it?
 

vage

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You could shell out about $240 a year and get Ninite pro. It allows you to handle updates and installations of those 3rd party popular products from a centralized location.

https://ninite.com/pro
 

jadams

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this is pretty nifty. it doesn't have quickbooks though. they do have an app suggestion form, however.
 

mngl1500

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I use Ninite Pro. You can also use Chocolatey for the few not supported by Ninite or instead of Ninite. Chocolatey is free, but more work and you have to pay attention to when updates come out vs clicking scan for updates and update. Plus if you have spare AV laptops you can put Ninite directly on them and do a scan for updates when you do the Windows Updates on them.
 

vage

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Quickbooks doesn't update that often, and can cause problems if done incorrectly, so I'd recommend just doing that one manually anyway.
 

jadams

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I use Ninite Pro. You can also use Chocolatey for the few not supported by Ninite or instead of Ninite. Chocolatey is free, but more work and you have to pay attention to when updates come out vs clicking scan for updates and update. Plus if you have spare AV laptops you can put Ninite directly on them and do a scan for updates when you do the Windows Updates on them.

This seems to have a lot more options. What I seem to be missing though is (or perhaps I just cant read) is a clear answer on whether I can push these updates remotely.
 

Dogs

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Back when I did this stuff, we wrote scripts that locally automated whatever task we were trying to do, be it update existing software, install new software, etc. We would keep these scripts on a network share that any of the computers could access given the right account. From there, we wrote a script that could take in a list of computers or grab all of the computers in a certain OU and schedule whichever script we needed to run as a scheduled task on each computer. This gave us the ability to trigger installs and updates remotely on every computer in a fell swoop, and it's a fairly simple thing to program.

I've heard Microsoft System Centre offers a lot of features for deploying applications and operating systems easily, but I am fairly certain that it can be expensive for a small shop to use. You would have to compare features and price and see if it was a realistic option for you.
 

mngl1500

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This seems to have a lot more options. What I seem to be missing though is (or perhaps I just cant read) is a clear answer on whether I can push these updates remotely.

You can push them remotely with Chocolatey but if you want turnkey no check to see what is updated just update it Ninite is easier. Between the Flash, Java, Acrobat, and Chrome updates alone the time savings pays for itself.

Ninite Pro also has the one week full demo.
 

jadams

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You can push them remotely with Chocolatey but if you want turnkey no check to see what is updated just update it Ninite is easier. Between the Flash, Java, Acrobat, and Chrome updates alone the time savings pays for itself.

Ninite Pro also has the one week full demo.

I think I'm going to go with ninite demo to see if it works. $20 should be easy enough to swing.
 

Crystal Gaol

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Quickbooks doesn't update that often, and can cause problems if done incorrectly, so I'd recommend just doing that one manually anyway.
This.

Intuit is a terrible developer of software. If there is a place to bend programming rules, it seems they so do at every opportunity.

Too bad that there aren't many direct competitors to their software products anymore. (Online malarkey notwithstanding.)

In fact, I think Intuit hires the programmers that printer manufacturer's fire from their printer driver teams.
 

firedrow

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@jadams

You're wanting to do this remotely, but do you have an RMM tool your using to monitor? We use LabTech in our shop and script a lot of things. For Windows Updates, in integrates with a WSUS. If the programs have built-in command line switch for updating you can write simple scripts. Otherwise you will have to find tools like Chocolatey or Ninite Pro to integrate with and script out your update commands. Quickbooks doesn't have an update API available (that I have seen), you will have to do that one remotely. But as big a pain as Quickbooks is, I would suggest doing it by hand.
 

f1y

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PDQ Deploy is nice. You have to manaully push the updates from a central location, but the if the .exe file contains silent install options you can script it


There's a guy over on reddit that keeps a repository updated about once a month with flash and java stuff.


You just set up BTSync and it updates your repositories. Then you deploy the update from PDQ deploy when needed. I use it for one of bullshit people want, like Firefox or chrome


http://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/218x95/pdq_deploy_packages_v150/
 

Snufykat

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This seems to have a lot more options. What I seem to be missing though is (or perhaps I just cant read) is a clear answer on whether I can push these updates remotely.

I use scheduled events to push out to network pc's with ninite.
Love the silent install ability, and the simplicity.
Can run updates based on a text file list of pc's. Makes adding new pc's and removing out of service hardware easy.
Can output a log file to let you check what got updated what had issues or what pc's were unavailable at the time it ran etc.
Started using ninite when we started trying to restrict user accounts but they still needed java updates etc.
 

Dogs

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Too bad that there aren't many direct competitors to their software products anymore. (Online malarkey notwithstanding.)

The very fact that Intuits software isn't the online malarkey as you call it is your first clue that it's terrible.

There's absolutely no reason an application like QuickBooks shouldn't live in the web. It's a much more intelligent thing to do than writing a native app. The only applications left in the non-web space are the bad ones, because all the good developers know that writing an application like QuickBooks as a desktop application instead of a web application is a stupid idea. Intuit already had to buy Mint to keep it from destroying their product.

For starters, if QuickBooks were a web application, nobody would have problems updating or installing it.
 

Crystal Gaol

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The very fact that Intuits software isn't the online malarkey as you call it is your first clue that it's terrible.

There's absolutely no reason an application like QuickBooks shouldn't live in the web. It's a much more intelligent thing to do than writing a native app.

For starters, if QuickBooks were a web application, nobody would have problems updating or installing it.

Intuit would still manage to mess that up. Like I said, former printer-driver programmers. The whole lot of them. :D
Note that Intuit does own mint.com, which is a web-based competitor of Quicken and it is quite popular.
 

Dogs

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Note that Intuit does own mint.com, which is a web-based competitor of Quicken and it is quite popular.

They bought Mint, yes. They're also pushing quite hard to move QuickBooks and TurboTax into the web space, but from my understanding they're still primarily desktop applications, because Intuit was very much late to the game.
 

Nate7311

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Like I said, former printer-driver programmers. The whole lot of them. :D

Ok, that made me chuckle. And it's hilarious to anyone that ever managed an old school Terminal Services environment.

Intuit, where our motto is: "If we didn't have all the market share in SMB Accounting, we wouldn't have ANY marketshare!"

On Topic content: I've been using Vipre Premium's relatively recently added Patch management functionality for many of my clients. They REALLY need to work on reporting and the like, but so far it's been reasonably stable and effective.
 

Dogs

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I like Mint, but clearly they've never owned a house:

http://i.imgur.com/Sh3a1yp.jpg

Its really never "unusual"

Okay, one more off-topic post...

The grocery store I usually get my groceries at is a large super market that also has a gas station. Any time I buy gas there, Mint automatically converts that month's grocery spending into gas spending.
 
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