Patch and Update Automation with Multiple Dependent Systems

I have posted articles and tutorials in the past on the BatchPatch feature known as the ‘Advanced multi-row queue sequence.‘ In fact there is a really thorough tutorial here that demonstrates how to integrate custom scripts into your job queues and multi-row queue sequences, which essentially enables the administrator to incorporate features/functionality into BatchPatch that might not exist already in a single-click menu item.

Today I’d like to discuss a bit more some thoughts on what an ‘Advanced multi-row queue sequence’ might look like in a different environment. For example, let’s say that you want to have one computer check for available updates and install them if there are any, but if there aren’t any, then you want the next server in the queue to do the same. Furthermore, if there *are* updates available for installation, you want to download and install them and reboot the computer, and then you want the computer to check again to see if after reboot any new updates became available. And again you want to then install any available updates, but if there are none available you want the next host in the advanced multi-row queue sequence to begin working. Additionally, if updates are available and installed and the host is then rebooted, you want to perform a verification check on that server to make sure that it is functioning properly before moving on to the next host in the sequence. There are surely multiple ways to accomplish something like this, but below I’m going to provide one possible way to accomplish this.

First, if you are not familiar with ‘Advanced multi-row queue sequence’ execution, please review the following links, which all demonstrate how to use it.

Advanced Multi Row Queue Sequence Video Tutorial

Virtual Machine Guest Host Update and Reboot Sequence Automation

Advanced Multi Row Queue Sequence Contingent Operations with Custom Scripts

Now, what if we apply the following job queue to each of the hosts in our advanced multi-row queue sequence? This allows us to have each host do multiple cycles of ‘download/install/reboot’ along with running a custom script to verify that our target is functioning in the way that we want … i.e. in addition to being online, which BatchPatch checks for, the custom script can check to see that the server is providing whatever service it provides. If the verification script finds that it is providing the service, the script returns 0. If the verification script finds that it is not providing the service, the script returns a non-0 integer. This enables us to use the two following special job queue items:

Abort advanced multi-row sequence if previous action fails/errors
Terminate queue if previous action fails/errors

So, if we apply the queue below to three hosts in the BatchPatch grid, for example. And if include those three hosts in the advanced multi-row queue sequence, such that each host represents one sequence position, which means that each host will execute the complete job queue below in sequence, so that no host goes offline at the same time, and so that if one host fails the verification script, then no other hosts will be acted upon in any way, then we can accomplish a pretty solid automation routine.

Check for available updates
Terminate queue if previous 'Check for available updates' finds 0 updates
Download and install updates + reboot if required
Wait 10 minutes
Wait for host to be detected online
*Run a custom remote verification script/deployment that returns 0 if successful/OK, non-0 if unsuccessful/notOK
Abort advanced multi-row sequence if previous action fails/errors
Terminate queue if previous action fails/errors
Check for available updates
Terminate queue if previous 'Check for available updates' finds 0 updates
Download and install updates + reboot if required
Wait 10 minutes
Wait for host to be detected online
*Run a custom remote verification script/deployment that returns 0 if successful/OK, non-0 if unsuccessful/notOK
Abort advanced multi-row sequence if previous action fails/errors
Terminate queue if previous action fails/errors
Check for available updates
Terminate queue if previous 'Check for available updates' finds 0 updates
Download and install updates + reboot if required
Wait 10 minutes
Wait for host to be detected online
*Run a custom remote verification script/deployment that returns 0 if successful/OK, non-0 if unsuccessful/notOK
Abort advanced multi-row sequence if previous action fails/errors
Terminate queue if previous action fails/errors
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Does BatchPatch Work Over a VPN Connection?

One of the common questions we regularly receive is will BatchPatch be able to work over a VPN? BatchPatch *can* work over a VPN connection, but the real question is will BatchPatch work over *your* VPN connection? It really depends on how your VPN and VPN firewall are configured, not on how BatchPatch is configured.

In corporate environments we usually see two ways that VPNs are deployed. In one configuration a site-to-site VPN configuration might be used to effectively connect a remote office to a corporate headquarters in order for the users in the remote office to be able to connect to all the resources in the corporate headquarters just as if those users were connected directly to the LAN in the headquarters office. Typically in this kind of site-to-site VPN configuration there is little to no firewalling between the two offices, because the goal is for the remote office users to have an identical experience to the users who are directly connected to the main LAN back at headquarters. When a firewall is used to block ports or services between sites, the experience for remote users is quickly degraded because they don’t get the same unfettered access to resources that users in headquarters get. This diminished experience in turn makes it harder, sometimes, for remote users to complete their duties. Similarly, if there is significant firewalling of ports or services between the two offices, IT administrators who work in the main office might not be able to perform all of the duties that they need to perform on remote office computers. Furthermore, in the typical site-to-site VPN setup, users do not have to run special VPN client software on their computers. In fact, when they are plugged into the LAN in the remote office, they should have a seamless experience in which they cannot even tell that there is any difference to be connected to the main office. Plugging a computer into either the home office or the remote office should yield the same experience for the end user.

In the second type of configuration, instead of setting up a complete site-to-site VPN with little to no restrictions between the two sites, remote users might install a VPN client software on their computers. Whenever they want or need to connect to services in the main corporate headquarters they simply launch the VPN client software, click the ‘connect’ button, and then the VPN software establishes a tunnel to the corporate LAN. Once connected, the users are able to access various services that have been pre-configured by the IT department. In this case where VPN client software is used, it seems to be much more common in corporate environments for firewall configurations to be more tightly locked down such that only designated sites and services are made available to the end users who connect through the VPN. Frequently in this type of VPN configuration, if an application has not bee pre-approved and pre-configured to work across the tunnel, it won’t. And similarly, IT staff frequently are not able to connect from the main office to the VPN-connected client computers in order to manage them in the same way that they would be able to manage the computers that are directly connected to the corporate LAN. But again, it all depends on how the firewalls are configured.

So, when it comes to BatchPatch, if you’re not sure if it will work over your VPN, here is what I would suggest:

1. Download the free evaluation version of BatchPatch from https://batchpatch.com/download

2. Test BatchPatch on your main LAN without involving any VPNs. After all, if you can’t get BatchPatch working without using the VPN, then you’re certainly not going to get it working over the VPN. Please carefully review the ‘Getting Started‘ page to learn how to configure your environment to work with BatchPatch.

3. Once you have BatchPatch working on your main LAN, then go ahead and test it over the VPN. If it doesn’t work, visit the administrator or engineer who controls the VPN and firewall devices in your environment, and work with him or her to get everything configured for BatchPatch to function properly. In some cases if corporate policy prevents them from modifying the existing VPN to allow BatchPatch to function, they might still be willing or able to configure a specially permissioned VPN that is strictly for IT staff and that has less restrictions in place so that software like BatchPatch can be allowed to work over it.

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Deploying .MSI Installer Packages to Multiple Remote Computers

If the software or update that you want to deploy to computers on your network is formatted as a .MSI file, here is how to use BatchPatch to deploy it to any number of computers at one time.

  1. Add the desired target computers to the BatchPatch grid. BatchPatch provides numerous ways to add hosts to a grid, so just pick your desired method. You can import a text file list of computers using ‘File > Open…‘ or by just dragging and dropping the text file onto the BatchPatch window (unless you have launched BatchPatch as administrator, in which case drag-drop functionality will be disabled). Alternatively you could manually type or paste a list of computers into the ‘Add hosts‘ dialog under ‘File > Add hosts…‘, or if you are working in a domain environment you could add hosts from an Active Directory organizational unit (OU) or security group by selecting ‘File > Add hosts from directory…


  2. Now that you have your desired hosts added to the grid, highlight them, and then select ‘Actions > Deploy software/patch/script/regkey etc > Create/modify deployment…

  3. In the deployment window that appears, select the .MSI file that you plan to deploy. Note, some .MSI packages will initiate a reboot of the target computer, so if you want to prevent that from happening, then make sure to check the /norestart button. After installation you can then initiate the reboot yourself through BatchPatch under ‘Actions > Reboot…‘ so that you can more easily monitor what’s going on. Also, if the .MSI package has additional files that are required by it for it to run to completion, then you need to make sure to have those files in the same folder as the .MSI file, and then check the box ‘Copy entire directory contents in addition to the specified file‘. This way all of the required files will be copied to the target computer. Then when the .MSI file is executed, it will be able to find the other files that it needs to complete its work.

  4. At this point we are ready to execute the deployment. If you want to save the deployment for execution at a later time, add a title in the ‘Deployment Title‘ field, and then save the deployment by clicking the double-right-arrow button. However, if you are ready to deploy the .MSI to your targets now, then just make sure they are all highlighted in the grid, and then click ‘Execute now‘. As always, we recommend testing any deployment on a single computer before attempting a larger deployment to many computers.
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Inform Users Before Applying Updates and Rebooting

BatchPatch has a feature ‘Send message to logged-on users’ that enables the administrator to quickly and easily produce a pop-up message on the interactive desktop of target computers, so that a logged-on user will see the message. The message text is completely customizable, and the message can even be set to go away after X seconds. Used in conjunction with BatchPatch job queues and/or scheduled tasks means that you can setup a routine where at a scheduled time BatchPatch will automatically notify end-users with a pop-up message on their computers that in X seconds or minutes their computers will be updated and rebooted. Let’s go over how to set this up.

  1. Create a message to send to logged-on users. Go to ‘Actions > Send message to logged-on users > Create/modify messages’. In the window that appears, create a message, give it a title, and optionally set the message to auto-close after X seconds. Then click the double-right-arrow button (>>) to save the message.
  2. Create a job queue. The purpose of this job queue will be to send the message that was created in the previous step to target computers, then wait 5 minutes, then initiate an update/reboot task. Go to ‘Actions > Job Queue > Create / modify’. In the window that appears we’ll create a job queue with those steps. Note, since we saved our message to logged-on users, it now appears in the ‘Saved User-Defined Commands and Deployments’ grid in the lower-left portion of the job queue window. Give the job queue a title, and click the double-right-arrow (>>) button to save the queue.
  3. Create a scheduled task. Now that we have a job queue saved, we can set it to be executed by the BatchPatch task scheduler at a desired time on a desired day. Highlight the desired rows/targets in your BatchPatch grid, and then select ‘Actions > Task scheduler > Create / modify scheduled task’. From the drop-down menu select the job queue that you created in the previous step. Then set a day/time for the task to be executed.
  4. Enable the task scheduler. Now that the scheduled task has been created, the last thing that needs to be done is to enable the scheduler, which by default is not running. Click on the small red clock icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Upon clicking it will turn from red to green, indicating that the scheduler has been enabled.

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Quickly Confirming There Is Enough Disk Space On Remote Computers Before Patching

For those of you who already use BatchPatch, you’ve probably experimented with the built-in options it has for checking the disk space on remote computers. These options are pretty straightforward, and I will go over them in a moment. However, what I’d also like to address is the question of not just how do you check for disk space on remote computers, but how do you quickly and easily confirm that many remote computers have enough disk space available before you begin a patching operation? What I mean to say here is that while you can easily check for the available disk space on many remote computers using BatchPatch, how would you go about actually reviewing the results to make a quick determination that you have enough space on your target computers? If you have 100 or 1000 computers or more computers, it could take a long time to carefully review results. Of course you could write a custom script to handle this, but let me show you two very quick ways to accomplish this in BatchPatch with no custom scripting required.

Checking for Available Disk Space

  • Actions > Get information > Get disk space (% with graph)

  • Actions > Get information > Get disk space (available MB)

  • Actions > Get information > Get disk space (available MB) > All disks

Reviewing Disk Space Results Quickly

If you look at the screenshots above you can see the three primary ways that disk space info can be retrieved and displayed in BatchPatch. In the case of method 3 where we check for the disk space on all disks for a single computer, the results cannot be quickly reviewed for many computers, so let’s focus on the first two methods.

In method 2 where we get the available disk space in MB, we can quickly sort the rows by available MB, which gives us an immediate way of knowing which targets might be running tight on disk space. We can just look at the top of the grid (or bottom, depending on direction of sorting) to see the targets that have less available space on the scanned drive.

Unfortunately for method 1 the sorting option doesn’t give us great results because it will sort based on percentage used rather than actual available MB free. Percentage isn’t particularly useful if you really just want to make sure that each computer has, say, 1000MB free for Windows Updates to be applied since the percentage depends on the overall amount of disk space available.

However, we do actually have another facility that makes method 1 a more viable option for quickly determining if there is enough disk space. Under ‘Tools > Settings > General‘ there is a setting called ‘Low Disk Space Warning Threshold (MB)’ for which the default value is 500. For the sake of this example I’m going to set it to 50,000. Note, this is not a practical value to set, but I’m using it in this example just to illustrate what it does. A more practical value might be something like 1500MB or 2000MB, depending on your preference for how much free space should trigger the warning.

Notice that when I re-check the disk space %, now each target that has less than 50,000MB available on the scanned disk will show the bar in red instead of purple, so unless you are color-blind, this could be another method for quickly confirming available disk space is above a desired threshold on numerous computers.

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Automated Patch Management

Today I’d like to go through all the ways that BatchPatch can be used to automate your software and operating system patch management.


Standard BatchPatch Actions:

If you log on to a computer locally to apply updates and reboot, it’s a multi-step process. First you have to use remote desktop to connect to the desired computer, then you have to logon, then you have to launch the Windows Update control panel, then you have to download and install the available updates. At this point you’d have to wait usually at least a few minutes, but sometimes much longer while the download and update process completes. And even after the updates have been installed you still then have to manually initiate a reboot and monitor the computer with a ping command or a monitoring tool while the reboot is taking place, so that you can confirm that the computer is back online after the reboot. This process could easily take 30 minutes per computer, which is fine if you just have a few, but what if you have dozens or hundreds or even thousands of computers to manage?

With BatchPatch you can add all of the desired computers to a grid, and then select the entire lot to ‘Download and install updates + reboot if required.’ Instead of having to individually log on to each computer to perform the action, BatchPatch will remotely connect to every computer at the same time to initiate and monitor the whole process. You can have the entire fleet of computers updated and rebooted within a matter of minutes. How’s that for automation! BatchPatch can perform almost any action that you would ever need to perform on remote computers, and it can do all of the remote computers simultaneously. This is great for deploying software or updates, or for executing remote commands or scripts, or for retrieving information or updating registry values etc.

Example:
batch-install-windows-updates


Scheduled Tasks:

2015-02-17 15_09_52-new 1 - BatchPatch X3

Ok, so you’ve been using BatchPatch to manage updates, but what if you don’t even want to touch the BatchPatch console? You could further automate your updating process by scheduling task to occur at a desired date/time, so that when that time arrives BatchPatch will automatically launch the tasks that you scheduled across whichever target computers you created the schedule for. You can even have it email you a copy of the BatchPatch grid for review so that you don’t have to touch the BatchPatch console during the maintenance window, if so desired.

Another automation option for scheduled tasks is the facility in the scheduler to ‘Run task immediately upon detecting target computer online’. This option let’s you configure a scheduled task to run as soon as BatchPatch detects the target computer on the network, rather than having to wait for a specific scheduled date/time for the task to run. This way if you have computers that are frequently pulled off the network, instead of scheduling an update process to occur at a date/time, since you don’t know if the computer will be connected to the network at that time, it’s often easier to just have BatchPatch run the task as soon as the computer is detected online.

Example:
using-the-task-scheduler-in-batchpatch


Job Queues:

2015-09-08 12_49_57-Job Queue

If you need to run multiple different tasks in a specific sequence so that you can start and stop scripts before and after patching, or execute multiple patch and reboot cycles with a single click, or any number of other things, check out the Job Queue feature.

Example:
using-the-job-queue-in-batchpatch-for-multi-step-execution


Multi-Row Sequences:

2015-03-04 17_04_38-new 1 - BatchPatch X5

What about the case where you have multiple computers that are all dependent on one another in some way, such that you want to make sure that only one of them is taken offline at any given time. Or perhaps you want/need to apply updates and reboot these computers in a specific order. Or maybe it’s a virtual machine host with a number of virtual machine guests on it, and you want to apply updates to all guests first, and then when the guests are complete you want to update and reboot the host. Well, you could certainly oversee this process manually. You could make sure to be careful about which machines you update and in which order and when. However, wouldn’t it be nice if you could kick off these entire sequences with a single click rather than having to manually manage the whole process? BatchPatch has a feature called “Advanced multi-row queue sequence” that enables the administrator to construct sequences of actions across multiple computers for maximum automation and control.

Example:
advanced-multi-row-queue-sequence

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Remotely Uninstall Firefox from Multiple Computers

Removing Firefox from numerous computers does not have to be a tedious process. While you could certainly use remote desktop to connect to each target computer and then manually launch the add/remove programs applet, this would take a very long time if you had to perform the task on dozens or perhaps hundreds or even thousands of computers. Alternatively you could just use BatchPatch to perform this task on all of your remote computers at the same time, enabling you to effectively uninstall Firefox from your entire network of computers in under a minute. The process if very straightforward and simple.

First you’ll just need to identify the installation directory on your computers. For example, on my lab computers Firefox is installed in either “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox” or “C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox”. If your computers have Firefox installed in a different directory then just make sure you substitute your installation directory in the command instead of using the one in my command.

In order to remove Firefox from numerous computers using BatchPatch, we first have to be able to successfully uninstall it from a single computer at the command prompt with no user interaction. We need the process to execute “silently” or “quietly” so that it simply runs to completion without needing any additional interaction from the user or administrator to complete the process. We don’t want a situation where we have to click “yes” or confirm in some other way to proceed with the uninstallation. We just want the process to run on its own after we launch it. So first to confirm that we are able to successfully remove the software from just one computer using the command prompt rather than BatchPatch, we execute the following command in a cmd.exe window.

The x64 version of Firefox default setup uninstall command:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\uninstall\helper.exe" /S

The x86 version of Firefox default uninstall command:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\uninstall\helper.exe" /S

Run the command and make sure that it successfully removes Firefox. If the command does not successfully remove Firefox on your computer at the command prompt, then there’s no way that BatchPatch will be able to remotely execute the same command with success. However, the command should work for you just as it did for me to completely remove Firefox. Once confirmed, we can then run the same command in BatchPatch to target numerous remote computers, simultaneously.

We highlight the desired target computers in our BatchPatch grid and then select ‘Actions > Execute remote process/command > Create/modify remote command 1’

In the command window you may insert the removal command just as I have done here:

Click ‘Execute’ to launch the command on all of the selected/highlighted hosts in the BatchPatch grid. In my lab the entire process completes in just a handful of seconds. Firefox is removed, and I can go on about my other business. 🙂

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Clearing Column and Grid Contents in BatchPatch

Beginning with the March 2018 version of BatchPatch we improved the functionality for clearing specific grid contents. In the past there were a handful of pre-defined methods hard-coded into the BatchPatch menu that one could use to clear the contents of a group of columns. However, we would regularly receive requests from our users to add new custom selections. For example maybe John would want to be able to clear columns A, B, and C, but Jill would want to be able to clear columns B, C, and D, and then Mike would come along and want to clear columns C, D, and E. It was always possible to clear a specific set of desired columns, but it was not possible to save a selection list so that you could quickly clear the contents of a custom, pre-defined group of columns over and over and over without having to re-select the group. You would have to either use one of the pre-defined lists that we coded into the app, or you could manually select the list of columns that you would want to clear each and every time you would want to clear them, which was a tedious process.

In the March 2018 version we updated the functionality so that now you can easily select a group of columns that you want to clear, and you can then save that group for easy future clearing. The process is outlined below.

Create Custom Selections Lists for Clearing Column / Grid Contents

  1. Select ‘Actions > Clear column contents > Create/modify selections
  2. In the window that appears, select the columns that you want to clear. You could simply click ‘Clear contents of selected columns now‘, which would perform the operation on the currently highlighted rows in the grid, but if you instead specify a title for the selections list, you can then save the list using the double-arrow button. You can see in the screenshot that I have saved a few different entries.

  3. After you save the desired selections and close the window you will now be able to clear columns of the selected rows on-demand very quickly by selecting ‘Actions > Clear column contents > Execute saved selections

  4. Additionally, once you have saved a selection list it will appear in the Job Queue window and Scheduled Task window so that you can clear column/grid contents from inside a job queue or scheduled task.

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BatchPatch Error: -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT -XXXXXXXXXX

BatchPatch Error: -102 is one of the most common errors that users experience. In general, it indicates that the target computer had some type of problem connecting to the update server, which can be either your local WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) server or Microsoft’s public Windows Update or Microsoft Update server.

In your ‘Remote Agent Log’ column you will see the full error, which always includes a HRESULT value. If you closed BatchPatch without saving the HRESULT code, you can still view this in the target computer’s BatchPatch.log and/or BatchPatchError.log, which will both be stored in the remote working directory. The default location is C:\Program Files\BatchPatch unless you have modified the ‘Remote working directory’ location under Tools > Settings > General.

You can think of the HRESULT value as a sort-of ‘reason code’ for the issue. So the -102 value simply means that there was a problem with the target computer’s ability to communicate with or connect to the update server. The HRESULT value will be the reason why there was a problem. Below are most of the HRESULT values that have ever been reported to us, as well as possible explanations for why they might occur.

Note, the HRESULT value is reported in decimal format, but it’s helpful to convert it to hex for the sake of google searching for a solution. The hex value is much more likely to turn up helpful search results in comparison to the decimal value. Please see the bottom of this page for a description of how to convert decimal values to hex. Once you have the hex representation of the HRESULT, you can look it up here to see what it means: Windows Update Error Code List


Various HRESULT values that might be seen with a -102 error

Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2147012866

0x80072EFE -2147012866 ERROR_INTERNET_CONNECTION_ABORTED
The connection with the server has been terminated.

This error could indicate a proxy configuration problem. For more details on using BatchPatch with an enterprise proxy, please see: using-batchpatch-with-an-enterprise-web-proxy

Alternatively, it’s possible that this error could be caused by any type of application running on the target computer that could sever a network connection. For example, a Host Intrusion Protection/Prevention (HIPS) application, an anti-virus application, or a similar security suite.



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145124322

0x8024001E -2145124322 WU_E_SERVICE_STOP
call was aborted due to service stop or system shut down

This error would usually occur if the Windows Update service on the target computer was in the process of stopping, or if the computer was in the process of rebooting. Make sure the target computer is online and its Windows Update service is started/running.



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145107934

0x80244022 -2145107934 SUS_E_PT_HTTP_STATUS_SERVICE_UNAVAIL
Http status 503 - temporarily overloaded

This likely indicates an issue with your WSUS server. It could be a transient load problem or it could indicate that the server needs a reboot or that the web service is not responding properly.



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145107924

0x8024402c -2145107924 WU_E_PT_WINHTTP_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED
Winhttp SendRequest/ReceiveResponse failed with 0x2ee7 error. Either the proxy server or target server name can not be resolved. Corresponding to ERROR_WINHTTP_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED. Stop/Restart service or reboot the machine if you see this error frequently.

This is the error that we would expect to see if your WSUS were offline or if there were a DNS or proxy problem preventing the target computer from establishing a connection with the WSUS.



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2147023838

0x80070422 -2147023838 ERROR_SERVICE_DISABLED
The service cannot be started. If BITS service is disabled by the Administrator, then this error will be seen.

Make sure the Windows Update service and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) are started on the target computer.



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2147012867

0x80072EFD -2147012867 ERROR_INTERNET_CANNOT_CONNECT
The attempt to connect to the server failed.

Make sure that the target computer actually has access to the internet. If you have a proxy in your environment, this error could indicate a proxy configuration problem. For more details on using BatchPatch with an enterprise proxy, please see: using-batchpatch-with-an-enterprise-web-proxy



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2147012894

0x80072EE2 -2147012894 ERROR_INTERNET_TIMEOUT
The request has timed out.

Make sure that the target computer actually has access to the internet. If you have a proxy in your environment, this error could indicate a proxy configuration problem. For more details on using BatchPatch with an enterprise proxy, please see: using-batchpatch-with-an-enterprise-web-proxy



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145124306

0x8024002E -2145124306 SUS_E_WU_DISABLED
non managed server access is disallowed

We have seen this occur when in Group Policy or Local Policy the following setting is enabled Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communications Management\Internet Communication settings\Turn off access to all Windows Update features



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145103860

0X8024500C -2145103860

We have seen this occur when in Group Policy or Local Policy the following setting is enabled ‘Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update\Do not connect to any Windows Update Internet locations’



Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2145123272

0X80240438 -2145123272

We have seen this occur when the WSUS server is offline or non-existent


Error -102: Failed to execute the search. HRESULT: -2147024894

0x80070002 -2147024894
ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND "The System cannot find the file specified"

This is probably one of the least common errors that one would be likely to see with -102. One possible explanation/solution is described here. If you are seeing this error, but the this posting doesn’t resolve it, please contact us. Create a HTML grid export (File > Export grid to HTML) for us to review, and we should be able to help figure out what’s going on.


How to convert HRESULT decimal values to hex

HRESULT codes will be in decimal format, but we usually need to convert them to hex in order to figure out what they mean. The easiest way to do that is with your Windows calculator. Launch calc.exe and switch to the ‘Programmer’ calculator by clicking the button in the upper left corner of the calculator window.

In the Programmer calculator select DEC and paste in your HRESULT value. You can then see the HEX value. In this example I’ve pasted -2147012867, and we can see the HEX value is 80072EFD.

Once you have the hex representation of the HRESULT, you can look it up here to see what it means: Windows Update Error Code List

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How to Execute Batch Files (.bat or .cmd) on Remote Computers

Running batch files on target computers is actually a very easy process using BatchPatch. You can execute the same .bat or .cmd file on numerous remote computers simultaneously with just a few clicks. Perhaps the only confusing aspect of this process is that we won’t use the ‘Remote process / command’ action in BatchPatch to perform this task. It may seem like the intuitive choice to use ‘Remote process / command’, but instead it’s actually much simpler to use the BatchPatch ‘Deployment’ feature to accomplish our goal here. We tend to think of deployments as being specific to installing or deploying a package on target computers, but it’s actually the simplest way to run batch files remotely too. This is because a BatchPatch deployment works by having BatchPatch first copy the desired file or files to the target computer(s), and then once the file or files have been copied, BatchPatch executes the deployment, which in the case of a .bat of .cmd means that BatchPatch will run the batch file using cmd.exe on each of the desired target computers.

  1. In your BatchPatch grid highlight the rows for the desired target computers (this can be any number of rows/hosts), then click ‘Actions > Deploy > Create / modify deployment’
  2. In the ‘Deploy’ window that appears click the triple-dot (…) button to select the batch file to deploy. The file extension of your batch file should be .cmd or .bat
  3. We are going to be deploying a single batch file, so we select the ‘Normal (singular) deployment’ radio button option and then click OK to browse to the location of our batch file. Note, the ‘Multiple update file deployment’ option is only allowed for .msu, .msi, and .msp package deployments.
  4. In the ‘Deploy’ screen you’ll see that the filepath of the .cmd or .bat file is now displayed in the corresponding field. For the sake of this example the only text inside my .cmd file is an ‘IPCONFIG’ command, so I’m going to tick the box to ‘Retrieve console output.’ However, note that the ‘Retrieve console output’ checkbox is not compatible with all deployments, and in some cases ticking this box will cause the deployment to fail outright.
  5. At this point the deployment configuration is complete. It’s really *that* simple. I’m going to click ‘Execute now’ to execute the deployment for the selected row(s) in the grid, but you may optionally save the deployment for future execution by using the double-right-arrow button, or you may apply the deployment to the selected rows without actually executing it by clicking on the ‘Apply deployment…’ button.
  6. Since my batch file contained just a single simple command it executed almost instantly. We see the ‘Deployment: Exit Code: 0’ in blue, and the output of the IPCONFIG command can be viewed in the ‘Deployment Output Log’ column. That’s all there is to it.
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