Automatically Trigger an Email Notification for an Entire Grid Only After All Targets’ Actions Have Completed

There are different ways to utilize email notifications in BatchPatch. For example this link illustrates how to schedule email notifications or include them inside job queues. Additionally we have a couple of other tutorials on email notifications here and here.

Today I would like to address a particular scenario for triggering email notifications that some BatchPatch users like to use. In this example I’ll demonstrate how you can configure an email notification to be sent that includes the status of the entire grid but is only sent after all of the desired actions for all of the desired hosts are fully complete. In this case we’ll make sure that every row in the grid is configured to complete its actions before the email notification is triggered. This way when you get the email, which will include an HTML representation of the grid, it will include all of the rows’ activities that have completed prior to the email being sent.

There are essentially two things that we need to do in order to make this work. First, we need to create a job queue for each row/host in the grid. The job queue will contain all of the actions for each host that we want to execute. Second, we’ll configure an advanced multi-row queue sequence to be responsible for making sure the email notification is sent immediately after all of the other rows’ job queues have completed.

  1. The first thing I’ll do is select all of the hosts in the grid, and then click on ‘Actions > Job Queue > Create/modify job queue
  2. In the Job Queue window that appears I will simply create the desired queue that I want each target host to execute, and then I’ll use the ‘Apply queue to row(s)‘ button to apply the job queue to each of the selected rows in the grid *without* executing the queue (execution will come later). Note, there is no requirement to assign the same job queue to each host. In fact, each host can have its own unique job queue, if desired, but in this particular example I have applied the same job queue to each target host simply because I need/want them all to perform the same update download/installation task.

  3. Once the desired job queues have been configured for the selected rows, we can go ahead and setup the advanced multi-row queue sequence. What the sequence will enable us to do is tell BatchPatch to first execute the job queue for all of the target hosts that we choose, and then only after all of those rows have completed their job queues BatchPatch is instructed to send an email notification that includes a HTML representation of the entire grid. You’ll notice that I have a row in the grid called “emailer” that currently has nothing configured. This is the row that we’ll use to actually send the email. I’m going to create a job queue for this row that has only one step, which is to send an email notification.

  4. If you have not previously configured your email notification settings, you’ll need to do that. You can see my settings in the screenshow below. The most important component for the sake of this example is that I have set the HTML attachment content (and the body content) to $grid. This will instruct BatchPatch to include a copy of the entire grid in the email notification. Note, if you have a situation where you need some rows to send email notifications that only include the content of their rows instead of the entire grid contents, you can certainly override the global settings on a per-row basis, if desired. This way you can have the global setting configured for $grid, with particular rows configured for $row, if needed. See ‘Actions > Email notifications > Override‘ if you need to have individual rows configured differently from the global configuration. For this tutorial we have the global setting set to $grid so that our email notification includes the entire grid. If we needed to keep the global setting as $row then we would just override the email notification row’s setting to be $grid.
  5. Now we can configure the advanced multi-row queue sequence. Select ‘Actions > Job Queue > Create/modify advanced multi-row queue sequence‘. We use the window that appears to set the ‘Sequence Name’ and ‘Sequence Position Number’ for each row. In this case we want all of the hosts to execute their job queues at the same time in position number 1. When all of position number 1 rows complete, position number 2, the email notification row, will be executed. Select all hosts in the grid and set them to sequence position number 1. Choose a name for the sequence because all of the rows that will participate in the sequence must have the same sequence name. Set the email notification row to position number 2 with the same sequence name as used for the hosts in position number 1.


  6. At this point we are nearly done. All of the hosts are set for position 1, and the email notification row is set for position 2. The last thing that we need to do before we can execute the sequence is create a sequence execution row. Add another row to the grid.
  7. In the advanced multi-row queue sequence, set that new row to be the execution row as illustrated in the screenshot below. Make sure to use the same exact sequence name as before.
  8. The last thing to do is simply execute the sequence. You can execute it manually or you can create a scheduled task to launch it on a particular time/day. To execute it manually, highlight the SequenceExecution row that you created in the previous step, and then select ‘Actions > Job Queue > Execute advanced multi-row queue sequence‘. Alternatively, setup a scheduled task on that same SequenceExecution row by selecting the row and choosing ‘Actions > Task Scheduler / Create/modify scheduled task‘. More on scheduled tasks is available here.
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A Utility to Schedule Windows Updates on Numerous Computers

When we first created BatchPatch it was intended to be used primarily as a real-time utility, where an administrator could initiate the download and installation process for Windows Updates on many target computers at the same time, while also being able to monitor the progress of each action on every computer all the way through to completion, including through the reboot process. However, of course there are times when the sysadmin simply cannot be in front of the BatchPatch console at the desired time of execution. For those times we provide the BatchPatch Task Scheduler. As systems administrators we frequently have to patch computers in the middle of the night or in the early morning or over a weekend, and it’s nice to be able to schedule these actions to run at a desired time on a particular day rather than having to actually be sitting in front of the computer while they run.

We always recommend that if you are going to be patching a large number of computers, it’s best to be monitoring the entire process in real-time all the way through to completion. This way if any computers fail to apply updates or perhaps get stuck during reboot or maybe don’t start up all of their services upon reboot, typically you’re going to want to be aware of these issues as quickly as possible so that they can be rectified or otherwise dealt with right away before they turn into big problems. If you’re lying in bed fast asleep while hundreds or thousands of computers are being updated, you’re asking for trouble when you wake up. That said, there are certainly many times where scheduling Windows Updates makes plenty of sense. Whether it’s for a one-off computer here or there in the middle of the night, or if you are doing a large number of non-critical machines, those might be times where a scheduling utility could come in handy. And of course even though we don’t particularly recommend scheduling a lot of computers, especially critical ones, we certainly have many customers who always schedule all of their updates without ever handling the process in real-time. Clearly it’s something that is going to be up to the individual administrator to decide upon, depending on the particulars in his/her environment we well as uptime requirements etc.

To schedule a group of computers to perform an action (or a set of actions) at a specific time/day, it’s simple. Select the group of computers in the BatchPatch grid, and then click on ‘Actions > Task Scheduler > Create/modify scheduled task‘. The action can be an individual action such as ‘Download and install updates + reboot if required‘ or one of many other possible commands that are built-in or that you have created in BatchPatch, or it can be a BatchPatch Job Queue that you previously created to execute a group of actions, sequentially, on each target computer.

After you have applied the desired task to each row/target, you then just need to enable the task scheduler by clicking on the small red clock/timer icon in the upper right corner of the BatchPatch window. The red changes to green once the scheduler has been enabled.

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Say Goodbye to Remote Desktop for Patch Management

Sometimes I forget just how many systems administrators are still using Remote Desktop to connect individually and manually to each and every computer on their network via Remote Desktop in order to manually install Windows Updates or third party software applications. The process often goes something like this:

Sample Manual Update Process

::Maintenance window begins

::Sysadmin starts launching remote desktop connections to each computer on the network. You’d think that this would only occur in organizations with very few computers, but you’d be surprised. I know of one guy who would spend an entire week each month connecting to hundreds of target computer via remote desktop just for patch management.

::Sysadmin starts running the desired/needed update commands or GUIs on each remote desktop connection

::Sysadmin then starts pulling out his/her hair as s/he proceeds to switch between all the different remote desktop windows in order to monitor the status of each update session

::As update installations complete on each machine, the sysadmin then begins the reboot process on an individual, as-needed basis

::As soon as the reboot process begins, thus begins the process of launching numerous command prompt cmd.exe windows with ‘ping -t ComputerName’ commands, so that the target computers can be monitored make sure they go offline and then come back online.

It Really Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

For anyone who has ever performed a manual patch management maintenance like this, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who believe that no one does this or would ever do this, be thankful that you’ve never had to do it. It’s shockingly common not only at very small organizations but even at medium and sometimes even larger ones. One of the reasons this happens at larger organizations is because at some point the organization spent many tens of thousands of dollars on a behemoth patch management solution, but it’s so clunky and such a nightmare to operate that the admins find it more efficient and/or just easier to avoid altogether.

For anyone who is still using Remote Desktop to every target computer for manual patch management, maybe it’s time to re-think your process. BatchPatch is truly one of the easiest applications to setup and use, and it’s also one of the least expensive options you’ll find. It was designed very specifically with the systems administrator in mind, and with the goal of having the app work intuitively and simply. You can just launch the app, add a list of computers, select them and choose your patching action.

Simple, Intuitive, Inexpensive Patch Management, Windows Updates, Software Deployments, and Much More with BatchPatch

We offer a free evaluation version for you to get the software up and running in your environment so that you can figure out if you want to buy licenses or not. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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Deploying Windows Feature Update Version 1909 (the ‘November 2019 Update’) to Numerous Remote Computers Simultaneously

To remotely apply Windows 10 feature update 1909 (as well as the other Windows 10 feature updates) to numerous computers using BatchPatch, you should follow the process outlined below. The built-in, default Windows update features in BatchPatch will not work to successfully deploy these feature updates in most cases, so instead you’ll need to follow the deployment steps outlined below. Also note FYI even though these are called “feature updates”, the technical Windows Update classification by the Windows Update Agent (and WSUS etc) is called “upgrades”. The particular name of the update classification is likely not all that important for the sysadmin to pay attention to in many cases, but I did just want to highlight it just so that you are aware.

  1. Download (from Microsoft) the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Use this link to download the media creation tool directly from Microsoft. The media creation tool web page contains two options: ‘Update now’ and ‘Download tool now’. Do NOT click on ‘Update now’ because doing so would begin the update process on your computer. Since your goal is to deploy the upgrade to remote computers, instead please click on ‘Download tool now’ to save the tool to your computer. Important: When you run the media creation tool per the next step, you will not have a choice to select which Windows 10 version is used to create the media. This means that if Microsoft releases a new version of Windows 10 when you follow this tutorial, you’ll end up with that version as opposed to the specific version 1909 that is available today at the time of this writing. If you have another channel for obtaining media for a particular Windows 10 version, such as with a Microsoft volume licensing agreement, you may use that instead of obtaining the media through the steps outlined in this tutorial.
  2. Open the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool that you saved to your computer a moment ago. IMPORTANT: It is NOT sufficient to run the tool as administrator from an account that is logged on without admin privileges. For whatever reason, you must actually be logged on to the computer with an account that is a member of the local administrators group. Otherwise the tool will not allow you to run it to completion. We have no idea why Microsoft made the tool work this way, but it’s what they did. So go ahead and log on to your computer as a local administrator, and then launch the tool and follow the rest of this tutorial.
  3. Create installation media with the Windows 10 Media Creation tool. When the tool is running you’ll have to choose between two options to either ‘Upgrade this PC now’ or ‘Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC. Since you are following this tutorial with the intention of learning how to to use BatchPatch to update other PCs, choose the option to ‘Create installation media…’ and then click ‘Next’.
  4. Choose your language / edition / architecture, and then click ‘Next’.
  5. Choose the media type. For the sake of this tutorial please select ISO as the type of media. After clicking the ‘Next’ button you will be prompted to choose a location on your computer to store the ISO file that will be downloaded/created. Select a directory/location to store the file, and then do something else until the download finishes. Depending on your connection speed it could take a little while because it’s in the range of 4GB.
  6. Extract the ISO contents to a location on your local disk. After the download in the previous step is complete you’ll have to locate the file on disk and then extract the contents of the ISO to another folder. I like to use the free 7-zip for this process, but you may use whichever tool you prefer: 7-zip. After the ISO has been extracted you’ll have all of the installation files for the feature update in a single folder.
  7. Configure a deployment in BatchPatch. In BatchPatch click on Actions > Deploy > Create/modify. In the window that pops up for the Deployment configuration, click on the ‘…’ button to browse to the location where your ISO contents have been extracted to, and then choose the ‘setup.exe’ file as the file to deploy. Make sure to check the boxes for ‘Copy entire directoryandLeave entire directory. After the initial deployment phase is complete, the target Windows operating system will end up rebooting itself at least once but usually more than once while it completes the setup and installation for the feature update. As the process runs it needs to have access to all of the files that BatchPatch will deploy. Having both of the aforementioned boxes checked will ensure that when the upgrade process runs on the target computer that it has all of the files it needs for the installation. After the feature update has completed 100% you may delete the files from the target computer(s). However, please make absolutely sure that the upgrade process is 100% completed before you delete any files. In your BatchPatch deployment configuration screen you will also need to add the following parameters:
    /auto upgrade /quiet

  8. Execute the feature upgrade deployment. In the deployment configuration that you created in the in the previous step you can execute the deployment immediately for the currently selected rows in the grid by just clicking on the ‘Execute now’ button. Alternatively you may save the deployment for future usage by clicking the double-right-arrow button ‘>>’. If you choose to save the deployment instead of executing it immediately, then when you are ready to deploy the feature update to your remote computers, you can begin the process by selecting those computers in the BatchPatch grid and then clicking on Actions > Deploy > Execute deployment, and then choose the deployment that you just created/saved.

    You should expect that the entire process will take a bit of time to complete. BatchPatch has to copy the whole installation directory to the target computer(s), which contains several gigabytes, before it can execute the upgrade process on the target(s). IMPORTANT: After the BatchPatch deployment completes for a given target computer BatchPatch will show Exit Code: 0 (SUCCESS). However, this just means that the BatchPatch deployment component is finished. The Windows feature update/upgrade process will take additional time. Please be patient and let the target computer continue upgrading and rebooting as many times as is needed. It might take a little while with multiple automatic reboots before everything is 100% finished.

    NOTE: We have had a couple of reports from users who received the following error:

    Deployment: Error: Access to the path '\\TargetComputer\C$\Program Files\BatchPatch\deployment\autorun.inf' is denied.

    We don’t know the exact cause of this issue, but it seems likely to somehow be related to the way that permissions were applied or inherited during the ISO extraction process. If you encounter this error it can be resolved quickly and easily by just deleting the autorun.inf file from the source directory after extracting the ISO contents but before executing the actual deployment for any target computers. This will prevent the problematic file from ever being copied to target computers. As such, the error will not occur.

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A Tool to Automate Offline Windows Updates and Patches

A common issue that a lot of organizations face is how to apply various Windows updates and patches to “offline” computers that do not have internet access. Many companies operate high-security (or at least “higher-security”) networks that are segregated from their regular networks. The higher-security networks often do not have any internet connectivity whatsoever. Sometimes these high-security networks are referred to as “air-gapped” because there is no physical network connection between them and online networks that have internet connectivity, hence there is an “air-gap” in between the networks. While this can absolutely help to prevent malicious software from infecting computers on the network, it also increases the difficulty of administering and updating those computers.

BatchPatch Online Default Mode

**Online Windows updates with no caching**
(This mode is recommended for most environments)

BatchPatch’s default operating mode works for target computers that have access to either the internet for Windows Update and Microsoft Update, or to a locally installed/managed WSUS server. In this configuration, BatchPatch instructs target computers to search for and download their own updates from the configured update service (Windows Update, Microsoft Update, or WSUS). You can read more about that here:

Tutorial: BatchPatch Online Default Mode


BatchPatch Partially Offline Cached Mode

**Offline Windows updates with caching**
(The mode is recommended for restricted environments where target computers do *not* have access to the internet or a local WSUS but *do* have network access to an internet-connected computer running BatchPatch)

In this configuration, even though target computers do not have internet access and do not have a direct connection to a local WSUS server, they do have a direct connection to the computer where BatchPatch is installed/running, and that BatchPatch computer is connected to the internet. In this case the BatchPatch computer is then able to instruct target computers to perform an offline search for applicable/available updates. BatchPatch is then able to use the internet connection on its computer to downloads all of the updates needed by the offline target computers so that it can subsequently distribute them to target computers and initiate the installation process and reboots etc.

Tutorial: BatchPatch Partially Offline Cached Mode


BatchPatch Completely Offline Cached Mode for Lower-Security Networks

**Offline Windows updates with caching**
(The mode is recommended for restricted environments where target computers are on an air-gapped/offline network that does not have connectivity to the internet and does not even have connectivity to the computer where BatchPatch is installed and running. In this situation, the administrator needs to manually copy a text file from the segregated network to an internet-connected computer via an external hard drive or USB flash drive or similar)

In this setup, since target hosts do not have direct access to Windows Update and Microsoft Update via an internet connection, and they also do not have direct network connectivity to an internet-connected computer running BatchPatch, all updating occurs in a completely offline fashion. In this configuration, the search for available updates is performed offline, and then the list of available/needed updates is manually moved to an internet-connected computer running BatchPatch where the updates are downloaded. The entire update cache is then manually moved to the segregated/offline network where BatchPatch is used to distribute them to target computers.

Tutorial: BatchPatch Completely Offline Cached Mode for Lower-Security Networks


BatchPatch Completely Offline Cached Mode for High-Security Networks

**Offline Windows updates with caching**
(The mode is recommended for the most restricted environments where target computers are on a completely segregated, offline network, without access to the internet and without network access to an internet-connected computer running BatchPatch. In this case, the strict rules created to maintain the highest security of the air-gapped network disallow any files from ever being transferred from the high-security offline network to another network. When applying updates with this method, files will only ever be transferred *to* the high-security offline network, but files will never need to be removed *from* the high security offline network)

In this configuration, since target computers do not have internet access and also do not have access to an internet-connected computer running BatchPatch, all updating occurs 100% offline. In this configuration, an internet-connected BatchPatch computer is used to pre-download all Windows updates to its local cache. The administrator then copies/moves the entire BatchPatch cache of updates to the completely offline network where BatchPatch is able to distribute the updates to all the target computers even though they do not have internet or WSUS access.

Tutorial: BatchPatch Completely Offline Cached Mode for High-Security Networks

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Using BatchPatch in Non-Domain Environments with Standalone or Workgroup Computers

One of the questions we are asked regularly is can BatchPatch work on computers that are *not* domain members? How does one go about making that happen?

The answer is yes, in addition to working in a domain environment BatchPatch will also work on computers that are not members of a domain but rather are either standalone computers or computers assigned to a workgroup. However, you will most likely have to make a configuration change on your target computers in order for everything to work properly. That change is described toward the bottom of this page under the Third heading.

First:

Make sure that the account that you are using to connect to target computers is a member of the local administrators group on each of the target computers.

Second:

Decide how you will execute BatchPatch in the security context of the local administrator user that you previously defined on all target computers. You have three options here:

Option A:
Create the exact same account on the computer where you are running BatchPatch that you have already created on the target computers. The username and password of this account must be identical on the BatchPatch computer and the target computers. However, while the target computers’ user account must be a member of the local administrators group on the target computers, the user account created on the BatchPatch computer does *not* need to be a member of the local administrators group on the BatchPatch computer for most operations in BatchPatch to function properly. You certainly may add it to the local admins group if desired, but it’s not an absolute requirement since BatchPatch will generally work properly when run as a standard user for almost all of its operations. The operations that require elevation will inform you if you try to use them and they need more permission.

With the exact same account created on the BatchPatch computer as on the target computers, you may then simply log on to the BatchPatch computer as that user, and then launch BatchPatch normally by double-clicking the .exe. Since the entire BatchPatch application will now be running in the context of this user, all actions in BatchPatch will automatically have the appropriate permissions on the target computers. BUT… don’t forget to review the Third heading below in order to get everything working properly. The information provided there is necessary to get everything working in the large majority of cases.

Option B:
Just as in option A, on the BatchPatch computer you have to create the same exact user account with the same exact username and password that you previously created on the target computers. However, instead of logging on to the BatchPatch computer with that username/password, you could log on to the BatchPatch computer as a different user. Then when you launch BatchPatch, right-click on the batchpatch.exe and choose the option to “run-as” a different user. The different user that you choose to run BatchPatch would have to then be the user account that you previously created… the same one that exists in the local administrators group on all target computers.

Option C:
Launch BatchPatch with any user account on the BatchPatch computer, and then inside of BatchPatch enter alternate credentials for each row that you have added to the BatchPatch grid. To do this, select the rows and click Actions > Specify alternate logon credentials. The account that you specify here must be the account that you previously created on the target computers that is also a member of the local administrators group on the target computers.

Third:

After BatchPatch is running, you’ll find that if you try to perform an action on target computers, in most cases you will still see an error message or exception similar to the following:

Access is denied. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED))

Whether or not you see this error message will generally depend on which operating system version is running on the target computer as well as which particular action was executed in BatchPatch.

In order to resolve the ‘Access is denied’ exception, there is a registry value that needs to be created/modified on all target computers where this exception occurs. Instructions for the registry change is described toward the bottom of this page under the section Additional BatchPatch Authentication Details: BatchPatch Authentication in Domain and Workgroup (non-domain) Environments

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Running the Disk Cleanup Tool (cleanmgr.exe) Remotely on Multiple Computers

We recently received a question about how to successfully run the Windows Disk Cleanup Tool remotely using BatchPatch. The user noted that when running cleanmgr.exe in BatchPatch on a target computer, the cleanmgr.exe would stay running indefinitely. This is essentially the same problem that we discuss in numerous places on this website when it comes to silent application deployment. If you execute a remote deployment without specifying the proper silent/quiet installation switch, the installer package attempts to run interactively, which means that it pops up dialog boxes that it expects the user to acknowledge. The problem is that when a deployment runs remotely, it is hidden. No dialog boxes will be seen, and so instead what happens is the deployment appears to hang indefinitely while the package waits for the hidden dialog boxes to be acknowledged.

In the case of cleanmgr.exe, if you run it without any consideration for the fact that it is being run hidden and remotely, its default mode will pop a dialog that will hang indefinitely since it cannot be acknowledged. However, cleanmgr.exe does have a way of executing silently/quietly without any user interaction: The /SAGERUN switch. However, you can’t simply use /SAGERUN without some setup.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/253597/automating-disk-cleanup-tool-in-windows

In the above link you can see that the cleanmgr.exe tool has two important switches: /SAGESET and /SAGERUN

The way these switches work is you manually run the following command on a particular computer at the cmd prompt:

cleanmgr.exe /SAGESET:123

Note, in the above command I specified the value 123 but you can actually use any integer from 0 to 65535. The number represents a kind of “profile”, for lack of a better term, for the cleanmgr to utilize. What happens when you run the above command is you’ll be presented with the cleanmgr.exe ‘Disk Cleanup Settings’ dialog.

This Disk Cleanup Settings dialog is where you would tick the various selections that you want the tool to clean for you. When you click OK, the tool creates some registry values that contain the settings/selections you chose. Then later if/when you run this command:

cleanmgr.exe /SAGERUN:123

The settings that you previously created for the “123” profile are used for the actual cleanup routine. So if you create multiple cleanup profiles, for example, using commands like these:

cleanmgr.exe /SAGESET:123
cleanmgr.exe /SAGESET:124
cleanmgr.exe /SAGESET:125

You can then later at any time execute a cleanup that specifies one of the previously created profiles:

cleanmgr.exe /SAGERUN:123
cleanmgr.exe /SAGERUN:124
cleanmgr.exe /SAGERUN:125

Now, the tricky part here is that if you want to run the disk cleanup tool on numerous computers, you’re not going to want to log on to each computer manually to run the SAGESET command since that defeats the purpose of using BatchPatch to execute the cleanup on numerous computers without having to log on to each computer. So the trick is that you would need to write a script to create the values that the SAGESET command would create if you were to run it for the desired cleanup operations that you select.

After I ran this command:

cleanmgr.exe /SAGESET:123

…a number of registry entries were made in the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches

I’ve pasted below just a few of the keys/values, but in particular please note the StateFlags0123 REG_DWORD values that exists in the subkeys. The StateFlags0123 values were created when I ran cleanmgr.exe with the /SAGESET:123 switch. /SAGESET:124 would create registry values titled StateFlags0124.

OK, so what you can do to automate everything is run the cleanmgr tool with /SAGESET on a single computer. Then evaluate which registry values it created, and then write a script that will create the same registry values. This way you can then use a BatchPatch deployment to deploy your script, the script will create the desired StateFlagsXXXX registry values on the target computers, execute cleanmgr.exe with the appropriate SAGERUN switch to make use of the StateFlagsXXXX registry values that were set by the script, and then optionally delete the registry values it previously created.

The script below is just a sample. You should modify it for your needs. In particular please note that it actually creates a StateFlags0123 DWORD with value of 2 in *all* of the subkeys under this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches

However, this is not necessarily what you want because if you use /SAGESET:123 and you make only particular selections in that settings dialog for what you want cleaned, you’ll see the result is that only some subkeys get the StateFlags0123 DWORD with a value of 2. Other subkeys will have a value of 0. And some subkeys might have no value at all. Refer to my screenshots above of the registry where you can see that of the three subkey DWORDs I showed, only one of them had a value of 2. If you want the cleanmgr.exe to follow your settings created when you used SAGESET, then you need the registry values to match those that were created by the tool when SAGESET was used.

The script below first creates the registry values, then executes cleanmgr.exe with /SAGERUN specifying the value that corresponds to the registry values it previously created, then finally the script removes the registry values.

# Create registry values
$volumeCaches = Get-ChildItem "HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches"
foreach($key in $volumeCaches)
{
    New-ItemProperty -Path "$($key.PSPath)" -Name StateFlags0123 -Value 2 -Type DWORD -Force | Out-Null
}
 
# Execute Disk Cleanup Tool (cleanmgr.exe)
Start-Process -Wait "$env:SystemRoot\System32\cleanmgr.exe" -ArgumentList "/sagerun:123"
 
# Remove the previously created registry values
$volumeCaches = Get-ChildItem "HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches"
foreach($key in $volumeCaches)
{
    Remove-ItemProperty -Path "$($key.PSPath)" -Name StateFlags0123 -Force | Out-Null
}

If you save the above script to “cleanmgr.ps1” you can then deploy it to numerous computers using the BatchPatch deployment feature. See below for my deployment configuration. I have not made any modifications in the “Command to execute.” It’s simply the default commmand that BatchPatch generates when BatchPatch sees that I am deploying a .ps1 file, and that is all that is needed:

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Explanation of ‘Reattach Orphaned Windows Update Process’ Feature

There is a menu item in BatchPatch under ‘Actions > Windows updates > Reattach orphaned Windows Update process‘ that contains the following sub-menu-items:

  • Reattach orphan + do not reboot / shutdown
  • Reattach orphan + reboot if required
  • Reattach orphan + reboot always
  • Reattach orphan + shutdown

What is ‘Reattach orphan’ ?

The ‘Reattach orphan’ actions in BatchPatch are for the times where you might have accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) closed the BatchPatch grid while Windows Update actions were still being executed by BatchPatch on target computers. If you are not using cached mode and you have BatchPatch performing a Windows Update action such as “Download available updates” or “Download and install updates” or “Install downloaded updates” etc on target computers… but then you inadvertently close BatchPatch or (gasp!) BatchPatch happens to crash or your computer freaks out or you reboot it or something similar… the Windows Update process will still run on the target computer(s) until it completes. If this happens to you, you can simply re-launch BatchPatch and use one of the above listed menu items to reattach to the remote orphaned process so that BatchPatch can continue to monitor its progress (assuming it has not completed prior to your attempt to reattach), and so that BatchPatch can initiate the reboot or shutdown, if that was part of your original plan.

Example of ‘Reattach orphan’ usage

For example, let’s say that I executed “Download and install updates + reboot if required” on a remote computer, using BatchPatch. Then I closed BatchPatch while it was still running. At that point I could simply re-launch BatchPatch, enter the target host name into the grid, and then I could select ‘Actions > Windows updates > Reattach orphaned Windows Update process > Reattach orphan + reboot if required‘ to continue things as if I had never closed BatchPatch in the first place. If I don’t re-attach to the orphaned process, it will still finish downloading and installing updates, but the ‘reboot if required’ portion will never occur. If I re-attach to the orphaned process, I can re-attach with any of the reboot options listed at the top of this page.

‘Reattach orphan’ is not designed for usage when BatchPatch’s ‘cached mode’ is enabled

Note, if you have cached mode enabled (this includes both online as well as offline cached mode), things work a bit differently, so re-attach orphan won’t necessarily work the same as when cached mode is disabled. The reason for this is that in normal/default online mode, each Windows Update action is a single task that executes on target computers. If you close BatchPatch and then reattach to an orphaned process that is running on the target computer(s), you essentially get to come back right where you left off. However, when cached mode is enabled each Windows Update action is generally comprised of at least two or three separate individual task actions that BatchPatch strings together automatically in a kind of “macro.” This means that if you use ‘reattach orphan’ when cached mode is enabled, the orphaned task that BatchPatch reattaches to might be task 1 of 3 or task 2 of 3, and not necessarily task 3 of 3. BatchPatch will be able to successfully monitor the particular individual task that was orphaned (assuming it is still running when you attempt to reattach to it), but BatchPatch won’t have awareness of the state of original entire macro that was executed. This means that the individual task that was running on the target computer would be able to complete, but the other components of the macro action that the BatchPatch console would normally be responsible for executing would not occur. Therefore in cases like that you would have to re-execute the cached-mode action from scratch and make sure that you leave the BatchPatch window open until the process completes.

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October 2019 Version of BatchPatch Released

We released a new version of BatchPatch at the end of last week. Below I’ll explain some of the updates that we made.

  • Added Task Scheduler option to ‘Add/subtract days/hours/minutes to/from next scheduled run time

    We’ve had a lot of requests from users who want to more easily be able to modify existing scheduled task run-times on large numbers of hosts, particularly in cases where they simply need to push back their entire maintenance window due to a scheduling change. The challenge previously was that if they had lots of scheduled tasks configured with various different start times, if they then wanted to push the entire maintenance back by and hour or a day or whatever, there was no easy way to modify all of the different start times without dealing with each separate start time individually. Now BatchPatch includes an option that lets you select the desired hosts and just add or subtract days/hours/minutes to them, thereby enabling you to modify them all at once while still preserving the relative differences between each individual start time. You’ll find this option under ‘Actions > Task scheduler > Add/subtract days/hours/minutes to/from next scheduled run time’.

  • Added the following job queue special items:
    *Enable online cached mode (override global setting for this queue only)
    *Enable offline cached mode (override global setting for this queue only)
    *Disable cached mode (override global setting for this queue only)

    Most of our users operate BatchPatch in either the default operating mode or in offline mode. However, we do have some people using online cached mode. At some point in the not too distant past, Microsoft made a change to how the Windows Update Client works that caused the large cumulative monthly update to no longer download successfully when using online cached mode. One workaround for this problem is to use offline cached mode to install the cumulative update each month. However, for online cached mode users this creates more work because then they have to run BatchPatch on each target in both online and offline cached modes in order to get all the updates installed. By adding the ability to change the mode inside of the job queue on a per-target basis, it’s now possible to automate the process of downloading/installing updates using one mode followed by the other mode inside a single job queue.

  • Added ‘Search for only optional software updates‘ to Windows Update settings

    Microsoft made a change not too long ago that enables “seekers” (their term, not ours) to download/install updates that are not otherwise available through normal update channels. These updates would only be available when manually going into the Windows Update control panel on a given computer to click the “Check for updates” button a couple of times. However, the new version of BatchPatch now enables BatchPatch users to download/install these optional “seeker” updates using BatchPatch, if desired. Read more on this topic here. To find these optional “seeker” updates when using BatchPatch, go to ‘Tools > Settings > Windows Update‘ and tick the box for ‘Search for only optional software updates

  • Added recursive file search to BP cache folder methods for downloading and copying files so that users can re-organize previously cached files into subdirectories, if desired

    This is another commonly requested feature by people who use cached mode. A lot of folks want to be able to re-arrange the update files in the cache folder, but up until now if they were to create subfolders to organize the files, BatchPatch wouldn’t find the files because BatchPatch would only look in the defined cache folder and not in any subfolders. However, now if you want to re-arrange the update files in subfolders you may do so without issue. BatchPatch will search for available updates in the top level cache folder as well as all subfolders, recursively.

  • Added the following menu items:
    *Get list of VMs on Hyper-V host + add to grid directly under host
    *Get list of VMs on Hyper-V host + add to grid at bottom

    I know that most of you virtual machine users are probably using VMWare, not Hyper-V. However, for the Hyper-V people out there, you can now instruct BatchPatch to automatically add the guest VMs that reside on a particular VM host to the BatchPatch grid.

To view the complete list of changes/updates/fixes in the October 2019 release, check out the changelog inside the software under ‘Help > Check for updates > View changelog‘.

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BatchPatch Host Status “LED” Indicator Image Icons

GREEN – online

BLUE – online after reboot (BatchPatch does its best to determine if a host was rebooted by counting the number of ping timeouts that are tracked immediately before a ping success. You can modify this setting in ‘Tools > Settings > Ping Failure Threshold‘)

ORANGE – host doesn’t exist / not found

RED – host offline / ping timed out / destination unreachable

YELLOW – BatchPatch is actively checking to see if the host is online

GRAY – no information

LIGHT PINK-GRAY – disabled from host status check thread

Host Status LED Image Usage / Behavior:

There are 2 ways that the orb icons are colored:

  1. The Host Status Check thread can be set to run in the background all the time. You simply left-click on the LED column header. You can also set it to run automatically if you want, in ‘Tools > Settings > Automatically start host status check on startup‘. However, it is not necessary to have it running all the time, unless that is your preference. See number 2.
  2. When an individual host is pinged (or when it’s rebooted and automatically pinged) by BatchPatch, BatchPatch will set the orb icon color based on the same criteria listed above. Personally, I prefer to leave the host status check disabled at all times so that the orb icon coloring is always controlled by each individual row, rather than by the Host Status Check thread, which runs independently of each row, and operates globally.

Miscellaneous:

  • The Host Status Check thread can be disabled by clicking on the orb icon column header. It can also be disabled from starting up when BatchPatch starts by unchecking the Tools > Settings > Automatically start host online/offline status check on startup.
  • You can reset all the colors by middle-clicking on the orb icon column header.
  • You can color an orb blue, manually, by shift-middle clicking an orb icon. This is handy sometimes when you want to indicate a status of “completed” for a given row, so that you know not to go back to it.
  • You can disable an individual row from the Host Status Check thread so that it will be skipped every time the check thread comes around to it, by middle-clicking the orb icon for a given row. You’ll see that the color becomes a light gray-pink.
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