Windows Update – Options for Reboot Timing and Behavior

One of the questions that people sometimes ask us is can BatchPatch initiate the Windows Update download/installation on target computers *without* also triggering an immediate reboot of those computers? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that controlling the behavior in BatchPatch is very straightforward and simple, but the behavior of BatchPatch isn’t really what you have to worry about. It’s Windows and the various settings provided by Windows for reboots after updates that you have to be concerned about.

For this posting I’m going to focus on Windows 10 options when it comes to reboots after updates. Other Windows operating systems may vary, but since Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, I think it makes the most sense to focus on Windows 10.

In BatchPatch you have numerous options for applying Windows Updates. The primary action items to select from in BatchPatch when downloading and/or installing updates are:

  • Download available updates
  • Download and install updates
  • Download and install updates + reboot if required
  • Download and install updates + reboot always
  • Install downloaded updates
  • Install downloaded updates + reboot if required
  • Install downloaded updates + reboot always

If you select one of the options that does not include reboot, BatchPatch will not reboot the target(s) after installing updates. You can, optionally, always come back at any time with BatchPatch and execute a standalone reboot, but the topic of today’s posting is about controlling reboot behavior specifically for when installing Windows Updates.

The first thing that you should do is acquaint yourself with the different options that Windows provides via Group Policy for controlling computer restarts around Windows Updates installations. Once you’re well acquainted you can then test accordingly so that you can determine exactly the behavior to expect in your environment based on the settings that you select. The primary settings to control reboot after Windows Updates all live in Group Policy in Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update It’s actually possible to control all of these policies via direct registry edits too, but for ease of operation it’s really best to control these settings via Group Policy (or of course you may also use Local Policy if you’re not on a domain).

Turn off auto-restart for updates during active hours
Use this policy to configure active hours, during which the device will not be restarted. This policy has no effect if the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations or Always automatically restart at the scheduled time policies are enabled.

Always automatically restart at the scheduled time
Use this policy to configure a restart timer (between 15 and 180 minutes) that will start immediately after Windows Update installs important updates. This policy has no effect if the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations policy is enabled.

Specify deadline before auto-restart for update installation
Use this policy to specify how many days (between 2 and 14) an automatic restart can be delayed. This policy has no effect if the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations or Always automatically restart at the scheduled time policies are enabled.

No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations
Use this policy to prevent automatic restart when a user is logged on. This policy applies only when the Configure Automatic Updates policy is configured to perform scheduled installations of updates.
There is no equivalent MDM policy setting for Windows 10 Mobile.

You can review more details about managing Windows device restarts after updates at this link: Manage device restarts after updates

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What To Do When PsExec Is Blocked By Your Anti-Virus Software

If your anti-virus software has been configured to block PsExec through some type of execution policy, here are your options for getting it working again:

  1. Perhaps the most obvious method would be to modify the execution policy so that it no longer blocks PsExec. 🙂
  2. Another option, if your AV software has such functionality, is to whitelist PsExec. In this case you should whitelist psexec.exe as well as psexesvc.exe
  3. The simplest method to prevent your antivirus software from blocking PsExec is actually using a built-in switch that PsExec offers to change the remote service name. This option exists in PsExec version 2+. This method works for the large majority of situations, but depending on the actual blocking mechanism that has been used in your environment, it’s possible that this method might not work for you.

    -r Specifies the name of the remote service to create or interact with

    Under normal circumstances when PsExec.exe is executed on computer A, it creates a connection to a target computer B. On computer B a new service is created called PSEXESVC with an executable file psexesvc.exe. When you use the -r switch you are able to specify a new/different service name to be used, so the target computer will create a service and associated executable with the name you specific rather than the default/generic psexesvc. Believe it or not, this is actually enough to bypass or prevent detection in many/most cases, though again I would note that it really depends on the actual blocking mechanism that’s in place in your environment.

    This switch can be utilized when working with PsExec directly at the command line on a particular computer or it can also be used inside of BatchPatch. In BatchPatch go to ‘Tools > Settings > Remote Execution’. You’ll need to modify the value next to ‘Use PsExec -r switch to specify remote service name’. You can use any name that you want here. BatchPatchExeSvc is not a bad choice, and it’s what I have specified in my instance of BatchPatch, as you can see in the screenshot below.

    Normally it’s just the remote service PSEXESVC and/or psexesvc.exe that is blocked by an execution policy, but if you want you could go a step further and actually provide a new name for the PsExec.exe too. This file normally only would exist on the BatchPatch computer. You can change its name to whatever you want such as YourCustomName.exe and then in BatchPatch modify the value for ‘Use psexec.exe custom filepath:‘ which also lives under Tools > Settings > Remote Execution. You’ll need to specify the full filepath to your newly named .exe file, so for example C:\YourDesiredPath\YourCustomName.exe

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Configure Each Host to Send a Separate Email Notification Upon Completion of Patching

I’ve previously written about configuring email notifications in BatchPatch. You can find those postings here and here. However, today I’d like to focus on an aspect of email notifications that I have not yet discussed in much detail. Today the focus is going to be on the situation where you need or want to have each host trigger its own email notification at the end of a patching operation. The emails can be configured to all be sent to a single administrator or group of administrators, or you can even configure each host to send to a separate administrator or group, if desired.

  1. First please note that there are global settings and well as per-host settings for email notifications. If you want all hosts to send notifications in the same format and to the same recipients, then you can simply use the global settings without touching any of the per-host overrides. However, if you want to have emails be sent to different recipients per target host, then you would need to use the per-host overrides. We’ll get into that later. Start by examining your global email notification settings under ‘Tools > Settings > Email notifications’
  2. Fill out all of the form with the desired information. You’ll need to specify a ‘from’ email address as well as recipients, the SMTP server address and port and logon credentials, if needed. For the body format we recommend plain text PLUS ‘Include HTML Attachment’. For the body text we have a few options. BatchPatch has some built-in variables for email notifications, which help you to customize the notification format:
    • $host – Will print the host name from the row that initiates the email notification
    • $row – Will print the entire row contents from the row that initiates the email notification
    • $grid – Will print the entire grid contents for just the grid that contains the row that initiated the email notification
    • $allgrids – Will print the contents of all grids in the BatchPatch instance

    In this tutorial since our goal is to have each host/row generate its own email notification after applying updates, we’re going to have the email alert only contain the $row variable, so that each email notification that is sent only contains information about the particular row/host that triggered the email notification. So as you can see in the screenshot above, the body text field only has $row listed.

  3. Click the ‘Test email settings‘ button to make sure that BatchPatch is able to send a test email notification using the settings that you specified. If there is an error here during the test, it will need to be resolved before continuing.
  4. Now that the global email notification settings have been completed, it’s time to configure a job queue for each row. The idea here is that each row will execute a job queue that includes applying Windows Updates. As the last step in the job queue we include the ‘Send email notification’ instruction.
    Select the desired target hosts in the grid, and then click ‘Actions > Job Queue > Create/modify…’ Create your queue, and then apply ‘Send email notification’ as the last step in the queue, just like what you see in my screenshot below, and then save the queue.
  5. If you want or need any individual hosts/rows to send their email notifications to different recipients, then here you can optionally override the global/default email notification settings on a per-row basis, as needed. For example, let’s configure ‘host1’ in my grid with a new/different email recipient. I’ll select ‘host1’ and then ‘Actions > Email notifications > Override default email notification settings
  6. In the window that appears you can see that I have ticked the ‘Recipients’ box and then typed in a new recipient email address. When this row triggers an email alert, it will send the email to this address instead of the addresses listed in the global settings that we modified at the beginning of this tutorial.
  7. At this point you’re done. You can execute the job queue either on-demand or via a scheduled task. When the job queue completes, the last step it executes will be the email notification step. Each host/row that runs that job queue will send its own notification to the hosts defined in the global email notification settings, with the exception of host1, which will use the email recipient that was specified in the ‘Override default email notification settings’ window.
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Using a Row Template to Automatically Apply Tasks to New Rows in a BatchPatch Grid

I think the ‘Row Template Configurator’ falls into the category of features that most people probably are not even aware of but would use if they knew it existed. This feature was published just a couple months ago. If you haven’t yet checked it out, now might be a good time to familiarize yourself with it.

The idea is simple… each grid can have its own Row Template. You can add anything to a row template that you would add to a normal row in BatchPatch. And once something exists in the template, then when you add a new row to the grid, the new row will receive all of the values that are applied to the template row. This is particular useful for those admins who have their BatchPatch grids configured to synchronize with Active Directory. When the sync operation is performed, new rows get automatically added to the grid. If you have configured a row template for the grid, then when those new rows are added during the sync you can have them automatically include a scheduled task or job queue or deployment etc.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each grid has its own template, so to start please create a new row in the grid and add whatever you want to that row such as a job queue or scheduled task or remote command etc. In the screenshot below you can see that I have created a row and applied a recurring scheduled task to ‘Download and install updates + reboot if required’
  2. Once you have your row configured with the desired values, it’s time to use it to create the grid’s row template. In BatchPatch click on ‘Grid > Row Template Configurator’. In the ‘Row Template Configurator’ window that appears click on the button ‘Create/update row template…’. In the screenshot below I’ve done exactly that. You can see that the ‘Row Template Configurator’ form now shows a copy of the row contents from the previous step. The Host column is excluded, of course, because the host name will never be part of the template since each row will have its own host name already.
  3. Now that I have created the row template, if I want to activate it I need to set the ‘Row Template Status’ radio button in the upper right corner to ‘Enabled’. If it is left ‘Disabled’ then even though the row template will have been created for the grid, it won’t be active. New hosts added to the grid will not receive the template values until/unless you first enable it. In the screenshot below you can see that I have selected the radio button labeled ‘Enabled’. Click OK after enabling the template.
  4. OK, now that we’ve created the row template all we have to do is add some new rows to the grid. Notice that the new rows automatically receive the values that were included in the template. I just added 5 new hosts to the grid, and they all look the same as the original SAMPLE row. Note, the SAMPLE row does not need to be left in the grid. I’ve left it there only for the sake of illustration.
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Moving BatchPatch Saved Job Queues, Deployments, Remote Commands, and Other Saved Items to a New Server

This is a simple topic that barely warrants a whole blog posting, but I wanted to put it out there so that people can find it more easily. When you want to share your saved configurations in BatchPatch with a different BatchPatch user at your organization, or when you want or need to move your entire BatchPatch instance from one server to another, you can do it very quickly and painlessly by following the steps below.

  1. Regardless of whether you are moving the entire BatchPatch installation or if you are just sharing your saved deployments, job queues, remote commands, copy jobs etc with a colleague, you’ll need to start by exporting the saved items to a file. In BatchPatch select ‘Tools > Export saved commands, deployments, job queues, etc.’
  2. You will be prompted to choose a location on disk to save the export file. Go ahead and save it. You can give it any name that you want. You can see in the screenshot below that I’ve titled my export file ‘BatchPatch_Settings_Export_2018-10-18’.

    Note, the format of the file is standard XML, so it can be opened in a text editor. I would not recommend making any modifications to this file because it’s always easy to break things by adding or removing a space or linebreak in such a way that it causes the XML importer to balk. However, certainly if you had a strong need or desire to make modifications, you could do it. Generally though it probably makes the most sense to make modifications to your saved commands/configurations inside of BatchPatch first. Then when you create the export file it will already contain everything that you need with the correct syntax.
  3. If you are moving your BatchPatch installation to a new computer, move the batchpatch.exe from the old to the new machine along with the XML file you created in the previous step. If not, then just copy the XML file to the desired destination.
  4. Finally, import the file using ‘Tools > Import saved commands, deployments, job queues, etc.’
  5. It’s also not a bad idea to periodically backup your existing saved entries by using ‘Tools > Export saved commands, deployments, job queues, etc.’ This way if you lose the server that BatchPatch is running on or if you encounter some type of weird corruption you’ll be able to more easily get back your previously saved entries without having to re-create them from scratch.
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Copy a File to All User Profile Directories on Target Computers

We recently received a request for help with using BatchPatch to copy a Microsoft Outlook signature file to the appropriate user profile directory on numerous target computers. BatchPatch already has a built-in function for copying files from the BatchPatch computer to a specified directory on target computers, but a problem arises when trying to copy a file to all user profile directories on target computers because the ‘copy file/folder’ function in BatchPatch requires you to enter a specific folder, by name. How then is the administrator able to copy a file to multiple user profile directories without knowing in advance which user profiles are on which computers?

The solution to the problem outlined above involves some custom scripting. There’s no way around it. However, with a very simple script, one can then use BatchPatch to deploy the script to all of the desired target computers, thereby enabling the copying of the desired file to all the desired target computers in the user profile folders on those computers.

In the particular question that we received the user needed to copy an Outlook signature file into each user profile directory — %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures\. In order to do this we need to write a script that will first enumerate each of the user profile directories on the computer, and then will copy the desired file(s) into each user profile directory. Then use BatchPatch to deploy the script and the signature file to all of the desired target computers.

  1. Create a vbscript by pasting the following script text into a text document titled something like ‘script.vbs’. The .vbs file extension is required, but you may provide any name you desire for the file. The script below, when run on a computer, will check the registry to find out all of the user profile directories on the computer. It will then loop through and copy a file called “signature.file” from the folder that contains the script to each of the Outlook signatures folders on the computer. Note, we skip any profile directories that begin with ‘C:\Windows’ because we are interested in regular user profile directories that generally begin with C:\Users, so we have to discard the few that start with C:\Windows.

    On Error Resume Next
    Const HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE = &H80000002
    strComputer = "."
    Set objRegistry=GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\default:StdRegProv")
    strKeyPath = "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList"
    objRegistry.EnumKey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, strKeyPath, arrSubkeys
    For Each objSubkey In arrSubkeys
        strValueName = "ProfileImagePath"
        strSubPath = strKeyPath & "\" & objSubkey
        objRegistry.GetExpandedStringValue HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE,strSubPath,strValueName,strValue
    	Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    	If InStr(Ucase(strValue),"C:\WINDOWS") = 0 Then
    	'	Wscript.Echo strValue & "\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures\"
    		fso.CopyFile "signature.file", strValue & "\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures\", True
    	End If
  2. Once we have the above script text saved to ‘script.vbs’ it’s actually very easy to deploy it with our signature.file. You’ll want to modify the script to substitute the actual name of your signature file for what I have just called ‘signature.file’ for the sake of this example.
  3. Put ‘script.vbs’ and ‘signature.file’ into a single folder on the BatchPatch computer. Make sure there is nothing else in that folder.
  4. Now you are ready to deploy the script using BatchPatch. In BatchPatch highlight the desired target computers in the grid. Then select ‘Actions > Deploy > Create/modify deployment’. In the deployment window you’ll select the file to deploy as the ‘script.vbs’. Then you’ll tick the box that says ‘Copy entire directory…’

  5. To begin the deployment, click on the ‘Execute’ button. When you do this BatchPatch will copy the folder containing the ‘script.vbs’ and ‘signature.file’ files to each selected target computer. BatchPatch will then execute the ‘script.vbs’ which will determine all of the user profile folders on each computer that it runs on, and it will copy the ‘signature.file’ file to each of the enumerated user profile folders.
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Pushing Windows Updates to Remote Computers

BatchPatch provides multiple different options for applying Windows Updates to numerous target computers simultaneously. In all cases the process involves loading a list of computer names or IP addresses into a BatchPatch grid, selecting/highlighting the desired target computers in the grid, and then choosing an action from the BatchPatch Actions menu to execute on the selected computers.

BatchPatch can initiate the Windows update process on numerous computers simultaneously. They can be instructed to retrieve updates from your local WSUS, Microsoft’s public ‘Windows Update’ server, or Microsoft’s public ‘Microsoft Update’ server. Additionally, it’s possible to “push” the updates to target computers from the BatchPatch computer rather than having the target computers “pull” updates from an update server. And finally, updates can even be applied to target computers that do not have any interest access.

In BatchPatch’s default/normal mode, when BatchPatch triggers a group of target computers to initiate the download and installation of Windows updates, the target computers will search for updates on a local WSUS or on Microsoft’s public Windows update server, depending on the existing configuration of the target computers. In this default mode BatchPatch will utilize the pre-existing configuration on each target computer to determine where each target computer will search for updates to download and install. However, BatchPatch can also be instructed to override the target computer’s default configuration so that, for example, updates are downloaded directly from Microft’s public update server rather than from an internal/local WSUS server. The different Windows Update options that BatchPatch offers can be viewed under ‘Tools > Settings > Windows Update’

When BatchPatch’s ‘cached mode’ is enabled, the administrator is provided with even more options for distributing Windows updates to target computers. The following page goes into detail about all of the different cached mode options including ‘offline mode’ which provides functionality to deploy Windows updates to computers that don’t have internet access.

BatchPatch Cached Mode And Offline Windows Update


  • When ‘cached mode’ is enabled, the computer that is running BatchPatch will download all updates directly to its own local repository. Once downloaded to BatchPatch’s local repository, BatchPatch will handle distributing the updates to target computers. Target computers will not download their own updates from Microsoft, thus significantly reducing the overall amount of internet bandwidth used to retrieve Windows Updates.
  • When ‘cached mode’ is enabled without also enabling ‘offline mode’, target computers still require internet access because each target computer will perform its own online search for updates against Microsoft’s server. However, the actual download process will take place on the BatchPatch computer, not on the target computers, thus saving internet bandwidth since any available update will only be downloaded one time by the BatchPatch computer rather than being downloaded one time by each target computer. Once BatchPatch has downloaded updates to its cache, it is able to distribute them to target computers.
  • When ‘offline mode’ is enabled in conjunction with ‘cached mode’ each target computer does an offline search for available security updates, utilizing the offline scan file ( that Microsoft provides, which means that target computers do not need to have internet access. The actual update download process will only take place through the BatchPatch computer. Once BatchPatch has downloaded updates to its cache, it is able to distribute them to target computers. With ‘offline mode’ it is also possible to download updates on a BatchPatch computer that has internet access, and then manually move the entire update cache repository to a computer or network that has no internet access, enabling you to distribute Windows Updates security updates to computers on a completely offline network.
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Appending DNS Suffixes to the Network Interface Instead of to Each Host in the BatchPatch Grid

In BatchPatch most users enter each host name into the grid without using the entire fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or IP address. In general, for most situations entering just the host names will be sufficient. However, many users have more complex network environments, and sometimes it won’t be sufficient to enter just the unqualified single-label host name without using the FQDN or IP address. This is because when there are multiple domains involved, and a given target computer is not on the same domain as the BatchPatch computer, Windows will not automatically know what the proper DNS suffix for the target computer is unless DNS suffixes have already been configured for the network interface of the BatchPatch computer. That is to say, in a multi-domain environment, it’s often the case that the network and systems administrators will configure group policy for the domain to include a list of DNS suffixes on every member computer’s network interface, so that if a user of any computer in the domain types, for example, “ping computerX” into a cmd prompt, Windows can try each of the DNS suffixes defined on the network interface to locate computerX. So, if the 3 DNS suffixes are:

Behind the scenes Windows can lookup,, and until it finds a host (A) record in DNS for computerx. So let’s say computerx is actually When the DNS suffixes on the network interface are set properly, instead of having to enter into BatchPatch, you can simply add the host as computerx.

You can add a DNS suffix to the search list on the BatchPatch computer directly/manually by doing the following:

Manual/direct DNS Suffix Additions/Modifications:

  1. In Windows select ‘Start > Run‘ and type control netconnections. Then click OK.
  2. In the control panel network connections window that appears, select the active network interface. Right-click on it and select Properties.
  3. In the Properties window select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and then click the Properties button.
  4. In the following window that appears titled Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties, click the ‘Advanced’ button.
  5. In the ‘Advanced TCP/IP Settings‘ window, click on the DNS tab.
  6. In the DNS tab click the radio button that says ‘Append these DNS suffixes (in order):‘ and click ‘Add’ to add each desired DNS suffix.

Group Policy DNS Suffix Additions/Modifications:

If you want to apply the same DNS suffix list to many computers, then rather than applying them manually/directly, you should consider using Group Policy to apply them instead.

  1. On a computer that has the domain administrative tools installed, or on a domain controller, click Start > Programs > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management
  2. In Group Policy Management, expand the forest and the domain in which you will apply Group Policy. Right-click Group Policy Objects, and then click New.
  3. In New GPO, type a name for the policy, and then click OK.
  4. Right-click the new policy that you created in Step 4, and then click Edit.
  5. In Group Policy Management Editor, expand Computer Configuration, expand Policies, expand Administrative Templates, expand Network, and then click DNS Client.
  6. Right-click DNS Suffix Search List, click All Tasks, and then click Edit.
  7. On the DNS Suffix Search List Properties page, select Enabled. In the DNS Suffixes box, type the desired DNS suffixes. Click OK.
  8. In Group Policy Management, expand Group Policy Objects, and then select the policy that you created in Step 4. On the Scope tab, scope the policy so that it applies to the desired comptuers.
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Automatically Apply Scheduled Tasks, Job Queues, Deployments, and Commands to New Rows with the Row Template Configurator

In the August 2018 release of BatchPatch, one of the new features that we added is the ‘Row Template Configurator’, which is available under ‘Grid > Row template configurator’. When you add new rows to a grid, sometimes it might be helpful to have the new rows be automatically configured with certain values such as scheduled task, job queue, deployment, remote or local command, etc. This is especially the case for users who have their grids configured to automatically synchronize with OUs/groups in Active Directory. After all, when you are automatically adding hosts/rows to a grid on a schedule, it’s common to also want other values automatically applied to the new hosts/rows too. Note, each grid can have its own row template configured/linked. This way if you want hosts that are added to one particular grid to be automatically populated with certain values, but you want hosts added to a different grid to be automatically populated with different values, you can do it very easily by applying a different row template to each grid. To use the row template configurator follow the instructions below.

  1. Start with a regular row in the main BatchPatch grid. Apply any values you want to the row, such as a job queue or scheduled task or deployment or remote command or local command etc. The idea here is that you’ll create a row in the main grid that contains all of the values/columns that you would like to be automatically included for new rows that are added to the grid.
  2. Once you have created a “template” row in the main grid, select ‘Grid > Row template configurator’ to launch the row template configurator form.
  3. With the row that you created in the main form still highlighted, click the button ‘Create/update row template based on selected row in main BatchPatch grid.
  4. After clicking the ‘Create/update…’ button you’ll see a single row appear the ‘Row Template’ grid. This row will contain any templatizable values from the main grid’s selected row. So if the main grid has a scheduled task configured, the row template will now show the same scheduled task values. Same goes for any job queues, deployments, commands, notes etc. They will all get included in the row template, and they will be visible in the new row template row that appears in the ‘Row Template Configurator’ form.
  5. Now that you have configured the row template values, you need to actually enable the row template for the grid. The default setting is ‘Disabled’ which means that if you add new rows/hosts to this grid, nothing special will occur. But as soon as you switch the radio button to ‘Enabled’ and click OK, then all new rows added to the grid will automatically receive any values that were set in the row template.
  6. So now if you look at my existing grid I have ‘host1’ showing a scheduled task configured, but host2, host3, host4, and host5 show nothing. Since I’ve just enabled a new row template for the grid, based on host1, watch what happens when I add more hosts to the grid.
  7. All the newly added rows/hosts look identical to the row for host1. This is all thanks to the row template that we enabled for this grid.

We know that many of you have been looking forward to this new functionality. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us to let us know.

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Windows Update Management Tools

When it comes to performing Windows updates on an entire network of computers, there are a number of things that frequently need to be addressed, depending on the size of the environment, the number of actual target systems, the service-level agreements in place, the length and frequency of the maintenance windows, and so on. When we first started working on BatchPatch one of our goals was to try to address the needs of technology administrators in a tight package that would enable scaling from small to large environments without requiring a hefty infrastructure just to run the patching tools, and without being difficult or clunky to operate. It seems like one of the common problems that sysadmins regularly face when it comes to software management tools is that if they want more features and functionality or if they have to manage a larger environment, then the software options out there for them tend to be extremely expensive or very difficult to install or challenging to learn to operate or just plain clunky and unappealing to use. And sometimes the management systems might even require numerous servers of their own, which only adds to the expense.

In BatchPatch we feel we’ve done a good job at balancing all of the elements in a package that is very small and efficient, inexpensive, and very feature-packed. There are features in BatchPatch that “just work” that you simply will not find anywhere else. And many of the features that do find somewhere else were directly lifted from BatchPatch anyway. However, we believe even with that being the case, the value offering that BatchPatch provides simply cannot be matched. In the large majority of cases BatchPatch pays for itself in time saved usually in just the first or second use.

Today let’s review, at a basic level, how to use BatchPatch to accomplish your Windows update and general patch management tasks. The main BatchPatch interface is a grid, similar to a spreadsheet, that allows you to simply populate it with a list of target servers (or workstations, laptops, etc). There is no complex or time consuming process for adding new hosts, and you don’t have to wait around to deploy a persistent agent to targets. You can simply type the name or IP of computer, and then you’ll see it appears in the grid instantly. Alternatively you can query your Active Directory OUs and groups as another method to populate the grid, and of course you can always drag and drop (or use ‘File > Open’ or ‘File > Import’) to get an existing list of computers into the grid from a text file, CSV file, or a similar delimited file. Once you have hosts in the grid, you can simply highlight/select the desired ones, and then choose an option to execute from the ‘Actions’ menu or the ‘right-click’ menu. So in the screenshot below you can see that with the selected hosts I am about to choose ‘Download and install updates + reboot if required.’ All of the selected hosts will begin processing updates right away, and BatchPatch will monitor their statuses during the entire process, showing the completion percentage of the download and then the completion percentage of the install. Then finally when the update installation has completed, BatchPatch will initiate and monitor the reboot process until the computer is back online. It’s just as simple as that to execute virtually all of the different available actions/options in BatchPatch.

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