Using BatchPatch In ‘Offline Mode’ When BatchPatch Has Internet Access

When cached mode is enabled, the computer that is running BatchPatch will download updates for all target computers directly to its local cache directory. Target computers will not individually download their own updates from Microsoft or a WSUS. Instead BatchPatch will distribute updates to target computers from its cache. The advantage of cached mode in this case is that it can save internet bandwidth if updates would normally be downloaded from Microsoft’s public server. The reason for the bandwidth savings is because BatchPatch will download only one copy of each update, which it can then distribute infinitely to target computers, rather than needing every single target computer to download its own copy of each available update.

Cached mode can also be used in conjunction with offline mode, which enables an administrator to apply Windows Updates to computers that don’t have internet access or access to a managed update server such as WSUS. For more on the various ways that you can use ‘cached mode’ and ‘offline mode’ please see: Cached Mode and Offline Updates

This tutorial demonstrates how to use BatchPatch in offline mode to download and install updates on multiple computers. In this example the computer that runs BatchPatch is required to have internet access, but target computers do not need internet access.

In this tutorial, the computer that runs BatchPatch will instruct all target computers to perform an offline search for updates against the offline scan file that Microsoft publishes monthly. The list of available updates from each target computer is transferred back to the BatchPatch computer, and then BatchPatch downloads a single copy of all available updates to its local repository. After it downloads the updates, it copies them to the target computers and initiates the installation process.

  1. Enable cached mode and offline mode. Go to Tools > Settings > Windows Update, and then check the box to enable cached mode as well as the box to enable offline mode. Also set the Local update cache directory to a folder on your computer that has enough free space to store numerous Windows Update files. The amount of space required completely depends on how many updates need to be applied to target computers, the size of each update, the number of different operating systems you are deploying to, and whether or not you choose to retain cached files after they have been distributed to target computers. When cached mode and offline mode have been enabled, indicators are placed in the upper-right corner of the BatchPatch window.
  2. In the same Tools > Settings > Windows Update window, also take note that the Server Selection option is disabled/grayed-out. This is because when cached mode and offline mode are both enabled, target hosts will perform an offline search for updates against the offline scan file that Microsoft publishes each month. The target hosts will then report back to BatchPatch with their lists of available updates. BatchPatch will then download the updates from Microsoft’s public server according to the information provided in the offline scan file for each available update.
  3. Add hosts to the BatchPatch grid using File > Add hosts…
  4. Highlight the host(s) and select the desired action. For the sake of this example let’s assume we want to download and install updates and then reboot the target if a reboot is required to complete the updates installation. So, we select Actions > Windows Updates > Download and install updates + reboot if required
  5. I have included a series of screenshots below to show the whole the process. Upon completion we have the overall content logged to the ‘All Messages’ column, with detailed information in the ‘Local Agent’ and ‘Remote Agent’ logs.

    The computer that is running BatchPatch will download the most recently published offline scan file from Microsoft and then copy it to the target host.

    BatchPatch instructs the target host to perform a search for available updates against the file, which is why the target host does not require internet access to perform its search.

    The list of available updates on the target host is copied back to the BatchPatch console, and BatchPatch proceeds to download the updates to its local cache directory using its own internet connection.

    Once the updates have been downloaded to BatchPatch’s local cache, BatchPatch then copies the updates to the target host.

    After the updates have been copied to the target host, the target host must move the files to its Windows Update cache.

    When the caching process completes, the installation is finally ready to be executed.

    After installation, the target host is rebooted and the process is complete.
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