PDQ Deploy is a free software deployment software from Admin Arsenal. The freeware tool allows you to remotely deploy MSI, MSP, MSU, EXE, and batch installers to multiple Windows computers simultaneously.
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A wizard guides you through the configuration process of the very easy-to-use tool. First, you have to configure the installer where you specify the installer file, the return codes, and the command line parameters.
The command line parameters are the tricky part because you have to make sure that the installation processes run unattended and silently in the background. You can't remotely install software with PDQ Deploy where user interaction is necessary during the installation process. Admin Arsenal has provided a few examples for popular applications. As to my experience, MSI packages are always the best option. If the software vendor doesn't provide an MSI file and you can't find out the parameters for unattended installations, you can use an MSI packager to create an MSI file.
In the next step, you have to configure the target computers. PDQ Deploy supports Active Directory. You can import a text file with a list of computer names, and it is also possible to use Admin Arsenal collections as targets. The Active Directory connector allows you to choose all computers from one or multiple organizational units, and you can also select individual machines.
In the third and last step, you have to configure the authentication method. PDQ Deploy can either use your current credentials, or you can specify another user name and password that will be used to authenticate at the remote computers. You can save all the settings if you intend to use the same application again later.
Once you hit the Deploy Now button, the software deployment tool immediately starts the software deployment process. You can monitor the deployment process in the Deployment Status windows. If errors occur, PDQ Deploy offers a short explanation in the status with a link to a more detailed description of the error code.
PDQ Deploy is a fine free software deployment software for small organizations. Since there are no restrictions regarding the number of target computers, you can also use the tool in larger networks. The deployment tool will push up to eight systems simultaneously. When one finishes, it will grab another from the queue.
If you already have a more sophisticated but a bit sluggish software deployment software, PDQ Deploy can be useful in emergency situations because it allows you to push applications or updates quickly to a few computers.
PDQ Deploy is one of several standalone tools of modules of the forthcoming version of Admin Arsenal. I reviewed the predecessor a while back. There will also be a pro edition of PDQ Deploy that will provide additional functionality such as deployment scheduling and bandwidth throttling.
Update: Check out my review about PDQ Pro, a Windows software distribution solution.