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.

Software Deployment Software - PDQ Deploy - Installer

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.

Software Deployment Software - PDQ Deploy - Targets

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.

Software Deployment Software - PDQ Deploy - Authentication

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.

Software Deployment Software - PDQ Deploy - Deployment

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.

PDQ Deploy

  1. Sam J 13 years ago

    PDQ Deploy is a really great program for simple deployments when you don’t want to invoke the powers of an SMS/SCCM type program (which I usually don’t).

    It’s PsExec on steroids – very helpful!

  2. Eddie 13 years ago

    Looks neat, look forward to trying this out. We deploy most Apps via AD/GPO but this will be great for apps that don’t come with an MSI or one-off stuff.

    Perhaps you could do an article on a good Free/Open Source MSI Packager as I am yet to find one!

  3. Sam J, SCCM plays in another league but for small networks it is certainly overkill.

    Eddie, I’ve created a list of MSI packagers some time ago, but I guess the list is now hopelessly outdated. Not sure if there is a free MSI packager. But the topic is now on my to-do list. Thanks!

  4. Shawn Anderson 13 years ago

    Sam J – That’s one of the surprises that we found when we released our first software deployment tool, Admin Arsenal. There were many customers who used SCCM but they didn’t want to fuss with myriad steps required to make a package when they simply needed to push something once, or to push something to only 40-50 systems. PDQ Deploy was born out of the desire to make it even easier (not to mention free).

    Thanks for your comments.

    Shawn Anderson
    Admin Arsenal Corporation
    PDQ Deploy Team

  5. Dan 10 years ago

    Hey Dear PDQ Deploy Team, How can I convert .exe setup files into MSI so that I can deploy it via GPO on server 2008?


  6. Shawn Anderson 10 years ago

    Hi Dan, PDQ Deploy is not an MSI repackaging tool. PDQ Deploy will install MSI’s or EXE’s as long as they can be silently installed.

    For repackaing MSI’s, one popular tool is MSI Wrapper (http://www.exemsi.com/). I’ve not used it so I am not able to speak to its strengths or weaknesses.

  7. Dan 10 years ago

    Hi Dear Shawn, thank you for your immediate reply! Do you mean that I don’t need to convert it as long as I have PDQ deploy utility installed on my serveer2008? Does it support all my software with .exe setup?


  8. Shawn Anderson 10 years ago

    It will allow you to deploy EXE’s as long as they support silent installations. Not all of them do. You need to determine what the silent install parameter for each install is. It can be /silent, or /Q, or any number of options. There isn’t a standard rule for silent installs and EXE’s. It’s totally up to the vendor of the app. You can download the free version of PDQ Deploy here. http://www2.adminarsenal.com/get-pdqdeploy

  9. Dan 10 years ago

    Many thanks for the link and your professional advices…!

  10. Stefano 10 years ago

    I have a question on the deploy EXE. I try to install softwares .exe with my trial mode, but always failed the installation?
    What’s the problems. It’s my trial version?

  11. Geoff 6 years ago

    Is this for a LAN only?

  12. Shawn 6 years ago

    It will work in both LAN/WAN, but it will not manage via the Internet without a VPN and associated rights. If you have slow links in your WAN you would want to install a PDQ Deploy console at each slow location and then RDP to that console to manage the local systems.

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