This second part of the review of the Windows software deployment tool PDQ Deploy Pro covers the scheduling and targeting features.
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In my last post, I described PDQ Deploy Pro's Installers, which are essentially software deployment packages. Today, I will cover three other important PDQ Deploy Pro concepts: Schedules, Targets, and Deployments.

Schedules ^

You can assign one or multiple Schedules to an Installer. A Schedule consists of three parts: the scheduled time, the targets, and the notifications. PDQ Deploy Pro's time scheduling is convenient to set up. There are daily, weekly, and monthly schedule types, and you can configure an expire date. Of course, you can run an Installer only once.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro - Scheduler

Targets ^

Targets are a part of Schedules. There are four ways to add target computers: Manual, Import, Active Directory, or through the Admin Arsenal Console, a desktop management solution from the same vendor.

You can import computer names from text files, CSV files, or files that you exported using PDQ Deploy Pro. The latter feature is useful for creating computer groups of Targets that you intend to reuse later.

Configuring Targets through Active Directory is certainly the most convenient way. You can add single computers, selected computers, or all computers in a container. For the latter option, it is also possible to include child containers.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro - Targets

The last tab in the Schedule configuration is for notification. Here you can configure the email addresses of the admins who will be notified whenever a deployment is completed.

Once you have configured all Actions, Schedules, and Targets for an Installer, PDQ Deploy Pro will display all settings in a well-arranged fashion. By clicking an Installer, you can view all Actions, Schedules, and Deployments at a glance. Separate folders display all Schedules and Deployments. This way, you get an overview of all planned and past software deployments.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro Schedules

Deployments ^

Deployments are all current and previous software deployment jobs. PDQ Deploy Pro displays the time a job was running, how many computers were targeted, how many tasks have been completed, and the deployment status (running, queued, finished, successful, failed). Deployments can be sorted according to their status, which is useful if you want to find the failed computers.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro - Deployment

Double-clicking a Deployment reveals more details about the job. The Deployment window shows each computer separately with its current status. For computers where the deployment failed, you can get more information about the reason by clicking the Diagnose link. A very useful feature is the ability to re-deploy the Installer to all failed targets with just a mouse click. However, before you re-deploy, you might want to check with the Remote Admin Repair Utility to see if all conditions for a successful deployment are met. The Remote Admin Repair Utility can be found in PDQ Deploy Pro's installation folder.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro - Remote Admin Repair

Even though PDQ Deploy Pro supports scheduling, most interesting about the software deployment tool is that you can manually launch Deployments, monitor the installation process, and then act immediately if something goes wrong. This is possible because Deployments are started immediately and are not delayed as with many larger Windows software deployment solutions.

The reason for this "delay feature" is that software deployment tools try to avoid clogging the network or putting too much load on servers. To prevent this from happening, PDQ Deploy Pro offers three useful features. You can limit the concurrent targets per deployment, the total concurrent targets, and the bandwidth (in percent) that PDQ Deploy Pro will use.

Windows software deployment - PDQ Deploy Pro - Preferences

Since you can configure these parameters yourself, you are in control of software deployment delays and will never wonder whether a remote installation has failed or just didn't start yet. If you are working with Microsoft's Configuration Manager, you know what I am talking about.

Of course, PDQ Deploy Pro is not a match for such behemoth system management solutions like Configuration Manager. However, the affordable Windows software deployment tool comes with all important features for mid-sized networks, and is also recommended for small networks because of its easy-to-use interface and its small footprint.

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