PDQ Deploy includes auto application updates, heartbeat triggers, and redeployment queuing. In this review, we compare the three editions of PDQ Deploy 4.0 and show why it can solve your software deployment issues.

PDQ Deploy, part of the Admin Arsenal set of software, has been a favorite among many IT professionals. It is known for a quick setup, robust deployments, and ease of management.

The tool differs from other deployment software (for example, Group Policy Software Installation) in that it is server-side driven. It has the advantage of supporting multiple file types and does not inherently rely on Active Directory.

The first run screen on PDQ Deploy 4.

The first run screen on PDQ Deploy 4.0

PDQ Deploy comes in three flavors: Free, Professional, and Enterprise. The free version allows for deployment of many file types, including EXE, MSI, and MSP. It also supports script-driven installations in batch, VB Script, or PowerShell. For small and medium organizations, the free version addresses many application deployment needs.

  • The Professional and Enterprise versions share and support features such as:
  • The ability to chain multiple packages into a single installation order
  • Scheduling deployments as well as immediate deployments
  • Conditions, filters, custom alerts, and bandwidth throttling
  • Automatic inventory scans that integrate with PDQ Inventory

The Enterprise version includes four unique features: multi-user support (central package sharing), complete access to the package library (more on this in a bit), auto deployment of new versions, and a retry queue for missing/offline computers. You can read about the different editions here.

The new Retry Queue node in PDQ Deploy.

The new Retry Queue node in PDQ Deploy

As mentioned above, PDQ Deploy is a server-initiated deployment suite. The advantage is that you do not need to deploy a client, worry about client corruption, or deal with client version upgrades. Because clients can be offline during a deployment, features such as Heartbeat schedules detect offline/online statuses and maintain installations.

The package library: one of the best features of PDQ Deploy

It has always seemed silly to me that countless admins package up the same software with the same methods across numerous environments. Collectively, that is a ton of wasted time! When you use PDQ Deploy, you have access to prepackaged installations for many common applications.

Packages in the library are grouped into Free, Professional, and Enterprise packages. Because PDQ Deploy can handle scripts and other untraditional deployment methods, packages can do some really cool things! For example, they can be used to remove bloatware such as toolbars or install service packs/updates for common apps.

The PDQ Deploy Package Library showing Runtime packages.

The PDQ Deploy package library showing runtime packages

One of the great extras in the Enterprise version is the Auto Deployment of Library Packages feature. Essentially, packages that you’ve deployed are automatically kept up to date. If you’ve deployed Java 7 Update 67, and Java 7 Update 71 is added to the package library, your machines will automatically be updated.

Learning more and licensing

Many products lack easily understandable support. PDQ Deploy is not one of those products. The Admin Arsenal blog incudes detailed guides and walkthroughs covering all aspects of PDQ Deploy. The blog even includes some pretty cool tweaks to extend usability. If you are using PDQ Deploy, definitely use the blog as a thorough reference.

Licensing is handled per admin (no matter the version). This is a great benefit to the IT professional who wears many hats! The license is bought per year for access to updates and the package library. Choosing not to pay yearly only removes access to those two items.

In the past, I used Group Policy Software Installation (GPSI) to handle most of my application deployment needs. I wasted countless hours repackaging products, searching the Internet for guides on a specific version, and deploying software updates. If I would have had PDQ Deploy and the package library, most of that time would have been saved! Overall, I really enjoyed testing PDQ Deploy. It delivered as a server side deployment software and showed me how I could save time updating applications. If you are interested in using PDQ Deploy, you can download the Free/Professional trial version here.


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