A while back I reviewed WuInstall Pro, a patch management tool that allows you to push Windows updates to client computers. The publisher of the command line tool hs2n has added an important new feature, which I will discuss in this post.
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One of the disadvantages of WSUS is that clients can only pull updates. With WuInstall, you can push urgent updates to clients at your convenience. This lets you control exactly when Windows clients and servers receive specific updates.
Actually, WuInstall also pulls the updates from a WSUS server or Windows Update. However, since the updates are installed whenever you run the command on a client, you can write a script that centrally forces machines to download and install updates immediately. Thus, essentially, you can push Windows updates to clients with WuInstall.
The problem with this procedure is that, depending on the size of your network, quite a few machines will start downloading updates simultaneously. If you have no WSUS server, then your Internet connection might get clogged.
WuInstall's new cache feature allows you to download Windows updates to a network share. Clients can then get their updates from this central location. This procedure is particularly useful for branch offices where you have no local WSUS server. Even though WuInstall works perfectly with WSUS, this new caching feature also allows you to replace WSUS with your own script-based patch management software.
This command caches the updates to a central network share:
wuInstall /install_cache \\your_server\network_share
This not only downloads the updates but also installs them on the client where you run the command. If you run the same command on a second client, it will check first whether the updates are already available on the network share. If they are, it will just start with the installation. If they are not, it will download them first to the cache, so other clients can get them from there in the future.
WuInstall offers quite a few command options that let you control which updates will be pushed to clients. If you use these options together with the new cache feature, WuInstall will only download the corresponding updates. Hence, if you have different patch management rules for the computers in your network, the cache will only contain the updates that have been required at least once. I think this an efficient way to manage updates.
The WuInstall documentation describes the main features of this nifty patch management command. The WuInstall Pro page gives you an overview of the new features. Please note that there is also a free version of WuInstall that doesn't offer the new caching feature.