deploying software

This is more of a question on what is the best way to deploy software using windows 7 pro and windows server 2012 R2.
I know I can use GP to deploy certain software, but it seems that there's other software out there that does the job much better, to include updating/removing the software when needed.  I would want the software to deploy all types of programs, not just Microsoft software.

I have  about 75 users on a domain.  I'm looking for something somewhat inexpensive, but reliable and easy to use.

Any recommendations?
DanNetwork EngineerAsked:
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NVITCommented:
I like to use PDQ Deploy, by Admin Arsenal. They have a free version (no expire) and paid versions.

I bought the paid one so I can use the Scheduled Deployment option. http://www.adminarsenal.com/pdq-deploy/compare

They also have predefined install packages. I like to use the Java, Flash, Firefox... http://www.adminarsenal.com/package-library
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
I use PDQ Deploy as well to supplement SCCM 2012 R2's shortcomings. PDQ is super easy to work with, I highly recommend it. Don't have to split the points with me if you go that route, NVIT recommended it first and correctly. Just giving another positive vote for it!
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NVITCommented:
I forgot to mention, but Casey did and I agree... it is super easy to work with.
Thanks, Casey!
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Does the paid version come with support?  What if I have issues that I can't figure out, a lot of times, the FAQ's are not that great or don't cover the issue I might have.
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
Yes both paid versions (Pro and Enterprise) get support, with the Enterprise version getting priority support. You can also access the library of already prepared to deploy apps instead of having to create them yourself.
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
So I saw the video and saw how easy it is to deploy software, but is it as easy to update and or remove software from the computers?
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
As long as your programs have uninstaller code built into them, then yes it can uninstall the same packages easy. If the app that installs can't be uninstalled from Programs, then you'll have to help PDQ learn the process. Update is the same way, the app has to know what to do. PDQ can help by doing an uninstall of the original and then and install of the new, if your program has not been written to automatically upgrade.

No program can make up for poor coding. It's the IT Admin's job to screen and test applications to ensure they meet IT's quality standards (apps have good support from the vendor, supports mass distribution easily, supports mass removal easily, and support mass control (like preferences and defaults) and edits easily). If apps are required where the developer has not included these commands and code in the program, they should make it clear to the bosses that the program is a bad idea and that any support related tickets and request for changes will take a tremendous amount of time to handle, and the users of the apps should be prepared for even small changes to possibly take weeks to execute.
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Can I install windows seven Service pack one, or how about I.E. 11?
Is there a way to remove all older versions from all computers?
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
Windows 7 SP1 comes with an MSI already, so it would be extremely easy to load.

IE11 needs to first be created for mass deployment with IEAK: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40903

The other easier way (at least for us) was to just set up a WSUS server for the microsoft related patches. About 10 minutes to set up WSUS, another few minutes to create the GPO, wait a day or two for computers to all check in, and then assign the updates. It's a much more straightforward process to uses windows update. You cannot "just" install SP1 or IE11. There are prerequisite updates that must be installed and possibly rebooted for before those updates can be applied. You also don't uninstall any prior versions of IE. IE maintains a history on Windows 7 for rollback purposes in case of failure.
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
I have a ways server, but sides approving the critical and security issues, which get installed automatically, I never used it to push out MICROSOFT software.   Do you recommend a good site that has instructions how to do that, I didn't see a way to actually install a certain software title that I wanted, perhaps I just missed it?
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
I typed wsus, auto correction
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, I will try it out.

I've tried it to install flash to all my computers, but I had a lot that it couldn't connect to, and then there were some that had an error, the
MSI Error 1603: Unknown error 1603

About 15 computers that that error, so either way, now I have to go to each one of those and figure out what happened.
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
I don't have a good guide for WSUS, it's been a few years since I set up a new setup, there's probably a good article on this site if you search articles. The guys and gals here are great writers.

As for the MSI error,  sadly 1603 is the most generic issue so it basically means anything could happen. Normally for flash I've found that something wasn't clean for the install to occur. This can mean the user had a browser  session using flash currently open. Install on boot up is a good way to get around those situations. Another is that there is a pending reboot and files are locked.
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DanNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Casey, where do you see the install on boot option, as I don't see it anywhere, is it in the free version?
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Casey WeaverNetwork EngineerCommented:
I haven't tried with pdq. It can be done with GPO and SCCM. You might be able to use GPO to call the PDQ package at boot. If you get the paid version, support could probably get something to work for you.
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