What tools do you use and recommend for automating administration tasks for Windows-based computers?
Examples of such tasks include:
- Installing/upgrading software
- Standarizing application settings
- Remove blacklisted applications
A standardized disk image will be used to initially roll out a fully patched and configured Windows installation, so I'm looking specifically for tools and resources that will aid in administering the machines after they are deployed.
I know that some of this can be allowed or prevented using group policies deployed via Active Directory, and that many Microsoft products can be updated and managed through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).
What do you use for other tasks? AutoIT scripting? PowerShell? Another scripting language? A 3rd party application? Or, is there a better approach to this ongoing task?