We have a Windows Server 2003 machine. We also have 30 machines running Vista Home Basic with a bouquet of free software: Firefox, Gimp, Inkscape, etc. Is there a way to automatically update that software? I'm looking for Aptitude (apt) analogue for Windows. There is windows-get, but it has no "upgrade" feature, only "install".


WPKG might do what you want. I have my own install / upgrade script for our network (which, by the way, I'm pretty sure manages to silently install 7Zip) but WPKG is probably a better solution now than writing your own script. Instead of messing around with upgrading a machine I simply re-image back to a plain install of Windows and run the install script. If you have users that store stuff on their local machines you could partition their harddrive up, install Windows on the first partition and use the second for their Desktop and My Documents folders, then you can reimage a machine and not wipe people's data.

  • Yeap, you can silently install 7zip from MSI package. My bad. – skfd Aug 18 '09 at 23:16
  • WPKG is great, it's saved me a bunch of time. – TRS-80 Aug 30 '09 at 14:03

This doesn't answer your question directly, but there's an entire website, called AppDeploy.com, devoted to packaging software for installation on multiple PCs. You might also look at InstallPad. I keep meaning to test it and keep not getting around to it. Two others that do a similar job - AppGet and AppSnap.

Edit: These solutions are only going to help you with updating PCs individually. To update all of the PCs remotely see this question: What are the popular (free?) options for application deployment?


Windows_Installer would do just what you need. However, to use it you would need MSI packages for the software you want to install. You'll have to look for pre-made packages, or roll your own (there are tools for doing that, but I've no idea how difficult it is).


I've been using PDQ Deploy. Its free, largely a manual process, and it is a bit of a pain to implement, but in a small network of under 200 computers I've been using it with a little google and stack exchange research and it has been working well. I've FINALLY got the monkey off my back of the old adobe and java products security risk. I've been battling that one TRULY manually for many months...maybe longer. Check out their admin arsenal group of products here http://www.adminarsenal.com/pdq-deploy/main/

I found them to be really great, especially for a free product. It was easy to get started and the flash rollout in particular went great. Reader and Java took a little finesse, but google got me going within 30 minutes. My users had NO idea they were being updated and it was in the middle of a work day. Make sure to set your authentication unless you're already a domain admin (NEVER RUN AS DOMAIN ADMIN!!!!) and test it out on your machine before you do any of the others. I usually tested on my own, moved on to 5 random machines, and then went for the "big one"

Note that it pushed fine to a mixed environment of Vista, 7, and XP SP3. We're working on migrating the last of the XP and Vista installs now, but it does handle multiple OSes very well. I was quite happy with the product!! Admin arsenal also looks like they have some other fun things that I plan to try.

Keep in mind that without silent installs available by the package, you will have to use things like install packagers to make things work, but, for example, VLC had a nice discussion in their forums (found by Google) on how to make everything work.


This will probably expose my ignorance, but can you use windows-get to install the new version of whichever program you're wanting to install, or will that create multiple installations?

  • It won't. But some apps, like 7zip, don't have silent installation option, so I'd have to manually click "Next>Next>Next>OK" on every PC. I'm looking for methods that won't require repackaging of installers. – skfd Aug 18 '09 at 22:30
  • Ahh, that makes sense. Sorry to not be of more assistance. – Travis Northcutt Aug 19 '09 at 13:57

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