Having an email in your inbox outlining which machines in your organization that are going to be patched in the next day or two is every service owner/managers dream. So simple and proactive. The email also outlines when the machines are going to be patched and displays how many outstanding updates there are. This is a summary of what will happen in the days to come. Keep reading to see how you can dive into seeing the details of what is about to happen in your organization.

The Exports

Every time you interactively run the report or have it executed via another script or a scheduled task, by default it will export all the information about which updates are missing for each machine, when it will be installed and so forth. All this information is dumped out to an excel file. To keep your inboxes from going over quota, the excel export file is not sent via email, it is saved to a subdirectory within The Patch Solution execution directory. For convenience, there is a link in the email to the excel file. Click on it and Excel with open the export

What’s in the Report

The report was designed to answer the questions of what will be installed. The email summary was designed to highlight the machines that were going to be updated. From the email you can easily make a decision if it’s ok for all or specific machines to follow the update cycle. It also highlights machines that aren’t properly updating. You can tell this as the number of outstanding updates will not go down. You might notice that one or more machines have significantly higher numbers of updates to patch than the rest. When this happens, you’ll need to dig into them.

The Excel report gets into the nitty gritty. There are several tabs that are created within the report. Each tab simplifies the information that you’re trying to look for.

The tabs that get created are:

  • Everything
  • Updates-Info
  • <Patchgroup-abc>
  • <Patchgroup-xyz>

Everything

The first tab, Everything, shows one or more lines for an individual machine and information about the outstanding update. So if I machine is missing 12 updates, it will have 12 lines on this tab. It will highlight the KB Title and the link to the KB.

Updates-Info

This tab has the detailed information for outstanding updates. Instead of clicking the link and going off to the Microsoft site to pull information, it is also stored here for easy access.

Patchgroup-abc / Patchgroup-xyz

Inside The Patch Solution configuration file, you define your maintenance windows. In previously posts we briefly touched on maintenance windows, what they are and why we need them. All outstanding updates for each machine are definitely already captured in the Everything tab. We also duplicate this information into the Patchgroup-<defined maintenance window> tabs. For each maintenance window that is coming up, or if a full report is run, all maintenance windows will then be added into this report. Why was the design to duplicate this? If everything runs by design, all outstanding updates will be installed during a maintenance window. These tabs essentially are an audit trail if you will. If all the information is inside the Everything tab, it becomes a time killer and cumbersome to keep sorting the reports. Part of the goal was to save time! Creating tabs is a simple approach. We can now easily look at the Patchgroup tabs and see which computers are going to install the updates. This also comes into play when you change a computer from one maintenance window to another maintenance window. Now you can have an Excel file with what has happened in the past.

Skipping the Report

When the running the report you may not want to send the email to the usual people. You may not even want to email the results at all! Or, let’s be crazy and just send the summary email report and not generate an Excel export! Oh the options you have with the Patch Solution!

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