03 December 2018

How to Run an arbitrary command on all computers in PDQ, and generate a CSV report from the combined output.

On some of the Windows servers I work with, the PDQ tool is the route used to automate them. While using other tools (Zabbix, ansible) may lead to a more automatable path to extracting data, it is possible to make PDQ run an arbitrary command on your full windows server inventory. You can turn the output of this into a CSV output for extraction/processing or easy viewing. For those not familiar with it, PDQ is a non-free, Windows GUI based automation system. While I prefer Config-as-code type tools, sometimes the job requires me to make use of the existing apps.

It is worth stating this is on PDQ Inventory 12r4 and may differ in newer versions.

The first thing to know is running an arbitrary command is a PDQ Inventory operation. Although PDQ Deploy can run commands in a shell step, you have to dig down into each computer’s run report to see the data. Not ideal for analysis or at a glance information.

Start PDQ Inventory. You will then need to choose an inventory group or “All Computers” and right-click on it.

Now from the context menu, select Tools->Remote Command. Here you can run a DOS Batch or Powershell command on all of the computers in the selected inventory. For best results, try to make a command line that outputs one line of output only. Then click the run button, and you should see the command run on all the machines.

Now return to the main PDQ Inventory window. There is an item in the left tree view “Reports”. We will use this to create a report to show us the output of the last command for every computer in one result. Right-click on this and select “New”->”SQL Report”.

In the report window, make sure you are in the “Define Report” view. You will need the following SQL:

  Computers.Name as "Computer Name",
from Computers join RemoteCommandComputers on RemoteCommandComputers.ComputerId=Computers.ComputerId
where <ComputerFilter>

You should then be able to click the “Run Report” button to see a table of results showing the computer name, and the last run command. You can click “Save Data To File” to be able to output a CSV with colunns “computername, command result”.

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