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Software Rollback

Jordan HammondJordan Hammond

Setting the Tone

Imagine you get into the office and have a cup of your preferred piping hot beverage (or freezing cold if that is your thing). You have some peace, quiet and a few serene minutes to get up-to-date on what's happening in technology, when suddenly, *suspense noise* you read that Software X has a sizable exploit within its latest release. Even though you obviously have a flawless lab environment where software is thoroughly tested before going live, somehow the vulnerability has slipped through the cracks. You have two options: either hang tight and wait for the software to send another update fixing the issue or simply rollback the software yourself. I'm not a big fan of option one. You can’t know when the fix is coming, and you will be pushing out an untested patch. Let’s go over how we can implement option two now. 

Commence Rollback

No need to hyperventilate or break out in a cold sweat, we can do a rollback rather easily. You can even use the same great products that gave you all that free time in the first place. First things first, open up PDQ Inventory and find the problematic software in the Collection Library. In this example, I used Chrome, there is no current exploit that I know of. Then, find which machines have the latest software installed and open the applications window. Right-click on the offending software and select “Create Uninstall Package in PDQ Deploy.”

This will open up  PDQ Deploy and create a new package for the silent uninstall. This is an MSI, so the silent parameters are going to be the same. However, keep in mind that for other installers the uninstall string provided by the software does not always contain silent parameters. You may need to do a little research to add the one you need for a silent uninstall.

Save that package and run it against the offending machines. It is possible for different versions of the same software to have different uninstall strings. If so, you can make a second package or add a second step to the existing package to make sure you get them all. This will remove the exploit, but you will still need to install a safe older version. 

Install Stable Version

In PDQ Deploy, go to the Collection Library and click on the software needing a safer build. In the bottom right corner, there will be a list of older versions that are still available. See this picture with a handy arrow pointing right at it.

Click on whatever older version you would like, then safely deploy it out to all machines that had the bad software on it. Wow, we fixed that so fast the issue was resolved before management even knew there was a potential issue.

Wrapping Up

So what did we learn from this story? In IT, there will be issues that pop up that you can’t control. You have no reason to panic, PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory will be there for you at that time. You can handle the issues quickly and with barely any time spent, freeing you up for all those important meetings. Look at that, we resolved this issue so quickly my preferred beverage didn't even have time to cool down(or warm up if that is your thing).

If you are thinking that this would have a bunch of extra value if you deployed software in pilot groups you are correct! Ryan can help you get started with pilot groups here.

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