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Forcing VMware Update Manager to download patches

While many people may already know how to do this, I always seem to forget so I thought it was worth blogging about. VMware Update Manager is a Windows service and plug-in used to download and install the latest host and OS patches. Installing the server component starts a service, but otherwise does not contain any direct executables that need to be run. If you navigate to the install directory C:Program FilesVMwareUpdate Manager you will notice several available executable files. It is my understanding that these executables are called by the Update Manager client in order to perform downloading and installation operations. Unfortunately, these commands are not documented and the help menu provided with them is difficult at best to follow. In addition, many people in the communities say not to run these executables for any reason and instead to rely on PowerShell commands to perform operations.
While I am a big fan of PowerShell and the VMware cmdlets available, I was just looking for a quick, one-time download of the latest patches. Because of this, I decided to turn to the VMware Update Manager client to see if it provides any way to force a download of the latest patches.

Upon enabling the Update Manager client from the VI client, I navigated to the Update Manager option and went to the Configuration tab. Under Update Downloads I noticed it was configured by default to install patches on a daily basis. I selected the Edit Update Downloads… option and when I got to the Schedule Task option, I change the time to 10 minutes past the current time. While this worked, it set the task to run one day and 10 minutes in the future. Frustrated, I tried to edit the configuration again. This time under the Schedule Task option I selected the drop down box for Daily and noticed an option for Once. With this option selected, I had the option to run the command now, which was exactly what I was looking for.
The only problem with the above changes is that now patches would not automatically download on a daily basis unless I reconfigured Update Manager to do so. It would be nice if an option existed to perform this option once without messing up the current configuration of the client.

© 2010, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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