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Best practices for using SolarWinds Patch Manager

Patch Manager Getting Started Home

Last Updated: March 9, 2017

Getting started with SolarWinds Patch Manager includes more than just publishing updates and generating reports. These best practices help you fine tune the deployment to avoid any issues along the way.

Managed systems

  • Inventory the WSUS server and Windows ® network before you generate a report. Reports query the SolarWinds Patch Manager database and convert the data into information you can use to manage the deployment. If you do not inventory the WSUS server or Windows network each day, the reports will not contain the latest information about the deployment.
  • Create an inventory only for the organizational units you want to include in the reports. SolarWinds Patch Manger collects licenses from managed systems and task history and compares the total amount to your purchased license. If you inventory the entire domain, the inventory includes disabled systems that still exist in Active Directory ®. This process includes irrelevant systems that exceed your license count and generate a system error.

    Any Windows-based system that you patch counts toward the node count. These systems include the SolarWinds Patch Manager server, standalone WSUS server, SCCM server, and all client systems. The Primary Application Server determines the node count in the Windows domain. A SolarWinds Patch Manager license includes 11 license tiers and is licensed on the node level.

Third-party updates

  • Remove all custom filters from the Third Party Updates list. Remove any filters in the Third Party Updates pane to ensure that all third-party updates are published to the systems.

    1. Expand Enterprise > Update Services > Patch_Manager_Server > Updates in the SolarWinds Patch Manager menu.
    2. Select Third Party Updates.
    3. Examine the filter icons in the table columns.

      If a filter icon is clear File:Success_Center/Reusable_content_-_InfoDev/SPM/Patch_Manager_Getting_Started_Guide/0080-Best_practices_for_using_SolarWinds_Patch_Manager/SPM-Getting-Started-Best-Practices-Clear-Filter-Icon.png, no filters are applied.

      If a filter icon is blue File:Success_Center/Reusable_content_-_InfoDev/SPM/Patch_Manager_Getting_Started_Guide/0080-Best_practices_for_using_SolarWinds_Patch_Manager/SPM-Getting-Started-Best-Practices-Blue-Filter-Icon.png, click the icon, select All, and click OK.

    4. Click Refresh in the Actions pane to apply the changes.

      The third-party update filters are removed.

  • Enable SolarWinds Patch Manager to automatically download third-party updates every day. By default, SolarWinds Patch Manager does not automatically download third-party updates after you install the software. Download the third-party updates and create a daily or weekly schedule to synchronize with the SolarWinds Third Party Update Library. When you are finished, SolarWinds Patch Manager downloads the latest third-party updates when they are available.

SolarWinds Patch Manager server

  • Update and publish the group policy to all servers and systems managed by SolarWinds Patch Manager. Create and export a software publishing certificate from the WSUS server to a certificate file. When you are finished, configure the Group Policy Object (GPO) on the domain controller with the certificate file and the supporting Windows Update policies to enable the managed systems to receive Windows and third-party updates from the WSUS server. SolarWinds Patch Manager signs all packages with the software publishing certificate. This certificate must be installed in the Trusted Root Certification Authority and Trusted Publishers keystores so each managed computer can receive and install third-party updates.
  • Ensure that the SolarWinds Patch Manager servers are associated with a management group. This process helps you minimize errors with translating system names in the deployment.

    1. Log in to the SolarWinds Patch Manager Admin Console as an administrator.
    2. In the SolarWinds Patch Manager menu, expand Patch Manager System Configuration and select Patch Manager Servers.
    3. In the Patch Manager Servers pane, ensure that the Management Group column includes a management group. In this example, the WSUS server (SPM-MGOM) is associated with the Managed Enterprise management group.


  • Run the Server Cleanup Wizard on the WSUS server each month. The wizard performs several housekeeping tasks to optimize the WSUS server performance. These tasks include removing unused updates and revisions, unneeded update files, expired or superseded updates, and systems that no longer access the WSUS server for updates.

    1. Log in to SolarWinds Patch Manager as an administrator.
    2. In the Patch Manager menu, expand Enterprise > Update Services and select the WSUS server.
    3. Click Server Cleanup Wizard in the Actions pane.
    4. Complete the wizard options, and click OK.
  • Ensure that WSUS is configured and running at an optimal level. See the Microsoft Technet website for information about best practices with WSUS and managing the Windows updates.
  • Ensure that port 4092 is open on your firewall. If you are running the Patch Manager Agent on your remote systems, ensure that port 4092 is open so the application can manage these systems.

SQL Server database

  • For optimal performance, use a licensed version of SQL Server. The licensed version can support multiple console users, inventory multiple WSUS users, and execute simultaneous WMI-based tasks. SQL Server Express (included with SolarWinds Patch Manager) can only store up to 10GB. If you exceed that amount, you must migrate the database to a remote SQL Server database.
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