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RemoteExec vs PsExec: not in the same league

Interacting with remote Windows systems is a daily task for IT professionals.

Everyone will agree that application deployment, remote server reboots, emergency updates, user session locking, etc. are tedious, time consuming chores without the help provided by efficient tools.

IS Decisions prides itself in building top notch solutions for IT pros. Our remote deployment and execution solution is called RemoteExec and here’s a comparison with Microsoft’s PsExec:

  • RemoteExec

    RemoteExec is an agentless software solution that allows IT pros to execute predefined remote actions through a graphical interface.

    RemoteExec remotely installs applications, executes programs/scripts and updates files and folders on Windows systems throughout the network.

    RemoteExec logs execution history and results allowing administrators to reload remote actions and generate reports.

    RemoteExec was created in 2000 by IS Decisions and is in its 5th major version.

  • PsExec

    PsExec is a light-weight telnet-replacement freeware that lets IT pros execute processes on other Windows systems, complete with full interactivity for console applications, without having to manually install client software.

    It was initially developed by Sysinternals, which is now owned by Microsoft.

    The Sysinternals web site was created in 1996 by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell to host their system utilities and technical information.

GUI and command line vs command line only

RemoteExec has an intuitive, user-friendly GUI (tabbed interface, dockable windows) with predefined action types while PsExec is a command line tool only.

As an example, with RemoteExec, a Microsoft hotfix deployment will only require you to specify the hotfix path while PsExec will require determining every hotfix switch.

RemoteExec can also be used via the command line and be invoked by a script or any automation tool if needed.

RemoteExec Interface
RemoteExec Interface

Multithreading vs single-threading

RemoteExec uses fully multithreaded technology while PsExec performs remote executions on one computer at the time.

This can be extremely frustrating especially on large networks or when remote computers are unavailable.

RemoteExec Multithreading example
RemoteExec Multithreading example

Execution logging vs console output

RemoteExec comprehensively logs all remote executions (and their results) it performs and automatically generates graphical, printable reports, so you can relaunch them (or schedule a new try) if some of them happen to be unsuccessful.

PsExec only provides you with a console output and a return code.

RemoteExec report example
RemoteExec report example

Integrated Scheduling vs nothing

The scheduler is integrated in RemoteExec. You can perform and manage remote executions and reports outside of business hours.

PsExec does not have any scheduling features. You will have to manually build and enter the command line expression into the Scheduler.

RemoteExec scheduler
RemoteExec scheduler

Conditional execution vs nothing

RemoteExec comes with a mini scanner allowing remote systems configuration information to be collected and used for conditional updating: OS version, OS level (server/workstation), Service Pack, Internet Explorer version, customizable registry key/value, OS language, architecture, etc.

This makes it possible to execute a deployment on Windows 7 SP1 workstations only, without having to select them manually.

There is no such possibility in PsExec.

RemoteExec filter
RemoteExec filter example

Full reusability vs saving script files

RemoteExec gives you the ability to save Remote Action configurations in a favorite folder (My Remote Actions) in order to use them again quickly on different target computers (for example to perform on demand deployment).

PsExec will only allow you to save your command lines as a script file.

My Remote Actions
RemoteExec "My Remote Actions" menu

Encryption vs insecurity

RemoteExec’s communications are encrypted. Unfortunately, when you use a specific user account, PsExec passes credentials in the clear to the remote workstation, thus exposing the credentials to anyone who happens to be «listening in».


Conclusion

PsExec is a smart unsupported utility that can be very useful if you are on a tight budget, manage a small-sized Windows network and have minimal feature and security requirements.

RemoteExec is a secure, feature-rich enterprise software solution that meets the performance and security requirements of savvy IT professionals managing small to very large (up to tens of thousands endpoints) Windows networks.