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Set up a product update client task (client task type is McAfee Agent > Product update). In the Package Types section, make sure VirusScan Enterprise 8.8.0 is checked. If you already have a product update task with the VirusScan box checked that is scheduled on the systems you want to test, you don't need to set up another one.
Copy your "normal" McAfee Agent > General policy. In the new policy, on the Updates tab, in the "Repository branch to use for each update type:" section, set VirusScan Enterprise 8.8.0 to Evaluation.
Assign the new policy to the systems you want to test. If you did create a new task, schedule it on the systems you want to test.
Later, once you copy the HF to the current branch of your repository, you can switch your test systems back to your "normal" McAfee Agent > General policy.
Thanks very much for your help and quick response!
Another quick question for the group - any knowledge for a command line switch that can be added to keep the pop up notification from telling you that VSE was disabled? Not exactly a 'silent' install....
If you are referring to Windows' Security Alerts (XP/Vista) / Action Center (7) notification, I don't think there is one. VSE has to be shut down to apply the patch, and Windows can "see" that, so it alerts. VSE should start up again right away, so the pop-up should go away after a short time.