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Frequently Asked Questions for Software Distribution

Updated: September 1, 2009

Applies To: System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2

This topic addresses frequently asked questions related to software distribution and is divided into the following categories:

  • Client caching

  • Package replication

  • Using BITS with software distribution

  • Distribution points

  • General questions about software distribution

Frequently Asked Questions About Client Caching

The following are common questions about how Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 manages the cache maintained on Configuration Manager 2007 clients for running advertisements.

If the size of the package is greater than the size of the cache, both the mandatory and the optional downloads will fail. If the package download fails because of insufficient cache size, Configuration Manager 2007 generates status message 10050. If the cache size is increased later, the download does not automatically retry and must be reinitiated.

If the size of the package is less than the size of the cache but the cache is currently full, mandatory downloads will keep retrying until the cache space is available, until the download times out, or until the cache space failure retry limit is reached. If the cache size is increased later, Configuration Manager 2007 attempts to download again during the next retry interval. The client tries to download the content every four hours until it has tried 18 times.

Associated packages are not automatically deleted from the cache. After being downloaded, all packages are guaranteed to stay in the cache for at least one day after the cached content was last referenced. If you configure the package properties with Persist content in the client cache,the package is never deleted. If all your space is used by packages that have been downloaded within the last 24 hours and you need to download new packages, you can either increase your cache size or force existing packages to be deleted.

I want to create an advertisement that will download, execute, and recur on a schedule. Will it download once and then run each time from the cache? Must it download every time the advertisement recurs?

Before running any program, the Configuration Manager 2007 client checks to see whether content is available in the cache. If content is in the cache and if it is the correct version, it always runs the program from the cache, whether or not the advertisement is set to recur. If the version has changed or if the content was deleted to make room for another package, it is downloaded again.

The client downloads the mandatory content as soon as it receives the advertisement. The program then waits to run until the assigned time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Package Replication

The following are common questions about delta replication and binary differential replication.

What is the difference between delta replication and binary differential replication?

In SMS 2003, only file level changes were replicated (delta replication), but in Configuration Manager 2007, changes at the byte level can be detected and replicated if you enable binary delta replication on the package properties. A file is considered to be changed if it has been renamed, moved, or its contents have changed. If you do not enable binary delta replication, Configuration Manager 2007 still detects and replicates changes at the file level.

Do clients participate in delta replication or binary differential replication?

No, delta replication and binary delta replication occur when moving packages between two sites or from a site server and a distribution point.

With replication of programs, how does source version incrementing work?

Configuration Manager 2007 keeps track of the source version of a package on each distribution point it is assigned to. For example, when originally distributing a package, the source version would be 1. When you update the package source files and tell Configuration Manager 2007 to update distribution points with a new package source version, the local version would change to 2. Configuration Manager 2007 detects the version on each distribution point, so it would update each distribution point with version 2.

What does it mean that replication on distribution points only supports five deltas?

If a site or distribution point is more than five versions out of sync with the source files, it will receive the entire package.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using BITS with Software Distribution

The following are common questions about BITS and Configuration Manager 2007 software distribution.

What happens when the connection with the distribution point is unexpectedly broken? Can the client resume the download in the middle of a file?

Yes, interrupted client downloads from BITS-enabled distribution points resume at the point at which they stopped transferring, even if the client connects to a different distribution point.

Does the client use BITS or SMB by default?

It depends. If the advertisement has been set to run the program from the network, the client always uses server message block (SMB). If the advertisement has been configured to download and run locally and if the distribution point has been configured to use BITS, the client tries to use BITS but might fail over to SMB if the content cannot be accessed over BITS.

How can I tell if my Advanced Client is using BITS or SMB?

Look at the DataTransferService.log on the client. BITS downloads have a URL that starts with http://<distributionpoint>, and SMB downloads have a URL that starts with \\<distributionpoint>. For details about the BITS download, you can run bitsadmin /list /allusers /verbose | more from the command line. If the client used SMB, you can also get details in the FileBits.log on the client.

Frequently Asked Questions About Distribution Points

The following are common questions about distribution points.

How do clients choose a distribution point?

Does my distribution point require IIS?

It depends. If you configure the distribution point to be BITS-enabled, you must install IIS and enable WebDAV. If you do not configure the distribution point to be BITS-enabled, IIS is not required. A distribution point must be BITS-enabled to support Internet-based clients and mobile device clients. If a distribution point is not BITS-enabled, clients will always use server message blocks (SMB) when retrieving content from the distribution point, even in native mode. If the distribution point is BITS-enabled, clients attempt to use BITS first but might fall back to SMB.

Can I use a SAN for my distribution point?

Yes. Using a storage area network (SAN) is supported as long as a supported Windows server is attached directly to the volume hosted by the SAN.

Can I use a SIS volume for my distribution point?

No. Configuring distribution point package and signature folders to be configured on a Single Instance Storage (SIS) volume is not supported.

Can I use DFS for my distribution point?

There is limited support for Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) in Configuration Manager 2007. Distribution points can be targets of a DFS root, but packages must be deployed to the shared folder on the distribution point, not to the DFS link name. Clients can use programs that point to <DFS root>\<DFS link>\<executable>.

General Questions About Software Distribution

The following are common questions about Configuration Manager 2007 software distribution.

Does Configuration Manager include an application to create packages?

No. Configuration Manager 2007 can distribute any package you create, but it does not actually create the packages for you. Applications vary greatly in how they are installed.

Very simple applications might be installed with a batch file or script.

If the application is installed with Windows Installer, you typically include all of the Setup files in the package and create the program to run the .msi file. However, the application might require you to do an administrative installation first to decompress the source files, or it might be advisable to create Windows Installer transforms to modify how the application is installed.

If the application does not use Windows Installer, you might be able to use the Setup file included with the application. Generally, if you can copy the installation files to a network share and run the Setup file from a client computer, the installation is likely to work with Configuration Manager 2007. However, some applications have specific requirements. For example, one application might run only from drive letters while others might run only from UNC paths, so you might have to modify the Configuration Manager 2007 program properties. Also, the Setup file might require user input when you would prefer to install without any user intervention.

Several commercial applications exist to assist in repackaging applications, including converting varied Setup formats into Windows Installer packages. Macrovision makes available a limited-featured version of AdminStudio Enterprise Edition called AdminStudio Configuration Manager Edition. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=103420.

How do I uninstall software using Configuration Manager?

Configuration Manager 2007 does not provide a specific way to uninstall an application. However, Configuration Manager 2007 can run any program that you configure, including a script or executable file to uninstall an application. Consult the documentation for the application to see whether there is an option for uninstalling. For example, if you create a Configuration Manager 2007 package with a Configuration Manager 2007 program to run a Windows Installer file to install an application, you might be able to create an additional Configuration Manager 2007 program in the same package using the /x option to uninstall the application.

Configuration Manager 2007 could also theoretically uninstall an application that was not distributed with Configuration Manager 2007, if you can build a script or executable to cleanly uninstall the application.

Is there any way to make software distribution happen faster?

Software distribution is always a balance between how quickly things happen and how much bandwidth they consume. For example, for a client to run an advertisement, you must create the package, program, and advertisement. The client is configured to poll at a certain interval for new advertisements. If you make that interval smaller, clients poll more frequently but consume more bandwidth with their polling. Also, if the package contains source files, the client cannot run the package until the package is on the distribution point. If the client is at a child site, the Sender between the sites might restrict the transmission of the package to off-peak hours, further delaying the time until the client can install the package.

If you have time to plan a large deployment, you can pre-deploy the package and advertisement but configure the advertisement so that it is not available until a future time. The advertisement will be delivered to the clients but will not be displayed until the time you specify. This allows time for packages to be copied to all distribution points and for clients to retrieve the policy containing the advertisement.

If I select "Always obtain files from source directory for a package", will a package refresh copy source file changes to the distribution point?

Package refresh generally operates on a single distribution point/package pair.

  • On the source site server, package source files are copied directly to the distribution points for that site, which include changes made at the source.

  • On a child site server, the existing local compressed package is copied to the distribution points for that site. Therefore, no changed source files are included.

  • On a child site server, if the compressed package file is missing, the source site server passes its existing compressed file to the child. No changed source files are included.

    noteNote
    If you choose to refresh all or several distribution points in the site hierarchy, only the source site distribution points receive changed files. The source site server does not pass down a new compressed package file to child sites. In this situation, child site distribution points do not receive changed source files.

If you want changes to source files to be copied to all distribution points, use package update instead of package refresh.

If there are multiple advertisements, in what order do they run?

If multiple advertisements are available at the same time, there is no guaranteed order in which they will run. You can create program dependencies if you must run another program first. For more information, see Program Name Properties: Advanced Tab. You can also create a task sequence to perform tasks in a specific order. For more information, see About Task Sequences.

ImportantImportant
Dependent programs are not installed when a program is run in a task sequence. The Install Software action checks to see whether the dependent program is already installed and, if so, will proceed with installing the main program. However, if the dependent program is not already installed, the installation of the main program will fail. You must explicitly install the dependent programs as part of your task sequence.

See Also

For additional information, see Configuration Manager 2007 Information and Support.
To contact the documentation team, email SMSdocs@microsoft.com.
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