Running Advertised Programs on Advanced Clients

Running advertised programs on Advanced Clients is different from running them on Legacy Clients in the following ways:

  • Using the Run Advertised Programs item in Control Panel for non-assigned advertised programs.

  • Checking the status of advertised programs that must be downloaded before being run by using the Program Download Monitor item in Control Panel.

  • Configuring the software distribution agent on the client.

  • Viewing properties of advertised programs.

  • Running dependent programs.

  • Using BITS and client-side caching by some advertised programs.

  • Downloading advertised programs before they are run.

  • Managing the download cache.

Run advertised programs

If the advertised program is set to do so, users are notified of new advertised programs by a notification in the notification area. If an advertisement for a program becomes available for a program that was previously advertised to the client and run successfully, the user is not notified in the notification area.

Advertised programs are always available in both the Add or Remove Programs and the Run Advertised Programs items in Control Panel.

Program download monitor

You can use the Program Download Monitor to perform the following tasks:

  • Monitor package downloads for advertised programs.

  • Cancel downloads.

  • Set an advertised program with a package that is being downloaded to start automatically when the download is complete.

To run the Program Download Monitor, click the Program Download Monitor icon in Control Panel.

The Program Download Monitor displays a list of active downloads on the client.

Configuring the software distribution agents on Advanced Clients

The software distribution agent configuration cannot be changed through SMS-provided user programs on Advanced Clients. The Advanced Client uses the site-wide software distribution client agent settings unless specially overridden by an administrator.

For information about how to specially configure software distribution agent settings on Advanced Clients using administrator options, see Chapter 4, "Understanding SMS Clients," in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide.

The download cache can be managed on Advanced Clients by using the Systems Management item in Control Panel, if the user has administrative credentials on the computer.

Viewing properties of advertised programs

To view the properties of an advertised program, the user at the client can select the program in Run Advertised Programs and click Properties.

Users can also see advertised program properties from the notification dialog box when the advertised program is ready to run.

Program dependencies

You can set advertised programs to run another program first. If the other program has already run, the advertised program proceeds immediately.


  • If you delete a program dependency, the parent program and advertisement are disabled.

If any of the programs require packages to be downloaded, the package download message is displayed to the end user (if appropriate) and the packages are listed together. The Program Download Monitor also lists all the packages to be downloaded. The cache must have sufficient space for all the packages. The program that is lowest in the dependency chain is downloaded and run, and then the next program in the chain is downloaded and run.

If any of the programs in the list of dependent programs does not run successfully, the sequence of programs after that program is stopped. The programs can be retried at any time.

BITS might be used by some advertised programs

When you specify properties for an advertisement, you can set an option to download the package before running it. This can be set for packages that are to be downloaded from local distribution points, remote distribution points, or both. If the package is downloaded, it is stored in the Advanced Client download cache. If the package is downloaded from a remote distribution point, and that remote distribution point is BITS-enabled, then BITS is used to transfer the package to the client. If the package is downloaded from a local distribution point, or the remote distribution point is not BITS-enabled, then SMB checkpoint/restart file copy is used.

If the package is not downloaded before running an advertised program, then the program is run directly from the distribution point. If the network link fails or is closed before the program has completed running, the advertised program will be unsuccessful. The SMS status system will record the failure and report it to the SMS hierarchy the next time the client connects to the network.

Downloading advertised programs

When an advertisement is created, it can be set so that the package for the advertisement is downloaded to Advanced Clients before the advertised program being run. The download can be set to occur depending on whether a local distribution point is available or not. A local distribution point is a distribution point for a site that the Advanced Client is currently in a local roaming boundary of. For more information about how clients find distribution points, see Chapter 4, "Understanding SMS Clients," in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide.

If the end user initiates the download, the user is shown a progress message that the user can hide. The progress message indicates how long the download will take. The length of time is an estimate that for the first 30 seconds is based on a 28.8 Kbps link. After the first 30 seconds, the estimate is based on the rate that the package is actually being downloaded.

Advertised programs can be targeted at computers or users. If a download starts for an advertised program targeted at the client computer, the download continues if the user logs off, and will continue if another user logs on. However, if a download starts for an advertised program targeted at the user, the download stops when the user logs off and does not resume until the original user logs back on.

If the advertised program is also advertised to another user that logs on, the download starts from the beginning for that user. The download for the original user continues from the point it left off when that user logs back on.

Downloads also stop when:

  • The computer is stopped, or set into a hibernate or suspend condition.

  • The network link drops.

  • The package is removed from the distribution point.

Downloads resume automatically when the computer is started up again and a network link can be established to a distribution point with the package. If a download is started but then interrupted, the download must resume within seven days or the download is automatically cancelled.

If an advertised program expires or is disabled while being downloaded, the download finishes, but the advertised program is not run.

It is possible that an advertised program's package will be downloaded, the advertised program will start to run, and then a new download SMS policy will arrive at the client indicating that an updated package is now available. In this case, the advertised program will continue to run.

When a download is finished without using the BITS protocol, and the download is resumed, it starts at the beginning of the file that was being downloaded at the time the download was interrupted. This is also true if the download resumes from a different distribution point, even if the different distribution point uses BITS. For this reason, packages should not be based on a small number of large files, if possible. In the case of an SMS Installer or Windows Installer package, the instructions can be kept in a separate file and the source files in the package should be kept separately, instead of being included in the SMS Installer or Windows Installer file. If the software is provided in large files, then investigate whether the software has an administrative installation or similar option that allows expanding the large files into a folder tree with many separate files. The SMS package will then use that expanded version of the software as the package source.

For more information about checkpoint restart while downloading packages, see Chapter 4, "Understanding SMS Clients," in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide.

Managing the Advanced Client download cache

Managing the Advanced Client download cache is important if the client downloads and runs new advertised programs, but the cache is too full of active downloaded packages.

When a package is downloaded it is placed in the cache and locked. SMS does not delete a package from cache if it is locked. A package is unlocked when either of the following events occurs:

  • 30 days have passed and the program has not been run

  • 24 hours have passed since the program was run

After SMS unlocks the package, it cannot be locked again unless it is discarded and then downloaded again.

When a package must be downloaded but the cache cannot accommodate the package, SMS checks the other packages in cache to determine whether deleting any or all of the oldest packages will free enough space to place the new package into the cache. If deleting any or all of the oldest packages does not free enough space, the new package is not placed into the cache. This might be the case if there is a package that is currently locked. If deleting any or all of the oldest packages does free enough space in the cache, SMS does so, and places the new package into the cache.

Users with administrative credentials on the computers they are using can manage the download cache. Users can change the size or location of the cache, or delete all current contents. These options are in the Temporary Program Download Folder section of the Advanced tab of the Systems Management item in Control Panel.

The download cache can also be managed with scripts. For more details about scripting client operations, see Appendix C, "Scripting SMS Operations," and the SMS 2003 SDK.

You can avoid managing the download cache on clients by:

  • Setting the cache size to be sufficiently large for the packages that will be downloaded.

  • Scheduling downloads so that they do not occur too frequently.

  • Not using the download option for packages that can be run directly from the distribution points.

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