Create a New Package

Software distribution requires a correctly formatted package definition. You can create a package definition by:

  • Importing a package definition file using the Distribute Software Wizard or the Create Package from Definition Wizard.

  • Using the Package properties page in the SMS Administrator console.

On This Page

Import a Package Definition File
Import a Windows Installer Package
Set Package Properties

Import a Package Definition File

A package definition file is a specially formatted file describing a package and one or more programs. A package definition file is created outside the SMS Administrator console. Use a package definition file as an alternative to creating a package definition in the SMS Administrator console. If you already have a package definition file, import the file into a wizard. SMS immediately creates the package definition and programs. If you installed the Package Automation Scripts option when installing your SMS site, your site will include package definition files for commonly installed Microsoft applications with your SMS installation. Many Microsoft products and third-party applications ship with their own package definition files, and SMS Installer can create a package definition file for any packages it creates. Or, you can create your own package definition file by following the syntax rules and including the required entries as described in the package definition file topics included in the SMS Help.

Both the Distribute Software Wizard and Create Package from Definition Wizard can import package definition files for package creation. You can use a predefined package file by:

  • Specifying the file when you create the package by navigating to Packages in the SMS Administrator console, right-clicking New, and clicking Package From Definition. In the Package from Definition Wizard you can select from package definitions that are included with SMS, or you can browse for a package definition file (.sms or .pdf files).

  • Specifying a package definition file to be imported into the Distribute Software Wizard.

Import a Windows Installer Package

Windows Installer packages contain many of the details needed to create an SMS package. You can create an SMS package by importing a Windows Installer package in much the same way that you would import a package definition file, except that when browsing for package definitions, look for files with the extension .msi.

Set @ackage Properties

If you do not use a package definition file, you must create the package and set all the installation attributes through the SMS Administrator console. You can create a package by clicking Packages in the SMS Administrator console, pointing to New, and clicking Package. The Packages dialog box includes the following options:

Identification for the Package (name required)

Use the General tab to provide package details, including name, software version number, publisher, language, and comments. You can also change the icon associated with the package.

Specify the package source directory (required if there are package source files)

Use the Data Source tab to indicate that the package contains no package source files, or to specify the package source folder if package source files exist. You can use Local drive on the site server when package-related functions in the SMS Administrator console are always performed from the console the on site server. If the data source is a local drive on the site server, then the source folder cannot be changed, and programs cannot be added to packages from consoles that are not installed on the site server.


  • Do not specify a folder on a distribution point shared folder as a package source folder. This can cause an infinite loop of processing, resulting in excessive server load and possibly excessive network load. It will also cause the package source to be lost if the distribution point is removed.

You can also specify that the package be regularly updated on the distribution points.


  • If you schedule weekly updates and you choose a day of the week, ensure that your start date matches the day of the week you choose. This helps ensure successful scheduling.

Specify the shared folder for package source files on the distribution point (optional, and applicable if there are package source files)

To specify whether to access the distribution folder through the common SMS package shared folder, or to specify your own shared folder name for this package, change the settings in the Data Access tab. When packages are stored in the common SMS package shared folder, each package is stored in a separate folder under this shared folder and is identified by its package ID number.

To make it easier to organize and track packages on distribution points, and to access the packages through means other than SMS, you can specify that SMS store a package in a shared distribution folder. Then you can create a hierarchy of directories to store related packages. For the shared folder name, you can assign either a shared folder that is unique among all packages, or a shared folder and a path, where the path must be unique among all packages.

Table 5.5 Examples of Shared Folder Names

Shared folder name\shared folder and path name

Resulting path on distribution point

Windows 2000

\\Dpservername\Windows 2000

Windows 2000\Windows 2000 Server SP3

\\Dpservername\Windows 2000\Windows 2000 Server SP3

Windows 2000\Windows 2000 Professional

\\Dpservername\Windows 2000\Windows 2000 Professional

To control which drive the default or custom package folder is created on, assign the distribution point role to a server shared folder instead of a server. For distribution points on server shared folder, if a shared folder name is entered for a package, it is treated as a path beneath the distribution point shared folder (\\MyServer\MyShare).

Table 5.6 Examples of Package Shared Folder Names for Windows 2000

Package shared folder name

Resulting path on distribution point

Windows 2000

\\MyServer\MyShare\Windows 2000

Windows 2000 Server SP3

\\MyServer\MyShare\Windows 2000\ Windows 2000 Server SP3


  • Any shared folder name (or shared folder name and a path name) you create can be up to 64 characters, including backslashes (\).

Specify how to handle connected users at update time (optional)

On the Data Access tab, you can specify:

  • Whether and how to disconnect all users from distribution points when package source files on those distribution points are updated. Not disconnecting users can lead to SMS not being able to update any distribution files that are open. However, disconnecting users can cause the user activities to fail.

  • How many times SMS tries to update the package source files before disconnecting users.

  • Whether to give users a grace period before they are disconnected.

    Disconnecting users at update time ensures that advertised programs that have started running do not use a combination of files from the original version of the package and the updated version of the package, which could have unpredictable results. However, disconnecting users while an advertised program is running will cause that advertised program to fail.

    The users that must be disconnected from the shared folder are sent a popup message warning them that they should stop using the distribution point. They are also notified when the update is completed so that they can resume using the distribution point. However, a user on the site server is not notified.


    • Windows XP client computers do not get the notification of the disconnect.

    Users on Advanced Clients that are downloading the advertised program to their download cache before implementation do not run a downloaded package that contains both original and updated files. If Advanced Client receives a new download SMS policy for the updated package, the current download of content is stopped, and a new download of content is started based on the new policy. If the Advanced Client does not receive a new download SMS policy, the download finishes but is rejected because a hash check will show that the downloaded package is not the same as the package that should have been downloaded.

Specify sending priority and preferred sender (optional)

When packages are distributed between sites, you must use senders. Senders are SMS thread components that use an existing connectivity system to communicate with other sites. Use this option to choose a sending priority and a preferred sender.

To set this option, use the Distribution Settings tab. For most installations, the default settings are best. However, if your package is very large or if a specific sender is faster or more convenient, designate a particular sender. For example, the Standard Sender handles large packages much more efficiently than a RAS sender does. For more information about senders, see Chapter 15, "Deploying and Configuring SMS Sites," in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide.

Set up Status Reporting (optional)

Use the Reporting tab to specify custom values used to match advertisements of programs from packages with their installation status Management Information Format files. Installation status Management Information Format files (MIFs) are generated by software distribution programs to supply information about the success or failure of their installation on 32-bit clients.

SMS clients, or programs distributed with SMS software distribution, typically generate installation status MIFs using the package details from the General tab. However, if the programs distributed with SMS software distribution create status MIFs that include name, version, or other values that do not match the values from the General tab, you must specify those values in the Reporting tab. If the installation status MIFs cannot be matched to values specified on the General or Reporting tab of any packages, the MIFs will be discarded, and you will not be able to determine the status of those advertisements.

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