Software Distribution and Packaging Frequently Asked Questions

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Delta replication
BITS
Advanced Client Caching, Downloading and Running
SMS Installer
Troubleshooting

Delta replication

Q. Does the delta replication feature help if the package was sent out as a single executable package with SMS Installer or the Wise packager?

A.

No. Delta replication looks for file level changes, not byte level changes. If you change a single executable file, like in SMS Installer, the entire file must be replicated. Delta replication is only beneficial if you have packages comprised of multiple files.

For more information about delta replication, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

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

A. SMS 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 SMS to update distribution points with a new package source version, the local version would change to 2. SMS detects the version on each distribution point, so it would update each distribution point with version 2. By using delta replication, SMS can replicate only the files that have changed.

For more information about delta replication, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

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

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

For more information about delta replication, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. Do clients participate in delta replication?

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

For more information about delta replication, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. What does a package update do? (Added June 30, 2004)

A.

Use package update whenever you make a modification to the package source, such as adding, changing, or deleting a file or folder.

  • SMS builds a new complete compressed package file and a delta compressed package file from the updated package source files. The delta file is passed to all distribution points.
  • The package version in client policy is incremented to ensure Advanced Clients are aware of the latest content version for the advertisement.
  • A package update resets the Virtual Directory if you have enabled or disabled BITS on the distribution point since the last package update or package refresh.
  • Package update will not reset the access control list (ACL).


Use the Manage Distribution Points Wizard to update packages. For more information, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. What does a package refresh do? (Added June 30, 2004)

A.

Use package refresh to repair a package at a specific distribution point.

  • A package refresh recopies the compressed package from the local site server to the distribution point.
  • A package refresh resets the access control list (ACL) if you have made changes to the package access account.
  • A package refresh resets the Virtual Directory if you have enabled or disabled BITS on the distribution point since the last package update or package refresh.
  • A package refresh generally does not copy files from the package source, update the source version, nor increment the client policy version. See next question for circumstances where source files are copied.


Use the Manage Distribution Points Wizard to refresh packages. For more information, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. If I select Always obtain files from source directory for a package, will a package refresh copy source file changes to the distribution point? (Added June 30, 2004) ? (Updated December 20, 2004)

A.

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.


  • Note: 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. For more information, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

BITS

Q. Does the Advanced Client use BITS or SMB by default? (Added April 30, 2004)

A. It depends on how the advertisement is configured. The Advanced Client will only use BITS to download software if the advertisement has been set to download and execute. If the advertisement has been set to run the program from the network, it always uses SMB.

Q. How can I tell if my Advanced Client is using BITS or SMB? (Added July 30, 2004)

A. Look at the DataTransferService.log on the client. BITS downloads have a URL that starts with http://<distributionpoint> and SMB downloads 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.

Q. If I configure my distribution point to support BITS, why is the download using SMB?

A.

The distribution point is probably installed on a Windows Server 2003 system, and to use BITS for download of package source files, you need to enable WebDAV support. Use Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, click Web Service Extensions, and then click Allow after selecting WebDAV in the right pane.


For more information about site configuration questions, see Chapter 1, “Scenarios and Procedures for Deploying SMS 2003,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. What happens when the connection with the distribution point is unexpectedly broken? Does the client fail-over to another distribution point? Can the client resume the download in the middle of a file?

A. Yes, the client can fail over to another distribution point within the site if one is available. If another distribution point is not available, the client has to wait until the original distribution point is back online. The client does not try to connect to another BITS server. It just tries to connect to another distribution point. If the client connects to the same distribution point it can resume in the middle of the file, but if it connects to a different one it will start at the beginning of the file.

Note
A BITS http:// session may fail-over to an SMB file:// and vice versa.

For more information about running advertised programs on Advanced Clients, see Chapter 5, “Distributing Software,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Q. My Advanced Clients running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) can successfully download their policy files by using BITS, but cannot download any packages. What’s wrong? (Updated September 30, 2003)

A.

Windows XP SP2 interferes with the Advanced Client’s ability to download packages by using BITS, when using SMS 2003 (with no service pack). Downloading policy by using BITS is not affected by this issue. This issue is fixed by applying a hotfix to the BITS-enabled distribution points. For more information about this issue, see article number 832860 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. This hotfix is included in SMS 2003 SP1.

 

Q. With BITS 2.0, I can set the maximum network bandwidth that BITS uses in Group Policy. Will SMS 2003 use this setting? (Added September 30, 2004)

A. When using Download and Execute from a BITS-enabled distribution point, SMS 2003 Advanced Clients will use any global policies for BITS set by using Group Policy. Maximum network bandwidth that BITS uses limits the network bandwidth that BITS uses for background transfers. This policy does not affect foreground transfers. If you disable or do not configure this policy, BITS uses all available bandwidth. This policy only configures the BITS usage between the client and server; it does not manage the aggregate bandwidth on the WAN connection. This policy is only available for computers running Windows XP SP2 with BITS 2.0 installed. For more information about installing BITS 2.0 for Windows XP XP2, see article number 842309 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Advanced Client Caching, Downloading and Running

Q. Does SMS delete the cache after the associated package has been installed? (Updated July 30, 2004)

A. No, it does not automatically delete the associated package. 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 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 by using Systems Management in Control Panel and changing the settings on the Advanced tab.

For more information about the Advanced Client download cache, see article 839513 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Q. When you download an advertised program, and this application is an .msi package, where does the repair functionality find its source files? (Updated July 30, 2004)

A. If the package was a run from the distribution point, the default repair location is the distribution point the installation was performed from. If the package is downloaded and run from a mobile client, then the path would be the local cache. To customize this, you could create a custom transform, and you could specify additional locations in the transform file. The .msi terminology is Additional Servers for specifying additional locations for installation, run from the network, or repair.

For more information about the Advanced Client download cache, see article 839513 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Q. 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 cache? Must it download every time the advertisement recurs? (Updated July 30, 2004)

A. Before running any program, the Advanced Client checks to see if content is available in the cache. If the 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.

For more information about the Advanced Client download cache, see article 839513 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Q. What happens if the package I’ve configured to download and execute is larger than the cache size at the client? (Updated July 30, 2004)

A. If the size of the package is greater than the size of cache, then both mandatory and optional downloads will fail. If the package download fails because of insufficient cache size, SMS 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 cache, but cache is currently full, then 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, SMS attempts to download again during the next retry interval.

For more information about the Advanced Client download cache, see article 839513 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Q. When does an Advanced Client download package content after receiving an advertisement with a mandatory installation time set in the future? (Added June 30, 2004)

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

Q. How do I increase the cache size on my Advanced Clients? (Added July 30, 2004)

A.

There are three ways to increase the size of the cache on the client:

  • Installing the Advanced Clients using the installation property SMSCACHESIZE=. If this property is not set, the cache defaults to a maximum size of 250 MB.
  • Manually changing the Amount of disk space to use on the Advanced tab in the Systems Management control panel.
  • Distributing a script.

For more information about using installation properties, see Appendix I, “Installing and Configuring SMS Clients” in the Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003: Planning and Deployment. For more information about software distribution control panel automation on the Advanced Client, see the SMS 2003 Software Development Kit (SDK) available on the Microsoft Download site. For more information about the Advanced Client download cache, see article 839513 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

SMS Installer

Q. Where do I find the SMS Installer? (Updated October 29, 2004)

A. The latest version of the SMS Installer, featuring the Windows Installer Step-up Utility, is available from the Systems Management Server Web site. AdminStudio SMS Edition also provides the ability to prepare, publish, and distribute software packages through SMS 2003. AdminStudio SMS Edition is available on the Microsoft Download site.

Troubleshooting

Q. Why do I get an “Access Denied” error when my Advanced Client attempts to download content from a distribution point that is running on Windows Server 2003? (Updated September 30, 2004)

A.

In certain situations, the Advanced Client Network Access Account might be required. The Advanced Client Network Access Account is used to access the distribution point if the logged-on user account or computer account does not have permissions.

This situation can occur when the client roams:

  • Between Windows Server 2003 and Windows NT 4.0 trusted domains.
  • Between Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 trusted domains.
  • Between two untrusted forests.
  • Between a forest and a Windows NT domain.

If the SMS hierarchy is distributed across trusted forests or other network environments in which the logged-on user or client computer account is a recognized security principal, the client will not need the Advanced Client Network Access account.

For information about how to create or modify an Advanced Client Network Access Account, see Appendix E: “SMS Security Procedures” in Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003: Securityon the Microsoft Web site.

Q. Why does my package fail when I require it to use the Advanced Client Network Access Account?

A. If you use the Advanced Client Network Access Account, you must install an updated version of Windows Installer on all computers running Advanced Clients for Windows Installer-based installations to work correctly when running the program from a distribution point. This hotfix is not required if you are using Download and Execute. Also, certain version of Windows might need an additional hotfix to for packages that require administrative credentials if network access accounts are used. For detailed information and instructions, search on “Software distribution” and “Advanced Client Network Access Account” in the SMS 2003 Operations Release Notes.

Q. Why do I get an “HTTP/1.1 501 Not Implemented” error when I try to download content from my distribution point?

A. Distribution points running on Windows Server 2003 must have Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) extensions for IIS enabled.

Q. Why can’t my Windows XP SP2 clients access Run Advertised Programs or Program Download Monitor in Control Panel? (Updated September 30, 2004)

A. Because of restrictions imposed on DCOM with Windows XP SP2, users will not be able to access Run Advertised Programs or Program Download Monitor in Control Panel when using SMS 2003 (no service pack.) Also, the Actions tab of the Systems Management in Control Panel is not accessible. A hotfix is available to correct this problem. The hotfix is included in SMS 2003 SP1. For more information about this hotfix, see article 832862 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. To successfully deploy this hotfix to the clients using SMS software distribution, you must verify that the countdown feature is disabled on the Advertised Programs Client agent.


For More Information

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