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Chapter Summary

The first step of the software distribution process is to combine package and program creation with advertisements targeted to collections. The Advertised Programs Client Agent on the client computer reads instructions from CAPs to install packages. The Advertised Programs Client Agent included with SMS support Windows 16-bit and Windows 32-bit client computers. If boundaries are configured for a site, installation methods and the Advertised Programs Client Agent are enabled. The client agent is then installed on computers in the site.

Before a package containing source files is created, the source files must be made available to SMS. Packages and programs are created from the Packages node in the SMS Administrator console. The Packages node is also used to specify distribution points for the package and rights to the package and program objects. Packages can also be created by using PDFs.

Advertisements (offers) targeted at collections distribute packages using programs. Instructions about packages are sent to CAPs. Packages are sent to distribution points. The Advertised Programs Client Agent uses a number of programs and instruction files to run and manage offers on the CAP. The entire software distribution process can interoperate with SMS 1.2. However, SMS 1.2 doesn't support many of the SMS 2.0 software distribution functions.

The final phase in application distribution is the installation of files on the client computers. Installing a single file or several data files is a simple task. However, installing applications that modify existing files, update the registry, and install files in multiple locations requires scripting to fully automate the installation process. Microsoft bundles most of their applications with automated installation routines. However, creating automated installations for third party programs, custom applications and updates can be complex and error prone. The SMS Installer utility is a powerful tool that assists in automating application installations. This tool complements SMS by augmenting the software distribution process.