Topic last updated—November 2007

When you install an application using Windows Installer, those Windows Installer applications try to return to the path they were installed from when they need to install new components, repair the application, or update the application. This location is called the Windows Installer source location. Windows Installer Source Location Manager can automatically search Configuration Manager 2007 distribution points for the source files, even if the application was not originally installed from a distribution point. To enable Windows Installer source location, you configure the Windows Installer tab on the program properties in Configuration Manager 2007 packages.

The Windows Installer Source Location Manager was designed and tested for a maximum of 1000 Windows Installer programs. Configuring the Windows Installer tab increases the policy size for all clients. Configuring more than 1000 Windows Installer programs can degrade client performance.

Scenarios Addressed by Windows Installer Source Location Manager

Problem Scenario 1:    A user installs Microsoft Office from a CD. The user chooses Minimal installation, yet no longer retains the original installation CD. On first use of the speech tools, Windows Installer prompts the user to insert the Microsoft Office CD so that it can find the speech tools files. The user does not know the location of the Microsoft Office files and is unable to complete the speech tools installation.

Problem Scenario 2:    A user installs Microsoft Office from a CD. The Contoso Company uses Configuration Manager 2007 to manage its Office security updates. When Windows Installer attempts to apply the security update, it requests files from the original CD. The user might or might not know the location of the files, and the security update might not be applied.

Problem Scenario 3:    A network share is used as the installation location for a Windows Installer product. Some time after computers have installed the product from that share, the computer hosting the share is decommissioned or fails and is no longer on the network. When Windows Installer attempts to reconnect to that server, it will fail and display a dialog box to the user prompting for the original source files.


The following terms relate to Windows Installer source location management.

Windows Installer

Refers to the Windows Installer technology for bundling applications and providing a simplified and programmatic installation experience.

Acronym for Microsoft Installer. Equivalent in meaning to Windows Installer.
Product code

A unique identifier assigned to each Windows Installer bundled application.
Package code

A unique identifier assigned to each Windows Installer bundled application that typically indicates minor revisions have occurred from the original Windows Installer bundled application (such as the application of a language-specific transform).
.MSI file

A reference to the file name extension associated with a Windows Installer bundled application.
Product Source Update Manager

An agent running on the Configuration Manager 2007 client that updates the list of network locations where Windows Installer can find source files.

Windows Installer Interactions

There are some specific interactions between Configuration Manager 2007 and Windows Installer that should be considered when using the Windows Installer source location management.

Managing Products that Have Identical Product Codes

Most Windows Installer-based products use different product codes for each version of the application. In some cases, Windows Installer application bundles might have identical product codes, yet differentiate versions by establishing a different package code. One example of this is Microsoft Visio 2002. In this example, the product code for the original release of Visio 2002 Professional ENU version is {90510409-6D54-11D4-BEE3-00C04F990354}. The SR1 version product code is also {90510409-6D54-11D4-BEE3-00C04F990354}. If the administrator has two Configuration Manager 2007 packages configured for Windows Installer source location management where one contains the original release version and the other contains the SR1 version, Product Source Update Manager will update the source location list on the clients with the entire list of distribution points for both products (because they have the same product code). Windows Installer will then match up the appropriate release when it attempts to find its specific files.

If you have products that have identical product codes for different versions, you should use Configuration Manager 2007 to update all the older version applications before adding the Windows Installer product code to the package for Windows Installer source location management.

Registry Values for Source Lists

Windows Installer maintains the list of source directories as part of its database. The information is then exposed in the registry. The specific registry hive and key that contains the source list varies depending on the type of installation (managed or unmanaged) and the associated privileges during installation (elevated or non-elevated). You will find the majority of the source lists in the following locations:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\<product code>\SourceList\Net

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Installer\Products\<product code>\SourceList\Net

Install Applications for All Users

If you plan to configure the Configuration Manager 2007 program to install a Windows Installer file in an administrative context by using the Run with administrative rights option, ensure that you use the Per-Machine Installation option as described in the Windows Installer documentation on MSDN Otherwise, the application will run only for the Local System user. For example, if smstest.msi is a Windows Installer application, you might run it with the following command line:

msiexec /I smstest.msi ALLUSERS=2

Removing Existing Network Source Locations

Product Source Update Manager will find any distribution points for Configuration Manager 2007 programs that have Windows Installer information and will add the network source paths for those Windows Installer packages. When a source location is already stored (for example, if the program was installed from a locally available server instead of the Configuration Manager 2007 distribution point), Product Source Update Manager will append the Configuration Manager 2007 distribution point locations to the existing source location.

To fully understand this functionality and how source locations could be removed, consider the following scenario:

  1. Microsoft Office XP is installed by user initiation (not by using Configuration Manager 2007) from \\server1\share.

  2. Windows Installer adds \\server1\share to the last-used source registry key and stores \\server1\share as the installation source.

  3. The user initiates a repair of Office and Windows Installer to go to \\server1\share to get the source files.

  4. The Configuration Manager administrator now adds Office XP to Configuration Manager 2007 and adds the Windows Installer information for the PROPLUS.MSI file.

  5. The client receives the update and appends \\smsserver\dpshare to the list of sources for Office XP.

  6. The network administrator decommissions \\server1. The \\server1\share folder is no longer accessible to the client computer.

  7. A security update is applied to Office XP; \\server1\share is checked first and not found. Windows Installer rolls to the next location and \\smsserver\dpshare is used to complete the update process; \\smsserver\dpshare is now listed in the last-used source registry and becomes the official installation source.

  8. Any subsequent security updates or repairs now start with a pointer to \\smsserver\dpshare for Office XP.

Updating Windows Installer Source Location Manager

Several events can occur on the Configuration Manager 2007 client that will cause the Product Source Update Manager agent to update source locations for one or more Windows Installer products:

  • Management Point Change    Whenever a client’s resident or proxy management point changes, a full Windows Installer Source List Update Cycle will be run.

  • Network Change    If a client changes from one network subnet to another, a Windows Installer source list update cycle is triggered. If there are multiple network interfaces on the computer (for example, a docking station NIC and a wireless PC card), a Windows Installer source list update cycle will not be triggered if one of the subnets remains the same. Computers that use dial-up to connect to a corporate network will generate a network change, as well as computers that make a virtual private network (VPN) connection to another network. Whenever a client’s network subnet changes and remains in that subnet for more than eight hours, a full Windows Installer source list update cycle will be run.

  • Control Panel Item Action    The Configuration Manager Control Panel item has a Windows Installer Source List Update Cycle action. Selecting this action and clicking the Initiate Action button causes the Product Source Update Manager to complete a full update cycle.

  • Running a Program with Associated Windows Installer Information    If a program is installed on the client, and Windows Installer information is stored for that program (product code and file name), Product Source Update Manager will update the network locations after the program is installed. Whenever a single Windows Installer application is installed by using Configuration Manager 2007, a Windows Installer source list update cycle will be run for that one application only.

  • Programmatic Trigger via API    A Configuration Manager 2007 program can be run with a VBScript to enable a Windows Installer source list update cycle.

  • User Logon/Logoff    When a user logs on to the computer, Product Source Update Manager updates source paths for per-user installations of Windows Installer products for that logged-on user. When a user logs off, a flag is toggled indicating that only per-machine installations should be evaluated on any of the normal update cycle triggers.

See Also