This is admittedly a particularly small sub-category within Client Advertisement problems. However, it does occur and it can be very confusing to administrators, even though many times it’s not serious or catastrophic. Note: If the Advertisement refers to a Package which runs a script to perform actions, refer to my article "Part 13: Advertisement Issues Involving Packages that use Scripts".
- Web reports continue to show “Running” status for clients long after they should have reported a final status (i.e. “Succeeded”, “Failed”, etc.), often days or weeks after the “Last Status Time”.
- Client devices may or may not end up having installed the advertised software, even though the Site Server status continues to show “Running”. Most often the intended package was not installed completely.
- Client-side application installation logs (.msi logs, etc.) often indicate processing was interrupted before completion (truncated).
Potential causes ^
- Client device was powered off during an installation and has not yet been powered back on, and/or has not yet reported in final results to a Site server.
- Package/Program does not have a “maximum allowed run time” setting, and there are no Maintenance Windows in effect to limit the overall execution time frame, and Program is in a waiting state (expecting user input, stuck in a processing loop, etc.)
- Inspect the Processes on the client to see if the Package is still running an installation thread. For example, using Microsoft / Sysinternals pslist.exe utility, you can view the remote processes, such as “PSLIST <computer> -t –s 500”. The –t parameter displays the processes in “tree” format, so you can see spawned/child processes.
If a Process becomes “stuck”, you can terminate it (often causing the overall process to fail, possibly corrupting the installation). Built-in commands like TSKILL, or add-on utilities like Sysinternals’ PSKILL.exe, can be used to terminate processes by either the Process Name or the Process ID number.
- Verify target computer is powered on. The last installation process may have forced a shutdown, rather than a restart.
- Verify Advertisement is set to “Run whether or Not User is Logged on”
- Compare the Advertisement’s Distribution settings against the link-speed of the client computer. If the computer is on a “slow” link, verify the Advertisement is set to either “Download Content” or “Do Not Run” rather than “Run from Distribution Point” (for slow links).
- Attempt to “rerun” the Advertisement if there are no known problems with doing so. Otherwise, assess the client status for what portion of the Advertisement may have actually made configuration changes to the device. If changes were made and appear incomplete, attempt an uninstall and thorough “clean-up” before attempting to run the Advertisement again on the affected devices.
Older setup.exe installers ^
This situation is also very common with older “setup.exe” installers that do not support a parameter to “wait” for completion to return an exit code. Some installers will respect the old “/SMS” or “/WAIT” parameters, but some still exist that do not. For those cases, repackaging the installer with Flexera Software’s AdminStudio and/or InstallShield is recommended.
Helpful inks ^
- Troubleshooting Software Distribution Issues
- List of Log Files in Configuration Manager 2007
- MSDN Library: RUN Method (Windows Script Host)
- MSDN Library: Win32_Process Class
- Windows XP “Start” command reference
- TechNet Library: START command reference
- TechNet Library: Program Properties Page reference
- Tools: http://live.sysinternals.com