Use Alternate Download Location for Distribution Packages

The problem with the limited KACE storage that I was seeing has led me to do some more investigation to use the Alternate Download Location to install 3rd party packages.

Anyone may even want to do that for any packages that exceed a couple hundred megabytes.

As I was trying to get this setup, I have ran into problems trying to get the configurations right. After about 5 hours on the phone with L3 support, we got it squared away, and got the alternate download locations to work correctly.  The following is information that either only exists in random KBs on the KACE support website, or simply does not exist at all, and needs to be learned with trial and error. I will try to keep the explanations at a minimum, and rather point out the correct formatting of the fields which seem to be minimally documented.

In this article, I will go through the instructions of installing the Windows Live Movie Maker,  just because this is what I was working on at the time of troubleshooting. So here goes.

Note that the items that are in italic are the gotchas. So pay close attention to those.

  • The first thing you need to do for a package is to install it on a workstation that has the KACE agent on it, and then run an inventory, so that this software package shows up in the Software Inventory on your KBOX
  • If you were creating a normal package with an associated file, you would do this, but it probably won’t occur to you  that you would still need to associate a file with the inventory, even though it is of a 0 byte size. After all, I’m assuming you’re doing the Alternate Location Download method, specifically to avoid having to upload a full file up to the KBOX.
    The file that you need to associate has to match exactly the name of the file that you are calling in your Alternate Download Location. So, in this case, our EXE file is called wlsetup-all.exe
    KACE has a KB article on this:
    http://www.kace.com/support/kb/index.php?action=artikel&cat=4&id=694&artlang=en
    You can do this in multiple ways. I usually just open up a command prompt, and type: 

    copy /y NUL wlsetup-all.exe

    Or you can simply open up notepad with a new file, and save it without anything in there.

  • Next, go to Inventory -> Software and search for that software package, then click on it.
  • Now go ahead and associate that 0 byte file with the software inventory item
    Software Inventory Item 0 byte File AssociationAt this point, you are ready to create the software distribution package. Below is a screenshot of the Managed Installation, followed by an explanation of the fields
  • Managed Install From Alternate Download LocationNow we’ll go through these settings:
  • Software: Pick the software package from the Inventory, which you want to install. In this case, “Windows Live Movie Maker 15.4”
  • Upload & Associate New File: Leave that blank, because we’re installing from an Alternate Download Location.
  • Installation Command:This one was confusing for me. The only time where you would use the “Configure Manually” option, is if you are uploading a zip file to the KBOX. (the KBOX can automatically recognize zip files, and extract them). In this case, you would run the command that you would want to run after the zip file has been extracted. i.e: wlsetup-all.exe /q .
    In our case, however, we just need the default line, because we’re running an exe. Since this is an Alternate Download Location scenario, you do not need to enter the path to the exe, but rather, just the arguments of the command. In this case, it would be only:
    /q /NoLaunch /NoToolbarCEIP /NoHomepage /NoSearch /AppSelect:MovieMaker
  • Delete Downloaded Files: This option will delete the source installation file after the task has been done. I usually check this.
  • Use Alternate Download Location: In this field you need the full path to the application executable. If you had chosen to configure manually, this would be the full path to the zip file. Those will include the executable or the zip file. i.e: \\servername\install$\wlsetup-all.exe or \\servername\\install$\wlsetup-all.zip
  • Alternate Checksum: Now this one could be confusing, because you may not be sure which checksum to get. what you need is the full file’s checksum, the one on your network share, and not the one that was 0 bytes.
    To get the checksum there are tons of utilities, but if you are using the kbox, you can easily run: C:\Program Files\KACE\KBOX\kboxclient.exe -hash=\\path\to\file.exe
    Checksum comparison IS case sensitive, so if your checksum utility returns the MD5 hash in all caps, make sure to convert it to lower case, or the checksum will fail.
  • Alternate Download User: If you are on an AD domain, the user should include the domain prefix i.e: DOMAIN\user. If you don’t include it, the authentication will fail.
  • Alternate Download Password: The password for the share. Remember, that this password is using the unix smbclient to connect to a Windows Samba share, so some of the limitations would apply regarding special characters in passwords, etc… KACE has a KB article on this: http://www.kace.com/support/kb/index.php?action=artikel&cat=5&id=987&artlang=en
    In my opinion, the article states all special characters disallowed from the password, though, I tend to be convinced that only certain special characters would not be allowed, more specifically the “@” and the “:” , as these are contained within the SMBclient string, and would conflict with that command line. My password had a “$” in it, and authenticated without a problem. So, take that article with a grain of salt, and make sure you experiment with a very simple password first, to make sure that the credentials aren’t the very variable that are causing your file copy to fail.

The rest of the settings are fairly self explanatory.

Some additional items that may be helpful as you’re troubleshooting the issue:

  • You can enable debugging on the agent:
    Add: 

    debug=true
    Agent 5.1: C:\Program Files\KACE\KBOX\SMMP.conf
    OR
    Agent 5.1: C:\ProgramData\Dell\KACE\amp.conf
  • and restart the agent
    sc stop kboxsmmp
    sc start kboxsmmp
    or on the 5.2 agent
    sc stop ampagent
    sc start ampagent
  • When you restart you can examine the logs:
    On the 5.1 agent:
    C:\Program Files\KACE\KBOX\debug.log
    On the 5.2 agent:
    C:\ProgramData\Dell\KACE\kdeploy.log

 

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