M100665: How to: Create a CD-based Distribution Location

For policy-based installation of software from a CD, a CD distribution location can be configured.  The managed device will then look to the source files for installation.


The purpose of this procedure is to set up a CD drive local to a managed device as a source of software downloads for installation on that device. If you configure a distribution location that points to the CD drive, the ManageSoft installation agent will attempt to access packages from the CD location before failing over to other distribution locations on the network. This gives remote users the capability of performing managed installations from CD-ROMs, in addition to installing packages from the network.

In practice, this structure may most often be useful for software declared to be optional, where the end-user is triggering installation through the ManageSoft selection agent. However, the same technique can be used for other purposes.

For simplicity, the procedure assumes a single CD drive letter. There are notes at the end for situations where the CD drive letter is not known in advance.


The procedure requires making changes to the distribution hierarchy at the central administration server to declare the new distribution location. You can then update your failover settings (previously known as client settings), and distribute to managed devices. There are also special requirements for the directory structure placed on the CD-ROM used for installation.

Configuration at the administrative server

  1. Run the New Distribution Location wizard. (For more information about this wizard, see the section "To define a distribution location" in the online help, or in the Distribution system chapter of the ManageSoft Operations Guide.) Set the following values:
    • Use a descriptive friendly name. For example, a friendly name of CD drive can be used.
    • Enter a DNS hostname of localhost.
    • On the File Transfer Protocols [Distribution Location] page of the wizard, select Direct File Copy for downloading and uploading (even though uploading is not really relevant).
  2. Complete the wizard, and then right-click the new distribution location and select its Properties.
  3. In the General tab, change the Folder value to the following: 
    where "d:" is the drive letter of the CD drive. Notice that this will create a string of three slash characters ("///") in the path, as distinct from the four that you usually see for failover settings. This setting will prevent an invalid location being created. Save the changed properties.
  4. Include your new CD drive distribution location in your failover settings, wherever you normally store those.
  5. Distribute the failover settings to the appropriate managed devices as usual.

CD-ROM Creation

The CD-ROM prepared for local product installation must reflect the same directory structure as used within any other distribution location. For example, if a package is generally accessible from a web location like this:

Microsoft/Visio 2002/Visio 2002/Visio 2002.osd

then the package's location on a CD would appear as the following:

Microsoft/Visio 2002/Visio 2002/Visio 002.osd

That is, the directory structure under the http://ds-cls-02-tmnis.org/ManageSoftDL/ folder on the web server must be mirrored on the CD-ROM. This complete folder structure should be created on the CD-ROM to match the definition in the software library.


Once the failover settings have been distributed, you can validate that the following settings appear in the registry of the affected managed devices. The key result is that the hostname should be blank and the directory should be d:/.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ManageSoft Corp\ManageSoft\Common\DownloadSettings\{GUID}]

  • "Protocol"="file"
  • "Name"="CD Drive"
  • "Directory"="d:/"
  • "Host"=""
  • "Port"="0"
  • "User"=""
  • "Password"=""
  • "Proxy"=""
  • "Priority"="10"
  • "AutoPriority"="True"


The above examples assume that the CD drive is registered as D: drive. It is very possible that different computers under management could have different letters assigned to their CD drives. The following are alternative ways to address this issue.

  • Add additional distribution locations, one for each possible CD drive letter. Downloads will then be attempted from each drive in turn until one succeeds.
  • An entirely different (but more advanced) approach is not to configure the CD drive as a distribution location at all. Instead, create a special package that contains a callout, or a script configured as a run command (pre- or post-installation). The script should dynamically determine the CD drive letter at installation time, and create the necessary entries in the registry as described in the Validation section above.


Powered by Zendesk