SCCM Client installation Process Explained

  1. SCCM Client Installation Methods –

SCCM client can be installed in many different ways as mentioned below:

Client Push Installation – You can use the client push installation method on computers that have been discovered by ConfigMgr. Client Push is only supported on Windows computers. When automatic site-wide client push installation is enabled for a site, client software will automatically be installed on computers that are discovered within the site’s configured boundaries, if those boundaries have been added to a boundary group. Client push installation can also be initiated manually by running the Client Push Installation Wizard for a specific collection or specific resource.

Manual Installation – To perform a manual installation, run ccmsetup.exe from the site server or from any management point. Ccmsetup.exe is located in the Client folder of the ConfigMgr installation folder. This folder is shared as <Site Server Name>\SMS_<Site Code>\Client.

Group Policy – Use a software installation GPO to install the client. You will have to use the ccmsetup.msi file, which is found in <Installation Directory>\bin\i386 on the site server. It’s not possible to specify any command-line properties, instead the command lines that are published to Active Directory will be used.

Software Update Point – Use the Software Update Point to perform the installation. It’s not possible to specify any command-line properties, instead the command lines that are published to Active Directory will be used.

Logon Script – When you use a logon script to perform the installation, you must include the /logon switch, otherwise the client installation will begin every time the user logs on to a system.

Software Distribution – Deploy the client by using the Software Deployment feature of SCCM 2012 R2.

Computer Imaging – You can deploy the client by using the Operating System Deployment feature of ConfigMgr.

2. SCCM Client Installation Properties –

Two different files are run during the installation process, ccmsetup.exe and client.msi

Ccmsetup.exe – The CCMSetup program downloads all the necessary files to complete the client installation from a specified management point or from a specified source location, to the client computer and then starts the Client.msi Windows Installer package to install the client. CCMSetup.exe and its supporting files are located on the ConfigMgr site server in the Client folder of the ConfigMgr installation folder.

This folder is shared as <Site Server Name>\SMS_<Site Code>\Client.

All ccmsetup.exe properties start with a forward slash /

Below are a few of the installation properties for ccmsetup.exe

/source:<Path> – Specifies the local or UNC path from which to download installation files. Can be used multiple times to specify alternative locations.

/mp:<Computer Name> – Specify either Netbios or FQDN of a source management point, which will help you locate the nearest Distribution Point, so the client installation files can be downloaded. This property is used only for the aforementioned purpose. It does not specify the management point to which the client will become assigned after installation.

/uninstall – Used to uninstall the ConfigMgr 2012 client. This is the only required switch to perform an uninstallation of the client.

/logon – Client will not be installed if any version of the SCCM client (2007/2012) is already present on the machine.
Client.msi – This is the file that actually carries out the installation. All client.msi properties use an equal sign. It is not possible to run client.msi directly.

Below are a few of the installation properties for client.msi

SMSCACHEDIR=Path – Specifies the location of the client cache folder on the client computer, which stores temporary files. By default, the location is %Windir%\ccmcache.

SMSMP=FQDN – Specifies an initial management point for the client to use. Very handy switch when installing the client on a computer in a workgroup/DMZ.

SMSSITECODE=AUTO or 3-character site code – Specifies the site to assign the client to. If AUTO is specified, or if this property is not specified, the client attempts to determine its site assignment from Active Directory DS or from a specified management point.

FSP=Single-label name – Specifies the fallback status point that receives and processes state messages sent by ConfigMgr client computers, during installation of the client software.

To view a complete list of SCCM 2012 R2 Client installation properties, click here

3. Installation Process-

The installation process consists of three phases. You can troubleshoot each of the phases in real time by reading the correct log files with CMTrace.

  1. Pre-installation Phase (Validating prerequisites/Fetching MP information)
  2. Installation phase (Downloading required files for installation)
  3. Post – Installation Phase (Client Assignment/Report phase)

Once the ccmsetup.exe is downloaded to the system and is executed (irrespective of installation method, installation process remains same), the ccmsetup.exe reads the manifest file (and also mobileclient.tcf) and fetches the remaining files to continue the client installation.

The important log in case of client installation in the agent is the ccmsetup.log and clientmsi.log these logs are present in the location C:\windows\CCM\Logs\ccmsetup.log

Client management point discovery occurs in below order:-

  1. Command-line setup parameters (Management Point / Site Code)
  2. AD DS (System Management container – Active Directory Schema Extension)
  3. DNS SRV record (client must have site code)
  4. WINS

Detailed Information regarding client installation and pre-requisites explained here.[TechNet Link]

SCCM Client installation on Workgroup Machines:-

To manually install the client software on a workgroup computer (which might be located in a DMZ), you should copy the Client folder from the site server to a local path on the client computer. Then run the following command,

ccmsetup.exe /source:c:\LocalPath SMSMP=FQDNofMP SMSSITECODE=SMS_<sitecode>

The client must be able to resolve the management point’s name, otherwise the installation will fail. You can use the Hosts and LMHOSTS files, if the client is not able to contact a DNS server to resolve the needed hostname.

Note: – You will also have to approve the client, by right-clicking the discovered object in the SCCM console, and selecting Approve.

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