A package is a collection of files and software, together with its database representation, designed to carry out a particular task or install a particular piece of software on a computer. A package can, among other things, flash a BIOS, load an operating system, install an application, install print drivers, customize an email address, set the display resolution, or run a virus scan after every boot.
A package is categorized by the kind of task it is designed to carry out. This is referred to as the package type. The package type determines which files are required by the package, and the instructions and information that must be specified in those files.
Types of packages include the following:
Application packages distribute the files for network or application software.
Action packages define actions that are to be executed once or reapplied on the computer.
Configuration packages contain instructions to configure existing installations on computers. For example, a configuration package could configure printers, manage external devices such as faxes or modems, or manage multiple users under Windows NT 4.0.
System packages deploy operating system software to the computer.
A package that deploys software contains two categories of files: the software product vendor files to be installed on the computer, and administration files used to define and manage the package. Packages that perform tasks on the computer (such as Configuration packages) have only administration files.
The administration files in a package contain all the instructions necessary to deploy the package. CCM provides tools to generate, build, and modify the administration files. These files are used by CCM for a variety of purposes, including:
Specifying how the application or task is carried out on the computer to which the package is deployed.
Providing information that the Package Import Tool uses to place package components in the appropriate locations within CCM.
Providing information used by CCM to generate and run batch files to carry out its tasks.
CCM administrators use the CCM Command Center to assign packages to the computers.
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