In today’s post, I wanted to take some time to outline to ConfigMgr administrators how to effectively use a key feature that is in Package Conversion Manager (PCM) RC released last week.  Beyond the US – English release, we also released the international versions of PCM – German | Simplified Chinese for administrators wanting to support PCM in the native language they use the console in.  You can download these bits here.

Ok, enough of that… let’s talk about the Fix & Convert feature which is functionality that allows administrators to migrate packages/programs who are missing key information keeping us from migrating them to the Application Model.  This is purpose of Fix & Convert, to offer you the administrator the opportunity to provide the correct data to PCM so that we can complete it.  Due to the nature of this task, PCM does this only one package at a time.

In today’s post, let’s first talk about why a package might end up in the manual Readiness State and then watch Fix & Convert in action.

What is Fix & Convert and how is it designed differently from Convert?

As I mentioned in a previous post on PCM, the purpose of the Automatic & Convert features are to provide seamless, simple capabilities to move quickly to the AppModel.  The pre-condition for this is that the packages meet certain requirements to be automatic.  Those are shown below -

PCM_AnalysisEngineStateRules

In the case that only some, not all, of the above criteria isn’t met, PCM will mark a package/program as a Manual meaning that key information is needed to do the conversion.  In some cases, we will have the readiness state Not Applicable meaning that the package/program isn’t suited to be moved to the AppModel.

For the most common reasons that packages/programs are in the readiness state of Manual, let’s take a look at those -

WhyManual

Detection Method:  What to do to correct this?

The most common reason for manual is the missing of the detection method.  In ConfigMgr 2012, there are several different types of detection methods including Windows installer Product ID’s (PIDs), File, and Registry.  You have to provide this to us unless the package has a program that is of the MSI file type.  If a MSI, we will interrogate the MSI and detect the PID.

Converting Dependent Packages/Programs

In ConfigMgr 2007, you could mark as part of the program dependent programs.  This is migrated during the migration process of the object and, if present, PCM will determine that it exists and make the correct decisions. 

For example, assume the following -

Program A depends on Program B

Program B is an MSI

In this case, Program B is marked as an automatic readiness state while Program A is marked as manual.  This is important to note that in PCM RC, we do not offer the ability to follow the chain and do the conversion of all packages/programs.

We present this opportunity for you, the administrator, to choose whether to continue with the conversion or not.  If you would like to maintain the dependency, you need to stop the conversion and convert all dependent packages & programs first.  The re-analyze and convert the application.  In the above example, re-analyze Program A which will now change to Automatic.

Fixing Program Priority Order

In some cases, there are multiple programs (exclude uninstalls which are thrown out automatically by our engine) that make up a package.  The PCM analysis engine doesn’t have the ability to determine the priority order of these programs and as such we need you to provide this information to us before we can setup the deployment type.

Fix & Convert 101:  Watch it in Action

To help get you started, let me just walk you through the process for fix and convert using PCM RC bits -

  1. Start the Configuration Manager 2012 Admin Console
  2. Click Software Library Wunderbar
  3. Expand Application Management
  4. Click Packages
  5. Select the application(s) that you’d like to analyze, and click Analyze in the Ribbon
  6. Locate the package that returns the Manual readiness state, in this example, Office 2007 and highlight
  7. In the ribbon, click Fix & Convertimage
  8. This launches the wizard for conversion, which on the first screen will show you what the current known issues are that made the package/program a Manual.  Click Next.image
  9. If no dependencies that aren’t converted already, you will see this in the Review Dependencies screen.  Click Nextimage
  10. In the deployment types review screen, you need to correct the detection method since this isn’t an MSI.  To do this, highlight the package/program and click Edit Detection Methodimage
  11. Click Addimage
  12. Select the Setting Type, in this case we will select the correct MSI for Office 2007 by navigating to the MSIimage
  13. Click Ok
  14. Click OK (yes, again)
  15. Click OK (yes, again)image
  16. Click Next, and complete the wizard

The above process is the same but slightly differs based on whether you are missing the detection method, or the priority order needs fixing, etc.  Although this process is tedious (we are aware that an automated method to speed this up is desired and we have this in our Release Backlog), the end result is your application is now capable of taking advantage of the power of the ConfigMgr 2012 application model.

Download PCM Release Candidate Today

We are constantly looking for feedback and this is no different.  You can download Package Conversion Manager (PCM) RC from the Microsoft Connect site.  This offers you the ability to start using PCM now, and don’t forget that we are actively seeking your feedback and we will take all requests under advisement.  Get started now…

Summary

In today’s post, I wanted to spend some time outlining the feature “Fix & Convert” for Package Conversion Manager.  This feature is released as part of PCM RC that you can download and start migration of your package & programs.   This is the first ConfigMgr open beta release and we’d love to have everyone start using PCM and let us know if you have any problems during the conversion process.

Beyond this, we also have made localized versions of German & Simplified Chinese available for you to download.  In a future post, I will get into an advanced feature of PCM that allows the migration of intent stored in WQL queries in advertisements & collections. 

Enjoy!

Thanks,

-Chris