Registrations are now open. Join us today!
There is still a lot of work to do on the wiki yet! More information about editing can be found here.
Already have an account?

Microsoft KB Archive/172872

From BetaArchive Wiki
Knowledge Base

SMS: Application Group or Icons Not Created in Windows NT 3.51 with Package Command Manager

Article ID: 172872

Article Last Modified on 10/17/2003


  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q172872


Microsoft Systems Management Server provides the functionality to install applications in the background on Windows NT systems using the Package Command Manager (PCM) service. Program groups and icons may or may not be created, depending on the version of Windows NT used and the method used to create them.

Microsoft Systems Management Server Installer offers two methods to create program groups and icons or shortcuts. One method is available for computers running Windows NT 3.5x, and both methods are available for computers running Windows NT 4.0.


On a computer running Windows NT 3.5x or 4.0, the Package Command Manager service (PCMSVC32) runs software installations under the context of a service account, in the background. One of the limitations of this method of installation is that Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) communication to the shell (Program Manager in Windows NT 3.51 or Windows NT Explorer in Windows NT 4.0) is not available. Please consider the following when creating software installation packages with the Installer for deployment by means of PCMSVC32:

  • In Windows NT 3.51, the exclusive method for creating program groups and icons relies on DDE. Therefore, when a setup program running through PCMSVC32 performs the DDE operation to create program groups and icons, it fails. No groups or icons are created.
  • In Windows NT 4.0, group and icon creation through DDE is also available for backwards compatibility, but it also fails when the package is sent through PCMSVC32. Another method that does not rely on DDE is normally used, and works correctly with PCMSVC32.

Two Systems Management Server Installer script actions are available for program group and program icon or shortcut creation:

  • Add Progman Icons: This method is available in both Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0, but it does not work if used with PCMSVC32 because it uses DDE.
  • Create Shortcut: This method is available in Windows NT 4.0 (but not Windows NT 3.51) and works correctly if used with PCMSVC32 because it does not use DDE. Note that you must specify the program groups as common, not personal, groups. If a personal group is specified, it will only create the group and shortcuts under the PCM service account profile, and will not be available to the user.

When developing scripts for deploying applications to Windows NT 4.0, you should always use the Create Shortcut script action. Note that the repackaging/installation expert in the Systems Management Server Installer will handle this automatically because it creates an IF-THEN block to use one of the two methods described above, based on whether the Windows NT Explorer shell (with Windows NT 4.0) is present.

The logic can be summarized as:

   The Windows 95 (Windows NT 4.0) shell exists

   Use the 'Create Shortcut' script action  //This is for Windows NT 4.0
   and works correctly with PCMSVC32// 

   Use 'Add Progman Icons' script action //This is for Windows NT 3.51 and
   fails with PCMSVC32// 

In short, you cannot create program groups or items in Windows NT 3.51 when you are installing the application through PCMSVC32. When developing scripts for deploying applications to Windows NT 3.51 through PCMSVC32, you should create an additional package that runs through Package Command Manager on the desktop (PCMWIN32) to install the program groups and icons. You can make it mandatory and silent, but it must run in the context of the logged on user, in order to communicate with Program Manager and properly create program groups and icons.

Additional query words: prodsms smsinst

Keywords: kbinfo kbinterop kbpcm KB172872