Frequently asked questions

This section is designed to help you better understand BigFix Software Distribution through questions and answers.

What is the definition of a package?
Packages are bundles of content and are the most important part of the software Distribution product. Packages contain a list of the files that are needed to install a specific software product. The list also includes the Fixlets that are needed to install the product on the actual endpoints. The Package establishes management relationships between files and Fixlets.
What is the definition of an Application Management Group?
Application Management Groups are collections of tasks that can be organized into groups of content and delivered to targeted groups of client computers. These tasks are viewed by BigFix clients as offers.
What is the role of MSTs in Software Distribution?
An MST, or Microsoft Transform file, is a subfile of an MSI, or Microsoft Installer file. Transform files are used to set or override installation options such as the product language, license key, or component selections. In the context of Software Distribution, you can use the Create Distribution Task wizard to automatically generate tasks for a package. The wizard creates a task for every MST included in a package. Each task contains a single .mst file.
Note: If you want to apply multiple .mst files in a single task, you must enter the installation command in the wizard.
Note: You can have different tasks apply different MSTs, but you can only apply one MST per Software Distribution task.
I created a Fixlet from the Create Fixlet Wizard; why does not it work?
See the Fixlet Authoring support page on the BigFix support website for general Fixlet authoring support.
I created a Fixlet in Current User mode and deployed it to the endpoints. Why did it not get installed at the endpoints?
The logged in user must have Administrator privileges to install the software.
Why do I need installation files in the root directory to create a Fixlet?
See the Technote on structuring software distribution packages in the BigFix support website.
Can I find the list of packages that are installed on an endpoint?
Because BigFix does not repackage the software in a new format, it uses vendor-specified tags, such as the package GUID. These attributes are already gathered in BigFix inventory for many common packaging systems. Alternatively, analyses can be used to identify attributes that indicate that a piece of software is installed. The BigFix SAM scanner is useful in this regard.
Are there any recommendations in creating packages?
See the Technote on structuring software distribution packages in the BigFix support website.
If I have deployed a software, why is my computer still relevant to the package?
The auto-generated Fixlet relevance is generalized to support common package characteristics. To further customize the applicability relevance of a Software deployment Fixlet, use the Target using the following applicability conditions option in either the Create Distribution Task dialog or Edit Distribution Task dialog.
What should I do if my software package has setup.exe and .msi in it?
This depends on the type of software that you are installing. Check with the specific software vendor for their recommendations.
What is a 'relative path?'
The relative path concept can be used when you add files to a package. For example, an MSI transform file can be added to an existing package and placed into a subfolder by using this feature. Open actions that are based on this package must be re-created before they can take advantage of the new file. For more guidance, see the related Technote on the BigFix support website.
I modified a Fixlet that was created in the Manage Software Distribution dashboard by adding another action. But when I edit that same Fixlet again, the extra action disappeared. What happened?
The Manage Software Distribution dashboard only supports one action per Fixlet and will delete other actions when found. Consider creating another Fixlet in the same package if you have a need for another action.
How do I bundle multiple installations into a single package?
This practice is not suggested. Instead, create individual Fixlets and use baselines to specify ordering. For more information, see the Best Practices section.
The system with the BigFix console is set up to go through a proxy except when it communicates with the BigFix server. When uploading files through the Manage Software Distribution dashboard, I noticed that it is still going through the proxy. Is there a way to ignore the proxy?
The upload manager (the tool that does the uploading) checks native Windows settings for proxy information. To prevent file uploads from going through the proxy, you need to set up a bypass list in the proxy settings for Windows. Complete the following steps:
  1. Open the command prompt as an administrator.
  2. For 64-bit Windows systems, open C:\Windows\sysWOW64\netsh.exe from the command prompt. For 32-bit Windows systems, use C:\Windows\system32\netsh.exe).
  3. In the netsh.exe terminal, type winhttp and hit enter.
  4. In the winhttp terminal, type set proxy proxy-server="<proxyURL:port>" bypass-list="<IEM-Server-address><other-addresses>;...".
  5. To verify whether the bypass list was updated, you can type the command show proxy in the winhttp terminal to see whether your bypass list setting was set.
For more information about proxy settings, see the Microsoft TechNet documentation at
Why are my SPB tasks not becoming relevant?
To deploy SPB package types, you must first run the 'Deploy SIE' task from the Client Manager for TCM site on your endpoints. For more information about working with SPB package types, see the Supported package types section.
How do I know which actions are associated with the Manage Application Management Groups dashboard?
Actions that are created with the Manage Application Management Groups dashboard have titles with the following format: SWD AMG Action: title_of_the_originating_task.
When I deploy an Application Management Group, why do I get an error that tells me the computer group exists? What do I do?
Deploying an Application Management Group creates an automatic computer group for that Application Management Group. During the stop process, you might receive a dialog request to delete the computer group. If you click cancel on this request, the group is not deleted. The next time that you attempt to deploy the Application Management Group, you will see an error that tells you that the computer group exists. To work around the error, delete the computer group and then deploy the Application Management Group again.
What do I do if I get a different error when I attempt to deploy an Application Management Group?
If you encounter a problem when you deploy an Application Management Group, complete the following steps:
  1. Stop the Application Management Group to put it in a Not Deployed state.
  2. Delete the corresponding computer group for that Application Management Group.
  3. Deploy the Application Management Group again.
Why are my Application Management Group actions not showing in the Client Dashboard?
If you encounter a problem with the Client Dashboard, complete the following steps:
  1. Check that the client is subscribed to the Application Management Group custom site.
  2. Check that the client is a member of at least one of the targets that are listed in the Application Management Group.
  3. Check that there is an automatic computer group for that Application Management Group in the custom site. If it is not there, stop the Application Management Group and deploy again.
  4. Check that the ID referenced by the action matches the ID of the corresponding computer group in the custom site. If the IDs do not match, do the following steps:
    1. Stop the Application Management Group.
    2. Delete the corresponding computer group in the custom site.
    3. Deploy the Application Management Group again.
  5. Check that the originating task is relevant on the client.
I removed a computer group as a target from a deployed Application Management Group. Then, I resynchronized the Application Management Group. Why are the actions from this Application Management Group still relevant for computers from the removed computer group?
During resynchronization, the existing automatic computer group for the Application Management Group is updated with the new listing of computer group targets. Occasionally, the client receives the action before its computer group information is updated. To avoid this issue, stop and redeploy the Application Management Group whenever a computer group is removed from a deployed Application Management Group.
Where can I find the Manage Software Distribution dashboard debug log?
Follow the steps to turn on the debug mode for the dashboard.
  1. Click the Manage Software Distribution dashboard and press ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+D. The Debug Settings window opens.
  2. Select the Track function calls in Diagnostic Panel check box.
  3. In the Log Settings section, move the slider for Levels to Include to Debug.
  4. Close the Debug Settings window.
  5. Press Ctrl+F5 to reload the dashboard.
  6. When the error message is displayed, press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+D again.
  7. Click View Dashboard Log.
I am seeing duplicate Application Management Groups-related actions for master operators. What do I do?
Complete the following steps:
  1. From the Manage Application Management Groups dashboard, click the Settings icon.
  2. Click Clear AMG Action Cache.
Note: The cache must be cleared if a master operator deployed an Application Management Group before Software Distribution site version 35.
I deleted a software distribution task, but its packages in the SHA1 folder that is stored in the C:\Program Files\BigFix Enterprise\BES Server\wwwrootbes\Uploads folder are not being deleted automatically. Why is that and what must I do?
If you used the Software Distribution Wizard to create the task, no automatic cleanup occurs. This behavior is expected of the wizard. You must locate and delete the files or folders from the repository manually. Any cleanup of payloads must be done manually. It is suggested that you use the Manage Software Distribution dashboard instead of the Software Distribution Wizard to create software distribution tasks.
If you used the Manage Software Distribution dashboard to create the task, and yet its packages are not automatically deleted upon deleting of the task, ensure that you have:
  • Deleted the files from the software distribution package
  • Deleted all tasks that reference the file
  • Stopped all open actions that reference the file
If any of these measures were not taken, the file and sha1 folder remains.
The installation of .pkg files on Mac endpoints was successful, but the task remains relevant. Why is that? How do I verify whether the software installation was truly successful?
The task remains relevant because the inspector to check whether the Mac .pkg files are installed on an endpoint is not yet available. For information on how to manually check whether the package was deployed successfully, see Package type verification.
Note: Reinstalling a .pkg file does not cause any issues.
Can I easily migrate created software packages from one BigFix Deployment to another?
Yes. Software packages can now easily be exported and imported from the Manage Software Distribution dashboard. For more information about this feature, see Import and export packages.
Why does the status of a software deploy action not accurately reflect the installation status of the deployed application?
Software distribution is unable to determine whether a software installation was successful in many cases. The issues that are related with the actual package installation are outside of the control of Software Distribution. It runs the package, but cannot track the result of that execution.
Why are Solaris .pkg files failing to install?
Solaris .pkg files may fail due to conflicts. The default option is to quit when encountering a conflict. If you would like to ignore conflicts and proceed with the installation, you can edit the Action script to change these values. These three settings, conflict, idepend, and rdepend, are set to 'quit' by default. Change 'quit' to 'nocheck' and then rerun the task.
I added preinstallation and postinstallation commands, but the commands failed
Ensure that the syntax is correct. The dashboard does not check the validity of the actionscript, batch script, or shell script commands. These script types are just wrappers so you do not need to directly edit the actionscript.
Import or export is taking too long. What might be causing this delay?
Importing and exporting large packages, both in size and quantity, might take a while to process due to the large amount of data. Check the logs to see if the process stopped running. If so, restart the process.
What are the possible causes for the export and import features to fail?
To find out why export or import failed, check the logs from the console system at <Windows Temp>\SoftwareDistributionLogs\<Export or Import>.
Here are some possible causes of failure:
File or Fixlet name is too long.
The export and import processes might fail when an uploaded installation file or Fixlet has a file name that is over 100 characters.
To fix this issue, rename the file or Fixlet name in the console with a shorter name. Renaming the file names in the compressed file is not advisable.
Resource is lock.
This issue is caused when the import or export process was ended prematurely. An example scenario is when you leave the dashboard when the export or import process is still in progress.
To fix this issue, restart the BigFix console to clear the console cache or restart the system.
Cannot download the zip or unzip utility.
To process exports and imports, the dashboard needs to download a zip or unzip utility if it has not been previously downloaded. If the download fails, a possible issue might be due to unconfigured proxy settings. The dashboard does not use the same proxy as the rest of the console. To fix this issue, configure the proxy setting using Internet Explorer's Internet Options.
A package failed to export. The export log has an entry that says Unexpected HTTP response: 404 Not Found. What do I do?
The file failed to export because it cannot be found on the server. A file can go missing if it was deleted in the BigFix server or if it was originally uploaded under a different file name.
To fix this issue, complete the following steps:
  1. Check whether the file was previously uploaded to the BigFix server in the following location <IEM Server directory>/wwwrootbes/Uploads/<sha1 of file>. If the sha1 folder exists, delete that sha1 folder.
  2. Refresh the Manage Software Distribution dashboard. An X mark displays beside the missing file. It might take several minutes before the change is reflected in the dashboard.
  3. Upload the missing file again.
I specified the file's URL but the file failed to download. How can I troubleshoot?
There are a couple of ways to troubleshoot:
  • Verify if the file URL is correct.
  • Check if you can download the file in a browser.
  • Check your proxy settings in Internet Explorer's Internet options. The dashboard does not use the same proxy as the rest of the console.
  • Check the download logs, which can found at <Windows Temp>\SoftwareDistributionLogs\Downloads.
How do I uninstall the Software Distribution Self Service Portal?
To uninstall the Software Distribution Self Service Portal, deploy the following Fixlets from the Software Distribution site:
Fixlet 146: Remove Self Service Portal for Mobile Device Management
Use this Fixlet to completely uninstall the Self Service Portal. When the portal is removed, users are no longer able to use the self service portal to view and manage their computers and mobile devices.