SCCM SelfService

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Self Service advertisements in Microsoft's SCCM allow us to provide users on Microsoft Windows PCs with the ability to install software at their own convenience. In nearly all cases, these installs will be completely automated and so will require no user input or interaction aside from starting the software install. This guide is intended to walk a user through the steps of locating and running Self Service advertisements on their machine with the Software Center.


  • Administrator access is not required to run Self Service advertised installs.
  • Many of these installs will run without your input and will provide no notifications or dialog in order to reduce unnecessary interruption of your work. Please note, you will likely receive no alert or notification when an install finishes. Please be sure to confirm that your install has finished before logging out or restarting your machine.
  • Advertised installs can be performed while off-campus. However, downloads and installs will be the most reliable when your machine is connected to the on-campus network.
  • If your machine does not have the SCCM applets described on this page, or never lists or provides notifications of advertisements, there may be an issue with the SCCM client on your machine. Contact your department or college computer support department for assistance, and be sure to provide the name of your machine.
  • All screen images on this page are from Windows 7, but text and options should be the same for Windows 8 and Windows XP.
  • At this time, Windows 7 is the only version of Windows that is fully supported for Self Service advertisements. Windows 8 should be fully supported in early 2013. We cannot guarantee that all advertised programs will work properly with Windows XP.

The Short-Short Version

  • Open the Start Menu, and go to All Programs > Microsoft System Center 2012 > Configuration Manager, then click on Software Center.
  • Use the Search field in the top right to search for the application you require, or browse through the list of available advertisements.
  • After you select the advertisement you wish to run, click the INSTALL button on the bottom-right.
  • Your machine will begin downloading the installation media, and will immediately begin installing after the download is finished. Status will change as the process moves between the different stages.
    • Please note, again, many installs will run without input, notifications, or dialog.
  • Once the install is finished, the Status will change to either Installed if successful, or Failed if not.
    • If an install fails, click on the Failed status and note the error code, then contact your department or college IT support for assistance and provide that error code.
  • For a more detailed look at the Software Center and advertisements, as well as some additional troubleshooting, continue browsing this page.

Starting the SCCM Software Center

  • To open the Software Center, open the Start Menu, and go to All Programs > Microsoft System Center 2012 > Configuration Manager, then click on Software Center.
  • After the Software Center finishes loading, you should see the list of applications that have been advertised to your machine. An example view of the Software Center is provided in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 - Software Center
  • Whether or not a program is advertised to your machine is the decision of your college or department computer support. Some software may not be available due to licensing restrictions or other reasons. You should contact your support personnel if you have questions or a request for a particular software to be advertised.
  • Please also note that you are not required to install a software that is advertised to your machine. Just as some software may not be advertised for varying reasons, others may be advertised that you do not need.

Searching for Advertisements

Search and the Top Section

  • The new Software Center contains a very useful Search field in the top right. The search will look for matches in the Name, Publisher, and Description fields, and in any Keywords set for an advertised package.
    • To use it, simply type in the Search field. You can type in a software or manufacturer name, or even a version number.
    • The search is not case-sensitive. So "microsoft" will work the same as "Microsoft".
  • The search bar is highlighted in Figure 2 below, which shows the top section of the Software Center.
Figure 2 - Top Section - Provides a search field
  • We strongly recommend that you make use of the Search to locate advertisements you wish to run.
  • The other options and tabs in this top section can be safely ignored at this time.

The Software List

  • The middle section of the Software Center lists the available advertisements on your machine. If you have utilized the Search field, it will display any advertisements that match your search.
  • Figure 3 below shows an example of the software list.
    • Note that a Mozilla Firefox advertisement has been selected in this image.
Figure 3 - Middle Section - The list of available software
  • The "Name" and "Status" columns are the most important in this section.
    • All advertisement names should include the software name, the manufacturer of the software, and the software version. Any other details are for internal use.
    • The status for an advertisement will change when downloading, installing, and after completion. A finished advertisement should show either "Installed" if successful, or "Failed" if not.

Understanding and Running an Advertisement

  • The bottom section provides additional information about the advertisement you have selected.
  • Figure 4 below provides a view of this section.
    • Note that this view is displaying information about the Mozilla Firefox advertisement selected in Figure 3.
Figure 4 - Bottom Section - Details about the selected advertisement
  • The important information to look for is:
    1. Package Name: Again, all package names should include the software name, the manufacturer of the software, and the software version.
    2. Status: Will start as Available, and will update as an advertisement is downloading, installing, and when finished.
      • When an advertisement is installing, you will see Installing.
      • If an advertisement succeeds, it will change to Installed.
      • If it fails, it will change to Failed. You will then be able to click on it to get additional details about the failure.
    3. Requirements Section
      • Restart required: Unfortunately, this field is unreliable. Most advertisements should not require a restart. If one does, you *should* receive a notification of a required restart in your taskbar.
      • Download size: This is the size of the downloaded install files. It is not the amount of space required to install the program. Contact your college or departmental IT support if you are unsure if you have enough disk space.
      • Estimated time: The time required to install the program. This does not include the time required to download the install files. Older advertisements do not properly fill out this field. You can safely assume 1 hour for most installations.
    4. Description: Additional details about the installation will go here, if provided by the administrator who creates the advertisement. Please note, not all advertisements will have any information here.
    5. INSTALL: Click this button to run the advertisement. Your machine will begin downloading the installation files and will immediately start the installation once the download is finished.

Running an Advertised Install

  • Again, please note that you do not have to be an Administrator on the machine to run an advertised install. However, once installed, a software may require administrator privileges in order to use certain features.
  • Advertised installs can be performed from off-campus as well. However, downloading the installation files may take longer while off-campus, so please allow for extra time.
  • Select a software from the list and click INSTALL in the bottom right. Your computer will begin downloading the install media and will immediately begin the installation once the download is finished.
  • Do not log out or restart your machine while an advertised install is running.
  • If an install prompts you to restart as part of the process, please note that after Windows restarts, you must log back in for the advertised install to continue.
  • Again, please note that most installs will run without your input and will provide no notifications or dialog. We recommend that you keep the Software Center open and periodically check the status of your selected install.

Additional details and troubleshooting

  • If the Software Center shows no advertisements available, your machine may not yet have checked in and received its assignments. To resolve this, wait 10-15 minutes and then check again.
  • If necessary, you can manually force your machine to check in (requires administrator privileges). To do so, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Configuration Manager, click on the Actions Tab, and initiate the "Machine Policy Retrieval and Evaluation Cycle" action.
  • The Software Center sometimes does not properly load the list of advertisements if you are running it while connected by Remote Desktop Connection. If you encounter issues while connected remotely, restart the machine and connect again, or wait until you are locally at the machine.
  • If a program fails to download or install, check the amount of free disk space on your C drive. It is good practice to keep at least 10-15% free disk space for Microsoft Windows.
  • If an install appears to have failed, restart your computer. If it is still missing, attempt the install one more time. If after that it still fails, click on the Failed status and note the error code. Then notify your computer support for assistance and provide them that error code along with any other useful information.
  • If you receive an error message either from the install or during the download process, or a software appears to have installed properly but is missing features or licensing information, contact your department or college computer support for assistance.