How to Use Package Conversion Manager in SCCM

In this post I will cover on what is Package Conversion Manager in SCCM and how to use it. The Package Conversion Manager helps you convert legacy packages into applications. There is a lot to explore so let’s begin.

While the package conversion manager feature was first introduced in SCCM 1806, it has been improved in SCCM 1902. The PCM improvements as seen in SCCM 1902 are listed below.

  • Scheduled package analysis runs every 7 days by default.
  • PowerShell cmdlets for analyzing and converting packages.
  • General bug fixes and improvements.

What is Package Conversion Manager in SCCM

The Package Conversion Manager in SCCM helps you convert legacy packages into applications.

When you have a software that you want to deploy, you can either create an application or package in SCCM. The applications in SCCM provide additional benefits such as dependencies, requirement rules, detection methods, and user device affinity.

Whereas when you create a package, you don’t specify much details as you do with applications. So if want to move away from packages and use applications instead, package conversion manager makes your task easier.

I am sure you have this question in your mind. Will PCM delete my packages after I convert them to applications ?. No, during the package conversion, the PCM will not delete or modify your existing packages. Upon conversion a new application will be created and the original package will remain unaffected by the process.

Analyze Packages with Package Conversion Manager

The first step that you do with package conversion manager in SCCM is analyze the package. Only after you analyze the package, you can convert the package to an application. Hence this is the first step.

In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Software Library workspace. Expand Application Management, and select the Packages node.

You can either select one package or multiple packages and analyze them. I have got two packages that I want to analyze and they are Adobe reader and Notepad++.

So I select Adobe Reader and on the top ribbon click Analyze Package. You can also right-click a package and click Analyze Package.

Analyze packages using PCM

When the analyze package step is complete, you should see the result under Readiness column. For me both the packages show the readiness state as Manual. Let’s see what does it mean.

Analyze packages using PCM

Package Readiness States in Package Conversion Manager

When you Analyze a package in SCCM using package conversion manager, you must first check the Readiness column. The readiness state determines what you are going to do next.

There are three package readiness states :-

  • Automatic – This means you can convert the package to an application directly.
  • Manual – It means you package needs attention before you convert it to an application. In this case you must use Fix and Convert package.
  • Not Applicable – This package is missing required content or a program. Add any missing content or programs and retry analysis. Or leave it in an unconverted state and continue to deploy it as a package.

In this blog post I will cover on all the readiness states.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

Now that you know about package readiness state, let’s look at the 7z package. When I analyzed the 7z package, the readiness state is shown as Automatic. This means I can directly convert this package to application using package conversion manager.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

So I select the 7z package and click Convert Package.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

To confirm the conversion of the selected packages into new application, click OK.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

The progress window appears which means your package is being converted to application.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

You should now see the new 7z application under Applications. Furthermore you can see that the 7z application now has got a uninstall command as well. This wasn’t supplied when the package was created. It is amazing to see how package conversion manager in SCCM can easily convert packages to applications.

Convert Packages using Package Conversion Manager

Fix and Convert Packages in Package Conversion Manager

When I analyzed both the packages (Adobe Reader and Notepad++), the readiness state is Manual. So that means I have to fix the package first and then it will be ready to convert.

So I select the Adobe Reader package and click Fix and Convert.

Fix and convert package

You should see a package conversion wizard. On the Package selection page, you see the name, comment, programs detected and items to fix.

Notice that it clearly shows that a valid detection method is missing. You should see this for most of the packages because while creating packages you don’t specify the detection method.

And if you want to convert this package to an Application, you must add a detection method. Click Next.

Package conversion wizard

Under Dependency Review, we see it’s all good. Click Next.

Package conversion wizard

On Deployment Type, we see that our package needs a detection method. To add a detection method, click Edit.

Add detection method

On the Edit Detection method window, click Add Clause. Specify a valid detection rule and click OK.

Add detection method

Notice that once you add a detection method, you see Success under Detection method. Click Next.

Package conversion ready

I won’t specify any application requirements here, so click Next.

Package conversion ready

Close the package conversion wizard.

PCM wizard

Finally we now see the Adobe Reader package readiness state shows Converted. If you check the list of Applications, you should see the Adobe Reader is now in the same list. How easy is it convert legacy packages to applications using package conversion manager.

Important – Do not analyze the same package again else you might have to enter the detection method again and follow the wizard from start.

package conversion success

Monitor Package Conversion Status in SCCM Console

Using SCCM console you can monitor package conversion status. Go to the Monitoring workspace of the Configuration Manager console, and select Package Conversion Status.

This shiny dashboard shows the following data :-

  • Total number of packages analyzed
  • Conversion Success
  • Conversion Readiness

Consider the below screenshot. Under Conversion Readiness, we see one package is successfully converted while the other package is not ready yet. The remaining packages fall under Not Applicable section.

Package Conversion Manager in SCCM

How to Run Package Conversion Analysis

In SCCM you can initiate or run the package conversion analysis. In the Monitoring node, right click Package Conversion Status and click Run Package Conversion Analysis.

Run package conversion analysis

On the message box click OK. Refresh the view to display the updated information.

Run package conversion analysis

How to Schedule Package Conversion Analysis

In addition to Run Package Conversion Analysis, you can also see an option to schedule the package conversion analysis.

Schedule package conversion analysis

Right click Package Conversion Status and click Schedule Package Conversion Analysis. You can configure the schedule here.

Schedule package conversion analysis

SCCM Package Conversion Manager Log Files

If you see an error while using package conversion manager tool in SCCM, you must know the log files to troubleshoot. By default Package Conversion Manager uses the SMS Provider. Therefore ensure your SMS provider is working fine.

The below log files should help you in troubleshooting the package conversion manager issues.

  • SMSProv.log
  • PCMTrace.log

The SMSProv.log is located on site server under – C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\Logs folder.

However the PCMTrace.log file is not created unless you enable the logging of package conversion manager component. This has to be manually done by the admin.

First of all to enable logging for this component in the Configuration Manager, modify Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe.Config. By default, this configuration file is located in the following path:

Go to the above path and look for Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe.config file. Edit this file using a good editor such as Notepad++.

Package Conversion Manager Log FilesCopy the below code and paste it between sources element and system.diagnostics element.

Here is how it should look after you paste the code in the config file. Save the file.

Package Conversion Manager Log FilesWhen you use the package conversion manager, a new log file PCMTrace.log is created. This log is on the computer running the SCCM console in the following path: %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Temp.

Package Conversion Manager Log Files

Troubleshoot Package Conversion Manager

During the package conversion process, you might encounter errors or for some reason package conversion may fail. So I suggest you use the information in this article to help you troubleshoot problems when using Package Conversion Manager.

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hasan

you are the best prajwal

Jagadeesh

I think it is answered in the post – When you have a software that you want to deploy, you can either create an application or package in SCCM. The applications in SCCM provide additional benefits such as dependencies, requirement rules, detection methods, and user device affinity.

Whereas when you create a package, you don’t specify much details as you do with applications

Pablo Fermandois

I like packages more than applications.
Can someone explain the real life advantages of having applications and not packages?

Jagannath M

You should have been in Microsoft man.. Seriously !!

Saurav

Will this work on latest version of SCCM i.e. SCCM 1902 ??

Vasanth

This is an amazing post Prajwal. You make such a complex topic so easy to understand and follow. Keep up the great job

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