PPCAgentMgr and PocketPC Agent Overview

Article:TECH30776  |  Created: 2007-06-07  |  Updated: 2007-06-13  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH30776
Article Type
Technical Solution


How do the PPCAgentMgr and the PPC Agent function?


PPCAgentMgr and PocketPC Agent Overview

A host computer is any computer that has activesync installed. PocketPC devices will sync with the host compouter to install the Agent for PocketPC in addition to normal ActiveSync operations. The host computer needs to have the Altiris Agent for Windows installed to download the Pocket PC Agent Manager package, perform the installation tasks, etc.

The Pocket PC Agent Manager (PPCAgentMgr) resides on a host computer and identifies all handhelds that connect to that host computer. It is installed from the Notification Server console to the host computer via standard policies. The main purpose of the PPCAgentMgr is to install and uninstall the PPC Agent on a handheld. It also collects and reports information about the established ActiveSync Partnerships of the host computer.

The PocketPC Agent (PPC Agent) is installed to a PocketPC device and performs normal Altiris agent functions, for example, refresh polices, send NSE files to the Notification Server, and so on. The PPCAgent talks exclusively to the configured Notification Server. It does not communicate with the Notification Server via the PPCAgentMgr on the host.

(The following is based on build 6.1.1141 of the Altiris Agent for PocketPC.)

PPC Agent Configuration

When the Altiris Agent for PocketPC is installed to the Notification Server, two .cab files are built: PPCAgentWM5.cab and PPCAgent2002.cab. (Note: The makecab.exe in C:\Program Files\Altiris\PocketPCAgent\Agent Files.) These .cab files contain information specific to the current Notification Server, such as the Notification Server hostname.

When the PPCAgentMgr is deployed to a host computer, the .cab files are included in the downloaded package. The PPCAgentMgr is installed on the host and when the PocketPC devices sync to the host, the appropriate cab file is installed on the device. The PPC Agent then begins communicating directly with the specified Notification Server.

The PPC Agent on the device is hard-wired to communicate with one specific Notification Server. If it becomes necessary to have that device be managed by a different Notification Server, it will be necessary to uninstall the agent on that device and sync it with a host computer being managed by the desired Notification Server.

Display Icon on Device


To display or hide the PPC Agent icon on the device, it is possible to use a third Party Pocket PC registry editor and modify the property in HKLM\Software\Altiris\PPCAgent\Settings\UI.


Interacting with the Agent on the PocketPC Device


By default, the agent will install on the PocketPC device to the following folder:

            My Device -> Program Files -> Altiris -> PPCAgent

It is possible to select Start, Program Files, File Explorer and browse to the above folder on the device. This folder will contain the ppcagent executable, the client polices, a plog file and the agentlog. In addition, there are several folders for packages, tasks, an outbox, etc. Tapping the ‘ppcagent’ item appears to start the agent service on the device. It does not allow for interacting with the Agent.

To interact with the agent, it must be displayed in the devices system tray. It will appear in the lower-right corner of the screen. Tapping the agent icon will bring up a screen titled, “Packages available for the device”. This is similar to the Agent for Windows Software Delivery screen. It will show the package name, the status (complete, etc.) and the next run date in number of days until format, e.g., “3.52 days”. There is a “Package Properties” button at the bottom of the screen. In the lower-left of the screen are menu entries for ‘agent’ and ‘help’.

Tapping the ‘agent’ menu entry will show a more detailed menu that inclues ‘details’, ‘options’, ‘refresh’ and ‘exit’.

The Agent / details menu will bring up a new screen that shows the NS server, the devices resourceguid, installed agents, etc on the Info tab. The Status tab has buttons to request configuration update and send basic inventory.

The Agent / Options menu will allow for showing scheduled tasks and package and for blocking network activity and selecting a language.

The Agent / Refresh menu will refresh the list of packages/policies in the main screen.

To view package properties, tap a package in the main list and then tap the Package properties button. A new screen will appear that shows the policies assigned to the device. This screen includes Summary, Details and Run History tabs, similar to the Agent for Windows Software Delivery screen.

To run a task, tap the task name and then the “Run now” button. The “Run now” button will gray out while the task is actually running.

Viewing the Agent Log from the PocketPC Device

Typically, the log files are too large to be viewed on the device. Trying to do so will result in an error message being displayed on the device. To view the log files, it is necessary to connect the device to the host computer and use ActiveSync’s Tools -> Explore Device utility to copy the files to the host computer. Browse to My Device -> Program Files -> Altiris -> PPCAgent and copy the AgentLog.txt to the host computer for viewing in a suitable text editor. It will provide detailed information of each operation that was not completed.



As of the 6.1.1091 build, released in January 2007,  licensing for the Inventory Solution for Pocket PC has been combined with licensing of other inventory products, including Inventory Solution for Windows, Inventory for Network Devices, Inventory for Mac, Inventory Unix/Linux and Inventory for RIM. The standalone licenses will continue to work, for now. However, it will be best to obtain a combined inventory license that merges the above products into a single license. The node count of the combined license will be adjust according to the node count and AUP expiration dates of the existing solutions. Please see the following URLs for further information:


            http://www.altiris.com/lmp - To obtain a combined license for inventory products

            http://www.altiris.com/products/inventorysolution/skuconsolidation.aspx - more details on the licensing consolidation


Uninstalling PPCAgentMgr

If it is desired to have the host computer be managed by a different Notification Server, the "Uninstall Pocket PC Agent Manager" policy will need to be enabled on the original Notification Server. That host will need to run that policy. Note that it will not uninstall until all handhelds have uninstalled the PPC Agent. That means that they must all be connected to that host computer and the agent will be uninstalled from the devices.

To avoid having to uninstall the PPC Agent from all devices that have profiles on the host computer, the uninstall command can be  manually ran with the "/ remove /now /silent" paramater. We recommend running with the "/silent" parameter to avoid a reboot of the host computer. The uninstall command would then look like:

C:\Program Files\Altiris\PPCAgentMgr\PPCAgentMgr.exe /remove /now /silent

In this case, the agent must be manually removed from each device using Settings -> System -> Remove Programs on each device. Once the deivce syncs and loads the new agent cab, it will communicate with the specified NS server.

Complete Uninstall on Notification Server, Host Computer and the Device


On occasion, it may be necessary to completely uninstall all vestiges of the PocketPC Agent and Inventory Solution. The following steps allow all installation files, assemblies, etc. to be removed from the NS server, the host pc and the handheld device. Please read all instructions prior to starting. There are a couple of options noted, especially with the host computer.


On the Notification Server:


Use the NS console or add/remove programs to uninstall the current build of PocketPC Agent, Inventory and Software Delivery, if you have installed all three.


Delete all files and folders in the following directories. If any do not exist, please let me know and continue with the remaining steps:


            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Software Delivery\{711B65B5-4EDE-4B94-A513-1511B10D79F2}\cache

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap\Bin\Handhelds\PocketPC\Agent Upgrade

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap\Bin\Win32\X86\Pocket PC Inventory Solution

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\PocketPCAgent

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\PocketPCInventory

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\PocketPCSWDelivery

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\PPCAgentMgr

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Setup Files\PocketPCAgent

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Setup Files\PocketPCInventory

            C:\Program Files\Altiris\Setup Files\PocketPCSoftwareDelivery

            C:\WINDOWS\assembly\Altiris.PocketPCAgent  --* delete all instances of this assembly. There may be more than one version.



On the Host computer:


Run C:\Program Files\Altiris\PPCAgentMgr\PPCAgentMgr.exe /remove /now /silent

Delete all files in C:\Program Files\Altiris\PPCAgentMgr\

Delete all files in C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Software Delivery\{711B65B5-4EDE-4B94-A513-1511B10D79F2}\cache


(Note: If you run only “ppcagentmgr.exe /remove /silent”, the ppcagentmgr will not uninstall until all devices have synced. When they do, the agent will be automatically uninstalled from the device. After all devices that have synced to this host have synced and the agent has been removed from them, then the ppcagentmgr will be automatically uninstalled. This means that there could be some delay in removing the ppcagentmgr from the host.)

 (Note: PRIOR to uninstalling the solution on the NS server, you can enable the “Uninstall PocketPC Agent Manager” policy. The process description in the 1st  note of this section does apply to this method of uninstalling.)

(Note: You can do all or part of the above via a Software Delivery for Windows task if you have multiple host computers.)


On the handheld device(s) that sync to this host:


Remove the Altiris agent via Settings -> System -> Remove Programs


On the NS server:


Reinstall the solution using the provided files in Altiris_PocketPC_Solutions_6_1_1141.zip_safe.

At that point, enable the host discovery and pocketpc agent manager rollout policies and sync the device when the host computer is setup with the appropriate ppcagentmgr.exe.




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