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SMS: Client Accounts Used in Software Distribution
Article ID: 224286 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q224286
This article describes the client accounts that are used for software installation with Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 Software Distribution on 32-bit clients.
The information in this article is organized into the following sections:
Windows 95/98 Client OverviewComputers that are running Windows 95 or Windows 98 run all programs in the security context of the user that is currently logged on.
Windows NT 4.0 Client OverviewComputers that are running Windows NT 4.0 can run programs in one of two different security contexts: the logged-on user context or the service context. By default, SMS tries to install all software in the context of the logged on user. If the user does not have sufficient rights, SMS installs the program in a service context.
Connection to Distribution PointNetwork abstraction layer (NAL) first checks to determine if there is an existing connection to the server or network share, and if so, uses that connection regardless of what credentials are used. If no existing connection to the server or network share is found, it attempts to make a connection using the current context. In this case, Windows NT 4.0 uses the context of any other connection made to the server (as opposed to the server or share that was explicitly tested for earlier).
After all of the existing or "current context" options are exhausted for connecting to the DP, NAL attempts the connection with each of the "client network connection accounts" specified by the administrator (or automatically during Setup). The "client network connection accounts" should never have any rights to anything on the client computer nor be members of any groups on the client.
Note that knowledge of the password to any of these accounts for, or from, a given client does not provide access to any resources on a different client, except that access to the "client token account" on one domain controller can provide Administrator group rights on all other controllers in that domain.
User Context AdvertisementsAdvertisements that are run under the context of the logged on user are controlled by Pea32.exe. No additional rights or group memberships are given to the process. For access to the DP, NAL carries out the same process as described above except that it may succeed when it attempts with the "current context" because the logged on user context probably has access to the DP and CAP.
Service Context AdvertisementsAdvertisements that are run on a workstation on which the logged on user does not have adequate rights are controlled by Smsapm32.Exe. This program runs in the "pseudo-service" security context under the "client token account" (SMSCliTokn). The "client token account" has membership in the local Administrators group and the "Act as part of the operating system" computer right. If the client computer is a domain controller, this is a single domain account used by all domain controller SMS clients within the domain. If the client computer is not a domain controller, this account (with the same name) is created in the local SAM database on each client computer. This "client token account" is the account that Smsapm32.exe is running under, and is therefore the account which the program will be running under when the CreateProcess APM call is spawned.
Windows NT Software Installation Account AdvertisementsThe purpose of the Windows NT Software Installation account is to allow a program to run on clients but to also have access to specific non-SMS network resources (a Microsoft Exchange server, for example). The administrator must designate the Windows NT Software Installation account for a particular software distribution program to use when the administrator defines the program properties. Administrators should specify a Windows NT Software Installation account that has access to the necessary non-SMS network resources, access to the SMS DP share and folders for the package, and is in a domain trusted by the client computer (so that LogonUser is possible with this account). Note that the Windows NT Software Installation account need not be granted any rights on client computers either directly or through group membership. The SMS client components grants membership in the local Administrators group, and certain user rights, at the time a client computer is about to run the program. This membership and attendant user rights are removed when the program finishes.
NOTE: The connection to the Distribution Point in Windows NT 4.0 uses the context of any other connection made to the server (as opposed to the server or share that was explicitly tested previously) or attempts the process's current context(the "client token account").