Imagine the scenario where you find yourself waiting longer then usual for a package to reach a Distribution Point. You have tried a refresh, a removal and every other possible action within the Configmgr Console GUI. Yet, the package never reaches and remains in the "Install Pending" state. Here are 3 nifty logs found in the SMS installation path that will help save you some drops of blood and empower you to find out the problem fast.

DESPOOL.LOG
DISTMGR.LOG
SCHEDULE.LOG

If you see the following entry in the DESPOOL.LOG, the following steps may be able to address your problem.

Received package AAA9999A version 4 SMS_DESPOOLER 9/15/2010 10:11:46 AM 6024 (0x1788)
There is already a newer version of the compressed package for package AAA9999A, discard this one. SMS_DESPOOLER 9/15/2010 10:11:46 AM 6024 (0x1788)

However, when you look at the path and also in the package status, you see that it is not there, and still pending. The above message effectively tells Configmgr there is no need to send the package down since there is a newer one. But this is not true, therefore here is a quick work-around.

It's time to put aside the GUI and go straight to the raw locations of these packages and IDs. It is important to note that prior to attempting this steps, please ensure that the packages are not distributed to the affected distribution point by verifying for example through the GUI.

  1. Go to your SMS installation drive of the affected Distribution Point and open up the following folders:
    • SMSPKG
    • SMSPKGSIG
    • SMSSIG$
    • SMS\inboxes\distmgr.box
    • SMS\inboxes\pkginfo.box
  2. Search for the packageID in each of the locations and delete them. These will consist of various file extensions i.e. AAA9999A.PKG, .ICO, .NAL, .PCK, .TAR and possibly some deltas as well (i.e. AAA9999A.DLT_x.rf$ etc...). As usual, please exercise caution whenever you do a delete to make sure you know what you are deleting. Check that no sources of the PackageID resides anymore with another search.
  3. Send the package back down again to the Distribution Point through the console.
  4. Monitor the above 3 logs to see the magic flow. My favourite method is to use Trace32.exe to highlight the PackageID string so that you see it zooming its statuses fast and furious when things start to tinker together. After some time, you should see your packages arrive!  

If you have any thoughts and comments, please feel free to share with me, as always!