A Hard Lesson on Distribution Points

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What appeared to be a very strange and significant issue occurred recently.  On a remote server that only has the DP and SMP roles assigned to it, I removed the SMP role from the server.  Upon completion of the SMP being removed, the entire directory containing the server’s installed SCCM site files (e.g. E:\SMS) was mysteriously deleted.  This directory contained subfolders \bin, \data, \logs, \MP, and \scripts, which all would contain critical operational files.  Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, I reacted in the situation, believing this meant that the DP would no longer be functional, so I took immediate action.  To remedy what I believed to be a problem of a non-functional remote site, I removed the DP and the site system.  Not long afterwards, I readded the site and DP role…but that same installation directory (e.g. E:\SMS) never reappeared.  I came to a dead-end in all of my troubleshooting, research, and questions in various forums; so I contacted Microsoft support.  In a brief conversation with support, they informed me that distribution points do not require any installation files to operate.  And sure enough, as soon as I added a new package to the DP on the remote server, the files showed up. 

To say the least, I’m slightly embarrassed that there was never a problem and everything was as it should have been.  This was a hard learned lesson about DPs; I hope this blog post helps others to prevent the same mistake that I made.

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