Agent Third-Party Deployment: Edit the Configuration File for Microsoft Windows

IT Asset Management (Cloud)

Initial implementation of the FlexNet Inventory Agent is controlled by its bootstrapping configuration file.

In Agent Third-Party Deployment: Collecting the Software, you downloaded the template for the bootstrap configuration file (mgssetup.ini) for use on Microsoft Windows platforms. This file can contain many legacy settings, especially for those interested in customizing the behavior of the FlexNet Inventory Agent. For example, the latter part of the file allows for individual preferences to be set that will automatically be written to the registry of the managed device during the installation process (some of these are documented in the chapter on Preferences for the advanced administrator).

However, for a straightforward deployment and installation, there are only two (or perhaps three) significant specifications required:
  • Identifying the inventory beacon that the FlexNet Inventory Agents should contact after installation, to collect their policy (which includes rules to apply, schedules, and the like) –– this much is mandatory
  • Configure whether or not these managed devices should monitor application usage (by default they do not)
  • If you are in an environment using IPv6 in your network layer, you may choose to prefer IPv6 formats for communications between an inventory beacon and components of the FlexNet Inventory Agent.

Some sections of the bootstrap file are historical, and should not be modified (as noted below).

To modify the mgssetup.ini configuration file:

  1. Open a copy of mgssetup.ini in a flat text editor of your choice.
    As you may need several versions of your custom bootstrap files, it is best practice to save a backup copy of the original, unedited file. In deployment, the file name must not be changed. It is therefore good practice to save each customized copy in its own directory. Also beware of editors which may insert special (non-ASCII) characters in the file.
    Note: Lines starting with a semi-colon character (;) are comments and have no effect. 'Uncommenting' a line means to remove the semi-colon from the start of the line.
  2. To customize the installation directory for the FlexNet Inventory Agent, locate the lines (around line 42) that give the default path, and modify the value (such as in this example to switch to E: drive):
    ; Set product installation directory.
    TMPMAINDIR = E:\Program Files (x86)\Flexera Software\Agent
  3. To cause the installed FlexNet Inventory Agent to immediately seek its policy and commence normal operation, ensure that the following line is not commented out:
    By default, when policy is downloaded and installed, a user interface may be presented. To remain in quiet mode and suppress this user interface, ensure that the following line (several lines further down) is uncommented, so that the UILevel variable is set to Quiet:
    ; Additional arguments to policy client.
    POLICYARGS = -o InstallDefaultSchedule=True -o UILevel=Quiet 
                 -o PostponeUserInteractionLevel=Quiet -o PostponeByDefault=False
    • Without the INSTALLMACHINEPOLICY setting (either in the mgssetup.ini file or added to the installation command line), a successful installation ends with the FlexNet Inventory Agent in place but doing nothing, awaiting delivery of a policy by some third-party means.
    • In contrast, when this preference is correctly set as above, after installation the FlexNet Inventory Agent immediately attempts to contact its inventory beacon (specified in the following preference) to collect its policy; and if successful, to commence operations in line with the policy settings.
    (If your mgssetup.ini file still contains mention of a user policy, ensure that this preference remains commented out, as user-based policy is no longer supported.)
  4. To specify the inventory beacon from which this managed device should collect its initial policy, locate the following, and uncomment and customize the second line, following the guidelines below:
    [Custom Install Settings]
    Tip: The legacy naming is because an inventory beacon is derived from an earlier form of deployment server, and still deploys policy and agent updates to its managed devices.
    • The trailing ManageSoftDL is mandatory, and identifies the web share on the inventory beacon which must be accessible to managed devices (check permissions).
    • The value must be a URL (a UNC value of the form \\servername\ManageSoftDL$ will not work). The URL may have either of the following protocols:
      • http://
      • https://
    • The placeholder may be replaced with a host name, a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN), or an IP address in either IPv4 or IPv6 format. (Keep in mind that the IPv6 format is supported because it is specified at the FlexNet Inventory Agent end of the communication link; and that specifications made at the inventory beacon end cannot use IPv6 format because it is not supported by legacy versions of the FlexNet Inventory Agent that also receive content distributed from inventory beacons.)
    • The URL must be no longer than 80 characters.
    Important: If this value is not set correctly, devices will not be managed and will require a software re-install.

    Remember that the INSTALLMACHINEPOLICY preference must be true (see previous step).

    If the policy was not initially available (perhaps because of network issues, or because the inventory beacon was unavailable when the FlexNet Inventory Agent attempted to connect, or because policy had not yet been prepared and distributed from the central application server), FlexNet Inventory Agent retries policy collection at each reboot of the managed device until successful. (This behavior is different than for the FlexNet Inventory Agent on UNIX-like systems, where it makes a daily attempt to download policy at a random time each day.)

  5. To switch the default behavior for application usage tracking by the FlexNet Inventory Agent from disabled to enabled, locate and uncomment the following line:
    [Usage Agent]

    Background: Application usage tracking (sometimes called "application metering") by the FlexNet Inventory Agent is disabled by default. When enabled, it works by tracking the time during which installed files are opened and active on the targeted devices, where those installed files are known to be part of a particular installed application. This usage data is uploaded to the central application server, where the usage tracking calculations occur at each license reconciliation (whether or not usage data is available from any particular inventory source). The USAGEAGENT_DISABLE setting from the mgssetup.ini file is written to the registry on all adopted devices in [Registry]\ManageSoft\Usage Agent\CurrentVersion\Disabled, with the default being True (so that usage tracking in inventory is disabled). Independently, you can also control the same usage tracking preference through the web interface, in the target settings for any discovery and inventory rule (go to the Discovery and Inventory Rules page (Data Collection > IT Assets Inventory Tasks > Discovery and Inventory Rules), click the Targets tab, and scroll down to the Application usage options section). This means that a good practice is to adopt devices with usage tracking defaulting to disabled, and then selectively turn it on for your desired targets.

  6. To prefer IPv6 format for IP addresses (when the installed FlexNet Inventory Agent will operate in a network segment that uses this format), add the last two lines to this section for creating registry entries in Common:
    ; Registry settings to be created under
    ; HKLM\Software\ManageSoft Corp\ManageSoft\Common
    ;desc0 = Customization\Testing\TestValueName
    ;val0  = TestValueValue
    ; desc1 =
    ; val1  =
    ; desc2 =
    ; val2  =
    ; ... etc.
    desc0 = PreferIPVersion
    val0 = IPv6
    Where a DNS returns both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses when resolving a server name, this setting causes the installed FlexNet Inventory Agent to give first preference to the IPv6. If the setting is not specified, the default is to prefer the IP version of the first address returned by the DNS (possibly as amended by the operating system on the local device). The setting is placed in Common because it is used by several components of the FlexNet Inventory Agent, including the tracker, the launcher, and the uploader.

    For most situations, you have finished configuring this file. You may skip the advanced steps, and see the notes at the end.

  7. ADVANCED USE ONLY: Optionally, insert any preferences for the operation of the FlexNet Inventory Agent in the later sections of the mgssetup.ini file that allow storing the preferences in the Windows registry.
    For example, if you wanted to modify the current default values (shown here as an example) for the fail-over algorithms that determine how the FlexNet Inventory Agent attempts to prioritize inventory beacons when choosing which one to access, edit the following section, changing to your own preferences:
    ; Registry settings to be created under
    ; HKLM\Software\ManageSoft Corp\ManageSoft\NetSelector
    desc0 = SelectorAlgorithm
    val0  = MgsRandom;MgsPing;MgsADSiteMatch
    More more information about the available preferences, see Preferences.
    Note: Other settings in the mgssetup.ini file should typically be left unchanged. They may be edited for advance, legacy, or other unusual configuration scenarios. If you need such changes, follow the guidance provided within the template file itself.
  8. Save the customized copy of mgssetup.ini in the same folder as the FlexNet Inventory Agent zip archive downloaded in Agent Third-Party Deployment: Collecting the Software.
    (If you are preparing distinct customizations for different parts of your computing estate, use folder naming to separate and distinguish the different copies of mgssetup.ini. Do not rename the mgssetup.ini file.)
The following legacy sections of the configuration file should not be edited, and should be left commented out:

IT Asset Management (Cloud)