Software Center Overview

In Fall 2019, OIT began distributing a new platform to faculty/staff computers, known as the OIT Software Center. The first phase was to use it as a means of distributing managed software updates at regular schedules, which are critical to ensuring the security and stability of end-user computers.  

Using the new OIT Software Center, you now have the ability to install IT-approved applications directly on your own computer, without needing to submit an incident request to the Service Desk to have a technician install the software for you. (Some applications, like Adobe Acrobat Pro, that require individual licenses to be assigned, may still require contacting the Service Desk to verify purchase orders are completed and to ensure the software is assigned and distributed to your computer).  
This feature is currently available for Windows-based devices.  

 

Accessing Software Center

On your desktop, you should see a shortcut for “OIT Service Portal.” Double-clicking this shortcut will launch the OIT Software Center.

 

Downloading and Installing Applications

Upon launching Software Center, you’ll see a listing of the available applications that are available to you to install.

 

You might see a lot of applications displayed at first, which can make the task of finding the one you need for your work rather daunting. However, there are some ways that can make finding applications easier. 

Selecting the Filter drop-down list allows you to display only specific applications depending on category. Say, for example, you only want to see applications that are relevant to your specific department. You can set a filter to accomplish this. 

 

You can also sort applications by name, the date when it was published to Software Center (newer or older apps appear first), and by publisher name.

 

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? If you know the name of the application, you can type it in the search box! 

 

You can use these three buttons to change the layout of how the apps are displayed. The right-most button (the default view) displays apps on-screen as large tiles. The middle button changes to a list view. The left-most button makes checkboxes appear next to each app—this makes it easier to select and install multiple apps simultaneously. 

 


Figure 1 Apps List View

 


Figure 2 Apps List View with Multi-Select Check boxes 

 

Clicking an application displays a page showing information about that app, including publisher, description, software version, download size, publish date, availability status, and whether or not a restart is needed after installing. 

*Some apps need to depend on other apps to carry out their function. The number of dependencies for an application is reflected in the “Total Components” field. 

Simply click the red Install button, and your computer will download the software and install it to your computer! This process may take a few minutes depending on the size of the app. Once it’s installed, you can access it from either a desktop shortcut or from the Start menu. 

TIP: On the computer that was assigned to you, checking the box "I regularly use this computer to do my work" under the Work Information section in the Options tab will designate you as the primary user of the device for management purposes. Some license-limited applications that are assigned to your login (e.g., Adobe Acrobat Pro) will only display in Software Center if you're set as the primary user for that computer. Checking this box will allow these additional applications to appear in Software Center, where you can then download and install them.

Clicking the Share button (top-right corner of the window) will generate a shareable link to that app that  you can share with colleagues, for example, in an email or Teams chat. 

Application Updates

Sometimes, a newer version of an application that is already installed on your computer will be published to Software Center. The newer version will supersede any prior versions and the newer version will install automatically. This will be reflected in the application's status.

Software Updates

Switching to the Updates tab, you can view and install any managed software updates that are applicable to your computer. The distribution of these software updates are managed by OIT and are generally released once a month. Regularly released updates are generally made available to install on your computer for two weeks, and will show an installation deadline.

TIP: To better control when pending software updates and required/superseeded applications are installed and when your computer needs to reboot to complete an update installation, you can either trigger the install manually at a time that's convenient for you. Or, you can also control when software updates are installed automatically by setting your business hours and work days in the Options tab under the Work Information section, and checking the box to "Automatically install or uninstall required software and restart the computer only outside of the specified business hours" under the Computer maintenance section.

For example, if a required software update is available for install at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, your business hours are set from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday - Friday, and the "Automatically install or uninstall required software" box is checked, Software Center will attempt to install the update at 4:00 pm that day. If the update requires a reboot to complete installation, the reboot (with a 12-hour grace window) will be initiated during this time as well.

Note that if the installation deadline set on an update has already passed, Software Center will install these updates right away regardless of the work hours that are set (these updates are listed with a status that says "Past Due.")

Software updates are currently managed for these products: 

  • Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise / Microsoft Office 2016

  • Adobe Acrobat (Reader and Pro) 

Installation Status/Uninstalling Applications

The Installation Status tab will show all managed apps that have been installed, and if any app or update installations are in progress.

Clicking an app in this view will allow you to remove the application from your computer if you no longer need it, or if an app isn’t working quite right, you can also repair it (if it’s supported by the app).

Software Center Options

In the Options tab, you can specify preferences for Software Center. These include your Work Information where you can specify your workdays and business hours which are used to control when required applications and software updates are installed automatically to your computer. (Ideally you wouldn’t want your computer to restart on its own in the middle of the day!)

When an application is assigned to your computer, sometimes it can take up to an hour for it to appear in Software Center. When this happens, you can click the Sync Policy button to force your computer to immediately contact the management server to download any new software assignments. 

Service Desk Portal

Finally, selecting the OIT Service Portal tab will bring you to the OIT Service Desk portal where you can submit an incident request, check the status of an existing incident/service request, or check information about any ongoing outages or system status. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • My department purchased a license for an application for me, however I don’t see it listed in Software Center. How can I download the application? 

    Sometimes it may take up to an hour for an application assigned to you or your computer to display. If the Service Desk assigned the application to your computer, try clicking the Options tab in Software Center, and click Sync Policy (this will force your computer to download any new assignments). If the issue persists, please submit an incident request to the Service Desk. 
     

  • How do I request an application to be added to Software Center? 

    Please submit a request to the OIT Service Desk. If the requested application is approved, it will be packaged and added to Software Center. 
     

  • When I open Software Center it doesn’t look quite right. It’s blue instead of red and I don’t see any applications. How do I fix this? 

    This is an indication that the management agent that controls Software Center hasn’t been able to retrieve its machine policy from the management server. This is especially true if your computer hasn’t connected to VPN or to the college network since before April of this year due to the COVID closure.  If this is the case, please contact the OIT Service Desk and a technician can assist with this. Once the updated machine policy is downloaded, your computer will be able to retrieve applications and software updates from the Internet, without needing to connect to the college network afterwards. 
     

  • I don’t see the OIT Service Portal shortcut on my desktop. 

    Please contact the Service Desk to have your computer evaluated and to have the management agent and Software Center installed on your computer. 
     

  • When I try to access the OIT Service Portal tab in Software Center, I see a script error window and some functionality in the service portal doesn't work properly.

This is a known issue and will be resolved in a future system update.

0% helpful - 1 review

Details

Article ID: 131818
Created
Fri 4/23/21 10:19 AM
Modified
Tue 5/3/22 10:21 AM