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CM2012: Application Catalog and the Software Center, what’s the difference?

One of the potentially confusing pieces of ConfigMgr 2012 is understanding the difference between the Application Catalog and the Software Center.

It’s as simple as this…

The Application Catalog is kind of like a software store for end-users.  They can jump to the location, identify software they want to install, make appropriate requests, and have the software download and install for their use.  Its similar in theory to an Internet shopping site like, except only for approved corporate software.  In fact, the ConfigMgr administrator simply makes software available (publishes the software to the App Catalog) one time and then it’s available for “purchase” or request from the Application Catalog.  The Application Catalog is a web site.

The Software Center is a bit different, in that it is a location where end-users can go to view the status of their software requests (pending, installed, etc.) and also configure how they want requested (and non-requested) software to install, i.e., when it’s OK for the computer to restart.  The Software Center is more like a dashboard for end-user software status, requests, and configuration. The Software Center is a client program.

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