SCCM 2012: Simple HTA Boot Menu Solution to set Task Sequence Variables.

If you for some reason are not able to use MDT and the UDI wizard, you may want to create a HTA Application to handle roles or special choises during deployment.

I have created a simple HTA that reads a config file and generates a dropdown list and defines task sequence variables, feel free to use this as an example.

PS! Excuse my vbscript code, i’m not really a Developer…

To run HTA applications in Windows PE you will need to add HTA support to your boot images. Please see my previous post on how to add winpe components in SP1.

http://systemcenter.no/?p=401

The HTA solution consits of two files.

  1. app: tshta.hta, this is the application if you want to download the source code you can get the solution here.

2. file: Config, this is the configuration file that let’s you define dropdown menu entries and task sequence variables related to each entry. This has the following syntax:

<President>
Country=USA
Name=Obama
</President>
 
<IT Consultant>
Name=Howard
</IT Consultant>
 

3. You need to add the HTA to your task sequence. Notice that I have created a package that contains the HTA Application, added a command line step and selected “start in package”.

4. Use the variables in a TS step. In this example I’ve just added a group, this can for example contain spesific applications.

SCCM 2012 SP1: Create Install, Uninstall Collections and AD Groups with powershell.

One of the big new features in SCCM 2012 SP1 is is the PowerShell module. Powershell is really great for automation.

If you are using AD group membership together with dynamic collection rules to target and deploy applications, you probably have spent hours creating collections, ad groups and queries.

I have created a simple PowerShell script to automate this task, feel free to modify the script to fit your needs.

For the script to be able to create AD Group, install the active Directory PowerShell module on the server or client that you run your ConfigMgr Console from. You will also need to enable AD Group discovery in SCCM.

Code: Download here

  • Two collections is created for the application.

  • Install collection Properties

  • Uninstall collection properties

SCCM 2012 SP1: HotFix for Installation error 0x800b0101

Installation error 0x800b0101: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 Client.

This issue occurs because the MicrosoftPolicyPlatformSetup.msi file is signed with a digital certificate that does not have the proper timestamp attributes. Microsoft Security Advisory 2749665 has more information on this certificate issue.

Apply this hotfix before upgrading Clients,

Download HotFix here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2801987/en-us

 

SCCM 2012: Remove computer from a collection after deployment

If you are using collections with Direct Membership and want to clean up the membership rule after deployment. One common example is to have a Deploy Collection With a required deployment targeted. Jörgen Nilsson has created a great solution using vbscript and status Filter rules on the server side. Another option would be to use a web service or a script on the client side.

http://ccmexec.com/2012/07/remove-from-collection-and-clear-pxe-flag-vbscript-using-status-filter-rule/

SCCM 2012: Linux Support with SP1

SCCM 2012 SP1 Introduce Linux/Unix support.

If you are curious on this subject, I recommend you to spend 30min and  watch this episode of TechNet Radio (published in the link below)

This will give you:

  • Valubale Information on support and limitations
  • Walktrough on installing the Linux Agent.

Supported Distributions:

  • HP-UX 11i v2 (IA64)
  • HP-UX 11i V3 (IA64)
  • HP-UX 11i v2 (PA-RISC)
  • HP-UX11i V3 (PA-RISC)
  • AIX 5.3 (Power)
  • AIX 6.1 (Power)
  • AIX 7.1 (Power)
  • SLES 9(x86)
  • SLES 10 (X86 and X64)
  • SLES 11 (X86 and X64)
  • Solaris 10 (SPARC)
  • Solaris 11 (SPARC)
  • Solaris 9 (SPARC)
  • Solaris 10 (x86)
  • Solaris 11 (x86)
  • RHEL 6 (x64)
  • RHEL 6 (x86)
  • RHEL 5 (x64)
  • RHEL 5 (x86)
  • RHEL 4 (x64)
  • RHEL 4 (x86)

Max OS X Lion and Snow Leopard  are also supported trough internet management and will require a site system With a management configured for HTTPS.

Link to video: http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithmayer/archive/2012/10/30/supporting-linux-unix-and-mac-clients-with-system-center-2012-configuration-manager-sp1.aspx#.UO3hIWbKzq5

Recently I have deployed Linux OS With SCCM. This is currently unsupported, and i’m only able to dump a image to harddrive. Still It may be useful in some cases. I will create a howto on this soon.

SCCM 2012: Add Windows PE Components from GUI

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Introduces a new graphical user interface. You can «almost» forget everything you knew about dism.exe. New in SCCM 2012 SP1 and Windows PE 6.2 is the ability to add Powershell and .Net 4 support (no more vbscripts). In my example below I add theese components.

  • Navigate to: Software library > Boot Images > Boot Image (x64) or (x86), right click and select properties.
  • Navigate to: «Optional Components»
  • Click on the button with yellow icon (star) to select optional components.

  • Select components of your choise. In this example Powershell and .Net support is added.

  • Click OK

  • Click ok and run trough the «update distribution points wizard» to update your boot image.

 

 

SCCM 2012: VBScript to list out Task Sequence variables.

If you need to verify that a task sequence variable has been set or if it’s value is correct, you can use this script to read out all SCCM TS variables.  Store the script in a .vbs file and execute with cscript.exe readTSvar.vbs on a Client during deployment.

Set TSEnv = CreateObject(“Microsoft.SMS.TSEnvironment”)
For Each Var In  TSEnv.GetVariables  
WScript.Echo Var & “=” & TSEnv(Var)
Next

System Center Marketplace: Great starting point to extentions, apps and resources.

The Microsoft System Center Marketplace is specifically designed to help business customers find trusted Microsoft System Center experts, and applications and services that enhance and easily integrate with Microsoft System Center products.

http://systemcenter.pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/home

Microsoft, Infrastructure planning and design guides

Yes! They exist, If you are planning an implementation of a Microsoft System Center 2012 or other Microsoft Products or just seeking information on what is new, recommended planning steps or an overview of the product architecture. The Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide Series provides you with quick an concrete information specified to each Product.

Great Tools whether you are a product specialist, receiving customer, a technical sales resource or project manager. Read up!

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/ee395430

SCCM 2012: Intel driver, scale to fullscreen with fixed screen resolution

In some cases, you may want to set a fixed screen resolution for all clients. Then you will have the Challenge with the Picture was not scaled to fit the monitor. In my case, it was due to a Intel driver setting. I found no registry setting, no documented API or command line reference, so as a last measure I had to use keyboard shortcuts, as the Intel software listens for ctrl + alt + f11 to change monitor scaling. I created a simple script to find the Intel video adapter in WMI and used sendkeys to utilize the keyboard shortcut. This script must be run at user log on.

 

set WshShell= WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
‘Connect to WMI
Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:\\.\root\cimv2”)
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery(“Select * from Win32_VideoController”)
Dim VideoCard
‘Get Video Card
For Each objItem in colItems
VideoCard = objItem.Description
Next
‘Check if VideoCard is Intel then Send Ctrl + Alt + F11
If VideoCard = “Intel(R) HD Graphics” then
WshShell.SendKeys “^%{F11}”
end if
Set colItems = Nothing
Set objWMIService = Nothing

Force BSOD on a client or server

Some times you may need to force a BSOD on a Client or server for testing purposes. There is a feature in Windows that let’s you do this:

  • Start regedit
  • Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameter
  • Create DWORD Value: CrashOnCtrlScroll
  • Assign CrashOnCtrlScroll Value 1
  • Exit Registry Editor.

You will now be able to BSOD Your Client/server With right ctrl and hitting scroll Lock twice.

SCCM 2012: Detailed Port Information

If you struggle to read the official documentation and identify witch ports to open for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

Odd-Magne Kristoffersen has done the job for everyone and created a Excel spreadsheet documenting all the ports.

Please read his blogpost and download the spreadsheet.

http://sccmguru.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/configuration-manager-2012-port-information-and-spreadsheet/

OR

Microsoft Documentation: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682180.aspx

System Center 2012 Operations Manager: Service Pack 1 Beta

Service pack 1 beta for System Center 2012 Operations manager includes following new features:

  • Support for IIS 8
  • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
  • Azure SDK support
  • Monitoring of SharePoint 2010 with APM (.NET application performance monitoring)
  • Integration with Team Foundation Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2012
  • Conversion of Application Performance Monitoring events to IntelliTrace format
  • Support for monitoring of CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu Linux
  • Improved Heartbeat monitoring for Unix/Linux
  • ACS support for Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012
  • Global Service Monitor – cloud based capability to monitor the health of your web applications from geo-distributed perspective
  • Additional network devices models supported
  • Visibility into virtual network switches in vicinity dashboard – thru integration with Virtual Machine Manager

Download the beta here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34607

SCCM 2012: System Error Codes for troubleshooting failed application installations.

SCCM will Return System Error Codes from failed Application installations. Microsoft have published the complete list With for Developers for troubleshooting purposes.

Example Return codes:

  • 1633 (0x661) – This installation package is not supported by this processor type. Contact your product vendor.
  • 1603 (0x643) – Fatal error during installation.

Complete list: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms681381(v=vs.85).aspx

 

SCCM 2012: How to run an application after Task Sequence have completed

In some cases you may have to run a script or application after completion of your task sequence. In my case this was related to pre-staging of applications (more of this later).

Anyway Michael Murgolo have written a great blogpost describing how to implement this. If you are not in a hurry i recommend you to wait for SCCM SP1 RTM then you will have this included.

If you are in a hurry like me..

http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2012/07/06/finish-actions-for-configuration-manager-osd.aspx

SCCM 2012: dynamic app install Policy download failed

Using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager together with the MDT integration and the new UDI wizard I discovered that using comma (,) in the application name will cause the deployment to break.  

Make sure the application is marked for dynamic app install Policy download failed, hr=0x80004005. The operating system reported error 2147500037: Unspecified error

 

SCCM 2012: User device affinity with MDT 2012

Cameron has written a great blog post explaining user centric deployment with SCCM 2012 and MDT 2012.

Read up

http://blogs.technet.com/b/cameronk/archive/2012/04/03/uda-with-mdt-2012-udi.aspx

Another one from John Vintzel

http://blogs.technet.com/b/inside_osd/archive/2011/06/20/configuration-manager-2012-user-device-affinity-and-os-deployment.aspx

SCCM 2012: I want to access content directly from distribution point!

If you have been using SCCM 2007 and now SCCM 2012 for a while you may see that your deployment time has increased, if you used the “Access content directly from distribution point option” in SCCM 2007.

Microsoft introduced the new content library, the idea is to save space by saving all files in a library but only save identical files once, and refer to the location for all other instances of the file. The idea is good, but it comes with a price. All content stored in the library must be extracted during installation. This slows down the deployment meaning all files will have to be downloaded by the client.

If you want to change this and store your content in a share, you can. Please be aware that this has a cost in disk space.

On all your content in the task sequence meaning packages, boot, images, drivers even the configuration manager agent, select “copy the content in this package to a package share on distribution points.”

After doing this you will be able to select “access content directly from..” on your deployments.

Be aware!

This limits you to use the old package model. So you have to decide what’s most important to you. A workaround could be to use the MDT integration for installing apps. Then you will have the best from both worlds.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V vs. VMware vSphere 5

Windows Server 2012 is released, I get a lot of questions regarding Hyper-V and how it compares to VMware. I recommend reading this whitepaper to get an overview. In my point of view, Hyper-V has evolved to a powerful virtualizing platform. Add the System Center 2012 suite and you got some really powerful tools 🙂

http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/E/3/0E38E6AD-0ADF-4ADC-AABC-40820CC8374B/Competitive_Advantages_of_Windows_Server_2012_Hyper-V_over_VMware_vSphere_5.0.pdf

 

System Center 2012 Private Cloud

Microsoft has released a whitepaper where they compare private cloud solutions from Microsoft and VMware. If you are curious about private cloud technology and what Microsoft has to offer, i recommend reading this whitepaper.

Download it her: http://download.microsoft.com/download/F/3/6/F36D9AE8-6238-4EA3-9ABC-BF7BB848BF70/MicrosoftPrivateCloudWhitepaper.pdf

 

 

SCOM 2012: Operations Manager cannot connect to the Web service

Recently I got this error: “Operations Manager cannot connect to the Web service” when trying to connect to the management pack catalog in System Center 2012 Operations Manager.

First of all, Sysinternals Process monitor is a great tool to troubleshoot this. Filter out the SCOM console process and you will be able to see where it connects.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx

I did not find any good information on this, so I did some investigation and figured out where it tries to connect.

First it connects to ip: 65.55.58.195 over the http protocol next is 65.55.57.27 https. Put these ip adresses in your browser from the SCOM server and see if you are able to connect. If not, talk to your networking guys 🙂

Update: Seems like might also connect to other IP adresses. So far i’ve found these: 65.4.11.25 and 64.4.11.42.

SCCM 2012: Service Pack 1 Beta 1, download now!

Want to deploy Windows 8 and Server 2012 with SCCM, start the preparation in your test/lab environment now!

  • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
  • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
  • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
  • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34607&lc=1033

 

SCOM 2007: Operations Manager 101

Kevin Holman have provided a PDF file that some of the Premier Field Engineers wrote to help customers getting started with SCOM. This is a great introduction to the product.

This is also also valid for the 2012 version, the basics are just about the same 🙂

Get it here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2010/09/02/operations-manager-101-download.aspx

SCOM 2012: Creating a network connectivity map and using color to represent state

Cameron Fuller have created a great guide on how to use color to represent state on a object in Visio with the System Center 2012 Operations Manager integration.

Read it here:

http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/cfuller/archive/2011/09/13/opsmgr-dashboard-integration-creating-a-network-connectivity-map-and-using-color-to-represent-state.aspx

 

SCOM 2012: Visio Add-in not loading

If you get this error: “Not loaded. A runtime error occurred during the loading of the COM Add-in.” after installing the Visio Add-in for System Center 2012 Operations Manager. Please check the requirements, you are probably missing the Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office runtime.

Get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20479

 

SCOM 2012: Visio 2010 Add-in and SharePoint 2010 Extensions for System Center 2012

Create and share custom diagrams showing current health state data for your IT environment with this Microsoft Visio 2010 add-in and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 extensions for Microsoft System Center 2012.

http://visio.microsoft.com/en-us/Samples_and_Downloads/Software_Add-ins/Pages/Visio-2010-Add-in-for-System-Center-2012.aspx