July 2009 - Posts
Here is a very simple way to do a dialog box pop-up for providing a computer name to a bare metal installation. This script I’m using was created by Nick Mosley and this particular script will search for the MININT name and if detected then it will prompt for a computer name. If MININT is not detected in the name you will not receive a prompt, which works great for refresh scenarios. You could strip some of the logic out and make the script prompt every time without too much trouble if that is what you desired.
1) First you will need to add the vbs script to your MDT files package \scripts directory.
2) Then you will need to update your distribution points to ensure your script is copied out.
3) Next we need to add an action to your Task Sequence:
You will need to add a new Run Command Line action. This action needs to be after the format/partition disk task and before the Apply OS task. I stuck mine just before the Apply OS task.
Fill out the Task Sequence step information and run the command line i’ve shown below:
4) Build a new computer via CD/PXE boot and you should receive a computer prompt
Here are the contents of the script:
Hope this helps,
By default, the Quick Launch toolbar is disabled in Windows 7. Here is how you enable it.
First we need to right-click on the taskbar and select “New toolbar”
Next we need to browse to the following path:
%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
Then select that folder:
Now you will see the Quick Launch in the bottom right corner:
Next you will want to right-click on the Quick Launch toolbar on the Taskbar and remove the text displays “Show Text” and “Show Title”: (This is a preference to get it to appear like the “old” Quick Launch)
Now you will have the Quick Launch that you are used to seeing:
Then, you probably want to drag it to the left side of the taskbar:
There we go, we now have our Quick Launch back :)
I was recently working on trying to find a way to return the computer names for a given set of user names. This is pretty easy to do from query analyzer, but i wanted to create a web report that anyone could run.
The web report prompt would allow a pasted value of:
And the resultant query to be executed would be:
select sys.user_name0, sys.netbios_name0
from v_r_system sys
where sys.user_name0 IN ('john.doe','jane.moe')
I wasn’t quite sure how to do this and i knew there were some limitations from the SQL standpoint and SMS web reports standpoint.
Below is a fantastic post from Number 2 that pretty much answers all the questions i had.
Tip: Work Faster with New Hotkey Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows 7 beta 1
Windows 7 beta 1 includes some handy new shortcut key combinations that allow you to navigate and manage the Windows workspace more efficiently. Here are 10 new Windows 7 shortcuts that will help you speed up your workflow (“Win” means the Windows Key):
Win+Home: Clear all but the active window
Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop
Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window
Win+Down arrow: Minimize the active window or restore the window if it's maximized
Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the active window to each side of the monitor
Win+Shift+Left/Right arrows: If you've got dual monitors, this will move the active window to the adjacent monitor
Win+T: Shift focus to and scroll through items on the taskbar
Win+P: Adjust presentation settings for your display
Win+(+/-): Zoom in/out
Shift+Click a taskbar item: Open a new instance of that particular application
Linking to a great post by Chris Stauffer.
Read the full post here:
This was the Goal:
Create a wizard that would allow the following:
- Enter computer name
- Select OU for machine to be added to
- Select what image to apply to the system
OSD with MDT integration is great but it falls short when it comes to the things that are built in for the SCCM admin.
All of the things listed above work great if you are using lite touch in MDT but if you are using SCCM you are not given the same lite touch options because 90% of what you are doing in SCCM can be configured without the need of any interaction from an admin or end user. But the problem comes in when you have multiple images to choose from as I do and the default OU is locked. So if you are just doing a refresh on a machine you simply add the machine to the correct collection and SCCM does the rest. But if you are building a new machine from bare metal or if you are reimaging a machine and the 3 variable i listed have changed then that is when you need some customization. Technically you can also define the OU in SCCM, the problem comes in when you have lots of OU’s that means that you would need another advertisement for each image and each OU. In my case that would come out to 44 different choices. I don't want that many choices let alone have to give that many.
I will say that the MDT team provided great help in getting this working so thank you to Michael Niehaus.
In MS’s defense they provide what people ask for and most of the code that I used was cut and pasted from the code provided by MDT with little to no tweaking. So i am defiantly not badmouthing anybody here just saying that there are some short comings when it comes to the MDT/OSD lite touch integration. Zero touch is great, just not always practical.
Create our own webservice or use one that someone already has in place, no need to reinvent the wheel.
then create a wizard to do what we need. This is a scalable solution that you can add to if needed. Suggestion would be to add additional application chooses. I prefer to have a helpdesk ticket for anything that is not part of the standard image so we can track deployments but it is all based on what you need.
This old post was referenced in the MSMS mailing list on myITforum. Thought i would also repost the information because it’s good info.
Here is the original post from Micahel Niehaus:
SMS advanced client - not all return codes are treated the same
A recent e-mail thread on the MSSMS mailing list talked about why the SMS 2003 advanced client seems to behave differently sometimes, retrying advertisements where the program previously failed with certain return codes, i.e. return code 4. This is directly related to the policy settings retrieved from the management point, documented on MSDN via http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/smssdk03/hh/sms/smsref30_0121.asp and stored in WMI. You can find these values in WMI by looking at the CCM_SoftwareDistributionClientConfig instance located in the root\ccm\policy\machine\actualconfig namespace.
In this CCM_SoftwareDistributionClientConfig instance, there are three settings related to the automatic retry capability built into the advanced client:
- ExecutionFailureRetryErrorCodes - a list of return codes that should result in a retry.
- ExecutionFailureRetryCount - the maximum number of retries.
- ExecutionFailureRetryInterval - the number of seconds between retries.
By default, the list of retryable return codes is:
The default retry count is 1008; the default retry interval is 600 seconds (10 minutes). So what does that mean? Well, if the program run by the advertisement sets a return code in the list above, SMS will automatically try to run the advertisement again 10 minutes later; it will keep trying for many hours. So, it would be best to avoid generating any of these return codes if you don't want this retry to occur, especially if this return code is consistently returned: each execution generates status messages, network traffic, etc., best avoided if not needed or desired.
The CCM_SoftwareDistributionClientConfig instance also contains a list of return codes that indicate the need for a reboot. This property, RebootReturnCodes, contains these values by default:
So if a program returns any of these return codes, the advertisement will be considered successful, with the SMS client realizing that a restart is needed.
A third property on this class, LogoffReturnCodes, would enable SMS to automatically log off the current user based on the return code from the advertisement, but this property is not populated by default.
The lists of values in these properties, as reported in policy retrieved from the SMS management point, are obtained from the SMS site control file, although there is no supported way to modify these lists for all clients. Contact Microsoft Support if you have any questions about this.
So i decided to take the plunge on my home PC to Windows 7 RC. My XP installation had been running pretty crappy lately and i knew it was time for a reload. Figured I should get used to Windows 7 since I’ve been working with at work.
One thing i was impressed with is Windows Easy Transfer:
I used this to transfer my files and settings from my XP box to the new Win7 installation. It’s very similar to USMT with I a significant amount of experience with at work and i’m pretty sure that is mostly likely the backbone to the Easy Transfer program. It’s a nice GUI that scans for users and then lets you select the files/settings that you want to transfer.
Windows Easy Transfer moved across all my files and settings including Outlook settings and Microsoft Money settings. I used a PST file for redirection of all my emails from multiple accounts and i have various rules setup for each account, all of those settings came across into Windows 7. Additionally the Outlook settings were redirected to the new “documents” location.
Overall i was very impressed with the ease of Easy Transfer wizard.
Here is the download link for the XP version. Win7 includes Easy Transfer.
As i was configuring Windows 7 at home, one of the these i always liked to do for my personal computer is configure auto-login. I’m not too worried about anyone getting at my machine, so i prefer to have it auto logon for convenience sake.
First you will need to open up the hidden user control panel using the below command:
Next you will want to select the user account you want to auto logon and then clear the checkbox for “Users must enter a user name… “
Next click “Apply”, which will bring up the following box to enter the auto logon password:
Enter your password:
That’s it, you have now configured auto logon for Windows 7!
So, if you’re like me and we’re so excited to install MDT 2010 Beta 2 that you forgot to remove the PXE filter first. You will notice that your WDS service will not start and SCCM will be upset about the PXE role. That’s because WDS is trying to start the PXE filter which is no longer installed.
Below are the instructions provided by Mr. Niehaus to manually remove the filter hook.
Hope this helps,
The simplest way to remove it from WDS is to edit the registry:
1. Navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WDSServer\Providers\WDSPXE.
2. Edit the “ProvidersOrder” to remove “Microsoft.BDD.PXEFilter” from the list.
3. Navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WDSServer\Providers\WDSPXE\Providers\Microsoft.BDD.PXEFilter, and remove that key.
4. Restart the WDS service.
So this week i’ve been playing with Windows 7 and the “XP Mode” that is built on Virtual PC. I must say that i’ve been impressed with it thus far. This mode allows you to install XP applications in a VM and then those applications are published to the host’s start menu. You can launch the application from the start menu even though it’s actually launching from the virtual environment. I had installed Office 2007 on my Windows 7 host and then i installed Office 2003 in the XP VM. Both programs functioned great. Very cool stuff! :) Now to all my other XP applications. I really think Windows 7 will be the next OS that we move to. The XP Mode should solve alot of our compatibility issues hopefully.
Here is an official blog posting on the matter:
Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7. Windows XP Mode provides you with the flexibility to run many older productivity applications on a Windows 7 based PC.
All you need to do is to install suitable applications directly in Windows XP Mode which is a virtual Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC. The applications will be published to the Windows 7 desktop and then you can run them directly from Windows 7.
Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC are best experienced on your new Windows 7 PC. We will be soon releasing the beta of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate.