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January 2011 - Posts

Known Issue: Install Software Updates Action Hangs on Windows 7

Read the original post here on TechNet.

Here is a summary.

[Today's post is from Brian Huneycutt]

The Configuration Manager Sustained Engineering and Customer Support and Services teams are investigating an issue where the Install Software Updates action will hang indefinitely on Windows 7 clients.

When this happens, the task sequence Installation Progress dialog displays "Downloading 1 of x Updates (0% complete) ..." with no change in the progress bar, as shown in the following picture.

image

If you look at the smsts.log file during this time, you'll see the following entries and the last entry repeats:

//
Installing all updates targetted for this computer
Installation of updates started
Waiting for installation job to complete
Waiting for job status notification ...
Waiting for job status notification ...
Waiting for job status notification ...
//

In addition, the other log files that are associated with the Install Software Updates task (CAS.log, UpdatesDeployment.log, UpdatesHandler.log, UpdatesStore.log) do not update during this time.

Note: The repeated "Waiting for job status notification" message can appear under normal circumstances when updates are being installed. However, if you see the repeated entry and the progress bar hangs at "Downloading 1 of x Updates" and the other components are no longer logging, it is likely that you're experiencing this issue under investigation.

In some scenarios, this issue can occur when a large number of software updates (more than 60) are applied via the Install Software Updates task for Windows 7, Office 2007, or Office 2010. A possible solution here is to use the Updates folder in the Office installation folder to reduce the number of updates to be installed during the Install Software Updates task. For additional information about how to use the Updates folder, see the following:

Office 2010
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178995.aspx#BKMK_UpdatesFolder

Office 2007
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178995(office.12).aspx#BKMK_UpdatesFolder

Some customers have reported that installing the latest Intel Mass Storage drivers as part of their deployment can also trigger this problem. If you experience this, a solution here is to remove the drivers from their deployment packages because base functionality is provided with the default Windows 7 drivers.

These are not necessarily the only triggers for this particular issue, but the two that have been observed by several customers. This blog entry will be updated as soon as we have more information.

Thank you for your patience as we work to find the best resolution for all our customers.

-- Brian Huneycutt

TechNet Webcast: Talk TechNet with Keith Combs and Matt Hester - Episode 2: System Center Configuration Manager with Jason Sandys

Event Overview

Talk TechNet is all about discussing topics and trends in the world of IT Professionals.  In this show we’ll have guest Jason Sandys.  Jason is a Microsoft MVP and SME on the management product System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Jason is a Senior Lead Consultant for Catapult Systems and blogs about infrastructure topics.  Call in and join us for what promises to be a lively 60 minute session.  Get some burning questions answered.
Presenters: Keith Combs, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation, Matt Hester, Senior IT Pro Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation, and Jason Sandys, Senior Lead Consultant, Catapult Systems

Register here.

Posted: Jan 27 2011, 05:16 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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How To: Inject Drivers from USB During a ConfigMgr Operating System Task Sequence

Fellow ConfigMgr MVP Greg Ramsey has a nice post he just published on injecting drivers from USB during OSD.

Read the full post here.

Here’s a snippet:

ConfigMgr OSD does a great job of injecting drivers 'on the fly' into your OS Deployment process. For example, you can create task sequence steps with conditional statements to apply drivers for a specific model. That's great for your standard build, but how do you handle those one-offs, those non-standard builds? Here's a process that you can you for those non-standard builds, or for that hardware that you're testing, but haven't quite committed to being a standard yet.  All we need is a vbScript, raw drivers, and an additional step in your task sequence (haven't tested with MDT, but should work there as well). The following process ONLY works on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. If there is enough demand, I'll create a similar script for previous Operating System versions.

Kick-Starting SCCM Advertisements

Great post by Daniel Oxly over on The Deployment Guys blog. 

Read the full post and download the script here.

I managed to beat fellow Deployment Guy Michael Murgolo to the honour of the first post of 2011, so it is my responsibility to wish all our readers a happy new year!  I hope all your 2011 deployment projects go well, and we've all got some good posts lined up over the coming months which hopefully will be useful to you all!

And now to the serious stuff!  I recently had a requirement in a project to kick-start the installation of all SCCM advertisements that were pending for client computers once the LTI deployment phase had completed.  After a bit of poking around and Bing'ing (is this even a verb??) I developed the attached script.  The script basically enumerates all the pending advertisements received by the client computer and then launches them one by one.  To implement the script, I added it to the task sequence as the very last task in the list, then added the following options to the CustomSettings.ini file in order to remove the "Finish" screen from the LTI deployment and automatically logoff the current user when the task sequence was complete:

SkipFinalSummary=YES
FinishAction=LOGOFF

Don't forget to copy the script to the Scripts folder of your MDT Deployment Share otherwise it will fail completely.  I have tested it fully for the environment I created it in, although you might run into issues in other environments if they differ greatly.  I suspect issues could occur where your own SCCM advertisements use OSD or MDT task sequences, as these might clash with the LTI task sequence if it is still resident when your SCCM task sequences run.  The solution to this would be to use a "fire-and-forget" type of action so that this script launches in the background and MDT continues onto the next task (the final logoff in this case).

You might be asking yourself right now how this script could be useful, because surely any advertisements received by an SCCM client computer would be launched by SCCM automatically at their allocated time, right?  Yes, but this script will launch the non-mandatory ones that normally require user interaction for them to run, as well as any mandatory ones, thus automating the task completely!

This post was contributed by Daniel Oxley, a Consultant with Microsoft Services Spain

Windows Live Writer and Mozilla Thunderbird Backing Up

Of the things that irks me when I have to rebuild my machine is having reconfigure Windows Live Writer for my blogs.  Another huge pain is configuring Thunderbird for all of my non-work email accounts.  I have a lot of folders and message rules setup for the various forums and email distribution lists I participate in and it’s frustrating to have to set those up again.

This time around, I was able to find a couple tools to help make this process fairly seamless.

Windows Live Writer Backup

This tool was pretty straightforward, easy to use and worked like a champ. Windows Live Writer launched right up after restoring my data. Both of my blogs settings and templates were retained. I had to re-enter my passwords, otherwise everything was retained.

http://wlwbackup.codeplex.com/

SNAGHTML6a3deb

Thunderbird Backup

Mozbackup was very easy to use and has support for Portable applications. Thunderbird launched successfully and had all my settings and emails after the restore. The only thing I had to do was launch Thunderbird first to create a profile, the tool wouldn’t let me create one even though that’s an option in the program.  However, once I launched Thunderbird the first time, the tool was able to restore to that profile.

http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/

Here are a few screenshots of the backup process.

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SNAGHTML6cc67b

SNAGHTML6d123a

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Posted: Jan 20 2011, 01:01 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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What’s New in the Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Transfer Site Settings Wizard

Read the original post here.

The Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Transfer Site Settings Wizard now has two new options:  Power Management Agent and Enable Active Directory Delta Discovery and Delta Discovery Interval.  Our very own Chaohao Xu dissects each of them here.

App-V: Why it should be the most important tool in your virtualization tool belt

Read the entire post here.

As discussed in previous posts, Microsoft’s Desktop Virtualization allows flexibility to deliver, test and manage the user settings, applications and your operating system, Windows 7, more easily. Today I’d like to further explore Application Virtualization, which is a key component to a complete desktop virtualization strategy. More specifically, I’ll review some of the business benefits customers are already experiencing today and how Microsoft partnerships can deliver added value.

Application virtualization helps to eliminate conflicts between applications, removes the need to install those applications on PCs, enables multiple versions of an application to coexist on the same machine and provides a faster, less intrusive way to deliver and update applications on demand. You can apply application virtualization to your local desktops, your RDS deployments, or your VDI desktops.

Based on the above, the benefits are clear and as a result we’re seeing that application virtualization, and specifically Microsoft‘s App-V, is quickly becoming a mainstream technology for organizations. Customers are indicating that App-V delivers savings throughout the application management lifecycle.

App-V with Appsense : Better Together

Read the entire post here.

I was talking with Stephen Rose, the owner of this blog, and he was saying that one of the top pain points that he hears from you frequently is transferring the user profiles when migrating from XP to Win7. In today’s blog post we are going to touch on Microsoft and its partner’s offerings that we feel will help solve that pain point.

This week, Karri Alexion-Tiernan posted a blog on the Windows For Your Business blog about the value of using App-V.For those not familiar, App-V is Microsoft’s flagship Application virtualization solution that enables you (IT pros) to deploy applications based on user’s identity and role, providing a more efficient way to deliver and mange applications centrally. Product Manager AJ Smith talked about User State Virtualization (USV) in his blog; how Microsoft’s USV technologies like Folder Redirection and Roaming Profiles empower you to provide users a consistent windows experience across multiple desktops and laptops, by separating user’s data and settings from the physical device and replicating it centrally.

One of Microsoft Premium partners Appsense provides user virtualization solutions that extends Microsoft’s USV offering by providing additional capabilities that’s helps in migration of XP profiles to Windows 7 profiles by seamlessly combining the two into a single version, thus accelerating Win 7 deployment in your organization. It can also abstracts both user’s desktop personalization and application settings, providing a consistent application experience across physical AND virtual applications. For additional info on Appsense, visit their website.

You can complement the benefits of both App-V and USV by deploying them together so that users can be provisioned both their applications and data on demand from multiple devices, thus reducing the dependency on one piece of hardware. In this blog we will go a level deeper and talk about what you should consider when implementing App-V with Appsense user virtualization. To get an overview - you can also watch this webinar from Appsense on App-V integration. Enough said on the value – let’s get into the technology piece!

I caught up with two Microsoft’s MVPs - Alaa Ajweh and Tim Mangan who shared some guidance and best practices on deploying App-V with Appsense to support user profile virtualization on Windows 7, so let’s hear in their own words!

Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Power Management – Part1 “Overview”

There is a new series on the TechNet forums that will be going through the R3 Power Management piece. 

Read the full post here.

In this post series I will go through System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Power Management showing general overview and prerequisites for the new SCCM 2007 R3 Power Management feature and then deeply go through the step by step to enable and configure SCCM 2007 R3 Power Management feature,

In this 1st part I will give a general overview about the new feature and the prerequisites.

Management in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 addresses the need that many organizations have to monitor and reduce the power consumption of their computers. The feature leverages the power management features built in to Windows to apply relevant and consistent settings to computers in the organization. Different power settings can be applied during and outside of working hours. For example, it might be acceptable to apply a more restrictive power plan during non-peak hours. In cases where computers must always remain switched on, you can prevent power management settings from being applied.

Active Directory System Discovery Method with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 Hotfix

Read the full post and request the hotfix here.

Consider the following scenario:

  • You enable Active Directory System Discovery or Active Directory User Discovery on a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) site server.
  • You add a search path to the Active Directory OUslist.
  • You add a second search path to the Active Directory OUslist. This search path contains the string of the first search path you just added.
In this scenario, the second search path is not discovered when the Active Directory System Discovery process or the Active Directory User Discovery process runs.
For example, you create two Organizational Units (OUs) under an OU which is named “Organization Computers”, and then you name the OUs "abc" and "abcd." You add a search path of domain\Organization Computers\abc for the first OU, and then you add a search path of domain\Organization Computers\abcd for the second OU. In this scenario, the second OU is not discovered when the Active Directory System Discovery process or the Active Directory User Discovery process runs.

RESOLUTION

Hotfix informationA supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this...

Hotfix information
A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.
If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.
Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support)

Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

Prerequisites
To apply this hotfix, you must have System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 installed on the computer.
Installation instructions
Note The following hotfix package can be installed on a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 site server that is running an x86-based version of an operating system or an x64-based version of an operating system:

SCCM2007-SP2-KB978757-X86-ENU.msi

Restart requirement
You do not have to restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.
Hotfix replacement information
This hotfix does not replace a previously released hotfix.
File information
The English (United States) version of this hotfix installs files that have the attributes that are listed in the following tables. The dates and the times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The dates and the times for these files on your local computer are displayed in your local time together with your current daylight saving time (DST) bias. Additionally, the dates and the times may change when you perform certain operations on the files.
System Center Configuration Manager 2007 file information notes
ConfigMgr Client IP Check Script

Nice by Jason Sandys for identifying stale systems in AD, read the full post and download the script here.

Troubleshooting client agent health issues at my current customer, I wanted to eliminate all of the stale systems from AD so I didn’t waste my time on them (and of course the customer was no real help here). I decided to write a script to take a list of systems, check if a forward and a reverse DNS entry exists and also compare the DNS reverse entry (if it exists) to the name of the system as specified in the list. Using these checks, I can now identify systems that probably don’t exist anymore and can be deleted from or disabled in Active Directory thus allowing ConfigMgr to be cleaned up.

Sample output:

Name           IP                  Reverse             Status
----           --                  -------             ------
xyz1           10.1.0.1            abc5                IP registered to another system
xyz2           -                   -                   Could not Resolve IP
xyz3           10.1.0.3            xyz3                OK
xyz4           10.1.0.4            -                   IP Address not found in reverse zone

Actual/exact interpretations of each of the categories is possibly subjective and based on the configuration of a particular environment but in general, IP registered to another system and Could not Resolve IP are indicative of stale systems. Recall that AD System Discovery also does a forward DNS lookup on systems before it creates a DDR on them so this script follows similar logic as the discovery; however, once the system is discovered, AD Discovery won’t remove it and thus this script. Also, AD discovery doesn’t do a reverse lookup because this may or may not be configured in any given environment.

The script is a PowerShell script and can be run on any system that can query the internal DNS. By default, it pulls the names of systems to check from a file called sys.txt in the same directory as the script; place each system name to query on a separate line.

And then, run it from a PowerShell command prompt. To output the results to a CSV, pipe the output of the script to the Export-Csv commandlet; e.g., .\IPCheck.ps1 | Export-Csv c:\IpCheckResults.csv

Microsoft Management Summit 2011–MDT Integration with ConfigMgr Session

My session for MMS has been accepted.  I’ve always been very passionate about the BDD/MDT solutions and am very happy that I’ll have to opportunity to present at MMS 2011.  Tim Mintner will be co-presenting with me, so I have no doubt this will be a great session!

BE31 MDT 2010 Update 1 Integration with ConfigMgr: Quick Start

This session will cover the setup and configuration of MDT 2010 Update 1 with ConfigMgr.  We'll cover the installation, creation of your first MDT integrated Task Sequence and creation of your first MDT boot image.  We'll also cover the necessary changes to successfully deploy Windows 7 and how to modify your boot images to add extra files.  This session will also compare a MDT integrated Task Sequence to a default ConfigMgr Task Sequence and explain the differences and why you need all those Task Sequence steps.

Posted: Jan 07 2011, 05:34 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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Windows 7: Best of Deployment Compilation by Guest Blogger Jeremy Chapman

Awesome post over Keith Combs blog on Technet. 

Read the full post here.

Windows 7: Best of Deployment Compilation

By Jeremy Chapman

I like all types of music and with almost any successful musician there comes a time when they take their best tracks and create a “Best of” album. This is not only great for people who want all of their music in one place, but also for the people new to that musician. Now you might argue that all this goes away with online music services, but I’d argue that sometimes the level of selection there gets daunting. At this point you’re also probably wondering what this all has to do with Windows 7 deployment, well… after more than a year post general availability and two years since I’ve been writing and reviewing content, it’s time to sift through that huge potential playlist and cut the Windows 7: Best of Deployment Compilation.

If you are new to the Windows deployment game or are stuck in the spooky world of drive-cloning with older sector-based processes, this should help you get started. If you’ve seen it and have the concert T-shirts from our TechEd tours, then you can probably skip ahead. We’ll start out with the basic concepts then go deeper into the how-to guides.

Check to see if the TPM is enabled

Great post over on The Deployment Guys by Tim Mintner. 

Hey Everyone!

I recently worked on a project where we were enabling the TPM chip prior to enabling Bitlocker through the task sequence.  One thing that we wanted to do was to check to see if the TPM was already enabled and activated prior to running the BIOS configuration tool to enable the TPM.  The built in MDT script (ztibde.wsf) does this check however it will fail the script and generate an error and exit the task sequence if the TPM is not already enabled so I decided to modify that script slightly and use the new script to set two variables TPMEnabled and TPMActivated so I could use those as conditions on other steps in the task sequence.

Read the full post here.

2011 Microsoft MVP Award

2011 is off to a fantastic start! I found the following sitting in my inbox this morning.  I feel truly honored to have received such an award!



Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2011 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in System Center Configuration Manager technical communities during the past year.

Posted: Jan 01 2011, 11:12 AM by cnackers | with 1 comment(s)
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