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July 2011 - Posts

System Center Configuration Manager Shutdown Utility

Kent Agerlund posted a new blog post where Coretech developed a really nice shutdown utility for use with ConfigMgr. 

Read the full post and download the tool here.

To suppress or not suppress a computer restart when deploying software and software updates that is the question. No matter what you do, you most likely will not win the “best colleague of the Month” award.

If you do not force a computer restart you might face problems like:

  • Non-compliant computers
  • Computers being in reboot pending mode which might prevent them from installing new software and software updates

If you do force a restart you might face problems like:

  • Very unhappy users
  • Scenarios where you restart while the end-user is using the computer for a demo or presentation
  • End-users calling Servicedesk and complaining about a virus that’s shutting down their computer
  • Restarting computers that are already compliant

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John Marcum Made A Funny

I’m not even sure how the conversation started on the MSSMS list on myITforum, but Mr. Marcum decided he was going to be funny today.  John Marcum is another ConfigMgr MVP and notorious poster on the TechNet forums and myITforum email lists.  If you have never met him in person, his southern accent will charm you (women love a southern accent according to him) and he’s actually a pretty good guy. 

Adrian asked about creating a repository for DCM CI’s, and said if all else failed they could just get store them on my blog (nicely hidden in a P.S. on the bottom of his email).  This of course spawned into a chain of several other comments, all directed at me and my apparent use of storage space for my blog (nothing has been confirmed yet).  It was mentioned that a new SAN might be needed to store my blog, however Rod said they have plenty of storage space, so I don’t think that will be necessary.

Anyways, John posted this to the MSSMS list and well I did indeed “LOL”.  So for posterity sake, I’m blogging this, further adding to the storage requirements necessary to support my blog on myITforum.image001

Posted: Jul 25 2011, 02:11 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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HTTP 500 Error with Large Reports in SCCM 2007

Phil Schwan has a new post up talking about how to raise the ASP buffer limit to show “large” reports.

As an FYI, another solution to this issue is to use SQL Reporting Services as the 10k row limit and the ASP buffer issue don’t apply when using SRS.

Read the full post here.

If you have more than a couple thousand clients in your SCCM 2007 site and have ever tried to run a large report (like “Hardware 01A – Summary of computers in a specific collection” against the All Systems collection, for example), you’ve probably encountered this HTTP 500 error:

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This problem and resolution are pretty well documented for Windows Server 2003 and IIS6, but in this particular case we’re running Windows Server 2008 SP2, so we’re using IIS7.  The underlying cause is the same (default ASP Buffering Limit is set too low to handle the size of the report) and the fix is the same (increase the limit), but the steps to fix are just a little different for IIS7

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Finding and adding only the correct device driver to the Boot image

Michael Petersen has a nice new post up on the CoreTech Blog that is something I talk repeatedly about with clients.  Only injecting the drivers you NEED, instead of needlessly injecting drivers until you get a working boot image. 

Read the full post here.

It seems to me, people tend to add way to many drivers to their boot images, which in some cases make WinPE unstable, and subsequent make the Deployment fail. It also makes it near impossible to figure out which driver versions/types are actually included, as that info is kind of limited from within the Boot Image node itself …

What I do, is find the exact drivers needed for my WinPE environment to work on the specific model(s), and add only those drivers.. If I Can boot WinPE, and gain access to the network (IPCONFIG) and hard disk (DISKPART – list disk), I do not update my boot image, even if I choose to add a new NIC to the deployed OS itself!

In this example I will use a DELL latitude E6320, because this particular machine has a network driver not already included in WinPE.

The first thing to do is go into the device manager and check which driver the network card is using. I usually do this from the Win7 preloaded OS that comes with the machine (you know! before reinstalling). If this is not an option, you can do something similar from within WinPE using DrvLoad.exe, and wmic, but more about that in a later post!!

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Software Assurance Pays Off – Remote Connection to WinPE during MDT/SCCM deployments

Johan Arwidmark has a new post up talking about integrating Dart 7 (beta) into your WinPE images to allow remote connectivity. 

Read the full post here.

In the new Dart 7 (Beta) release, Microsoft added a remote connection application to WinPE, it allows you to connect to a WinPE system using the new Dart Remote Connection Viewer. This article explains how to add it to either MDT 2010 Lite Touch or ConfigMgr (SCCM) 2007 to monitor your deployments.


Credit goes to Michael Niehaus for letting me know it existed and explaining the inner works, and thank you Process Monitor and Process Explorer for helping me figure out what files where actually needed  :)

Adding Remote Monitoring to MDT 2010 orConfigMgr 2007 OS Deployments

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Step 1 - Download Dart 7 (Beta) and create the Dart ISO

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Step 2- Extract the files needed for Remote Connection

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Configure MDT 2010 Lite Touch to add the files to its boot image (SCCM instructions further down)

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Configure ConfigMgr 2007 (MDT 2010 Zero Touch)  to add the files to its boot image

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Message Box Script for Lite Touch Task Sequences

Michael Murgolo has a new post over on The Deployment Guys Blog.

Read the full post here.

I recently had the need to pop up a message box duing an LTI task sequence.  I was creating a stand-alone wizard to allow a manually-initiated launch of a task sequence that would install the Service Pack 1 update on Windows Server 2008 R2.  As part of this task sequence, if a certain software package was of a certain version or earlier we had to reinstall this software after the service pack installation.  If this installation was not going to happen because a newer version was already installed, the customer wanted to notify the technician at the end of the process.  Since this was to be a simple notification, a message box was sufficient.  I could have simply created a VBScript that had a static MsgBox function call for this purpose.

However, I decided that I would make it more reusable than that.  Instead I created an MDT script that would take the input arguments for the the MsgBox function as command line parameters.  That way the script could be reused any time a message box was needed.  The script can also optionally use the MsgBox return value as the script exit code and/or use it as the value for a task sequence variable.

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This post was contributed by Michael Murgolo, a Senior Consultant with Microsoft Services - U.S. East Region

Language Packs not showing up in your Task Sequence?

Ben Hunter has a new post over on The Deployment Guys Blog. 

Read the original post here.

If you are using MDT Update 1 to deploy Windows 7 SP1 language packs then please pay attention, this post will save you time.

MDT 2010 Update 1 does not address the Enhanced Language Pack handling in Windows 7 SP1.  This means that if you add a Windows 7 SP1 language pack to the workbench it will not appear in the task sequence wizard.

Thankfully the solution is fairly simple. You simply update the language handling function in the DeployWiz_Initialization.vbs script.

For details of the updates on how to make this update please see - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2547191

This post was contributed by Ben Hunter, an Architect with Microsoft Services

Scripting Dell TouchPad configurations

Nick Moseley put a post about dealing with Dell TouchPad configurations. 

Read his post here.

We recently received the new Dell E6320 and E6420 laptops.  After deployment of our standard image, which does not contain drivers, we package the full driver installers as provided by the manufacturer.  We found that for these new laptops, scrolling was not automatically enabled for the TouchPad’s.  I would say scrolling is a defacto usability standard.

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Posted: Jul 15 2011, 01:52 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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Trace64 finally here to stay - But it is hidden

Johan Arwidmark put up a nice how-to for getting ahold of Trace64, the 64-bit version of Trace32, our favorite log file viewer.  We can’t all be like Wally and use Notepad Smile 

Read the full post here.

Trace64 is very useful to parse MDT and ConfigMgr log files... And until ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2 was released the core 64-bit version of Trace32 has only been available internally at Microsoft (officially).


So Microsoft indeed did release Trace64 with ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2, but where is it? If you search you only find trace32.exe... Well it's hidden in the Trace32.exe and is extracted when you start Trace32.exe on a x64 machine. What's the problem with that? Well, you can't start it from a x64 WinPE which is missing WOW64.


The solution, get a copy of the extracted x64 binary. This is the trace32.exe process viewed in Process Explorer. Note the TRA184B.tmp file (may be named different on your system)

MDT 2010 – Inside the Install Roles and Features action

Johan Arwidmark has a new post discussing the Role and Features action inside MDT.

Read the full post here.

One of the most powerful features in MDT is the option of having the Task Sequence install all the Roles and Features needed, most often on servers, but also for clients. I use this feature heavily in different kinds of automated datacenter builds and when preparing Proof-Of-Concept or other demo/lab type environments.

How does Install Roles and Feature action work?

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Explanation of the (Win7), (2008R2) and (Win7,Core) entries

Windows Server 2008 considerations

Troubleshooting

Deployment Blogs and Twitter

Ben Hunter over on The Deployment Guys has put together a nice blog post with a list of various community Deployment experts and MVP’s.  He’s got a nice list of the blogs to follow and twitter alias’s.

When I started blogging five years ago there were not many great blogs out there and twitter was just emerging from its egg. It was hard to find good information on deployment. However things have changed, there is a vibrant community of deployment experts out there who are only too willing to share their expertise. The key channels that they use are blogs, twitter and the deployment forums. With this in mind I thought I would create an index of the resources that I use out there, it is certainly not an exhaustive list but hopefully you find it useful.

Read the full post here.

Posted: Jul 01 2011, 09:58 AM by cnackers | with no comments
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