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Posted: Jan 23 2012, 06:48 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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Configuration Manager Port Information and Spreadsheet

One of the "fun" tasks when working with clients is when we need to open the various ports on a client's network for Configuration Manager to work properly.  I've had to sit down with many clients and go through the TechNet port diagram countless times, to only have to do it again a few months later.  Eventually I said enough was enough.

I have developed an excel spreadsheet that contains all the ports used.  On the 2nd sheet, you can put in the names of the servers for the various ConfigMgr roles. Once you do that, the 1st sheet will auto populate with those names.  Once this is completed you will have a nice sheet you can show the client, or your network team that shows what ports needed to be open and from where to where.

The information is based upon the TechNet information listed here.

Here is a sample screenshot of the excel sheet.


Here is a screenshot of the configuration page.


Download the spreadsheet here.

Posted: Jan 11 2012, 09:49 AM by cnackers | with no comments
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PowerShell: Report / Check the Size of ConfigMgr Task Sequences

Trevor Sullivan has created a nice post on checking the size of your Task Sequence's.  This is useful, since there is a 4mb limit to your TS.  If you have too many steps, you can run into this issue.

Read the full post here.

2012 Microsoft MVP Award

2012 Is off to a great start. Received my MVP renewal this morning. 

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2012 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 2012, 11:56 AM by cnackers | with 1 comment(s)
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Editing CM12 reports in the ConfigMgr console with SQL Server 2008 R2

Fellow MVP Steve Thompson has created a nice post for reporting in ConfigMgr 2012.

Read the full post here.

Presently, if you have installed ConfigMgr 2012 with SQL Server 2008 R2, and attempt to edit a report from the console, you will get an error message that states “Report Builder not available”. The problem here, ConfigMgr 2012 is designed to work out of the box with Report Builder 2.0 as explained here:

Since you have installed SQL Server 2008 R2, which ships with Report Builder 3.0, you can indeed use Report Builder 3.0, just open it directly from SSRS Report Manager.

While not supported or endorsed by Microsoft, a workaround is available to integrate RB 3.0 from the console, as follows:

You’ll need to set a registry key to name the RB 3.0 application manifest.  The key in question is “HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\ConfigMgr10\AdminUI\Reporting\ReportBuilderApplicationManifestName”.  Change its value from “ReportBuilder_2_0_0_0.application” to “ReportBuilder_3_0_0_0.application” on any machine from which you want to launch RB 3.0.

The Hydration Kit for ConfigMgr 2012 RC1 is available for download

Johan has posted a new hydration kit for 2012 ConfigMgr RC1.

Deployment Research > Blog - The Hydration Kit for ConfigMgr 2012 RC1 is available for download

Here is a download for deploying a complete ConfigMgr 2012 RC1 infrastructure in either Hyper-V or VMware: One Domain Controller and one ConfigMgr 2012 RC1 member server – Including pre-requisites like .Net Framework, SQL 2008 and IIS - all fully automated.

Once configured, the total build time for the full ConfigMgr 2012 RC1 lab environment is about 1.5 hours (on my laptop). 

Posted: Dec 20 2011, 10:45 AM by cnackers | with no comments
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MDT 2012: New Features– GPO Packs - The Deployment Guys


MDT 2012: New Features– GPO Packs - The Deployment Guys - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

There are many new features of MDT 2012 but one that I particularly like is the ability to apply GPO Packs created using Security Configuration Manager (SCM) during the deployment process.

SCM is a great tool that allows you to create and manage group policy baselines in an easy to use interface. These polices are then able to be applied at the domain level or as  “Local GPO Packs”. MDT can now deploy these “Local GPO Packs” during deployment.

MDT provides four default GPO packs for the following operating systems that are applied by default during deployment. The correct GPO pack will be applied based on the operating system that is deployed. If an operating system matching the GPO pack is not found then no GPO Pack will be applied……

Posted: Dec 02 2011, 01:28 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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MDT 2012: New Features – Hide Shell - The Deployment Guys


MDT 2012: New Features – Hide Shell - The Deployment Guys - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

Here is a common scenario. You are deploying an operating system using MDT Lite Touch, during the deployment you install some user specific applications. However the users think that the deployment is completed an they close the application installs or perhaps start messing with the machine while it is still logged in as the local administrator. Now you could simply inform the user that they should not touch the computer until the deployment is completed. However in my experience this “don’t touch” approach has not always been 100% successful.

Well now we have a better way, you can hide explorer shell while MDT is “doing it’s thing”!


Posted: Dec 02 2011, 01:27 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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MDT 2012 Beta 2–User-Driven Installation (UDI) Version 2


MDT 2012 Beta 2–User-Driven Installation (UDI) Version 2 - Chris's Blog - Just weedin around Microsoft - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

Great introduction to UDI V2 over on the TechNet Blogs by Chris Adams. 

SCCM Guru webcast coming up soon - Michael Niehaus

SCCM Guru webcast coming up soon - Michael Niehaus' Windows and Office deployment ramblings - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

As part of the BDNA “SCCM Guru” webcast series, I will be presenting on November 17th from 11:00am to 12:00pm Pacific time.  The topic of the presentation:

Inside a ConfigMgr 2012 OS Deployment Task Sequence

In this webcast with Michael Niehaus, Microsoft’s “Deployment Guy”, you will learn:

  • The inner workings of a task sequence, showing the various steps in the process
  • How information is passed to and between each step & what the steps do
  • How to troubleshoot when things don’t go as expected

I am planning to do something different for this session – with a week to go for preparation (and being on vacation for most of that time), it will be interesting to see how much of my “vision” I’ll be able to get ready in time.  (As an added complication, I will be presenting while jetlagged – I arrive back in Seattle the evening before, after a twelve-hour time change.  Don’t worry, I’ll have lots of caffeine handy.)

To register for the session, please visit this link:

Posted: Nov 11 2011, 08:02 AM by cnackers | with no comments
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MDT 2012 Beta 2 Released


MDT 2012 Beta 2 Released - The Deployment Guys - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

The latest version of MDT is now available on Connect (Join the MDT 2012 Beta 2 Connect program here!)

MDT 2012 Beta 2 offers new User-Driven Installation components and extensibility for Configuration Manager 2007 and Configuration Manager 2012 as well as integration with the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) for Lite Touch Installation remote control and diagnostics.

Key benefits include:

  • Full use of the capabilities provided by System Center Configuration Manager 2012 for OS deployment.
  • Improved Lite Touch user experience and functionality.
  • A smooth and simple upgrade process for all existing MDT users.

New features For System Center Configuration Manager customers:

  • Support for Configuration Manager 2012 (while still supporting Configuration Manager 2007)
  • New User-Driven Installation components for Configuration Manager 2007 and Configuration Manager 2012
    • Extensible wizard and designer, additional integration with Configuration Manager to deliver a more customized OS experience, support for more imaging scenarios, and an enhanced end-user deployment experience
  • Ability to migrate MDT 2012 task sequences from Configuration Manager 2007 to Configuration Manager 2012

New features For Lite Touch Installation:

  • Integration with the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) for remote control and diagnostics
  • New monitoring capabilities to see the progress of currently running deployments
  • Support for deploying Windows to computers using UEFI
  • Ability to deploy Windows 7 so that the computer will start from a new VHD file, “Deploy to VHD”
  • Improved deployment wizard user experience

MDT 2012 Beta 2 will be available for beta download through to January 2012.  

Already using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit? the MDT team would like to hear about your experiences. Please send comments and suggestions to

This post was contributed by Richard Smith, a Principal Consultant with Microsoft Services UK

Announcing the Release Candidate of Configuration Manager Physical to Virtual Migration Toolkit | Microsoft Connect

Announcing the Release Candidate of Configuration Manager Physical to Virtual Migration Toolkit | Microsoft Connect

The Configuration Manager team is pleased to announce the Release Candidate (RC) of the Configuration Manager Physical-to-Virtual Migration Toolkit!

The Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit was designed to assist in situations where there are remote Configuration Manager 2007 site servers that need to be retained during the side-by-side migration process to Configuration Manager 2012.

The Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit facilitates the re-utilization of existing x64 server hardware using virtualization technologies, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V

Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit key features:

· Task sequence\standalone media driven. Utilizes Configuration Manager 2007’s task sequences to provide the ability to automate the majority of the end-to-end P2V process, including:

o Offline virtualization of physical disks.

o Preparing the VHDs to leverage virtual storage drivers and align to virtual disk layout.

o Compressing of the VHD’s to reduce size on disk.

o Installation of Windows 2008 R2 (including enabling the Hyper-V role).

o Automating the creation of a Hyper-V virtual machine.

o Attaching the captured VHDs as a Hyper-V virtual machine.

· User interface to create customized task sequences and standalone media. Wizard driven user interface assists in the creation of a customized Configuration Manager 2007 task sequence and standalone media specifically targeted to the P2V conversion of the remote site server.

· Offline physical-to-virtual conversion. Offline P2V conversion is the most reliable way to ensure data consistency between the physical hard disks and the virtual copies.

· Capture only option. Wizard driven solution to assist in the creation of bootable media, which in turn can be used to capture selected physical disk drives into Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs).

Release Candidate Improvements:

· Accessibility. Added support for high contrast, keyboard shortcuts and keyboard navigation.

· Increased critical boot driver coverage. Added additional support for critical boot drivers to enhance IDE disk driver support in the virtual instance.

Posted: Oct 27 2011, 01:43 PM by cnackers | with no comments
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System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection RCs Released!

Download Details - Microsoft Download Center - System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection RCs

ConfigMgr RC has been released today.  Download from the link above!

Here is the main product page: System Center Configuration Manager 2012 | New Next Version

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Release Candidate is Here!

In the Release Candidate, we’ve introduced some additional and enhanced capabilities, including:

  • Improved endpoint protection functionality, with integrated setup, management and reporting for System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.
  • Improved application catalog design that provides a better, more responsive experience when requesting and downloading applications.
  • New support for Windows Embedded devices, including Windows Embedded 7 SP1, POSReady 7, Windows 7 Think PC, and Windows Embedded Compact 7.
  • Improved client status checks for Configuration Manager services and features.
  • Improved compliance enforcement and tracking, with the ability to create dynamic collections of baseline compliance and the generation of hourly compliance summaries.
  • Platform support for deep mobile device management of Nokia Symbian Belle devices. Pending a platform update by Nokia later this calendar year for these devices, customers will be able to try out the management of these Nokia devices with ConfigMgr.
  • Additional scalability and performance improvements.

Important SQL Information!

Something not listed on the site is that you need KB2603910 in order to address a pretty nasty backup bug. 

So the recommend SQL configuration is SQL 2008 SP2 with CU6 and KB2603910.  The hotfix does not exist for 2008 R2 yet, so don't use SQL 2008 R2.

Posted: Oct 27 2011, 11:30 AM by cnackers | with no comments
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Troubleshooting the PXE Service Point and WDS in Configuration Manager 2007–Updated

Fantastic post over on The Configuration Manager OSD Support Team Blog.

Troubleshooting the PXE Service Point and WDS in Configuration Manager 2007 - Configuration Manager OSD Support Team Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

One of the issues we troubleshoot the most in CSS are ConfigMgr PXE Service Point installs. This article is based on 4 years of experience troubleshooting hundreds of PXE Service Point installs. The end result is what we have found causes the majority of issues on PXE Service Points and what works on most (if not all) configurations. The article assumes that you are not trying to co-host the ConfigMgr PXE Service Point with stand-alone WDS on the same server. That is a topic for a completely different article…

A previous version of this article appeared over at the The Configuration Manager Support Team Blog site. That article was actually a major revision of the original article titled ConfigMgr 2007: Troubleshooting PXE Service Point Issues and WDS service not starting. The below is an updated version of the article and can be considered version 3 of the article. Besides some minor updates in syntax and formatting, it mainly contains one major new section covering co-hosting DHCP and WDS on the same server WITHOUT having to configure WDS. It also contains additional checks when R2 or R3 are installed.

Configuration Manager–Recovering Stock Reports and Bulk Deleting Reports

Recently was working at client, we caused ourselves a slight reporting issue.  We had exported all the reports from a previous site, including custom reports.  When we imported those into the new site, we overwrote the stock reports.  What happens when you do this is that it breaks all the built in reporting links.

You lose the links like this example below.


In order to recreate the stock reports and ensure the appropriate links are there, we simply need to duplicate the process that creates the original reports.  This can be achieved by running a mofcomp against the smsrprt.mof file that is located in \installpath\bin\i386.


One you have done this, you will be able to look at the stock reports and all the links that were previously missing will now be there.  This creates the original stock 332 reports, this doesn't include the AI, FSP or FEP reports that might be added when additional features are added or installed.

In addition during this process and testing, there isn't a nice way to delete multiple reports. No way to do this via the ConfigMgr console is provided.  So I wrote a simple script to allow you to delete multiple reports.

The following VBscript will delete multiple reports and you can specify the ID range you want to delete.  if you uncomment out the echo commands, you can be prompted as each report is deleted, but that isn't very efficient if you are deleting a lot of reports.

   1: Dim objswbemservices
   2: Sub ConnectToSCCM()
   3:   set objSwbemLocator = CreateObject("WbemScripting.SWbemLocator")
   4:   set objSWbemServices= objSWbemLocator.ConnectServer(".", "root\sms")
   5:   Set ProviderLoc = objSWbemServices.InstancesOf("SMS_ProviderLocation")
   7:   For Each Location In ProviderLoc
   8:         If Location.ProviderForLocalSite = True Then
   9:             Set objSWbemServices = objSWbemLocator.ConnectServer(Location.Machine, "root\sms\site_" + Location.SiteCode)
  10:         End If
  11:   Next
  12: End Sub
  14: ConnectToSCCM()
  16: For each objreport in objswbemservices.execquery("select * from sms_report")
  17:     If objreport.reportid >= 1 And objreport.reportid <= 378 Then
  18:         then objreport.delete_
  19:             'Wscript.Echo "Deleted report: " & objreport.ReportID
  20:             'Wscript.Echo "Report name: "    & objreport.Name
  21:     End If
  23: Next
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