giving something back after taking a lot :-)

Maik Koster at

ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 meets Tablets – The case of the “Unknown”

September 03, 2013
Scary title What do I mean by this? In the last two posts, I wrote about Issues with Boot images and the default partitioning schema , I came across when preparing a deployment for some Windows 8 based tablets. During this, we ran into a situation, that raised an interesting question with quite a bunch of even more interesting discussions, that I would like to highlight and hopefully get some additional comments/feedback on this. “Unknown computers” Within ConfigMgr, there is the concept of “ Unknown...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , ,

UEFI and ConfigMgr 2012/MDT 2012 issues II – Partitions and applying the image

September 02, 2013
As mentioned in my last post about Bootable medias , I recently had to prepare some UEFI based Windows 8 deployments to different tablet devices. After I fixed the problem with the boot medias, I finally got them to boot and start the deployment process. However, it failed already a few minutes later. Digging into the log files lead to a problem with the “ Apply Operating System Image ” step and it turned out that the OSDisk property didn’t have a value. To be fair, this isn’t actually a plain ConfigMgr...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , ,

UEFI and ConfigMgr 2012 issues I - Bootable media

August 30, 2013
Recently, I had to prepare some UEFI based Windows 8 deployments to tablets using ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU2 and ran into a couple issues that I would like to write down, as I wasted quite some time to get those resolved. Some of those issues have already been mentioned in some other blog posts, Technet forum questions or sometimes a short a comment. But I thought it would be helpful to have a combined list. Even it it’s only for my own reference Bootable Media After the installation of SP1 and CU1 ConfigMgr...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , ,

Approving updates from ConfigMgr SCUP to WSUS

August 29, 2013
Even if I’m deploying images using ConfigMgr, I’m still a big fan of creating my reference images using MDT LiteTouch. It’s faster, easier to automate, easier to tweak and if using thin images, there is even not much duplication involved (but that’s a different discussion ). In such cases, I also typically use a standalone WSUS Server to have some control on what updates are being installed during the process. This WSUS instance is for this reference image process only. However, most companies have...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , ,

MDT Wizard Studio beta released

January 13, 2013
The MDT Wizard Editor is probably one of the most useful tool if it comes to editing the Lite Touch Wizard files. It especially simplifies the pretty tedious part of editing the xml files and the embedded HTML content of each wizard pane. However the current version of it dates back to October 2009 and with this didn’t support any of the changes, that came with MDT 2012 and MDT 2012 Update 1. One of the major changes between 2010 and 2012 has been, that in contrast to MDT 2010, all wizard panes are...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: ,

2012 Microsoft® MVP Award – Setup & Deployment

October 01, 2012
Just received the following email: Dear Maik Koster, 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 Setup & Deployment technical communities during the past year. Thanks to Microsoft for re-awarding me. I really appreciate being part of this community that gives so much. Or to...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under:

Compare Active Directory computer accounts with Configuration Manager resources

September 28, 2012
Despite all discovery methods, Health scripts and other cleanup efforts it might be helpful from time to time to simply compare all the computer account objects that we have in Active Directory with our resources in ConfigMgr. There are a couple posts available, that demonstrate how to integrate information from Active Directory into SQL reports. See e.g. “ How to add AD data to ConfigMgr reporting ” from Garth Jones. As you can see, in his post, Garth shows already how to compare AD accounts with...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , ,

MDT Database version history

August 23, 2012
  As you might know, there is a whole bunch of settings/properties in MDT that drive the processing of MDT. And with every new version of MDT, the amount of settings typically just grows, but sometimes, they also drop the usage of some of them. Most of these settings are also available in the Database, that comes with MDT, and most of the new settings will also be published to the database, as soon as you upgrade it. However, sometimes, they also get rid of deprecated ones and you typically...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: ,

MDT Monitoring Deep Dive IV – Sending more information

August 21, 2012
In my post MDT Monitoring Deep Dive II – Consuming the data yourself , I showed you how you can write your own web service, that consumes the MDT monitoring information. The next thing we will cover is, how we can send even more information from MDT and also make use of a pretty hidden feature in this monitoring option I blogged about in the last post . Send additional information As we have seen in the last couple of posts, MDT will automatically send some information about the current deployment...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , ,

MDT Monitoring Deep Dive III – Returning settings to a Computer

August 21, 2012
If you enable the MDT Monitoring, you also enable kind of a “hidden” feature, that will give you just another way of setting properties on computers that are being deployed. One of the most important tasks in MDT is the gather process. It collects information locally on the client computer like hardware info etc. It evaluates the rules configured in the customsettings.ini and can also query databases and web services or run additional scripts for this evaluation. Now, since MDT 2012, if you enabled...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , ,

MDT Deployment Wizard goes JQuery – Combining VBScript and JavaScript

July 26, 2012
As you are well aware, JavaScript is, what drives our current online world, make it more dynamic then ever. In opposite to this, VBScript is, what drives almost everything in MDT, giving us full flexibility in our deployments, no matter which version of Windows we are using it on. But what most aren’t aware of is, that those languages easily talk to each other. “ Why would I care?” you might ask. Well, let’s think about the MDT Wizard or hta FrontEnds in general. Pretty often you write them based...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , , , , ,

MDT Monitoring – Deep Dive II – Consuming the data yourself

July 25, 2012
As mentioned in my last post , MDT 2012 comes with an interesting monitoring option. It installs a web service, where events are being posted to and which the workbench queries to get the current status of all running and recently finished deployments. But as we also got aware, it’s posting a lot more information as visible in the workbench. So if you would like to see all the stuff that’s going on there and would like to do some more advanced processing/reporting on this stuff, you are reading the...   Read the full post or  leave a comment.

MDT Monitoring – Deep Dive I

July 16, 2012
The new monitoring feature is probably one of the most interesting and underestimated features of MDT 2012. In this version, its just some “initial” implementation, but it has great potential and in contrast to other custom extensions that have been available before, it’s tightly integrated and working out-of-the-box with support from Microsoft. What I won’t cover in this post is how to set it up and troubleshoot. As there has been some great posts already that cover all this in every detail. Please...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , ,

New features in MDT 2012 – Download files from the internet

July 11, 2012
Sometimes it would be nice to be able to download some files from the internet or intranet during deployments. Maybe to get some updated tools like bginfo.exe or store some configuration or wizard files outside of your boot image etc. This is quite easy to achieve for files that are located on a network share, as MDT has some built-in support for this since quite some time already and I’ve recently blogged about the available functions for File-handling (see Extending the MDT Documentation - Some...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , ,

Handling lists in MDT web service calls – Adding Computers / Users to Active Directory groups

July 05, 2012
A common question if it comes to deployments is, how to add a computer (or user) to one or several Active Directory groups. As you probably know, I generally prefer using web services for any Active Directory related task, as this avoids a lot of typical issues like permission problems, adding ADSI to the WinPE etc. Luckily the Deployment Web Service , which is freely available on CodePlex , has some appropriate functions that allow us to fulfill this task. Adding a computer (or user) to a single...   Read the full post or  leave a comment. Filed under: , , , ,
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