It has been too long since I wrote anything but here comes a small update. Hopefully I get more time to blog all things I’ve been wanting to share soon.

I have just updated my MDT Monitor Tool to version 1.5 (Download), this version adds the “Start Time” column. So if you have many deployments ongoing or finnished you can now sort on start time.



New in v1.5:

  • Added Start Time as a value in the columns so you can sort on when a deployment was started
  • Removed the empty column to the left.


New in v1.4:

  • Fixed bug where Dart Remote Viewer didnt work
  • Option to show client local time instead of UTC, edit config.xml to enable/disable


New in v1.2:

  • Fixed Dart Remote Viewer not connection to full ip Issue: 1222


New in v1.1:

  • Added timers for autorefresh of webservice info
  • Added some better errorchecking and cleaned up the code a bit


For more info see my original post:



SCCM 2012 Hardware Inventory Report

Unveil your Hardware Data

This SCCM 2012 hardware inventory report let you see all your hardware in a single view. No longer need to browse multiple built-in reports. Use it to quicky find a specific machine having particular specification (Disk, Cpu, Serial number…).

This report easily return valuable information to your management team :

How many computers our company owns ? How many DELL Optiplex 780 ?
Which computers are still running Windows XP or Windows 2003 ?
What’s the serial number of computer XYZ ?
We urgently need to update a specific hard drive firmware, which computer has the affected model ?

We split this SCCM 2012 hardware inventory report into 5 sections:

Details, System, Processor, Disk and Video Controller.


Continue to read the complete blog post here : http://www.systemcenterdudes.com/sccm-2012-hardware-inventory-report/


With the release of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, Microsoft introduced the distribution point groups functionality. Distribution point groups provide a logical grouping of distribution points and collections for content distribution as described in the following Technet Article: Configuring Content Management in Configuration Manager, Create and Configure Distribution Point Groups

A Distribution Point can be made member of one or more Distribution Point Group, based on the content deployed to that Distribution Point Group and whether the Distribution Point is member of that group, the Distribution Point receives content which is defined for the Distribution Point group.

When distributing content you have the ability to choose whether you want to distribute to a either a Collection/Collections, Distribution Point or Distribution Point Groups. This is actually the point where things start to go wrong, since depending on who is performing the distribution of the content, different options are chosen.

My personal preference is to define distribution groups, and always distribute content to distribution groups. The main advantage of this is, that when you add a new distribution group in your hierarchy, you simply add the distribution point to the already existing distribution point group and it will be filled with the content defined for the distribution point group.


In large environments, inconsistent distribution of content can lead to distribution points which are not aligned to each other, while you intended them to be because you grouped them in a Distribution Point group.

Lessons learned:

1. Be consistent in how you distribute content. Either distribute all content to all distribution points, or at least be consistent to always distribute to distribution point groups instead of distribution points. If you have the possibility to do so, use RBAC to restrict access to distribution points while giving access to the distribution point groups

2. If an application is retired, it stays on the distribution point, but you can’t distribute it anymore (leaving compliance in monitoring less than 100%) so if you expire an application remember to remove it from the distribution point groups.

3. Make sure you understand how this works before you start cleaning up the mess, read this blogpost in order to understand the scenario’s. I don’t want to be blamed that content gets removed from your distribution point while you are cleaning things up.

4. Removing content from a distribution point while initially deployed to a distribution point group is evil!

5. If you remove a distribution point from a distribution point group, the content stays on the distribution point.

In order to test the behavior of distributing content to primary I created several scenario’s in my ConfigMgr lab environment.


My lab environment is configured as followed (thanks to Johan Arwidmark for sharing the possibility to install a ConfigMgr environment using his Hydration solution – latest version here)

  • CM01 – Primary Site and Distribution Point
  • MDT01 – Distribution Point
  • MDT02 – Distribution Point

I also created 3 Distribution Point groups (DP_ALL, DP_MDT01 and DP_MDT02)







In order to see what is really available on the Distribution Points I used the Content Library Explorer, which is part of the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 toolkit provided by Microsoft.

The scenario’s

Scenario 1: Distribution of one of the boot images to the DP_ALL distribution group, remove the boot image from the MDT01 distribution point and perform a redistribute on the DP_ALL distribution group

Outcome scenario 1:

Boot image is distributed to both distribution points, after validating that the boot image has arrived we can see that the boot image is available as content on both the distribution point group and the distribution points.



If we then remove the content from the distribution point group by selecting the content on the content tab of the distribution point properties and clicking remove we validate the content and see that the boot image is removed from the distribution point.

If we now go to the properties of the distribution point group, select the boot image on the Content tab and click on Redistribute nothing effectively happens. The boot image does not get distributed to the distribution point where we previously removed the boot image.

Conclusion: After you remove content from a distribution point, the relation for that content with the distribution point group is gone as well.

Scenario 2: Distribution of a boot images towards two distribution point groups, remove the content from one of the distribution point groups.

Outcome scenario 2:

I distributed one of the boot images towards two distribution point groups (DP_ALL and DP_MDT01), after validation that the content has arrived, I removed the content from one of the distribution point groups (DP_MDT01)and monitored what happened. The boot image is not removed from the distribution point group.

Scenario 3: Distribution of a boot image to a distribution point, distribution of the same boot image to a distribution point group and after validation that the content has arrived, remove the boot image from the distribution point group

Outcome scenario 3:

I distributed a boot image to the MDT01 distribution point, after validation that the content arrived I also distributed the same boot image to the DP_ALL distribution point group. After validation that the boot image arrived on both distribution groups I removed the boot image from the DP_ALL distribution point group. The boot image then is removed from all the distribution points.

Scenario 4: Add boot image to distribution point group, add the same boot image to a distribution point and remove the boot image from the distribution point

Outcome scenario 4:

After we add the boot image to the DP_ALL distribution point group and we want to distribute the content to a distribution point which is already member of a distribution point group containing the content, you can’t choose the distribution point in the Distribute Content wizard. See the screenshot below, both Distribution Points (MDT01 and MDT02) which already have the content due to their DP_ALL distribution point group membership are not available to distribute content to.


Scenario 5: Distribute content to distribution point group, remove the content from the distribution point, distribute the content to distribution point again and then remove the content from the distribution point group.

Outcome scenario 5:

I added the boot image to the DP_ALL distribution point group, validated that the content arrived on both MDT01 and MDT02. After that I removed the content from the MDT01 distribution point, validated that the content was removed and distributed the content again to the MDT01 distribution point and validated that the content arrived. Then I removed the boot image from the DP_ALL distribution point group. The boot image then gets deleted from both the distribution points.

Scenario 6: Distribute content to distribution point group, remove distribution point from distribution point group

Outcome scenario 6:

I distributed a boot image to the DP_ALL distribution point group, validated that the content arrived on both distribution points. Then removed the MDT01 distribution point from the DP_All distribution point group. Nothing happened, the content stays on both distribution points and is not removed from the MDT01 distribution point.

The content after installation of a distribution point

Installation of a distribution point is actually quite simple, you install a server, add the computer account of the primary (or secondary) site to the local administrator group and use the wizard which will configure IIS and make the server a distribution point. Ofcourse this procedure is told very simplified because there are many other options or scenario’s available. Don’t forget to add no_sms_on_drive.sms files on the drives where you don’t want distribution point content files to land.

After you installed the distribution point functionality on a site server, you will notice that the ContentLibrary folder is empty.


After the first content distribution though, the distribution point will contain 3 different contents:

  • The content you distributed (in my case the boot image)
  • The Configuration Manager Client Package
  • An unknown package (actually this is the Configuration Manager Client upgrade package as you can see in the screenshots below)



Have you ever needed to inventory user-based information? User based application installs like Chrome or Firefox? How about a windows setting that is profile specific, like a certain registry key?

Let’s get this functionality native to hardware inventory!

Vote up the request on Connect here:


Hardware inventory can pull just about anything you want, as long as you can script it and store it in WMI, registry, local files, etc. There is a common request for information stored in the users profile whether it be applications installs, registry keys, profile settings, etc. There are custom scripts put out by the community, but they can be intensive to implement.

Please add this functionality to ConfigMgr natively!

Performing a SCCM 2012 R2 installation is not a walk in the park. The product itself can be complex for inexperienced administrators. There’s already tons of SCCM 2012 R2 Installation Guide available, written by experienced blogger and MVPs but I think that very few gives the whole picture from the start to the last component. Our goal is to bring it a bit further, explaining concepts and best practice rather than just guide the user through the installation process.

We was hesitant to post this SCCM 2012 R2 Installation Guide because SCCM VNext is coming pretty fast (Release date could be announced at Microsoft Ignite) but I finally decided to release it anyway. We still get consulting contract to install SCCM 2012 R2 so it’s definitely still relevant information.

The SCCM 2012 R2 Installation Guide blog post series will describe everything about the installation process, from the server prerequisites to the various site role installation and configurations.

Continue to read the complete blog post here : http://www.systemcenterdudes.com/sccm-2012-r2-installation-guide/

Today as most have read or heard, the latest service pack for System Center 2012 Configuration Manger dropped. If you haven’t read about it, check out the official announcement: Announcing the availability of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2. Also, here’s a great supplemental article on what’s in this release: The Strategy Behind Today’s Service Packs for System Center Configuration Manager.

Everyone cheered this until they saw two download files; that’s where the madness starts. Well, not really. It’s only madness if you let it be and don’t follow the directions posted.

The first thing to know is that from a binary perspective, ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 and ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 (non-R2) are exactly the same. The only difference is a hidden, well protected switch that tells ConfigMgr if it is R2 or if it isn’t. If it is, the additional feature set in R2 is of course enabled. This results in a single code-base which in turn enables the product team to not have to manage multiple branches of code — it’s all the same now as far as 2012 goes.

Key Point
From a binary perspective, ConfigMgr 2012 R2 Service Pack 1 and ConfigMgr 2012 Service Pack 2 (non-R2) are exactly the same.

And that’s where the two files come in. The first, named SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe, is the self-extracting executable that contains the full installation of ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 and ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 — although remember these are actually the same so it’s really only one installation with two different names. Running setup from these files will result in one of three things:

  • Installation of a new 2012 SP2 site
  • Upgrade of an existing 2012 SP1 (or no SP) site to 2012 SP2
  • Upgrade of an existing 2012 R2 site to 2012 R2 SP1

If one of these is your end goal, that’s it, your done. Move along and start being productive again. If however, you are installing a new site and are entitled R2 or have recently purchased R2 (by adding software assurance), then the second set of files is also for you.

The second self-extracting executable, named SC2012_R2_SP1_Configmgr.exe, which most folks noticed is much smaller, contains files that do not install or upgrade anything. I’ll say that once again to drive it home: it doesn’t install or upgrade anything. Selecting Upgrade from the splash.hta in these files does one thing and one thing only:

  • Converts an existing ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 (non-R2) site into a ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 site.

That’s it. If your site is already an R2 site, do *not* run Upgrade from these source files — it won’t let you anyway and you’ll just get confused.

Recall, as mentioned above a couple of times, that there is no difference between these two versions at a binary level (although I’m sure there are some minor other difference like splash screens and graphics). Thus, this so-called upgrade merely flips the switch telling the site that it is now 2012 R2 SP1 (and replaces those other minor things like graphics). Do note of course that only folks that own ConfigMgr 2012 R2 (presumably because that have software assurance on ConfigMgr) should ever run this to get to 2012 R2 SP1.

The end result here is that 2012 R2 is more or less like a feature pack just like 2007 R2 and 2007 R3 were and the above is nearly identical to that scenario.

Also, don’t get caught up in the splash screen for the first set of files above saying “Install” when you are expecting to upgrade to R2 SP1 or non-R2 SP2. It is an install. It’s a complete binary level replacement/installation of all files just like the 2012 R2 installer does to 2012 SP1. If you launch the 2012 R2 splash screen on an existing 2012 SP1 site, it will say Install also.

The below table summarizes these five simple scenarios. No madness here.

Have Want Use
Nothing ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe
Nothing ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe+SC2012_R2_SP1_Configmgr.exe
ConfigMgr 2012 SP1
(or no SP)
ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe
ConfigMgr 2012 SP1
(or no SP)
ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe+SC2012_R2_SP1_Configmgr.exe
ConfigMgr 2012 R2 ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 SC2012_SP2_Configmgr_SCEP.exe

Here’s another article from Michael Griswold that will hopefully help clarify things if you are still confused (even though the title contains something called “SCCM” as I’m not sure what that is — a web search tells me it’s a computer club in Munich for senior citizens): SCCM 2012 SP2 and R2SP1 – From here to there and the official guidance is at About the versions of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

The post Service Pack Madness appeared first on ConfigMgrFTW!.

Is this an April Fools joke? A new version of the Right Click Tools, and an enterprise product all released today?! It’s no joke, Recast is finally available!

Over the past year, we have been working hard on a new tool for ConfigMgr admins based on the very popular right click tools. Today, I am pleased to announce Recast is available!

Recast Enterprise allows you to proxy all right click tool commands through a central server which gives you the ability to audit all commands, add/remove permissions to tools, and extend the tools yourselves with custom Powershell scripts. Oh, and did I mention there are mobile apps? That’s right, you’ll be able to do all of this through the console on your desktop, or through the Recast Mobile app on IOS, Android, and Windows Phone!

If you can’t imagine right click tools running on a phone, watch these short videos that goes through many of the new features you’ll find on your phone:

Using the Configuration Manager and Active Directory Plugins

Administering Recast through the mobile application

What does this mean for you? If you want your organization to purchase a product that includes all these features with support, you can! If you don’t, you’ll still have access to the free Right Click Tools. The free Right Click Tools have been updated with bug fixes, cmdlets, and a new tool to show we are still committed to the community! We have also started a wiki and forums to allow us to better serve the community.

You can view more information about Recast Enterprise and the Now Micro Right Click Tools here.

If you like what you see and want to order the tools now, be sure to use this link to receive 25% off of your purchase!

At one of my customers I am currently building a System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager environment that must be able to support and manage their enterprise environment but also multiple not trusted forests in their environment. When adding one of the not trusted Active Directory Forests, the Active Directory Forest the Configuration Manager site information was published correctly but the discovery of the Active Directory Forest failed every time with an error that it failed to connect to forest.

Read the complete blog here: http://configmgrblog.com/2014/01/27/untrusted-forest-discovery-failed-error-2147474744/


SCCM Task Sequence issue in stand alone media I am currently working with a customer that has a strange issue during ConfigMgr standalone media Task Sequences provided to remote workers. The issue is happening during installation of applications, which are installed as part of the Task Sequence. The issue is around the copy of sources into the cache and with this customer is happening since version 2012 SP1 and is still there in R2. What’s happening is that all the applications inside the Task Sequence get copied into the client’s cache multiple times. Right now there are 24 applications inside this Task Sequence, they are put into 4 different “Install … Continue reading

At a customer lately I had an issue that my ConfigMgr 2012 R2 installation failed after the database has been configured during the setup process. After looking at the ConfigMgrSetup.log I noticed that the ConfigMgrSQLCert_PS1.cer file could not be saved to the location where the Configuration Manager Database was created.

Read the complete blog: http://configmgrblog.com/2014/01/10/configmgr-installation-failed-backslash-default-sql-database-path/

Wow, seems like ages ago that Wally Mead was at our Windows Management User Group Netherlands meeting back in November. During this Friday Afternoon Drink Wally talked about the new release 2 of Configuration Manager 2012. One of his sessions was a live upgrade of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 to Configuration Manager 2012 R2. During the live upgrade and Wally shared his knwoledge about how to prepare and perform an upgrade to Configuration Manager 2012 R2. One of his tips and tricks which I wanted to share with you and was I still on my to-do list was about closing the install screen to early.

I think (hope) that the most of you know it already, if not see what can happen.

Read the complete blog here: http://configmgrblog.com/2014/01/07/quick-configmgr-2012-r2-installation-tip-wally-mead/

For some reason my Windows Intune connector stopped working correctly recently. While testing I was able to enroll devices to Configuration Manager / Windows Intune but the devices never showed up in the Configuration Manager console.

Same behavior was for newly applications deployed to the collection with all the Windows Intune enabled users. The deployed application did not became available in the Company Portal after logging on.

Read my complete blog here: http://configmgrblog.com/2014/01/06/configmgr-windows-intune-connector-stops-working-error-0x8013150c/