Tips

Tips for Installing Windows 10 on a Zotac MI522 Nano

By Garth Jones Last week I wrote a blog post entitled, How to Install Windows 10 via a USB Drive. In that post I showed you how I created a boot media to install Windows 10 via a USB stick. In this blog post I’ll give you some tips about what I learned from installing Windows 10 on a Zotac MI522 nano computer. 1. The entire process took me about 10 minutes to add RAM and a SSD drive to the Zotac, so it was fairly quick, but make sure that you give yourself enough time. 2. This type of computer doesn’t have a CD ROM or a DVD, so you need to create a bootable USB stick in order to install Windows 10. See my blog post for step-by-step instructions. 3. I was having a hard time with a wireless mouse and keyboard during the BIOS boot section, so I would recommend using a WIRED keyboard and mouse...

Configuration Manager and Software Inventory: Proceed with Caution

By Garth Jones I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve recommended to someone that they turn off Configuration Manager’s Software Inventory! Issues with Software Inventory (SW inv) come up all the time within many of the forums and mailing lists that I’m active on. I always point folks back to my blog posts: Slow Software Inventory Cycle in SCCM 2012, Configuration Manager Inventory Cycle Recommendations and Updated – Troubleshoot ConfigMgr Hardware Inventory Issues. Yes, that last blog post is about hardware inventory, but for troubleshooting SW inv issues it works fine too. Software Inventory shouldn’t be called software inventory at all. Instead it should be called File Inventory as it actually only collects file header details. Inevitably a new ConfigMgr admin will enable ...

Why Won’t Collections Update on the CAS?!

By Garth Jones While I was working on my new lab, I noticed that collections were not refreshing, so I dug deep into the server and noticed that the link state of Database Replication was Link Degraded. I ran the Replication Link Analyzer and received the following message:   By way of background, this lab is configured to be a complex one. It has a CAS and a primary site server. Each of the primary site’s roles are remote to the site server. The remote roles are SQL Server, SSRS, WSUS and two DPs. Returning to the error message, the Replication Link Analyzer said that the primary site didn’t have sysadmin (SA) rights. However, the primary site already had SA rights on the remote SQL Server (see the screenshot below). I started troubleshooting by looking at the system account details on th...

Windows Experience Index in Windows 10

By Garth Jones I love Windows Experience Index and I was truly sad to see that Microsoft removed it from Windows 8.1. Why did I love it? Well, ask any techy, we get asked by friends and family all the time, “What computer should I buy?” As an Enterprise Mobility MVP, I’m not what you would call a, “bit head.” You know, the person that can tell you exactly why you should buy one video card over another. Bit heads know the performance stats of every hard drive, CPU and motherboard. One of my old roommates was like that and it was great having him around to answer all of those questions! When Microsoft Vista came out I loved the fact that Microsoft finally came up with their own built-in version of the Norton Utilities system information and desk test. Remember the one from 1985?! Image curte...

Notes from the Field: Converting Hyper-V Server to Windows Server

By Garth Jones In a previous blog post I talked about Broadcom NIC issues that cropped-up when I upgraded a Hyper-V Server to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. In this blog post I’ll talk about the lessons I learned during the upgrade. During the upgrade process I also needed to convert a pass-through disk to a VHDX file, adjust the RAID configuration, and convert the host to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. I decided to change the RAID configuration to RAID 1 for the host OS C:\ and RAID 5 to hold all the VHDX files on D:\. This was done to allow the maximum disk space without sacrificing performance on the VMs. At a high level the following steps were performed. 1. Backed-up both VMs to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. 2. Created an iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface)...

New Year’s Checklist for Configuration Manager

By Garth Jones January is a good time to start off the New Year by checking your Configuration Manager’s environment to ensure that everything is working well. We all know that we should be doing this every week or month, but there never seems to be enough time in the day! Day-to-day activities always seem to get in the way. To help us out, Microsoft produced a guide that lists a number of ConfigMgr maintenance tasks. The guide is great, but I find that it doesn’t give enough detail. Instead, each year, I refer to a list that I put together some time ago. My so-called, “Configuration Manager Health Checklist.” It is designed to start at the top of the console and move down node by node. I’m always, unfortunately, surprised when I run these tests. For example, I discovered that Software Met...

Does Installing the Latest ConfigMgr Current Branch TP Reset the Number of Evaluation Days Left?

By Garth Jones The simple answer is yes! Here’s how I found out. On December 20, I turned on my System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch Technical Preview (ConfigMgr CB TP) lab environment. I quickly discovered that this lab was using ConfigMgr CB TP 1608 and it was expired. As a result, I couldn’t upgrade my lab, so I needed to build a new one. The next day, I created a new lab and installed ConfigMgr CB TP 1610 on it. I saw that it would expire in 90 days. I really didn’t want to create a new lab every 90 days and I vaguely remembered that the ConfigMgr product team created a fix. However, without contacting them directly, how could I prove it? Since I needed to update the lab from 1610 to the latest technical preview, 1612, I decided to wait 24-hours. This would allow for my C...

Avoid Installing WID and SQL on the Same Server

By Garth Jones Recently I built a new test lab. As an aside, in my opinion, this is one of the most complicated labs that you could have, but I’ll write more about that at a later date. While building this lab, I needed to setup WSUS on my new CAS server. Usually, when you setup the WSUS server role on the server, there is a post role task that needs to be completed before WSUS can be used. Normally you click the post task in Server Manager and a few minutes later the task gets marked as successfully completed. Needless-to-say, the post task didn’t complete successfully for me. When I reviewed the log file, I saw the following error message: You can clearly see within the error message (highlighted text) that it looks like there was an error within the database (DB) structure. When I resea...

I Want My Reports to Use My Full Screen!

By Garth Jones I work with a lot of clients to help them create ConfigMgr dashboard reports. At some point, they usually want their dashboard displayed on a monitor within the service desk area. These monitors are generally 42-inches (1920 x 1080 pixels) and attached to a wall. Thereby allowing everyone within the service desk area to quickly see the report. The problem that arises is that they can’t seem to maximize the size of the report to fill the entire screen. To solve this problem, you need to do the following: · Set your browser to full screen mode. · Access the report via the report server URL instead of the reports URL (I will cover this topic in tomorrow’s blog post). · Add a command to the URL to hide the toolbar (I will also cover this topic in tomorrow’s blog post). The first...

How Do I Install PowerShell Modules?

By Garth Jones Not long ago, I was working with PowerShell (PS) in order to create a few automation scripts. This was a bit of a challenge for me as I’m still learning PowerShell. I was working on a protected network, with no internet access, and trying to apply software updates (SUs). I soon discovered that, at a high level, I needed to perform the following tasks and each section would become its own PowerShell script: Protected Network 1. Create a list of SUs that need to be deployed. Public Network 2. Synchronize a WSUS server that has internet access with Microsoft. 3. Perform a WSUS clean-up. 4. Approve all required SUs. 5. Download those SUs to the WSUS content directory. 6. Export the WSUS database. 7. Copy the WSUS database and the WSUS content directory to the protected network. ...

How to Test Your MP to Confirm If It Is Healthy

By Garth Jones This is one of those testing questions that I get asked fairly often: How can I test to confirm that ConfigMgr is working? This is a complicated question with a long answer, but the simplest and shortest answer is to test your Management Point (MP). By testing the MP, you can confirm that your site and clients are communicating. The MP is used by all clients to send status messages, hardware inventory details, etc. It is also used to receive tasks such as deploying software or software updates. It plays an important role in the health of ConfigMgr. If it’s not working, then nothing will really work. The following three commands will help you test your MP health: · http://<ServerName.FQND>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mplist · http://<ServerName.FQDN>/sms_mp/.sms_aut?mpcert · ...

Does Your OS Architecture (x86 or x64) Matter within a Query?

By Garth Jones When ConfigMgr administrators are creating a collection query to find all computers with a particular application for both x86 and x64 computers, almost everyone falls into the same mistake. That mistake is querying for both x86 and x64 software titles using an Inner Join between x86 and x64 views. When I point out this mistake, I often get different answers. Here’s the last one I got about this issue: “This [query] doesn’t depend on your PC or OS architecture (x86 or x64).” The operating system (OS) architecture is very important to your query. Why? Well, OS architecture is important because an x86 computer does not have any entries for x64. Okay, but why is that important? We will get to that, but first let me show you the Resource Explorer for two computers, Win2k8 (x86) ...