CU2 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Microsoft has just released Cumulative Update 2 (CU2) for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager! I discovered this via a tweet from Robert Marshall, a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Client Management (ECM). There are two Microsoft Support documents that detail the changes in CU2: General fixes in the Configuration Manager product (KB2970177) Improvements to the … Read more CU2 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

ConfigMgr OSD: Dynamically Named WIM Captures with PowerShell

In the context of the Operating System Deployment (OSD) feature in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), it is common that customers will perform a “build & capture” of their target operating system, and then deploy new computers using that reference (aka. “gold” or “base”) WIM image. This process is typically automated through a build & capture task sequence. The last step of a build & capture task sequence is typically the Capture Operating System task sequence item.

Capture Operating System
Capture Operating System

Within the configuration of the Capture Operating System task sequence step, most users of ConfigMgr will simply specify a static path to the destination of the resulting WIM image. This static naming can cause conflicts if the task sequence is executed multiple times, without first renaming the target file. Additionally, the same scenario can occur if the build & capture task sequence is executed on multiple, distinct systems simultaneously.

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ConfigMgr: A Couple of Client Tweaks via PowerShell

Disable WINS Lookup via PowerShell & WMI If you’re running Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, you probably don’t need to be using the WINS lookup for Server Locator Points. Normally, you’d have to de-install the ConfigMgr client, and then re-install it with the SMSDIRECTORYLOOKUP=NOWINS MSI property. If you don’t want to do that, and want … Read more ConfigMgr: A Couple of Client Tweaks via PowerShell

System Center 2012 SP1 Orchestrator: Getting Started with Configuration Manager 2012 Integration

Introduction

System Center 2012 SP1 Orchestrator is a tool to help automate enterprise processes. It stresses the reduction of code writing, which has its benefits, but also has its drawbacks. In my personal opinion, everyone should learn how to write code. These days, if you’re focused on the Microsoft platform, there is nothing better to learn than PowerShell. Knowing how to write code will help you to fill in gaps in the integration of two or more software products.

Given the wide array of functionality offered by System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager, it would seem highly desirable to use Orchestrator to automate some of that functionality. You can perform functions such as:

  • Creating or deleting Collections
  • Invoke Collection membership evaluations
  • Add or remove Collection Membership Rules
  • Enumerate Collection members
  • Deploy Applications or Configuration Baselines
  • Invoke ConfigMgr client actions

In the next section, we’ll explore how to set up integration between Orchestrator and Configuration Manager.

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SQL 2012 SP1: Errors on starting database server named instance

I recently got some weird SQL Server error messages in the Application event log after rebooting my SQL 2012 SP1 server, running on Windows Server 2012: Event ID 26014: Unable to load user-specified certificate [Cert Hash(sha1) “D3D88810B87C9533AA30CE9B2C3BDCEE3C674B97”]. The server will not accept a connection. You should verify that the certificate is correctly installed. See “Configuring … Read more SQL 2012 SP1: Errors on starting database server named instance

ConfigMgr 2012: Ccmeval.exe causing client corruption

I’ve discovered, on more than one occasion, that the ConfigMgr 2012 client’s ccmeval.exe, which is intended to resolve client health related issues, actually breaks the ConfigMgr client. This has happened on a Windows 8 RTM client, and I’m fairly certain that it affects Windows Server 2012 as well. You might be aware that Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are unsupported client operating systems with ConfigMgr 2012 RTM, but will be officially supported in Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Issue


By default, when the ConfigMgr 2012 client is installed, a Scheduled Task is registered under the \Microsoft\Configuration Manager called “Configuration Manager Health Evaluation.” The command line that is called is simply ccmeval.exe, with no command line arguments. The task will run approximately around midnight (12:19 AM on my test client) every night.

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PowerShell: Get a List of Installed Software from ConfigMgr

Let’s say you’ve got Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) in your IT environment (and if you don’t, why on earth not!). If you’re on the desktop management team, you might occasionally get requests from someone on a network or security team, inquiring as to the installed software on a particular client, or group of clients.

Rather than diving straight into the ConfigMgr reports, as most people do, sometimes it’s just faster to load a data set into PowerShell and massage the data from there. Why PowerShell? Well, it provides very easy, real-time filtering and sorting capabilities, and if you need to make a modification to a temporary “report,” you don’t have to worry about modifying the Report object in the ConfigMgr provider, which is typically done through the ConfigMgr console.

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ConfigMgr 2012 RC Issues with CAS + Primary Hierarchy

I just got done setting up a ConfigMgr 2012 Release Candidate primary site beneath a Central Administration Site (CAS), and when firing up the console on the primary site, I’m getting the following message: “Your Configuration Manager console is in read-only mode while this site completes tasks related to maintenance mode. After these tasks are … Read more ConfigMgr 2012 RC Issues with CAS + Primary Hierarchy

ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2: WMI Namespace Documentation

I recently put together some documentation for the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta 2 WMI provider. This is a searchable, formatted Excel document that displays all the classes, properties, and methods for the SCCM 2012 provider. Hopefully this will help you to find the proper information for writing custom scripts and so on. … Read more ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2: WMI Namespace Documentation

ConfigMgr 2012: Deleting Advertisements

Where’d my Advertisements Go?

Advertisements aren’t quite what you think they are. At least, that’s probably the case if you’re talking in context of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr). At first glance you might see “deleting advertisements” and exclaim: “YES! Please do!” The difference here is that advertisements in SCCM are not product or service advertisements, but rather proclamations of the availability of software to a computer system. If you’re reading this, you most likely already knew that, but if not, then … now you do.

Back in the days of the SCCM 2007 console, there was a single Software Distribution –> Advertisements node which contained advertisements for both standard software distribution and operating system deployment (OSD) task sequences. This worked pretty well, but it was a little confusing since the operating system deployment node was entirely separate from software distribution. Hierarchically, it just didn’t make sense.

image

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