Secunia Webinar Follow-up

Thanks to everyone who attended my recent webcast with Secunia’s “We Speak Geek” series! The topic of discussion was deploying a lab for System Center Configuration Manager in Microsoft Azure, and automating the majority of the process in PowerShell. Want to deploy a #ConfigMgr lab in #Microsoft #Azure using #PowerShell? @Secunia webcast starts in 1 … Read moreSecunia Webinar Follow-up

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 moreCU2 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.

Read moreConfigMgr OSD: Dynamically Named WIM Captures with PowerShell

ConfigMgr 2012 SP1: Remote SQL Connectivity Problem

Recently I had some issues with a ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 Primary Site communicating with a remote SQL Server 2008 R2 named instance. This was in my lab environment. I decided to upgrade the database instance from SQL Server 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2012 SP1. Missing SQL Server Services in Configuration Manager The first problem … Read moreConfigMgr 2012 SP1: Remote SQL Connectivity Problem

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 moreSQL 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: Move ConfigMgr Collections

Introduction If you work with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) 2007 in any capacity, you probably are familiar with the concept of "collections" and how painful they can be to work with sometimes. The ConfigMgr console does not provide any method of moving a collection from one parent to another, and the … Read morePowerShell: Move ConfigMgr Collections

PowerShell: Report / Check the Size of ConfigMgr Task Sequences

Introduction

In Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 operating system deployment (OSD), there is a limitation of 4MB for task sequence XML data. This is discussed in a couple of locations:

The Technet document linked to above says the following:

Extremely large task sequences can exceed the 4-MB limit for the task sequence file size. If this limit is exceeded, an error is generated.

Solution: To check the task sequence file size, export the task sequence to a known location and check the size of the resulting .xml file.

Basically, the Technet troubleshooting article is suggesting that you would need to go into the ConfigMgr console, right-click a task sequence, export it to a XML file, and then pull up the file properties. That’s fine for one-off troubleshooting, but what if you had 1000 task sequences and needed to know how large all of them were? Read on to find out how!

Read morePowerShell: Report / Check the Size of ConfigMgr Task Sequences

ConfigMgr Software Updates: Enforcement State Unknown

There was an interesting thread going on over at the MyITforum MSSMS mailing list. Apparently if certain settings are not properly configured, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) clients will show a status of “Enforcement state unknown” for certain software updates. One proposed solution was the following: I had a similar issue some time … Read moreConfigMgr Software Updates: Enforcement State Unknown