Posts Tagged ‘2012’

I have applied the recently released Cumulative Update 1 to my System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager production environment today. I thought it might be useful to blog about the process I went through. Now to be clear, the ADK 8.1 Update is not a pre-requirement for 2012 R2 CU1. I have just taken the opportunity to apply it whilst applying CU1 as a restart is required for both processes. If your interested in the new ADK version and unsure if you should apply it here is a good blog on the subject.

Step 1: Update the ADK from 8.1 to 8.1 Update The new ADK provides a number of hot fixes including some for USMT 6. Here are the release notes and here is the download link. As I was already running the ADK 8.1 , I just ran the new versions setup and installed the updated components over the top of the existing ones. Note that the installer detects which components you have installed.

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I checked out the USMT folder after the setup completed and I had rebooted. It leaves your existing custom files in place and just updates the changed components – new loadstate.exe and scanstate.exe versions for a start amongst others with a date modified of 20/2/2014.

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Step 2: Download and apply Cumulative Update 1 (KB2938441) It can be downloaded from here. Running through the installation process is fairly straight forward although make sure you are installing the update with an account that has appropriate access to your SQL instance.

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Opening the log file shows the standard msi file install process. The log file is created in the c:\Windows\TEMP directory

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I only created an update package for the new Client as I only have a small environment with one Primary and no other site servers. I also only have 5 instances of the Configuration Manager Console and have chosen to manually apply the update on those computers.

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The installation and update process only takes around 5 minutes.

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Rebooting the server after installation is required.

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Step 3: Tweak some settings and update your USMT package I have changed the option in each Client Update package that gets created so that the installation notification is suppressed. This will prevent any notifications from appearing on computers. You can of course leave it unchecked but why bother users.

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If you have your USMT Tool Package setup correctly then it should point to the USMT folder within the ADK installation folder (Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Assessment and Deployment Kit\User State Migration Tool). So all you should have to do here is simply update your distribution points. If you have a separate package, the you will need to update your source files with the new versions and then replicate that packages content.

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Step 4: Create / Update your client collections and deploy the new client:

You should end up with an x86 and x64 R2 CU1 client update package in the console. I have setup some client hot fix collections to target my x64 and x86 clients with appropriate limiting base collections to ensure that I’m targeting healthy clients. Against each collection I have a query to control collection membership.

The query syntax for x64 based clients that I’m using is:

select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId  inner join SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE on SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId  where SMS_R_System.Client = “1” and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = “X64-based PC”  and SMS_R_System.Active = “1” and SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.DisplayName = “CCM Framework”  and SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.Version != “5.00.7958.1203”

The query syntax for x86 based clients that I’m using is:

select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId inner join SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE on SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_R_System.Client = “1” and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = “X86-based PC” and SMS_R_System.Active = “1” and SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.DisplayName = “CCM Framework” and SMS_G_System_SMS_ADVANCED_CLIENT_STATE.Version != “5.00.7958.1203”

Be careful when copying and pasting as the inverted commas are often copied incorrectly into the query statement window.

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Then deploy your client update packages to your collections. The upgrade is quite quick, taking only a few minutes.

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You will end up with a client version of 5.00.7958.1203

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Step 5: Modify your Task Sequences to include the client update

This is the final step that I have done. To ensure that client patches are applied during OSD I have previously created a separate Configuration Manager Client Package with Hotfixes as per this blog.

I’ve updated this package with the new client files and copied the new hotfix msp’s (configmgr2012ac-r2-kb2938441) to the respective updates folder.

Finally I’ve modified each of Task Sequences with the updated hot fix name.

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Happy updating,

Cheers

Damon

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Recently I had to do a site restore on a very sick Config Manager Primary. The restore itself went very smoothly however a few minor issues have popped up since. One being a warning in my Component Status logs by the SMS_COLLECTION_EVALUATOR component.

The description of the warning stated that the:

Collection Evaluator failed to find collection “%”. Collection Evaluator received a .udc (update collection) or .adc (create collection) file for a collection that does not exist.

Possible cause: The collection was deleted shortly after being created or updated, but Database Notification Monitor and Collection Evaluator processed the create or update file out of sequence.

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Inspecting the colleval.log file indicates a similar problem:

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To understand the problem a little more I did some digging. Doing a Google search on the error yielding a reported solution:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/systemcenter/en-US/512b4e38-1eac-4f9b-a482-ccb693ced2ff/sms-collection-evaluator-failed-to-find-collection

The forum response states that you can browse to the COLLEVAL.box inbox folder at \Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\COLLEVAL.box and remove the offending UDC_File’s that are instructing the SMS_COLLECTION_EVALUATOR thread to attempt to update the missing collections. Performing this action on my Primary site did indeed resolve the issue.

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Digging a little further……

Looking at the dates on these files was interesting given that they were random over the course of a 3 month period. This coincided with my package conversion to applications where I was removing large numbers of device collections and creating new user based collections.

So it seems that the number of orphaned UDC_File’s grew slowly to the point were the warning count threshold was breached, thus my SMS_COLLECTION_EVALUATOR component changed its severity status from OK to Warning. It just so happened that my restore coincided with this milestone and I hadn’t noticed the component in that warning state prior to the site restore.

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So what actions lead to these UDC_File’s hanging around every now and again once a collection is deleted?

Relating this back to the possible cause stated in the status message:

The collection was deleted shortly after being created or updated, but Database Notification Monitor and Collection Evaluator processed the create or update file out of sequence.

Well to be honest I’m not entirely sure and if anyone out there has a specific answer beyond this limited reason please let me know 🙂 It would be nice to be fully aware of how you can avoid this scenario (if at all) in future beyond the action of deleting these files.

I can say however that when you create a collection a UDC_File is generated in the COLLEVAL.box inbox folder, its processed, then removed. Similarly when you delete a collection a UDC_File is created, processed and removed. If you monitor this folder, you can see the files in action as you create and delete collections.

There are some good practice steps to follow around collections that may assist. 

Incremental Updates on Collections

According to Microsoft you should not set this setting on large numbers of collections as it could result in delays in processing memberships of collections.  See this Technet link for best practices around the use of this setting:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg699372.aspx

You can use Powershell to turn off the incremental update setting on your collections if you think you have to many enabled. This blog explains the process and has the script to download:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/brandonlinton/archive/2013/04/23/powershell-how-to-disable-incremental-collection-updates-in-mass.aspx

Management of Collections

Technet link for maintenance of collections:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg681977.aspx

Cheers Damon

I think a lot of people look at UDI (User Driven Installation) Task Sequences as just that – an option for users in an organisation to perform actions associated with the deployment of an Operating System. Well that’s perfectly acceptable however when I first installed Configuration Manager 2012 in my lab I looked at the new UDI options and immediately saw a way of replacing my old HTA that I had with Configuration Manager 2007. I was fairly sure I could adapt the UDI Wizard to suit my deployment model taking full advantage of what the MDT team had already written. The following blog briefly describes what I have done with UDI in my organisation.

Implementing the out of box UDI solution is actually fairly straight forward.

  1. Integrate MDT with your Configuration Manager 2012 installation
  2. Create your MDT files package, I have done this with MDT 2012 Update 1
  3. Create a standard MDT client task sequence, this will automatically include the steps that call the UDI Wizard
  4. Test your Task Sequence to ensure that it works and calls the UDI Wizard as expected.

Once you have these basics configured you can then take a closer look at customising what built in panes the wizard presents and how that information is collected and used.

Its worth noting as this point that I haven’t had a need to create any custom panes which set variables. Having said that, you can do this and MDT 2013 includes the ability to create your own pages using a GUI which is a vast improvement on what was offered in MDT 2012 Update 1.

Using the UDI Wizard Designer, I have removed quite a few of the built in panes. This is because I have tailored it for my Service Desk technicians to use and rely on the other built in Task Sequence steps to set variables. I have modified the New Computer and Refresh page libraries and have a separate USMT scripted process for the replace scenario.

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New Computer UDI Steps

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Refresh Computer UDI Steps

I have created separate UDI XML files for each Operating System that I deploy or refresh so that I can control settings and what applications are installed. To call different UDI Wizard XML files, save your UDI XML template file with an appropriate name into your MDT Files package then modify the two UDI Wizard steps in the Task Sequence.

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You can customise the default header image (as I have) so the UDI Wizard is customised to your organisation. To do this you will need to locate the UDI_Wizard_Banner.bmp file located in your MDT Files package. Modify both copies of this file within the \Tools\x86 and \Tools\x64 folders respectively. The image needs to be 759 x 69 pixels. Rename the old file to UDI_Wizard_Banner.original in case you wish to roll back. Once your changes are complete, update your Distribution Points.

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Here are some screen captures on my New Computer UDI Wizard. You can use the wizard to add Organizational OU’s, a pre-populated Domain Name, Applications and other variable settings.

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Collecting Computer and Network Settings

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Application Selection and Installation

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Summary Page

As the MDT Gather step runs before the UDI Wizard starts, you can also pre-populate other variables which will then automatically appear within the UDI panes. For example you may wish to run a separate script to generate a computer name, if this is run prior to the UDI Wizard running, it will be displayed in the pane that contains the field referencing that variable. Another good example of this is to pre-populate the domain join account username and password using CustomSettings.ini.

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You can also use the UDI Wizard to present groupings of Applications which when selected will then be installed as part of the base variable COALESCEDAPPS during the Install Applications step of your TS . To correctly configure this for OSD you will need to create a collection within your Configuration Manager Console, then Deploy each Application to that collection that you want to make available during an OSD Task Sequence. The Deployment type needs to be set to availableAlternatively you can use an existing collection, if you have one setup, that already has your Applications deployed in this manner.

Note: If you rename an application in Configuration Manager 2012, you will have to update your UDI XML file, save and redistribute your MDT Files package.

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When this has been completed you can use the UDI Wizard Designer to create your Software Groups. Ensure that you have set the Site Settings within the designer by selecting the Configuration Manager ribbon button. You will need to set your Site Server Name and the name of the Application Collection that you have created and deployed your Applications to otherwise your Applications will not appear when you try to search and add them.

Note: You need to tick the option “Allow this application to be installed from the Install Application task sequence action without being deployed” for each Application that you want to install as part of a TS

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Using UDI as an alternative has allowed me to transition into Configuration Manager 2012 OSD easily, retiring my old HTA. I have been able to take advantage of the built in panes and were suitable, set and populate information automatically. With the new version of MDT 2013 around the corner, the new Custom Page Designer will no doubt add further options and capabilities in this area.

Hopefully this blog gives you some broad ideas around how you can implement UDI in your organisation and what is possible to achieve when using it.

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Cheers Damon