Posts Tagged ‘Center’

We recently implemented the Configuration Manager 2012 Management Pack with Operations Manager 2012 to improve our ability to analyse load, performance and health of our environment.

Following the installation we initially had some issues with only the Primary Site being partially monitored and no site system roles being reported as healthy. This also included components such as our Distribution Points and Management Point.

Eventually we were successful and the Management Pack is now monitoring our environment in full. We did the following in order to resolve the problem.

  1. Installed the SCOM agent on all of our servers running either Site System or Site Server Config Manager components
  2. Enabled Agent Proxy under the Security Tab on each managed server with Config Manager infrastructure running on it including the Primary. This is contrary to the Management Pack documentation.
  3. Created SCOM exclusions for our Anti-Virus (Initially we had to completely uninstall it on our SCOM server for the monitoring to fully work)
  4. Disabled the client discovery object as we are not running Config Manager clients on our infrastructure
  5. Decreased the Hierarchy Discovery time from 86400 seconds to 600 seconds
  6. Decreased the Central Site Discovery time from 14400 seconds to 600 seconds
  7. Increased the Site Services Discovery, Hierarchy Discovery and Distribution Point Drive Discovery timeout from 300 seconds to 500 seconds
  8. Performed a manual Site System Discovery and Hierarchy Discovery from the SCOM console
  9. Waited approx 6 hours for monitoring data to initially full populate

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Out of the box the management pack provides monitors for all the Config Manager infrastructure which you don’t need to create overrides for. However if you want to start collecting performance data then you do need to create overrides for each specific area. You can refer to the MP documentation here for the full list.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29267

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I’ve created some custom dashboards in addition to inbuilt ones (Note these wont work until you have tuned the MP to your requirements by enabling additional rules). Hopefully these give you an idea of what is possible with the MP. We have a couple of these cycling through on a large LCD panel in our office which give the Service Desk staff a good overview of the status of the Config Manager environment.

OVERALL HEALTH DASHBOARD

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DISTRIBUTION POINTS PROCESSOR UTILIZATION

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DISTRIBUTION POINTS FREE DISK SPACE %

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MANAGEMENT POINT UTILIZATION – TOTAL ONLINE CLIENTS

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MANAGEMENT POINT UTILIZATION – Authentication Requests / Sec, Hardware & Software Inventory Requested / Sec

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HIERARCHY DIAGRAM SHOWING HEALTH ROLLUP

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I’ve only really scratched the surface with what you can monitor and report on. Hopefully this gives everyone a good idea of what’s possible and how to do some basic installation troubleshooting based on what we experienced.

Cheers

Damon

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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

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

The number one reason for update installation failures from Microsoft is because your computers are running an out of date WUA (Windows Update Agent) or its not configured correctly. So how can this occur when we have Config Manager managing our updates and deploying them? Well its because WSUS handles the updating of the WUA agent and its components, not Config Manager. Incorrect Group Policy settings can also cause problems.

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A client running the internal SelfUpdate process

There are a number of blogs out there discussing how to correctly implement WSUS, Config Manager and Group Policy, in fact Jason Sandys presented on this at MMS this year (2013). This gives a great overview of how to implement Software Updates ensuring that your WUA updates itself also.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MMS/2013/UD-B405

When I upgraded to Config Manager 2012 I experienced quite a few clients that had out of date WUA’s. I was completely oblivious to this, however I identified the issue when decommissioning my old Config Manager 2007 instance. I could see in the IIS logs that I had computers still trying to contact my old WSUS server to do a WUA version check even though these computers had the new 2012 Config Manager agent running on them. This indicated that a number of computers had issues with their settings relating to how they were contacting the new WSUS server. I knew that my Group Policy settings, WSUS and Config Manager Software Updates implementation were correct as the vast majority of my clients were updating and communicating correctly.

So how do we put some checks in place so we can identify those computers with out of date WUA versions and re-mediate them? Well, I have done the following, maybe you will find the following information useful.

According to Microsoft you can use this SQL query:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb680319.aspx

however you can’t run this from within the Config Manager Console, you get an error about the view being unavailable.

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A work around for this is to use the following query which I obtained from a Technet discussion (credit to Jason Sandy’s and those who responded on this page). Go to Monitoring tab within your Configuration Manager Console and create a new query with the following syntax:

select rsys.Name, wua.Version from  SMS_R_System as rsys full join SMS_G_System_WINDOWSUPDATEAGENTVERSION as wua on wua.ResourceId = rsys.ResourceId

This will give you a view with results similar to the following:

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When I initially ran this in my environment I then noticed a number of computers with out of date agents or no agent version at all even though they had the new 2012 client installed. This can mean that the Config Manager client has yet to run an inventory and upload the information, however in my case I could see that the inventory actions were running and had uploaded data. Subsequently I checked the WUAHandler.log on the problem computers and ran across two distinct issues.

Issue 1.

On some of the computers I could see that the WUAHAndler.log indicated that it was still pointed to the old WSUS server that no longer existed. I was seeing the following error in the WUAHandler.log

*******************************************************************************
Its a WSUS Update Source type ({63897A13-E330-463A-B09E-101151D25935}), adding it.
Enabling WUA Managed server policy to use server: :8530″>:8530″>http:// :8530
Waiting for 2 mins for Group Policy to notify of WUA policy change…
Group policy settings were overwritten by a higher authority (Domain Controller) to: Server “>”>http:// and Policy ENABLED
Failed to Add Update Source for WUAgent of type (2) and id ({63897A13-E330-463A-B09E-101151D25935}). Error = 0x80040692.
*******************************************************************************

For these instances I browsed to the c:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine folder on the computer and manually removed the Registry.pol file. This file was then re-created by doing a gpupdate /force on the computer. Following this action, the WSUS server reference in the WUAHandler.log was corrected and the computer then started to communicate with the new WSUS server. So it would seem that this file was corrupted and was not being replaced by my updated Group Policy.

Note: This can also be caused by incorrect Group Policy settings which override any local WSUS server policy that the Configuration Manager client attempts to set so bare this in mind when troubleshooting this error.

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Issue 2.

On the remaining computers I was seeing a search related error in the WUAHandler.log, subsequently inspecting the WindowsUpdate.log indicated an issue with the client being able to contact the new WSUS server:

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For these computers the problem lied with the machine proxy setting. This was shown when running netsh winhttp show proxy. This setting had been configured but then not removed as part of another internal process within our domain. To correct the communication problem I ran the following from an elevated command prompt then restarted the computer:

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Allowing for inventory to be run on the re-mediated clients, the WUA version information then appeared in the SQL Query that I had configured in my environment. Checking the WindowsUpdate.log on those computers also indicated that the self update process was working.

I hope these two issues and their associated resolutions help you with your WUA version compliance when running Software Updates with Configuration Manager 2012!

Cheers Damon

So recently I discovered that certain file extensions with my Windows 8 Enterprise deployments were associated by default with the new modern/metro applications. These included .jpg .bmp etc. Now for tablet users this may not pose a problem but for a Desktop Enterprise scenario it certainly raised some eyebrows with my end users who were consistently switching between the traditional desktop applications and the new modern applications when working.

To combat this change Microsoft have introduced a new way to set and manage these file type associations. You can no longer use a VB or Batch file to script these changes in the registry due to a security hash checking process built into Windows 8. We can now use the Dism utility to generate an XML answer file which we can then deploy and manage using Group Policy.

I recommend following these steps to configure and deploy your desired associations.

1. Deploy a copy of your current Windows 8 Enterprise WIM with your chosen deployment solution. Run up Default Programs under Control Panel and look at your current file type associations. Take note of which ones you want to alter and make your changes

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2. Now we need to generate our XML file. Run an elevated command prompt and type Dism /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:\\youshare\AppAssoc.xml This will output a file with all of your file types and their current associations.

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3. Edit this file to include only the file associations that you wish to change. You can elect to keep the file intact in its entirety if you wish. Optionally you may wish to make copies of the file if you have different file association requirements for different business groups in your organisation which you can target using separate Group Policies.

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4. Once you have this XML configured to your preference we can specify it in our Windows 8 Group Policy setting. Open up the Group Policy MMC on your Windows 8 environment (with RSAT installed) or Server 2012 instance and locate the policy Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File Explorer\Set a default associations configuration file Now specify the location of where you have stored the XML file. A possible option is to use a network share, or you may want to copy/inject the file locally to the Windows 8 Enterprise build as part of a Configuration Manager Task Sequence.

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Hey presto! You now have a method of controlling and setting file associations in your organisation which is flexible enough to cater for the different scenarios you may find yourself having to manage – thanks to the Modern Desktop 🙂

Technet Reference http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825038.aspx