Tuesday, 26 March 2013

OSD Task Sequence fails on preparing network connections in Windows PE

I was developing an operating system deployment for a customer using Config Mgr 2012. I had successfully carried out all previous work and was commencing the testing of my task sequence. I pressed F12 for network boot and the device booted into PE. However as it was "Preparing network connections" it rebooted without warning and the task sequence failed.

I was very confident that all my configuration was correct and I tried once again with the same result. At this stage I tried a different device. Again the result was the same.

No issues were found in the log files and STP Portfast was enabled on the switch port. However when I was checking the port configuration I noticed that there were excessive errors associated with that port. It looks like the internal cabling was faulty and showed intermittent failures on testing.

After connecting to a different port I was able to test my task sequence successfully.

ConfigMgr 2012 / SCCM 2012 SP1 Step by Step Guide Part 31: Install ConfigMgr Admin Console

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You don't want all your administrative users to log on to your ConfigMgr Site Server (via Terminal Services) in order to carry out their duties. Therefore you install the Config Mgr Admin Console on their computers and implement Role Based Administration to control their access. Part 31 describes this process.

.NET Framework 4 is a prerequisite. Download from Microsoft and install.

Install .NET 4.

Browse to the shares on your Config Mgr Site Server

Open SMS_XXX folder (where XXX is your site name)

Open Tools/ConsoleSetup

Launch AdminConsole.msi

Click Next

Enter the FQDN of your Config Mgr Management Point

Leave installation folder as default

Click Install

ConfigMgr 2012 / SCCM 2012 SP1 Step by Step Guide Part 30: Add Administrative Users

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Part 30 describes how to add Administrative Users to Config Mgr 2012 SP1

Navigate to Administration/Security and right click Administrative Users

Select Add User or Group to launch the wizard

Click Browse and select the user or group from AD. Note in this example we chose to make the user a Full Administrator - see below for additional options. Click OK to finish.

See list of Administrative Users

Note that we do not have to make all administrative users Full Administrator. We can implement Role Based Administration. This excellent Technet article by Howard Hoy gives you all the detail you need

Config Mgr 2012 Role Based Administration

The following roles are also available

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

ConfigMgr 2012 / SCCM 2012 SP1 Step by Step Guide Part 21: Asset Intelligence

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The Config Mgr Asset Intelligence catalog is a set of database tables stored in the site database that contain categorization and identification information for over 300,000 software titles and versions.

Asset Intelligence catalog updates that contain newly released software are available for download periodically to perform bulk catalog updates. The catalog can also be dynamically updated by using the Asset Intelligence synchronization point site system role.

Part 21 decribes the configuration of this role

Right click on Site Server and choose Add Site System Role

Verify the server details

Enter your proxy settings (not required for my configuration). Note that traffic between the site server and the Microsoft online catalog servers should be unfiltered by the proxy server (add a whitelist).

Choose Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point

Click Next

Enable the sync schedule

Finish the wizard

Right click to Enable the Sync Point and synchronise for the first time

ConfigMgr 2012 / SCCM 2012 SP1 Step by Step Guide Part 20: Software Distribution - Office 2013

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Part 18 described how to create and deploy a Config Mgr application using an MSI file. Part 19 described how to create an application using an EXE file (manually creating the deployment type and detection method).

Creating the Office 2013 Config Mgr Application is a hybrid of the two with a twist.

Office 2013 is installed using setup.exe. However the Windows Installer information can be determined from an MSI found in the installation files (proplusww.msi).

The twist is that you use the Office Customisation Tool (OCT) to customise the settings and prepare for unattended installation (note OCT is only available with Volume Licensing copies of Office)

Copy the installation files to a folder and open command prompt.
Browse to the root of the Office 2013 folder

Enter setup.exe /admin to launch the OCT

Choose to Create a new setup file

OCT launches

Choose default

Browse to "Licensing and User Information". Choose to Accept the License terms. Choose "None" as the Display Level and select "Supress Modal".

Note that this is not an in-place upgrade. Earlier versions of Office products are uninstalled.

Click Add for additional configuration

Note that the name must be in capitals. We don't want the installation to force a reboot.

 Save the file in the Updates folder (call it whateveryoulike.msp)

Close OCT

Now we create the Config Mgr application

Launch Create Application Wizard

Select Automatically detect information about this application from installation files and browse to the file PROPLUSWW.msi

Note if you are using Office 2013 Standard then you choose Standardww.Msi 

Config Mgr interrogates the MSI and discovers the Windows Installer details

Note that the installation details are now incorrect. We will edit them later. Click Next.

Now we must change the installation parameters. Open the properties of the newly created Application

Choose the Deployment Types tab.

Select Edit.

Select the Programs tab

Replace the installation program field with setup.exe . Leave the uninstall field alone.

On the Content tab, modify the content location to the Office 2010 root media

Click Apply

OK to close Deployment Type

OK to close Application

The application is now ready to be distributed and deployed

ConfigMgr 2012 / SCCM 2012 SP1 Step by Step Guide Part 19: Software Distribution - EXE

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Part 18 of the guide described the process to create and deploy an Config Mgr Application using an MSI file. It was pretty straightforward as Config Mgr was able to interrogate the MSI and discover the following information:
  • installation switches for silent install
  • Windows Installer file details - to be used in the detection method.
Unfortunately, if the application is to be installed using an executable file (.EXE) you must carry out some manual steps to configure the above information. We will manually configure a deployment type with the installation switches (we need to know these in advance) and we will manually create the detection method based on the presence of a file.

Microsoft Lync 2010 is an example of an application that is installed using an EXE file

As before right click on Application (or create a custom folder and right click that). Select Create Application.

Select "Manually specify the application information"

Enter Application details

Now we must manually configure the deployment type. This will allow us to enter installation parameters and switches. Click Add to add a deployment type.

This open the Create Deployment Type Wizard (note that the Create Application Wizard is still visible in the background)

Choose to manually specify the deployment type

Edit: ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 has introduced "Script Installer (Native)" as a deployment type. Select this from the drop-down menu. Note that "Manually specify the deployment type" remains selected.

Enter the Application name

Enter the location of the program files and configure the installation parameters. We know that "lyncsetup.exe /silent" is correct from previous testing.

This is where we will manually configure a detection method. In the case of Lync 2010, the presence of the file "communicator.exe" is evidence that the application is installed on a device. We will use this as our detection method. Note that it is a good idea to manually install the application on a test device so that we can browse to it in the next step.

Select Add Clause.

Choose File System as the Type (check out the available choices).

Browse to the test computer and select the path to "communicator.exe"

Detection method is now configured.

Ensure that we are installing for system

The Deployment Type Wizard has now been completed. We have configured the deployment type and detection method.

Click Close to return to the Create Application Wizard (which has been waiting in the background).

Note that our deployment type has been added.

Click Next to finish

The Application has now been created and can be distributed and deployed.