Posts Tagged ‘Configuration Manager’

Week in Review – CW23

June 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Time again for my weekly list of things to look further into:

  • Beginning of the week Microsoft has announced that it will be retiring Azure guest OS Family 1 images (Windows Server 2008). Retirement date is September 2nd. This is a concern for those having Configuration Manager implementation with cloud based Distribution Points. Currently recommendation from Microsoft is to hold off on updating cloud based DP’s. Read more about this here.
  • Short tutorial on how to Deploy a web clip on iOS devices that links to the Mobile Web Portal.
  • Brian Mason has been experimenting with Management Points and Distribution Points with the server GUI. Read all about the idea, its purpose, and the outcome of the test here.
  • Kent Agerlund blogs about troubleshooting issue with collection updates in Configuration Manager 2012.

Enjoy the weekend and see you next week!



Week in Review – CW22

June 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Time flies – another week and month have gone by. Here are a few things that I personally wanted to catch up on from last week. Maybe there are a few things of interest for you as well:

  • Microsoft support published an article entitled Configuring and Troubleshooting Operating System Deployment in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. If you are looking for the basics on setup up OSD then this article may be of interest to you. I’m missing the details about the troubleshooting though.
  • Must read article on myITforum on Configuration Manager 2012 Index Optimization
  • Released: KB2961924 – A command-line action that has a linked package doesn’t start in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.
  • Released: KB2962909 – Active Directory discovery creates computer names that use the domain NetBIOS name in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.
  • Saw this tweet from David O’Brien flying by talking about something called Chocolatey applications. Never heard of them but they look interesting and I definitely will look further into these for usage in my labs.

See you next week!


Week in Review – CW21

May 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Quick wrap up on things that caught my attention in the past week. I have a rather short list this time due to the fact I was at Briforum in London for 3 days.

Enjoy the weekend!


Week in Review – CW18

May 4, 2014 Leave a comment

This is my first Week in Review blog post, so I will start with a quick introduction on what the purpose of these recurring posts will be: while at work at a customer there is a massive amount of information that I see flying by all the time. It comes from different sources: email, RSS, Twitter, LinkedIn, Etc. There is simply no time to track and keep up with all that information at that time. So if at first glance a piece of information seems interesting I add it to a list to review it in detail when more time is available. I try to keep track and clean-up my “to review” list by the end of every week.

As these bits and pieces of information may be interesting for others as well I will be sharing my list on a regular basis. To start of this initiative let’s have a look at the list for calendar week 18:

  • In their Support Announcement for April 2014 article the ConfigMgr team has confirmed that Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and Configuration Manager 2012 R2 in a SQL upgrade scenario. It is not supported to install a new site with SQL Server 2014. In the same article support for Application Virtualization 5.0 SP2 is announced.
  • Also on the Configuration Manager Team blog is the article outlining the updates to the Configuration Manager Documentation Library for April 2014.
  • Released: KB2923078 – Reporting Services installation fails on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 that has SQL Server 2014 installed.
  • Released: KB2931044 – Discovery Data Manager slows when it rebuilds .ncf files on startup in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1.
  • Session recordings from the TechDays in The Netherlands have been published on Channel 9. Plenty of interesting items to catch up on! Click here for a full overview.
  • Shockwave in the world of ECM: Wally Mead has left Microsoft after 22 years to join Cireson. One of the first articles about it could be found on PRWeb. Is this an indicator the future of Configuration Manager as a product is at risk? Rod Trent has written an excellent article on the subject.

Happy reading and see you next week!


ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2–Collection Evaluation Viewer

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I have blogged about the DP Job Queue Manager. Today we will have a further look into another great utility in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 toolkit: the Collection Evaluation Viewer (CEViewer.exe).

The main purpose of the Collection Evaluation viewer is to assist in troubleshooting issues related to collection evaluation. We will now test drive the tool in a lab to further explore the possibilities.

In case you did not download the toolkit yet, it is available here. The installation is really straightforward and we will not outline those details during this post. Instead we will fire up the utility straight away.


Before doing anything else I would recommend to first have a look at the last tab entitled about Collection Evaluation. This tab contains details on how to collection evaluation process runs and will help you to better understand the other queue tabs.


Now that we have some insights on how the queuing works, lets go to the first tab and provide the connection details to connect to the primary site. Connection details are shown at the bottom of the window.


Moving on to the Full Evaluation tab – this is where things become interesting. When looking specifically into performance issues the columns Run Time (Seconds) and Percent will be the most interesting ones: the first one logs how long the last evaluation took and the Percent column shows the percentage of evaluation time for this collection over the total (all collections) evaluation time. This should help you spot problematic collections straight away.

Additionally we can also find more details about the last time the collection was evaluated, when the next evaluation time will be, and what the result of the last evaluation was in regards to membership and when that change took place.


The Incremental Evaluation tab show information similar to the Full Evaluation tab, but this time for collections that have the incremental evaluation setting enabled. Also here we can easily spot problematic collections based on the Run Time and Percent columns.


The All Queues tab gives a complete overview of the different queues. Before taking the screenshot above I triggered a membership update on a few demo collections. As this is a manual action the collections are listed in the manual update queue. Notice that an estimated completion time is listed for both collections of which the membership is currently being evaluated.


The remaining (color-coded) tabs each represent a different queue. The screenshot above for to the manual update queue and lists a set of collections for which I had triggered a membership update. Here we can see the estimated run time and estimated completion time for each of the collections.

The remaining tabs are for the queues for new collections, collections with full updates or collections with incremental updates and work in the exact same way.

To finish up this post I would like to add that this tool can only be used with Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It will not work with previous versions. On an SP1 site we were able to connect to the site but when browsing to any of the other tabs in the tool it errors out as shown in the screenshot below.



That concludes our overview and test drive of this very interesting tool in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit. I hope this information was useful and will encourage you to download the toolkit and start using these tools.

Until next time!


Implementing Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Cumulative Update 1

April 10, 2014 7 comments

This post outlines the implementation of Cumulative Update 1 for Configuration Manager 2012 R2 in a lab environment. Note that this update is applicable for R2 only, if you are currently still running Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 please refer to my previous blog post on implementing Cumulative Update 4 for ConfigMgr SP1.

The detailed description and download link for this Cumulative Update  are available here: .

The CU is applicable directly to the following components:

    • CAS
    • Primary Sites
    • Secondary Sites
    • SMS Provider(s)
    • Console(s)

    Additionally it contains updates for the following components:

    • CAS
    • Primary Sites
    • Secondary Sites
    • SMS Provider(s)
    • Consoles
    • Clients

    The lab infrastructure on which we will implement the CU is rather small: a standalone primary site with the site database and all site system roles installed on a single server. Additionally there is one remote Distribution Point. There are no secondary sites.

Primary Site

A CU implementation needs to be done from top to bottom so we start with the site server first.  Make sure there are no console connections open and then run the installer with elevated privileges.


The installation wizard is started:


Click Next on the welcome screen.


Accept the license terms and click Next.


Review all checks and click Next.


Leave the option to install the update for the console and click Next.


Leave the option to update the Site Database and click Next.


As part of the setup process Configuration Manager can create packages to update other components part of the environment. Leave the options to have these packages created and click Next.


Leave the default options for the first Update Package and click Next.


Leave the default options for the update package for consoles and click Next.


And finally also leave the default options for the remaining packages for clients. Click Next.


Review the setup summary and click Install to kick off the installation.


Installation progress is shown.


If you are interested in what is happening under the hood make sure to have a look at the installation log files in the %windir%\temp directory.


Click Next once all steps have been completed successfully.


Click Finish and restart the server.

In ARP there should be two entries indicating that the Cumulative Update was installed on the system: one for the site server and one for the console. Both are shown in the screenshot below:


Also in the registry the CU level for the site can be verified:


When opening the About Configuration Manager window from the console the version should show 5.0.7958.1203


Remember that at one point we opted to have packages created to implement the CU on other components. These packages are now available in the Software Library workspace:


Do not forget to distribute the content for these packages to your Distribution Points. This is not something that is done automatically!


Secondary Sites

If there are any Secondary Sites in your environment the next step is to implement the CU on those sites. The server update package can be used to automate this. To target the site servers a collection can be built which is populated based on the following query:

    • 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_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64 on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS_64.DisplayName = "System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Secondary Site Setup"


    As part of the implementation process on the site server the locally installed console was updated as well. Any remote consoles in the environment can be updated using the console upgrade package which was automatically created during the installation process.

    To build a collection containing the machines with the console installed the following query could be used:

  • 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_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.DisplayName = "System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Console"


Last but not least also the clients within the environment need to be brought up to the level of the Cumulative Update. There are multiple approaches to accomplish this; one method could be to deploy the client update packages which were also created automatically during the implementation process.

As there is a package per processor architecture we will also create matching collections to target our deployments. This is an example query for a collection containing all 64-bit clients with a client version not equal to CU1:

  • 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 where SMS_R_System.ClientVersion != "5.00.7958.1203" and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = "X64-based PC"
    The query for the collection with 32-bit clients is identical; just replace “x64-based PC” with “x86-based PC”.
    A client with the CU installed should have the following version displayed in the properties:



And the updated components:

image  image


That concludes the work in our lab. I hope this post gives you a good overview on how you could implement the Cumulative Update in your environment.

Until next time!


Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager released!

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. This update contains all previously released updates and hotfixes for Configuration Manager R2.

Full details and download information can be found here: 

Note that next to fixing issues, the CU also introduces some changes for Windows Powershell. These changes are documented in a separate KB: 2932274

I will be test driving this CU in my lab shortly so stay tuned for more information.