Category Archives: Task Sequences

So your boss is going to want stats for your OSD sequence? [Part 1 – Data Gathering]

How to provide hard statistics on your build sequences.


A while back my boss gave me two goals for our OS deployments; 1) he set a target for 90% successful builds and 2) build times as close to 1 hour as possible.  Okay, getting there is one thing, but how do I report on that?

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ConfigMgr Current Branch–Windows PE Peer Caching

What is Windows PE Peer Caching?

Windows PE Peer Caching was a feature added in Configuration Manager Technical Preview 2.  During an OS deployment, it allows a machine being built to pull content from other systems on the local subnet (its peers) as opposed to going across a potentially slow WAN connection.  It is quite simply a peer-to-peer network of content providers.  This is similar functionality to 1E’s NomadBranch and 2Pint’s BranchCache for OSD Toolkit.

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Creating Your Own Personal Hydration Solution – Part 4: Configuration Manager Infrastructure

Part 0 Introduction
Part 1 Setting Up
Part 2 First VM – Windows Router
Part 3 Domain Controller
Part 4 Configuration Manager Infrastructure

Configuration Manager 1511

After completing the first three parts of this series you would have a virtual lab with 4 separate network segments all connected to and routed through a Windows 2012 R2 server (RTR01) acting as the router. This server will also provide Internet access to any virtual machines that are connected to the 4 network segments.  You also would have an Active Directory domain controller (DC01) that provides DHCP and DNS services to the lab.

In Part 4 we are going to build out a Configuration Manager 1511 infrastructure.  This will include a Primary site server (CM16) and 2 Distribution Points (DP16a & DP16b).

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Creating Your Own Personal Hydration Solution – Part 3: Domain Controller

Part 0 Introduction
Part 1 Setting Up
Part 2 First VM – Windows Router
Part 3 Domain Controller
Part 4 Configuration  Manager Infrastructure

DC01

After completing parts 1 and 2 of this series you would have a virtual lab with 4 separate  network segments all connected to and routed through a Windows 2012 R2 server (RTR01) acting as the router.  This server will also provide Internet access to any virtual machines that are connected to the 4 network segments.

In Part 3 we are going to build a domain controller (DC01).  This server will provide not only Active Directory Domain Services to the lab but also DHCP and DNS services as well.

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Creating Your Own Personal Hydration Solution – Part 2: First VM – Windows Router

Part 0 Introduction
Part 1 Setting Up
Part 2 First VM – Windows Router
Part 3 Domain Controller
Part 4 Configuration  Manager Infrastructure

RTR01

Routing between subnets and access to the Internet (required for Windows Activation) is handled by RTR01, a Windows server running Routing and Remote Access (RRAS).  This should be the first virtual machine to be built and configured as machines on the other subnets will need this server in place for them to successfully build.

This virtual machine will have 5 network adapters, one on each network.  The build will create a basic Windows server.  To configure the server you will need to run some PowerShell as well as manually configuring RRAS.

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Creating Your Own Personal Hydration Solution – Part 1: Setting Up

Part 0 Introduction
Part 1 Setting Up
Part 2 First VM – Windows Router
Part 3 Domain Controller
Part 4 Configuration  Manager Infrastructure

In this first installment we’ll work on getting the foundation set for building up the lab.  We’ll configure the virtual networks, the host networking and get our MDT environment installed and configured.  We are going to use a number of tricks that I’ve learned from others.

[This is going to be a long one.]

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PowerShell – Archive all Task Sequences to XML with Index

We’ve amassed a very large number of task sequences since migrating to Configuration Manager 2012 and it got me thinking about ways to archive off older sequences so that we can clean house.  So I came up with this script.

The script will first collect all of the task sequences in your site.  Next it will enumerate through them, write the sequence to an XML named after the task sequence ID and finally create a CSV index of the TSID, task sequence name, the last modified date of the sequence and when the sequence was backed up.

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Windows 10 In-Place Upgrade (Not Giving Up)

Okay, my Windows 10 Bare Metal builds have been working very well (Part 1 and Part 2).  I have a few application compatibility issues to work out but that shouldn’t be anything major.

So, I’m turning my attention back to trying to get the In-Place upgrade working for us.

Easy is not an option!
– Les Brown

I want this to work.  It will be an immense time saver if it does.

So it’s back to the drawing board.  Back to starting simple and building up from there.  Drivers are going to be an issue but they always are.  The biggest challenge will be fixing the applications that get broken during the process.

I know I have to fix:

  • Novell client
  • Cisco Anyconnect VPN client
  • Citrix client
  • Sentillion Authenticator (a new version is Windows 7 native, so that might be easier then expected)

On top of that I have the regular app compatibility issues to address:

  • Our printer install script doesn’t seem to work any more
  • I’ll have to find a new way to set up our branded login backgrounds
  • Start Menu manipulation

I’ll post what I work out.

Windows 10 – Bare Metal Deployment (Part 2 – Adding .NET 3.5)

Okay, it’s been a busy few days but I finally needed to get back to this topic.

In part 1 I talked about the custom actions needed to deploy a Windows 10 image using SCCM 2012.  I’m re-inventing my OS deployment process and eliminating the use of a custom-built base image and instead will be using the factory WIM file and performing all customizations at build-time.  We had trimmed down the custom actions used to generate the base image over time, so I felt it was a good time to cut the custom base image loose and streamline the process.

In this part I’ll go over the changes I needed to make to get the .NET 3.5 feature added.  Windows 10 included .NET 4.5 but we have some applications that specifically require .NET 3.x.

I could not use the native “Install Roles and Features” step in the SCCM task sequence.  Since my task sequence is applying the factory WIM as an image and not running it through setup, I cannot reference the SXS files in the OS source.  Windows 10 is imported as an Operating System Image and not an Operating System Installer so there are no supporting files.

To get .NET 3.5 installed will take a little creativity.
I want to thank Niall Brady for the info on this process.
[If you’re looking for some serious information on how to do SCCM, his site is the place.]

We have 2 “Run Command Line” actions required to get this done.

  1. Make the needed SXS files available
  2. Use DISM to add the .NET feature

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