Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ConfigMgr 2007 Troubleshooting issues

Everybody knows there are some challenges when installing, configuring and managing ConfigMgr 2007. With SMS 2003 that was the same, a great product when it works, but a lot of frustration when it doesn't. I personally think ConfigMgr 2007 does work a lot better then SMS 2003, but still there are some challenges. In this blog I will define some of that challenges, and how I resolve them. Also I will put some handy URL's for troubleshooting, so your ConfigMgr environment will function a lot better! In my other blogs I declare what to do with driver management and migrating collections. Now I go further and treat the rest.. These are all real live situations, so take it to your advantage!

First of all you must put your network drivers in the boot images, because otherwise deployment will not work at all. This must be the newest drivers with support for WinPE OS. Best practice is using the x64 boot image for Capturing images, and the x86 boot image for Deploying images. Also Trace32 is a nice utility (available since SMS 2003) for putting in the boot images. When reading logfiles you can do it better in Trace32 and not in Notepad. Have a look for yourself, and you know what i mean. There is no Trace64 utility at the moment, so you must do it with the older one. Trace32 will become very handy! Remember that it's only functional in a x86 environment. For x64 troubleshooting you must put in on a share, and open the logfile on a x86 device, with trace32 installed. More about logfiles in my next blog!

Also check if the packages (listed in the Task Sequence) are available on the Distribution point. Otherwise deployment will fail also. When using Multicast, ConfigMgr 2007 R2 and specific configuration is needed. Because Multicast works only in WinPE mode, you have the choice to put your applications in the default WIM image. Not installing them, but only put the source in it. Then you are still flexible, and make use of full Multicast functionality! Otherwise a part of the installation will be in Multicast, and the other part (applications) will not. I will write a blog about Multicast later, so stay tuned for that one!

Now some other Troubleshooting issues! When deploying an image on the same device many times (for testing possibilities) deployment will fail with abortpxe.com. This because Windows Deployment Services (WDS) cannot handle that, and must have a reset. The best thing you can do is resetting the WDS service on the ConfigMgr server. When this is not the solution you must stop the WDS service, deleting the PXEBootFiles folder and all other PXE folders and files in C:\Windows\Temp and start the service again. When it's still not working, then your object is obsoleted in the collection. For solving that add an "Membership rule" on the specific collection (blue computer icon), and choose the following:

(Where Value is your computername) On the next setup page "Collection Limiting" choose No collections and go further. On the next setup page "Select Resources" choose all devices you see (mostly two i think). When back in the collection delete the object that is obsolete. Then deployment will work finally again! When advertising a Task Sequence (or something else) you can choose between mandatory deployment or not. For testing possibilities it's better for choosing No mandatory deployment. Otherwise you must remove the PXE Advertisement (screenshot) after each try. The above steps are needed because WDS cannot handle re-imaging of devices within one hour. There is a way for shorten the delay, but default it will be one hour.

The way for that is installing a Microsoft hotfix and modyfing a registry key. The hotfix can be found at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/969113
(Operating system deployment fails in a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 environment if you deploy a different operating system to a client within one hour of a previous deployment).

This hotfix is not needed anymore when you installed ConfigMgr SP2 in your environment.

The registry key which must be changed can be found at: [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SMS\PXE\CacheExpire] or when using a x64 device it can be found at: [HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\SMS\PXE\CacheExpire].
Change the value from 0 tot 180 decimal (0x000000b4); this changes the default 60 minutes to 3 minutes (another value is also possible).
Microsoft explanation: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2019640

For questions or improvements please put some comments on this blog!

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