Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mobile Device Management in ConfigMgr 2012

Next year (probably around MMS 2012) ConfigMgr 2012 will be released. One of the new features in this release will be Mobile Device Management integration. In the current System Center suite there was a single product for that, named: System Center Mobile Device Manager (SCMDM). Also there was a small integration in ConfigMgr 2007 possible. Both solutions were based on Windows Mobile 6.x devices. Because most customers have various mobile phone solutions this was not really an option. With ConfigMgr 2012 actually it is!

With Mobile Device Management in ConfigMgr 2012 there is more integration possible with mobile phone solutions. There will be support for iPads, iPhones, Symbian devices, Android devices and Windows Phone 7 devices. There will be a difference in Light Management and Depth Management devices. This can be seen on the following picture:

For Light Management devices an Exchange connector will be used. Then Mobile Device Management (MDM) will have the same functionality as in Exchange 2010 (nothing more unfortunately). With Depth Management there is more management possible, but only on WinCE 6.0, WM 6.0/6.1, WP 6.5 and Nokia Symbian based devices.

Let's hope there will be more functionality on Light Management devices above Inventory, Settings Management & Remote Wipe, like: Over the air enrollment & Software Distribution. Remote management on multiple platforms will be key here!

It's also possible to use Odessey's Athena to extend MDM functionality. More information about that can be found here: Symantec Athena Then the following functionality becomes available:
  • Live, remote control of devices in the field
  • Device software, application & patch provisioning & installation
  • Comprehensive software and hardware asset information
  • Location based data via GPS (current and bread crumb)
  • Detailed phone and messaging information and stats
  • Security to protect sensitive data (device lock & wipe)

In the Beta2 and RC releases available for download there isn't much to do on MDM functionality. Let's wait till ConfigMgr 2012 will be released (RTM or Final version) to see more of this.

More information about: System Center Mobile Device Manager
More information about: Mobile Device Management in Configuration Manager (2007)
More information about: Determine How to Manage Mobile Devices in Configuration Manager (2012)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Latest news on MS System Center 2012 Suite

This year the MS System Center 2012 Suite will be presented. There's nothing official to find about release dates, so my guess stays on Q1 2012 or probably Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) which is in April 16-20. The last months there were some interesting news around System Center, so here a quick overview.

Here we go:
  • All products within the MS System Center 2012 Suite will have a new release (on the same time)
  • There will be more integration within the various System Center products (because of Service Manager and Orchestrator)
  • Service Manager will be the most important product in the 2012 suite (integration with Operations Manager [tickets], Configuration Manager [assets], and so on)
  • Service Manager 2012 is the only version which integrates with Configuration Manager 2012, not the current one
  • Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) will be called System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) from now on
  • There will be integration between ConfigMgr and Orchestrator (checks and so on)

And some ConfigMgr 2012 news also:
  • There will be Migration tools build-in to migrate applications, collections and OS images (and so on) by default
  • With Package Conversion Manager (PCM) it's possible to convert old 2007 packages to the new 2012 application model
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) will have the same functionality as in Exchange 2010 (nothing more unfortunately)
  • It's possible to simulate application deployments before they actually will be installed (isn't that cool?)
  • Endpoint Protection will be integrated in ConfigMgr 2012 by default (no extension anymore)
  • There will be (probably) e-mail notification in Software Catalog approvals (not in the console only)

It will be an exciting year with new products/functionality, and finally a brand new MS System Center 2012 Suite!

Friday, December 2, 2011

MDT 2012 Beta 2 integration in ConfigMgr 2012 RC

On 10 november 2011 the Beta 2 of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 is released. MDT 2012 can be used as a single OS deployment solution, but can also be used for ConfigMgr 2012 RC integration. In this blog I will describe the installation, integration and new functionality.

What's new in MDT 2012 Beta 2:
MDT 2012 Beta 2 offers new User-Driven Installation components and extensibility for Configuration Manager 2007 and Configuration Manager 2012 as well as integration with the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) for Lite Touch Installation remote control and diagnostics.

Key benefits include:
  • Full use of the capabilities provided by System Center Configuration Manager 2012 for OS deployment.
  • Improved Lite Touch user experience and functionality.
  • A smooth and simple upgrade process for all existing MDT users.

First download Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Beta 2 on Microsoft Connect:

Make sure ConfigMgr 2012 RC is installed for this integration. This is decribed here: Installing the ConfigMgr 2012 Release Candidate (RC)

Then install MDT 2012 Beta 2 with the default features.

After installation start "Configure ConfigMgr Integration".

The next screen will be displayed then:
All needed values are filled in by default, so move on. When installation is all fine "Operation completed successfully" is displayed.

Start the ConfigMgr 2012 RC console for new MDT features now.

Beneath Software Library > Operating Systems > Task Sequences, the following option is added:
Choose "Create MDT Task Sequence" for a new task sequence with MDT functionality.

For people who used MDT 2010 integration in ConfigMgr 2007, this screen looks very familiar.

It is also possible to select MDT features in existing task sequence. Just edit them, and choose Add > MDT

Have a look at my older blogpost for more explanation of all choices: MDT integration in ConfigMgr 2007

Beneath Software Library > Operating Systems > Boot Images, the following option is added:
Choose "Create Boot Image using MDT" for a new boot image with MDT functionality.

At last you can use the build-in scripts that's included with MDT, for using in ConfigMgr 2012 Task sequences. With MDT integration in ConfigMgr 2012 you have the best of both worlds. And with new functionality in MDT 2012 here is even more available! (User Driven Installation)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

VMware vCenter Protect Update Catalog (Patch Management)

A few months ago I posted a blog about "System Center Updates Publisher (SCUP) 2011 integration in ConfigMgr". This can be found here: Blogpost: SCUP 2011 

With SCUP 2011 you can create and install update packages that's not in WSUS by default. This time I have an interesting expansion on SCUP 2011. It's called "VMware vCenter Protect Update Catalog" (formerly known as Shavlik SCUPdates).

"VMware vCenter Protect Update Catalog" is a data catalog for deploying 3rd party, non-Microsoft updates with Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). Our data catalog extends ConfigMgr to cover updates for these applications, which are not covered natively in ConfigMgr. Updates for the most attacked applications such as Adobe Reader and Acrobat are made available in these files. The files also include detection and deployment data for additional Microsoft legacy applications.

Supported Third-Party Applications: 
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Shockwave
  • Apple iTunes
  • Apple QuickTime
  • Apple Safari
  • Apple Application Support
  • Citrix Presentation Server for Windows Server 2003
  • Citrix XenApp for Windows Server 2008 x64, x86
  • Java Runtime Environment
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Mozilla SeaMonkey
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Opera
  • RealNetworks RealPlayer
  • Skype
  • And many more

More information, trial software and a datasheet can be found here:

Nice to see that SCUP functionality will be more interesting now!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Microsoft Management Summit 2012 Registration Open

Today I received the following message:

Microsoft Management Summit 2012 Registration Open

Innovation. Expertise. Community.

At the 2012 Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) the brightest and most skilled IT Professionals from around the world meet to increase their technical expertise through deep hands-on technical training, sharing of best practices, and interaction with innovators and pioneers in desktop and device management, datacenter and cloud technologies.

We hope you will join us for this popular event designed to stimulate new thinking and forge lasting relationships among a remarkable group of IT professionals and industry leaders.

Be the First to Try New Technology

At MMS you will be the first to learn about how Microsoft management technologies enable a new breed of datacenter through private cloud and public cloud solutions, and deliver a more flexible and productive desktop infrastructure. You’ll also gain free access to valuable trial software and be able to visit with over 50 technology companies who will be exhibiting their latest innovations and technology solutions.

Five Days of Intense Learning & Networking

MMS offers a jam packed schedule of learning opportunities that will help you accelerate your career and solve today’s most challenging technical problems while preparing you for tomorrow’s innovation.

Learn about a variety of technologies by attending sessions through either labs or self-paced labs, as well as Microsoft Certification Exam and tests when you’re ready to take the next step.

Bring your questions, your experiences and your curiosity to structured and unstructured networking events that will provide the opportunity to meet and discuss topics of common interest peer-to-peer or with Microsoft and industry experts.

Register now:
April 16-20 @ The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Installing the ConfigMgr 2012 Release Candidate (RC)

On 27 october 2011 the Release Candidate (RC) of ConfigMgr 2012 is released. Because I'm doing ConfigMgr implementations most of times, I want to know which changes are made during installation. In this blog the setup of this new release is viewed, to see if there are any differences between previous releases. This installation is done on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64 server.

Have a look on Microsoft TechNet for download information: Download Microsoft System Center 2012 Pre-Release Products

Nice to see that ConfigMgr 2012 is now combined with Endpoint Protection 2012, which is the successor of Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010.

Unpack the file, and start Splash.hta for starting the setup. The following screen will be seen then, which has many new options in it:

When choosing INSTALL a message is displayed that DotNet Framework 3.5 SP1 and 4.0 are needed for starting the installation. So let's see first what's needed on the server for having a successful installation:
  • DotNet Framework 3.5 SP1 and 4.0 (with default IIS Role Services)
  • Remote Differential Compression (RDC)
  • Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS)
  • Windows Server Updates Servies (WSUS) > (optional)
  • IIS Role Services > IIS 6 WMI Compatibility

While ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2 must be installed on SQL Server 2008 with SP1 and CU10 (because SP2 and R2 are not supported), they can be used for installation now! For SQL Server 2008 SP2 with CU6 is needed or SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 with CU3 is needed.

For Supported Configurations information, visit

Then the installation begins..
  • Available Setup Options (Primary Site Server, Central Administration Site, Recover a Site Server)
  • Microsoft Software License Terms
  • Updated Prerequisite Components (15 items till now)
  • Server Language Selection (English by default and 5 other languages) which is new in RC
  • Client Language Selection (English by default and 21 other languages) which is also new in RC
  • Site and Installation Settings (Site Code, Site Name, Console)
  • Primary Site Installation (install a standalone site, or join an existing hierarchy)
  • Database Information (Server and Database name, Instance name)
  • SMS Provider Settings (cannot be installed on a clustered SQL server)
  • Client Computer Communication Settings (Native or Mixed mode)
  • Site System Roles (Choose HTTP or HTTPS for MP or DP, this can be choosen per rol)
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program Configuration
  • Setting Summary
  • Prerequisite Check
  • Install.. (this takes a while..) 
After that ConfigMgr 2012 RC is installed! Not that hard I think? Just 12 minutes has been used to install ConfigMgr and database.

Nice to see that Endpoint Protection 2012 is immediately available in the ConfigMgr console now. This with Antimalware and Windows Firewall policies by default.

Next blog will zoom deeper in new features of this ConfigMgr release! I'm very excited again about this new ConfigMgr release! Hope you are too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Disable the GUI in Windows Server 8 with PowerShell

Last month I installed Windows Server Developer Preview (Windows Server 8). This can be found here: Windows Server 8 installed

There is the choice between installing the Full Installation, Server Core or Features on Demand edition. By default when doing a Full Installation the GUI is installed. In this blogpost I wil explain how to remove the GUI with usage of PowerShell.

This is the default screen after doing a Full Installation

Start Windows PowerShell with the default button available

In PowerShell the following commands are needed to remove the GUI:
  • Import-Module ServerManager
  • Get-WindowsFeature
  • Remove-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell
  • Shutdown /r /t 5

After reboot the default screen is changed, no background anymore..

When logon, Server Manager and a command window is started

In PowerShell it's possible to enable or disable Windows features again

Open the command window for that and use the following commands:
  • PowerShell
  • Import-Module ServerManager
  • Get-WindowsFeature
  • Add-WindowsFeature <Name> (or)
    Remove-WindowsFeature <Name>

The following command are needed to install the GUI again:
  • Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell
  • Shutdown /r /t 5

If needed, Windows PowerShell Getting Started Guide:

Thanks to @RandolphWinjaja for PowerShell support.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deploy Office 2010 with the Office Customization Tool (OCT)

Office 2010 will be installed with Setup.exe by default. It's however possible to use the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to decide which functionality must be used during install. With the created MSP file afterwards it's possible to do a unattend install with the usage of ConfigMgr. How to do that is explained in this blogpost.

First create a source location for the Office 2010 files. Run the Setup.exe with the /Admin parameter then. Choose to create a new Setup customization file.

There is the choice to choose between "Office Open XML formats" or "OpenDocument formats". In my case I choose to keep the current settings.

There are a lot of settings which can be configured in the Office Customization Tool. The most used are "Installation location and organization name" (and a few other settings).

Then select (in my case) "Licensing and user interface". I'm using a KMS client key here. For unattend and silent install use [Display level: None] and Suppress modal. Uncheck "Completion notice" here.

There is the choice to remove older Office versions before installing Office 2010.

Select which programs must be installed during Office 2010 setup. That's all for now for having a unattend Office 2010 install.

Choose "Save as" for creating a MSP file. This MSP must be placed in the Office 2010 source location then. Choose the Updates folder for that. All MSP files placed in the Updates folder will be automatically installed/used during install.

Then create a new package in ConfigMgr, with a Setup.exe command line. There are no additional installation switches needed. It's however possible to use an config.xml file for additional configuration. More about that on this TechNet post:

Hope things are clear now for Office 2010 deployment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Create new Windows collections based on Query rules

Collections in ConfigMgr can be used for dynamic view. This will happen when a Query rule is used, based on Operating Systems or Active Directory containers (for example). There are a few blogs which describes this functionality already:

How to create a query based on Direct membership is described here:

How to configure ConfigMgr collections to Active Directory containers is described here:

In this blog I will describe how to create a new collection with Query rule.

First create a new collection in ConfigMgr and choose Membership rules based on Query rule. Click the [yellow database icon] and choose the query explained below. Choose "Dynamically add new resources" when using ConfigMgr R3 to automatically add new devices.

In this case I'm using a Resource class based on System Resource and  "Edit Query Statement" for creating a new Query rule.

Select the Criteria tab and the [yellow star icon] for that. Click "Select" afterwards.

In this case I'm using a Attribute class based on System Resource and a  Attribute based on "Operating System Name and Version".

When choose OK in the screen before (Select Attribute) the above screen will be displayed. Choose [Operator: Is Like] and Value based on Operating System variable here.

When choose OK in the screen before (Criterion Properties) the above screen will be displayed. Click OK afterwards.

The new collection with Query rule is ready now. All Windows 7 systems (in my case) will be automatically added in this new collection.

For new Windows releases use the following queries:
  • Windows Vista: Value = %Workstation 6.0%
  • Windows 7: Value = %Workstation 6.1%
  • Windows 8: Value = %Workstation 6.2%
  • Windows Server 2008: Value = %Server 6.0%
  • Windows Server 2008 R2: Value = %Server 6.1%
  • Windows Server 8: Value = %Server 6.2%

That way it's possible to create new collections with support on new Operating Systems. I will add support for new Operating Systems later when available.

Friday, October 28, 2011

New System Center 2012 Pre-Release Products available

On 27-10-2011 new System Center 2012 Pre-Release Products become available. Great news that System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection are Release Candidate (RC) now!

Have a look on Microsoft TechNet for download information:
Download Microsoft System Center 2012 Pre-Release Products

An overview of new Invidual System Center 2012 products available for download are:

System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection RC is the successor of Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010.
System Center App Controller 2012 Beta (for cloud purposes) is also available for download now.

Expect more news and posts about RC releases soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Windows Server Developer Preview installed (Windows Server 8)

On 14-9-2011 the first build of Windows Server Developer Preview is showed to the world. The Windows Server Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows Server 8 for developers. Windows Server 8 is also build on Metro, the User Interface we know from Windows Phone 7. That way it's usable on servers and remote manageble on tablets, with touch interface!

In this blog I show you the installation & look and feel. I've created an virtual machine with 1 CPU, 2GB RAM and 20GB Disk. That's enough for having a smooth running virtual machine. The ISO can be mounted with a virtual CD/DVD-drive for installing Windows Server 8. I've used Oracle VirtualBox to install Windows Server 8 and capture screenshots.

The installation is approximately done in 10 a 15 minutes. During installation the following screens are seen:
Choose between Full Installation, Server Core or Features on Demand

The differences between these versions are:
Server Core: Windows Core, Windows PowerShell, DotNet Framework 4
Features on Demand: Same as Server Core + Server Manager, MS Management Consoles, A subset of Control Panel applets
Full Installation: Same as Features on Demand + All Control Panel Applets, Windows Help, Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer

This is the default screen after installing..
Same as Windows 8 actually

When logon, Server Manager is started automatically (as usual)

The new Server Manager in Metro style, cool!
More about that in a next blogpost

Metro dashboard with tiles and menu options, nice!

Windows PowerShell will not be missed..

If needed, Windows PowerShell Getting Started Guide:

New Task Manager in Windows Server 8

Have a look at this blogpost for more about that:

The Ribbon interface is available here also..

Known functionality as Control Panel, Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer are still available. New installations adds new tiles on the Metro UI also. Next time I have a look at more functionality in Server Manager. Stay tuned for more!

Watch the introduction from Windows Server 8 on Build 2011:

Download Windows Server 8 from the MSDN website:
(Unlike Windows 8 only available for early adopters interested in testing the Operating System)

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to assign a computername before OS deployment

During OS deployment in ConfigMgr there are many ways to assign a computername. This can be done automatically or filled in before deployment. How to assign a dynamic computername is described here: How to assign a dynamic computername during OSD. In that post I'm using a script to create a dynamic computername from default BIOS values (assettag, serialnumber).

But what to do when you're using your own format which is not known in BIOS values? Then other ways are available. First there are ConfigMgr/MDT Task Sequence Variables. An overview of these Task Sequence Variables can be found here:

There are also many scripts to find for dynamic computername assignment. More about that on the following TechNet post: "SCCM R2 Unknown Computer Support and changing computer name during Task Sequence"

The one I've used before is the ConfigMgr/MDT method, which asks the computername before deployment (manually) and uses this name during OS deployment. I will describe the steps needed for that here. First created a Non-mandatory advertisement on a OSD collection (in my case created as "Operating System Deployment"). On that specific OSD collection rightclick and choose "Modify Collection Settings".

Under "Collection Variables" tab create a new Variable called "OSDComputerName" and make sure it has no Value. Untick the "Do not display this value in the ConfigMgr console" also.

When choose OK the value will be available beneath "Collection Variables". Now choose OK to finish this configuration setting. Start the computer placed in this collection now and make sure it's non-mandatory. Use F12 for PXE boot indeed.

Once the task sequence is selected it prompts you to input the missing Task Sequence Variable. Watch out not to press Next here, but double click on "OSDComputerName" instead.

Fill in the computername of your choice (in my case HHO-01) and press OK. That way the computername will be saved and used during Operating System Deployment.

When the value is seen in the Task Sequence Wizard press Next. The Task Sequence selected will be running fine then because the missing Task Sequence Variable is known now.

That's all to assign a computername before OS deployment. Again ConfigMgr uses multiple ways to make OS deployment flexible and usable. This great product continues to astonish me with many great opportunities out there.