Thursday, May 31, 2012

Windows 8 Release Preview available now

On 31-5-2012 the third build of Windows 8 and is showed to the world. After the Windows Consumer Preview and Windows Developer Preview earlier last year, there's now a Release Preview available for download. Windows 8 is build on Metro, the User Interface we know from Windows Phone 7 devices. That way it's usable on servers, desktops, laptops and tablets, with touch interface!

The Windows 8 Release Preview ISO images can be download HERE

It's Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It's an all-new touch interface. It's a new Windows for new devices. And it's easy to try now—whether you're installing it for the first time, or moving from Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

On 31-5-2012 the third build of Windows Server 2012 (formerly known as Windows Server 8) has become available for download also. Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Datacenter can be download HERE

The next release of Windows Server, Windows Server 2012, will offer businesses and hosting providers a scalable, dynamic, and multitenant-aware, cloud-optimized infrastructure. It securely connects across premises and helps IT Professionals to respond to business needs faster and more efficiently.

More blogposts available for Windows 8 also:

Disable the GUI in Windows Server 8 with PowerShell
Guide to install Windows 8 on a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Network Access Account in ConfigMgr 2012

Last week I installed ConfigMgr 2012 at a customer location and did some default configuration in it also. I've configured Software Updates, Exchange Connector and Endpoint Protection. Today I started with Operating Systems and imported Windows 7 source files to Build and Capture a reference image. This on a Hyper-V host to build a driver free reference image.

When starting the Build and Capture task sequence, errors where displayed almost immediately after starting it. These are the error messages seen:

- GetMPLocation failed (0x80004005)
- Failed to Run Task Sequence (0x80070057)
- Failed to query http://xxxxx for MP location

On most forums I read that I need to configure the Network Access Account right and create Boundary Groups to get the job done. But I configured everything right, why still the error messages where displayed?

So I checked the Network Access Account again. Just go to the Software Distribution Component properties for that. By default the following is selected: "Use the computer account of the Configuration Manager client". That way it didn't start the task sequence at all. I changed it to "Specify the account that accesses network locations" and selected my Network Access Account.

Beneath Security - Accounts is possible to edit the account credentials again. Strange enough when verifying the account it was running fine. Test connection to different shares where all okay. Because I didn't trust it, I changed it to a totally different password and still the account verification was fine. How is that possible?

Long story short, I typed in the password again and started the Build and Capture task sequence another time. All was running fine now! It was my password which wasn't correct, but there's no way to see that? ConfigMgr let you know all is running okay, and "Test connection" will let you see that "The connection was successfully verfied". Even with a bad password! (a bug maybe?)

I think there's something really strange with the Network Access Account password verfication. Maybe it's functionality is not good in the RTM version? Because in Beta2/RC the same thing cannot be done. Then the following error message will be displayed: "The specified network password is not correct"

Hopefully this will be fixed by Microsoft at a later time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Installation Prerequisite Check for ConfigMgr 2012

When starting a new ConfigMgr installation there are many prerequisites that must be configured first. In this blog I will mention the most important ones.

The most known requirements are:
  • Schema extensions: Configuration Manager Active Directory schema extensions are not required for site server installation, but are recommended to fully support the use of all Configuration Manager features; TechNet
  • WSUS SDK on site server: ConfigMgr software update points require at least WSUS v3.0 SP2.  If using a remote software update point, the WSUS administration console must be installed on the site server;
  • Microsoft RDC library registered: The Microsoft Remote Differential Compression (RDC) library must be registered for ConfigMgr site server installation; TechNet
  • SQL Server service running account: The logon account for the SQL Server service cannot be a local user account or LOCAL SERVICE.  You must configure the SQL Server service to use a valid domain account, NETWORK SERVICE, or LOCAL SYSTEM;
  • Verify site server permissions to publish to AD: The site server might be unable to publish to Active Directory. The computer account for the site server must have Full Control permissions to the System Management container in its Active Directory domain; TechNet
  • SQL Server version: ConfigMgr sites require a supported SQL Server version with required hotfixes for site database operations to succeed. Before Setup can continue, you must install a supported version of SQL Server on the specified site database server; TechNet
  • SQL Server sysadmin rights: Either the user account running Configuration Manager Setup does not have sysadmin SQL Server role permissions on the SQL Server instance selected for site database installation, or the SQL Server instance could not be contacted to verify permissions;
  • BITS installed: Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is required for the management point and distribution point site system roles. Also, check if IIS/BITS services are running properly. Setup cannot continue until BITS is installed and enabled in the IIS settings;

Most other Prerequisite Checks can be found HERE. These are for ConfigMgr 2007, but will still be valid for 2012 installation.

Also check additional SQL Server requirements mentioned in my other blogpost: SQL Server requirements for ConfigMgr 2012 installation

After all this is done, it's possible to have a "All prerequisite rules pass successfully" status before ConfigMgr 2012 installation!

Update 25-6-2012: Clues added for installation!

Monday, May 7, 2012

SQL Server requirements for ConfigMgr 2012 installation

When installing ConfigMgr 2012 it's important to fullfill all SQL Server requirements. The following must be configured during installation:
  • The instance of SQL Server in use at each site must use the following collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS;
  • Only the Database Engine Services feature is required for each site server (Configuration Manager database replication does not require the SQL Server replication feature);
  • Configuration Manager requires Windows authentication to validate connections to the database;
  • You must use a dedicated instance of SQL Server for each site;
  • When you use a database server that is co-located with the site server, limit the memory for SQL Server to 50 to 80 percent of the available addressable system memory. When you use a dedicated SQL Server, limit the memory for SQL Server to 80 to 90 percent of the available addressable system memory;
  • Configuration Manager requires SQL Server to reserve a minimum of 8 gigabytes (GB) of memory in the buffer pool used by an instance of SQL Server for the central administration site and primary site and a minimum of 4 gigabytes (GB) for the secondary site;

If SQL Server is installed with a different collation: Latin1_General_CI_AS (for example) it won't work. ConfigMgr 2012 installation will fail during the prerequisite check and no installation is possible at all. Also a workaround to change the default collation don't seem to work then. Best thing is to install a brand new SQL Server with the right requirements.

During SQL Server installation choose the following configuration:

At Server Configuration, choose Collation and select Customize

Select SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS instead of default

After that it's possible to have a successful ConfigMgr 2012 installation. Just make sure above requirements are configured.