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ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2 – DP Job Queue Manager

7:20 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

One of the new server tools in the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Toolkit is the Distribution Point Job Queue Manager (DpJobMgr.exe). This tool helps the Configuration Manager administrator in managing, monitoring and troubleshooting content distribution throughout his environment.

Lets have a closer look at the tool and how it can be used.

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On the connect tab the Primary Site Server name needs to be specified before clicking on Connect. Connection status and results are shown in the bottom left corner. Make sure the connection is successful before moving on.

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The overview tab shows a list of all Distribution Points within our lab environment. Note that the locally installed Distribution Point on the site server is not displayed and also not taken into account in the Total Distribution Points count.

You can opt to manually refresh the list if you are in the process of doing content deployments. Alternatively the tool can auto-refresh the list based on a set interval. Note that the default interval is 2 minutes. You cannot set a value lower than those 2 minutes.

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The Distribution Point info tab displays details about the ongoing content transfers. Once the transfer is completed, the entry for that content is removed from the list. The progress column seems to be updated at a slow pace and as a result I found that smaller content was distributed even before any percentage was ever displayed.

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Managing jobs is done from the next tab. Here you can change priorities in the queue and also cancel any distribution jobs that are ongoing.

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The last tab is the help tab. This tab is purely informational and displays some general help information.

Now in a lab off course the amount of content to be distributed and DP’s to be targeted is very low. In large enterprise environments where there is much content and many Distribution Points to be targeted I believe this will be a very helpful utility.

Important: this tool only works with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and is not compatible with previous versions. On an SP1 site for example we were able to connect to the site but while retrieving data the tools throws multiple errors like the one displayed below:

DPQueueMgr_SP1_Error

 

Until next time!

Tim

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Configuration Manager Support Center – a first look

12:10 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

A few days ago Microsoft has released a new tool called the SC2012 Configuration Manager Support Center. This post describes the installation steps and some findings and experiences while test driving this new tool in a lab environment.

Installation

Before beginning the installation make sure the .Net Framework 4.5 has been installed. You can download it here.

After extracting the content we downloaded from Microsoft Connect there are 3 files:

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There are a few known issues with the current beta release, so I recommend reading the releases notes first to learn about them. Run the cmsupportcenter.msi with administrative permissions and walk through the installation wizard as follows:

  1. Click Next on the welcome screen.
  2. Accept the License Agreement and click Next.
  3. Choose a Setup Type, I opted for the Typical setup.
  4. Click Install to start the installation.
  5. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

Upon successful installation the following items are listed in the start menu:

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Support Center Features

This is what Support Center looks like when launching it:

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Notice that we are connected to the local host. Through the menu options there is also the possibility to connect to a remote machine. You will need to specify the hostname of the machine and optionally also any required credentials.

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Now lets walk through all the available tabs.

First tab is the data collection tab. When clicking the start collection button the tool starts gathering information from the client system. The data gathering process only takes about a minute to complete. At that point you will be prompted to save the data (in a .zip file).

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We can use the second utility Support Center Viewer to analyze the zip file. More information on this later in this post.

Second tab in the Client Details tab. The only option available here is to load or refresh the data. This tab just gives an overview of some basic client information:

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The third tab is the Client Policy tab. Here you have the options to load the local client policy, request and/or evaluate the policy and the capability to listen for policy events. If you enable the listener you can flip open the bottom pane for more details.

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The fourth tab is related to Content on the client. Similar to the policies we also have the option to load or refresh the data. This tab gives us details about what has been deployed to the client. In the example below we see detailed information on one of our lab applications.

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Next tab we can explore is the Troubleshooting tab. Upon clicking the Start Troubleshooting button a series of tests is conducted.

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Once the tests are complete you can individually select each one and click the view log button to see more detailed information about the test. The example below is taken from the step that verifies Client Registration.

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The last tab is the troubleshooting tab. Here we can open log files for further analysis. The functionality here seems similar to the CMTrace utility. There are search and filter options and also highlighting of specific entries.

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The tool also includes the capability to modify the client logging configuration and to open groups of log files related to a specific troubleshooting area.  There are 3 groups: Application Management, Client Registration and Policy.

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Support Center Viewer

Using the Support Center Viewer utility we can analyze the results from the data collection we did earlier. When launching the utility it will immediately show a dialog box to browse to the .zip file saved earlier. It shows detailed information on the Client Configuration and the System and allows further analysis of the logs files that were retrieved.

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That concludes the first test drive of this new utility in our lab. Although I only had a chance to look at all the features at a glance I am sure this will be a helpful utility during future troubleshooting.

Until next time!

Tim

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Implementing Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 4

6:03 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

Previously I have blogged about the implementation of CU1 and CU2 for Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack 1. This post is similar and will cover the implementation of CU4 in a lab environment. Due to time constraints CU3 was not implemented in this lab earlier, so we will upgrade directly from CU2 to CU4. This is supported and should not be an issue.

First we need to get the installation binaries here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2922875

As per the documentation, this 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

Once we have reviewed the documentation and obtained the binaries we are ready to proceed with the installation. The lab infrastructure where will implement the CU is rather simple: a standalone server with the site database and all roles hosted on a single (virtual) machine. Additionally there is one secondary site part of the environment.

We are now ready to start updating the components.

Primary Site

Implementing a CU is done top-down so we start with the primary site site server first. Close any open console connections and then run the installer with administrative permissions:

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After the files have been extracted, the installation wizard will start.

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Click Next on the welcome screen.

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Accept the license terms and click Next.

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Click Next once all prerequisite checks are passed successfully.

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Leave the option to update the (locally installed) admin console. Click Next.

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Leave the option to update the Site Database. Click Next.

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Leave the options enabled to create the deployment packages. These will be needed later on to implement the CU on any remote components and clients.

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Leave the defaults for the package for servers and click Next.

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Leave the defaults for the package for consoles and click Next.

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Leave the defaults for the package for clients and click Next.

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Review the summary and click Install to start the actual installation.

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Clicking the View Log button allows you to open the installation log using CMTrace. This way you can follow in detail what is happening behind the scenes during the installation of the CU. If you want to review this log post installation it remains in the %windir%\temp folder.

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Click Next once all steps have completed successfully

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Click Finish to close the wizard.

The CU4 entry should now be visible in ARP. This in the entry for the site server:

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And this is the one for the local installed console:

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Notice the console entry does not have the version property filled in.

In the Software Library workspace the CU4 packages for updating the other components are available. Do not forget to distribute the content for these packages to your Distribution Points. This is not done automatically.

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Secondary Site(s)

As we also have a secondary site in our lab we will need to implement CU4 here as well.

To target secondary sites we will use the previously created server update package and deploy it to a collection with our secondary site servers. For populating this collection we could use 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 = "Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Secondary Site Setup"

After deploying the server update package the CU4 will be installed and similar to primary sites this will be visible in ARP.

 

Consoles

The locally installed console on the site server has been updated previously. Any remaining remote consoles in the environment can be updated by deploying the console upgrade package.

To target these remote consoles we can use a query based collection. This is an example 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 on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.DisplayName = "Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Console"
    As indicated previously, the console update is also visible in ARP once it has been installed.

      Clients

      There are a few methods you can use to start upgrading the clients within the environment. One could be to use the pre-created packages and deploying them to query based collections containing your x86 or your x64 clients.

      To achieve this we will create a collection per processor architecture containing all clients not having CU4 installed. This way we are sure to target all clients, also those who may have not been updated during previous CU deployments.
      This is the collection query for the x64 clients:
    • 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 != "5.00.7804.1500" and SMS_G_System_SYSTEM.SystemType = "X64-based PC"
      You can use the same query and replace "X64-based PC" with "X86-based PC" to build a similar collection for x86 clients.
      Looking at the client properties a CU4 client has version number 5.00.7804.1500:

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    And the updated components with the .1500 build number:

     image image

      The implementation of Cumulative Update 4 in this lab is now finished!

      Hope this is useful information!

      Tim

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      Cumulative Update 4 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 released!

      3:37 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      Metro-FixYesterday Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 4 (CU4) for Configuration Manager 2012 Service pack  1. When looking at the contents of the CU at a glance this CU seems to focus mainly on fixing issues. It also adds support for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2).

      Full details and download link can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2922875

      Note that the link in the article pointing to the November 2013 anti-malware platform update for EP is broken. This is the working one: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2907566

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      Troubleshooting – How to pinpoint a problematic software update based on UpdatesDeployment.log entries

      1:59 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      Recently a customer of mine bumped into an issue when applying software updates during a Task Sequence. The first symptom that was noticed was that the task sequence was taking forever to complete. Looking further into this it turned out the task sequence  step during which the updates were applied was running for a very long time.

      Further investigation of the log files was required and an entry in the UpdatesDeployment log is pointing us into the right direction.

      clip_image002

      The status ciStateError indicates there is a problem with this specific update. Further looking up the error code 87d00669 indicates there might a problem with the content. The real challenge now is to find which update it actually is that is causing this problem. All we have on it right now is the ModelName (Site_ / SUM_) without any further information.

      We figured that using the Get-CMSoftwareUpdate cmdlet would be the quickest and easiest way to gather some more information and tried the following command:

      clip_image002[4]

      Unfortunately this is not the case. The command itself seems to take forever to run and on top of that we ended up with a warning indicating the result exceeded the maximum size. Using Set-CMQueryResultMaximum we could probably overcome this … but as we don’t have an hour or more to wait for results we need another solution.

      In comes WMI. Using PowerShell to query WMI is really easy, but alternatively you could also use WBEMTest or a 3rd party utility. We’ll go for the Powershell approach and  need the following information:

      • The namespace in WMI (using site_ABC where ABC is the site code)
      • The hostname of the SMS Provider
      • The actual WMI Query

      The actual command is shown in the screenshot below. The result is returned in a second and we immediately have the required information of our problematic Software Update.

      clip_image002[6]

      Hope this saves you some troubleshooting time in the future!

      Regards

      Tim

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      ConfigMgr 2012 R2 – SDK Released

      11:42 am in Configuration Manager by timdk

      Yesterday Microsoft has released Version 5.00.2053.0000 of the Configuration Manager SDK. This release supports System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

      The System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SDK provides information applicable to administrators who want to automate Configuration Manager through script and to developers adding features and extensions to base Configuration Manager functionality.

      Download the SDK here.

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      System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Toolkit released

      3:00 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      The System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager toolkit contains various tools to help you manage and troubleshoot Configuration Manager.

      An overview of these tools is shown below, note that the ones marked in red require R2 to fully function:

      Server Based Tools

      • DP Job Manager – A tool that helps troubleshoot and manage ongoing content distribution jobs to Configuration Manager distribution points.
      • Collection Evaluation Viewer – A tool that assists in troubleshooting collection evaluation related issues by viewing collection evaluation details.
      • Content Library Explorer – A tool that assists in troubleshooting issues with and viewing the contents of the content library.
      • Security Configuration Wizard Template for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager – The Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) is an attack-surface reduction tool for the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Security Configuration Wizard determines the minimum functionality required for a server’s role or roles, and disables functionality that is not required.
      • Content Library Transfer – A tool that transfers content from one disk drive to another.
      • Content Ownership Tool – A tool that changes ownership of orphaned packages (packages without an owner site server).
      • Role-based Administration Modeling and Auditing Tool – This tool helps administrators to model and audit RBA configurations.
      • Run Metering Summarization Tool – The purpose of this tool is to run the metering summarization task to analyze raw metering data

      Client Based Tools

      • Client Spy – A tool that helps you troubleshoot issues related to software distribution, inventory, and software metering on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
      • Configuration Manager Trace Log Viewer – A tool used to view log files created by Configuration Manager components and agents.
      • Deployment Monitoring Tool – The Deployment Monitoring Tool is a graphical user interface designed help troubleshoot Applications, Updates, and Baseline deployments on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
      • Policy Spy – A policy viewer that helps you review and troubleshoot the policy system on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
      • Power Viewer Tool – A tool to view the status of power management feature on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
      • Send Schedule Tool – A tool used to trigger a schedule on a client or trigger the evaluation of a specified DCM Baseline. You can trigger a schedule either locally or remotely.
      • Wakeup Spy – A tool that provides a view of the power state of Configuration Manager client computers and which operate as managers or manages.

      Download the toolkit here.

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      ConfigMgr 2012 R2 – Replication Issues after upgrading CAS

      10:48 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      Microsoft has just released more information and a resolution for a problem scenario in an SP1 CU2 or CU3 environment where child primary sites were entering maintenance mode after the Central Administration Site (CAS) had been upgraded to Configuration Manager 2012 R2.

      Resolution Summary:

      • This issue has been resolved for all new System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager upgrades as of November 14, 2013. New installations or upgrades will download updated setup prerequisite files.
      • Customers that are working with site servers not connected directly to the Internet should use the Configuration Manager Setup Downloader.
      • Existing hierarchies that have already upgraded the central administration site but cannot upgrade child primary site(s) can be repaired by running a SQL script against the site database at the child primary site(s).

      More details about the issue and the SQL script to fix existing hierarchies can be found here.

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      Configuration Manager 2012 Agent installation fails on a Management Point with CU3 installed

      7:07 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      When attempting to install the Configuration Manager 2012 client on a site system hosting the management point (MP) role and that site system has CU3 installed, the installation will fail.

      To work around this issue you would have to:

      1. Uninstall the MP role first.
      2. Install the Configuration Manager client
      3. Reinstall the MP role.

      More details are documented in the following KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2905359

      Hope this saves you some troubleshooting time!

      Tim

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      General Availability of System Center 2012 R2 Announced

      10:35 pm in Configuration Manager by timdk

      Today Microsoft has announced the General Availability of System Center 2012 R2.

      Since yesterday System Center enthusiasts around the globe are able to download the latest binaries for Configuration Manager -and any of the other products from the System Center suite- through MSDN or Technet subscriptions. Additionally System Center 2012 R2 also popped up on the Technet Evaluation Center.

      image

      While you are waiting for your Configuration Manager download to complete also make sure to start the download of  the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 8.1 . It is rather big in size and from what I’ve experienced it seems the download of the ADK is rather slow and may take some time.

      For a full overview of what is new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager have a look here.

      Time to update your lab environments!

      Tim