Recap on a great Configuration Manager Community Event (#CMCE1710) in Zurich

Yesterday the CMCE1710 event took place in Zurich, hosted by Mirko. It was a great community event with huge community power and great technical content delivered by the EM&S MVPs Roger Zander, Ronny de Jong and Mirko Colemberg.

http://configmgr.ch/

Why I do the recap?

With this short blog post, I would like to call more attention on events like that! Specially for people in the Workplace Engineering and Office365 business. If you attend CMCE or other similar great Events, you will get a lot of information about new technologies, best practices. Having a chance to place your questions directly during the sessions to the experts about your current issues or opportunities. A similar Event in Switzerland is the Experts Live Café held in Bern.

What was the content?

First, the content was great! My first session attending, I gave Matrix42 another chance to satisfy me about their Enterprise Manager (EM). The EM is not a tool that replaces ConfigMgr, this was very important to David König – Chef Program Manager of the EM. The tool should help you to easy manage complicated tasks in ConfigMgr. Specially with Reports, Role Based Access and Rollout Plans. Matrix42 made a great effort with the new End-User Agent based on a Chrome Engine. This is how ConfigMgr should notify users in a modern way.

 

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After a break, I was attending the Session from Ronny de Jong, MVP EM&S. As always, great content delivered here! Ronny was talking about all the possibilities of ConfigMgr and Cloud Services. ConfigMgr has currently nine direct connections to Azure based Applications. One topic he talked about, was the ConfigMgr Cloud Management Gateway(CMG). In my point of view, each customer with Mobile Users – doesn’t matter if they use a Laptop, Surface Book or Tablets – should use a Cloud Management Gateway. The Setup is much easier than the old way to get Internet based clients attached to your ConfigMgr Hierarchy. You don’t need any servers in your DMZ (you need an Azure Subscription instead) and the certificate handling is much more easier. If you not have looked at the CMG, do it now!

 

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Ronny in Action!

The whole afternoon was just great, with real stuff and information delivered by David James (Director of Engineering ConfigMgr Microsoft Redmond), also known on Twitter as @djammmer.

David presented his personal IT career during the last years, specially at Microsoft and how the product changed from SMS to ConfigMgr. A really great story with a lot of great people working on that product. He took questions by the beginning and answers directly during the whole afternoon. Some topics where Telemetry Data, Co-Management with Intune, a REST-API currently in TP, Cloud Management Gateway and Client Health.  I’m not able to cover everything here because this should be a short recap. But one of my favorite question from David to the audience was: “Do you think ConfigMgr is dead? Then raise your hand(s)”.  Not one hand was raised!


David explained how many times SCCM was declared as dead but the history says something different!

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Full house at CMCE1710

For me, it was a great honor to meet David personally, the director of the tool I mostly have in front of me: System Center Configuration Manager #ConfigMgr #SCCM. Thanks for being here!

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From the right: Martin Wüthrich, itnetX – Jakob Filipovsky, itnetX, David James, Microsoft – Roger Zander, itnetX, Alain Schneiter, itnetX

Thanks to Mirko for the great Event!

 

 

 

#ConfigMgr and Unknown Computer – SMSPXE.log displays a “Rejected” entry

Hi everybody!

Let’s talk about Unknown Computer Support in ConfigMgr Current Branch. I’m personally not a big fan of this feature, but some customer have a requirement to enable this option and that’s OK .

In one case we had to enable this because the customer missed to get a hardware list from his hardware vendor and was not able to do a bulk import of the devices to ConfigMgr. So we decided to build a service which is using PowerShell in a WIM to create a computer asset in the CMDB. The other reason to enable “Unknown Computer” support can be, the issue with DELL SMBIOS GUIDs.
If you boot some DELL devices (also new models like Latitude 7280), you receive a different SMBIOS GUID on the Screen of the Device compared to the one you get with WMI or in the SMSPXE.log of the Distribution Point. Here an example:

DELL Screen:
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SMSPXE.log
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This can be a reasons to enable Unknown Computer support. But I’m still not a fan of. Why? Normally when you PXE boot a Unknown Computer it will create a new entry in the Console called “Unknown”. To find all the current Unknown devices select the Devices and filter them by “Unknown”:

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But not all devices are listet – for some reason and I couldn’t find out why. Reply to me if you have some information’s about.

If you now would like to boot the device again as Unknown, you won’t be able and the SMSPXE.log will show you a “Rejected” message for the specific SMBIOS GUID.

No advertisement found, No boot action, Rejected, Not serviced
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You can do any queries to find the MAC or the SMBIOS GUID of the device in the Console (GUI), but you won’t find any entries.
To get that sorted, start the SQL Management Studio and navigate to your CM_SiteCode Database. There select “Tables” and scroll down to the table called dbo.LastPXEAdvertisement. You can right click the table and show the first 1000 entries. This will list you a few entries and hopefully your SMBIOS will be listet there.

Run the following query to get your SMBIOS GUID (for your own use, change the bold entries, DB name and GUID)

select * from [CM_ABC].[dbo].[LastPXEAdvertisement]
where
SMBIOS_GUID = ‘4C4C4544-0037-4E10-8047-B4C04F425331

To delete the PXE flag for the Unknown device run the following script:
Be careful with deleting entries from any databases. This is a workaround. Make sure you’re aware what you do!

delete from [CM_M01].[dbo].[LastPXEAdvertisement]
where
SMBIOS_GUID = ‘4C4C4544-0037-4E10-8047-B4C04F425331

This is how you will be able to boot the device again as Unknown Computer. Each PXE flag also get an Advertisement ID from your deployed Task Sequence. You can find this entry in the same table called LastPXEAdvertisementID.

Hope this helps.

 

Still buggy: #ConfigMgr Current Branch 1610 – download still hangs in the console

I thought that some bugs will be fixed during the time. Ok, sometimes it happens with a new KB :-).

Today I had to upgrade a 2012 R2 ConfigMgr Server to 1606 and then 1610. 1606 is not an big deal as you have the baseline ISO for that. After that you will receive the 1610 in the console. But it hangs still with the status “Downloading”.

As one solution you will find to restart the SMS_Executive. But with restartig the service you won’t still be able to install the CB 1610. Restarting the SMS_Executive restarts also the SMS_DMP_Downloader and you can follow the process using the dmpdwonloader.log under the log folder from your Primary Site server.

In that log you recognize that some cab files can’t be downloaded. All sources will be downloaded to the CM “Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\EasySetupPayload” folder. The log shows you the download link of the mssing root cab file and also the used proxy server. Copy that link to your preferred browser link bar and download the cab file. Place it in the EasySetupPayload folder. – Restart SMS_Executive. The download will continue after 1-2 minutes.

In my case was ConfigMgr not able to download all the prereq tools to the “redist” folder. Some where Ok, but not all. 14 tools where still missing. If you have the same issue, navigate to \EasySetupPayload\”extractedCABName”\SMSSETUP\BIN\x64 and run setupdl.exe to download all the Prereq tools. You can directly download the contet to the \EasySetupPayload\”extractedCABName”\redist folder.

Restart the SMS_Executive Service again. The Configuration Manager 1610 Update should now switch to the status Available.

configmgr

Have fun installing 1610.

 

 

 

#ConfigMgr 1702 released – Enable FastRing

Yesterday Microsoft released the new Current Branch version 1702 of ConfigMgr. The update will bring a lot of new features. For a detailed overview visit the docs.microsoft.com site.

Be aware that the support for following products dropped with the version 1702:

SQL Server 2008 R2, for site database servers. Deprecation of support was first announced on July 10, 2015. This version of SQL Server remains supported when you use a Configuration Manager version prior to version 1702.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2, for site system servers and most site system roles. Deprecation of support was first announced on July 10, 2015. This version of Windows remains supported when you use a Configuration Manager version prior to version 1702.
  • Windows Server 2008, for site system servers and most site system roles. Deprecation of support was first announced on July 10, 2015.
  • Windows XP Embedded, as a client operating system. Deprecation was first announced on July 10, 2015. This version of Windows remains supported when you use a Configuration Manager version prior to version 1702.

 

If you’re not seeing the update in you console and your ConfigMgr Server is running in the online mode using the Service Connection Point (available with Version 1602 and later) , you can enable the Fast Ring using the TechNet gallery PowerShell script.

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  • Force an update check in the CM console
  • The new update starts to download. You can verify that in the dmpdownloader.log file.

After the upgrade you will have installed following version numbers:

Version 1702
Console Version 5.000.8498.1400
Site Version:5.0.8498.1000

ConfigMgr 1606 – Configure Office 365 Client Agent Settings(Configuration Manager Current Branch)

Hi reader,

The newest Version of System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch (1606) is rolling out these days with a lot of new features and opportunities.

As the update is rolled out globally in the coming weeks, it will be automatically downloaded and you will be notified when it is ready to install from the “Updates and Servicing” node in your Configuration Manager console. If you can’t wait to try these new features, this PowerShell script can be used to ensure that you are in the first wave of customers getting the update.

Beginning in Configuration Manager version 1606, you can use the Configuration Manager client setting to manage the Office 365 client agent. Configure your Client Settings \ Software Updates Settings. There you can find now a new option called “Enable management of the Office 365 Client Agent“.

Capture

After you configure this setting and deploy Office 365 updates, the Configuration Manager client agent communicates with the Office 365 client agent to download Office 365 updates from a distribution point and install them. Configuration Manager takes inventory of Office 365 ProPlus Client settings.

Find more details on TechNet: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt741983.aspx

Configuration Manager 1602- backup your CD.Latest folder

Today I got a support case where I had to restore my first ConfigMgr Current Branch 1602.

No prob, we do have a nice SQL DB backup of the ConfigMgr database.

Let’s do the following:

  1. Close all consoles
  2. Stop all SMS Services (will also be done by the recovery wizard)
  3. Start the setup.exe from the CD.Latest (“Your Install Directory”\Microsoft Configuration Manager\cd.latest\SMSSETUP\BIN\X64)

But here I got stock. The “Recovery Site” option was greyed out. Of course I tried different ways to start the splash.hta or the setup.exe using admin rights. No way. The option was never available.

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During research I found that the Site Maintenance job in ConfigMgr is also creating a folder called CD.Latest. But the customer did never activate the Site Maintenance job as they use a third party backup solution to backup the SQL Databases.

However, I configured the Site Maintenance Task and started the SMS_SITE_BACKUP service. This was creating the CD.Latest folder under my backup folder.

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With this version of the setup.exe file could restore the database .

What we did:

–          Stopped all services
–          Detached the no longer needed CM_”SiteCode” database from the SQL Server using the SQL Server Management Studio
–          Restored the good database from Sunday (used the SQL option “override existing files”)
–          Started CD.Latest from the newly created backup folder (F:\Backup\W01Backup\CD.Latest)
–          Used “Site Database that has manually recovered” as we restored it in SQL

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Conclusion

Please be aware of a very important change required to your backup strategy in Configuration Manager 1511, 1602 (and later). As you know regular upgrades will be available for the product (every 4 months or so) and you will be able to upgrade using update packages in the “Updates and Servicing” node of the Administration > Cloud Services workspace.

–          Make sure you enable the “Site Maintenance” Job for the site.
–          Backup the Backup folder as this will allow you to restore the ConfigMgr 1602 server in case of a bare metal restore

This folder will be required when you are recovering a failed site so it must be included in a backup strategy. Note that the built in backup maintenance task will back up this folder automatically. Also note that there is no point in backing up this folder once. It must be ongoing because, when upgrades are installed, Configuration Manager also updates the CD.Latest folder with the current files.

Find more informations on TechNet:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt703293.aspx

 

ConfigMgr 1511 MP Troubleshooting – HTTP test request failed, status code is 403. “Forbidden” – Managing MAC OSx

I have recently faced following issue “HTTP test request failed, status code is 403. “Forbidden” ” on Management Point and was not Abel to connect MAC OSx Devices to the MP. To fix this issue, I followed the below steps and maybe you can do so.

Issue

We have HTTPS enabled on the Management Point for managing MAC OSx Clients and it is still not able authenticate. Due to this it is reporting this error.

The MPControl.log is reporting following error:
“Call to HttpSendRequestSync failed for port 443 with status code 403, text: Forbidden” “HTTP test request failed, status code is 403. ‘Forbidden”

error1

Solution

Look at the IIS Log files under your inetpub folder for more details of the error. The log files are located under  (C or D drive)  \inetpub\logs\Logfiles\W3SVC1

As you see in the below highlighted line error code 403 13, which indicates an issue with Client Certificate Revocation (CRL) Check on IIS.

error2

To fix this issue disable the Revocation check. Client Certificate Revocation is enabled by default. We need to delete all existing bindings on IIS and readd them again. The easiest way to do this is using the netsh command.

  1. Run the below command line and make a note of the details
    netsh http show sslcert
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  2. Delete existing SSL bindings
    netsh http delete sslcert ipport=0.0.0.0:443
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  3. Readd SSL binding and disable CRL check
    netsh (enter)
    http add sslcert ipport=0.0.0.0:443 certhash= 6cfa619aa7cb9eed29d1ccb0ec783ee40d20281c appid={4dc3e181-e14b-4a21-b022-59fc669b0914}  certstorename=My  verifyclientcertrevocation=disable
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  4. Run “netsh http show sslcert” again to check the status of the CRL check
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  5. Check the mpcontrol.log. The error is gone.

Tray again to connect your MAC OSx ConfigMgr Client to your ConfigMgr Primary Site Server. You should now be able to connect. Your MAC will also appear in the ConfigMgr console.

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Connection to ConfigMgr established:

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Now manage your MAC under “Devices” in the ConfigMgr Console:

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Use this as a workaround if you’re not able to publish the CRL for your Site Servers.

Enjoy ConfigMgr!