2012 in review

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Extras

Cumulative Update 1 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

September 1, 2012 1 comment

Cumulative Update 1 (KB2717295) for ConfigMgr 2012 is now available.

For the download link please click here.  More details : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2717295

Below are the issues that are fixed:

Administrator Console

  • When a new distribution point is added to a package that contains more than 100 existing distribution points, the new distribution point cannot be added, and you receive the following error message in the Administrator Console:The SMS Provider reported an error.When you click Details in the error message, a “Quota Violation” message is displayed that is followed by the details of the stack trace.
  • The link to the online privacy statement for the Customer Experience Improvement Program in the Administrator Console is fixed.

Application Management

  • If a Deployment Type is added or changed before Distribution Manager processes an earlier change, the content may not be sent to a child site.

The prestaged content file for a Deployment Type (DT) is not created for remote Distribution Points when there are multiple DTs for the same application. For more information about prestaged content, go to the following Microsoft TechNet website:

Operations and Maintenance for Content Management in Configuration Manager


Asset Intelligence

  • Volume license editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 may be duplicated in the Asset Intelligence Installed_Software_data hardware inventory class.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack (SP1) is not listed in the Asset Intelligence License 01D – Microsoft License Ledger Products on a Specific Computer report.
  • The pre-provisioned Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point certificate is updated with a new expiration date.


When a dynamic list is used for the Install Application task sequence, not all deployment types will be installed. This issue occurs when one of the deployment types restarts the computer. In this case, any deployment type after the restart is not installed. The state messages that are associated with each application indicate Success. This issue can be seen most clearly in the smsts.log file on the client when the log file is filtered in the CMTrace for entries that contain the text “Installing application.”
The following is an example sequence:

Installing application ‘App 1’
Installing application ‘ContentID for App 1′ has started. Please refer to DCMAgent.log for the details on this job. JobID='{JobID1}’
Installing application ‘App 2’
Installing application ‘ContentID for App 2′ has started. Please refer to DCMAgent.log for the details on this job. JobID='{JobID2}’
Installing application ‘App 3 – Exit Code 3010′
Installing application ‘ContentID for App 3′ has started. Please refer to DCMAgent.log for the details on this job. JobID='{JobID3}’
Installing application ‘App 4’
Installing application ‘ContentID for App 2′ has started. Please refer to DCMAgent.log for the details on this job. JobID='{JobID4}’

Note Both ‘App 2’ and ‘App 4’ share the same content ID. In this example sequence, ‘App 4’ was not installed following the restart that ‘App 3’ triggered.

Out of Band Management

Power Control and Clear Audit Log collection-based actions fail for externally provisioned AMT clients. The amptopmgr.log file contains entries that resemble the following entry:

Error: CSMSAMTDiscoveryTask::Execute, discovery to client_computer failed. General Worker Thread Pool: Error, Can not execute the task successfully. Remove it from task list.

Site Database

  • Replication Link Analyzer incorrectly detects a syscommittab system table issue and suggests reinitialization if the SQL Errorlog contains the following string:3999
  • A primary device cannot be selected for user-based pre-deployment if the device does not have the Configuration Manager client installed.

Site Systems

  • A Reporting Services Point may not be installed or start if the SQL Reporting Service does not start within one minute. The srssp.log file may contain entries that resemble the following entry:Starting service ‘ReportServer’
    Time out has expired and the operation has not been completed.
  • The SMS Executive service may stop unexpectedly if the Exchange Connector PowerShell cmdlet fails. The EasDisc.log file may contain entries that resemble the following entry:ERROR: [MANAGED] Cmdlet failed: Starting a command on remote server failed with the following error message: The WinRM client cannot complete the operation within the time specified. Check if the machine name is valid and is reachable over the network and firewall exception for Windows Remote Management service is enabled. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic.
  • The Site System Status Summarizer component may cause the SMS Executive service to stop unexpectedly if the site server fully qualified domain name (FQDN) is more than 50 characters, and the default installation path is used. The relevant entries from the Exception Information section of the crash.log files contain the following entry:Thread name = SMS_SITE_SYSTEM_STATUS_SUMMARIZER
    Executable = C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\bin\x64\smsexec.exe
    Exception = eeeeffff (EXCEPTION_SMS_FATAL_ERROR)

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and client machine restart notifications

September 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Thanks to Terry McKinney (PFE – MS) for sharing this information.

For more details click here

Consider the following scenario:

  • You set System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) Client Agent\Computer Agent\Show notifications for new deployments to “False”.
  • You create a Software Updates Deployment in ConfigMgr.
  • The Software Updates Deployment contains software updates that require a machine restart in order to complete installation.
  • You configure the User Experience\User Notifications configuration setting for the deployment to “Hide in Software Center and all notifications”.
  • You configure the User Experience\Device Restart behavior configuration setting to “Suppress the system restart for both Servers and Workstations”.

Expected behavior:

No user notifications are displayed before, during, or after the software updates installation processes run..

Actual behavior:

Machine restart notifications are displayed on the ConfigMgr client machine after the post-install software updates scan completes. The notifications are displayed on all supported client operating system versions.

First visible indication:

A yellow “Restart Required” balloon notification is displayed.

If you click within the boundary of this yellow balloon notification, a Software Center “Restart your computer” notification is displayed. If you do not click within the boundary of the yellow notification box, the Software Center notification is not created and the yellow balloon notification fades away after approximately 5 seconds.

If you make no selections in the Software Center notification, it remains onscreen indefinitely. If you click Cancel or if you click Snooze and then click “OK”, the Software Center notification closes and a green icon is displayed to the far left of the visible notification area. If you mouse over the icon, a small “restart required” dialogue opens up.

To date, only one method has been identified that will disable all visible machine restart notifications. This method uses a combination of domain GPO Adm template settings and Local Policy Adm template settings with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.  The specific Local Policy configuration settings are new with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.  Thus these are the only client operating systems with which it is possible to achieve complete and total suppression of the restart notifications.  These policies are:

NOTE Best practice discourages unnecessary editing of the Default Domain Policy.

Domain  Policy
User Configuration
Admin templates
Start Menu and Taskbar
Set “Turn off all Balloon Notifications” to “Enabled”
Local policy on Win 7 (New setting for Windows 7):

Local Policy
User Configuration
Admin templates
Start Menu and Taskbar
Set  “Turn off automatic promotion of notifications to the taskbar” to Enabled.


Agent Configuration


Deployment User Experience configuration


Yellow Balloon Notification


Software Center notification


Green notification area icon


Troubleshooting missing Management Points when creating a bootable media Task Sequence in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

September 1, 2012 2 comments

Here’s a problem we came across recently and the resolution we came up with that I wanted to share. The issue is that when creating a task sequence for  bootable media using a Boot Image, the wizard does not return any of the available Management point names.


Cause: You will run into this issue if the Management Point is configured to use HTTPS and you are using the self-signed certificate and not importing the PKI certificate while creating the TS bootable media.


To fix this you will need to import the certificate on the Security page.

Certificate requirements:

  • Certificate Purpose: Client authentication
  • Template to use: Workstation Authentication

NOTE This certificate must be exported in a Public Key Certificate Standard (PKCS #12) format, and the password must be known so that it can be imported.



For more information see PKI requirements for Configuration Manager 2012 :


Importing MVLS information into an Asset Intelligence catalog fails with “failed to Import Licensing Data into the Site Database”

September 1, 2012 1 comment

You may find that you are unable to import Microsoft Volume Licensing Software (MVLS) information into a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (ConfigMgr 2007) Asset Intelligence catalog. During the import of software license information you get the following error:

Failed to Import Licensing Data into the Site Database


This can occur due to formatting issues with the MVLS .XML file. To verify whether this is your issue, open the .XML file in Notepad and for each cell in Column C (excluding the header) check to see whether some data is treated as a Number instead of Text (String). If so then this is the cause of the issue. For example:

Incorrect Format (Column C)


<Cell><Data ss:Type=”String”>Applications</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”String”>Office Premium</Data></Cell>

    <Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>2000</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>50</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>0</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>0</Data></Cell>


Correct Format (Column C)


<Cell><Data ss:Type=”String”>Applications</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”String”>Office Premium</Data></Cell>

    <Cell><Data ss:Type=”String”>2000</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>50</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>0</Data></Cell>

<Cell><Data ss:Type=”Number”>0</Data></Cell>



This issue can occur if the product version code has only a numeric value (e.g. 2010, 2007, 2005, etc.). On the contrary, if we have a product named Windows 7 Enterprise, where the version code is 7 Enterprise and contains non-numeric characters, when we download the MVLS file it tags the version code of 7 Enterprise as a String which is correct.

To resolve this, when the version code contains numeric values only we need to change the Column C format from Number to String.

Method 1

For each cell in column C (excluding the header) add the character ‘ before the data so Excel treats it as a string and not a number. Here is a way to automate this:

1. Open .Xml file in Excel

2. Add Developer Tab on the Ribbon

a. Start the Office application (Word 2010, Excel 2010, Outlook 2010, or PowerPoint 2010).

b. Choose the File tab, and then choose Options.

c. In the categories pane, choose Customize Ribbon.

d. In the list of main tabs, choose Developer.

e. Choose the OK button to close the Options dialog box.


See How to: Show the Developer Tab on the Ribbon for more information: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb608625.aspx

3. Now we need to run a VBA procedure to modify the Excel file. To do this, on the Developer tab, in the Code group, click Macro Security.

4. In the Macro Settings category, under Macro Settings, click Enable all macros (not recommended, potentially dangerous code can run), and then click OK.

Note: To help prevent potentially dangerous code from running, we recommend that you return to any one of the settings that disable all macros after you finish working with macros.

5. Save and close all open workbooks.

6. Open the workbook where you want to add the macro, or create a new workbook, and on the Developer tab, in the Code group, click Visual Basic(Alternatively you can press Alt+F11).

7. In the Project Explorer window, right-click the ThisWorkbook object, and then click View Code

For more details on this, see Run a macro at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/run-a-macro-HP010014113.aspx. Refer to section titled Create a VBA procedure for the Open event of a workbook

8. Copy in the code below (Note: You can change Collimit to number of rows you have in .XML file):


Sub test()
Dim s As String
Dim colname As String
colname = “C”
Dim collimit As Integer
collimit = 75
For i = 2 To collimit
s = colname & i
If Range(s).Value2 = “” Then
Range(s).Value2 = “‘” & Range(s).Value2
End If
End Sub

It should look something like this:


9. Press F5 to Run Macro


10. Choose the File tab, Save .XML File(Ctrl+S)


11. Click Yes on the warning:


12. Verify each cell in column C (excluding the header) has the character ‘ before the data:


13. Import Software License Information in Configuration Manager. For more information on how to do this, see How to Import Software License Information at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161913.aspx


Method 2

1. Manually edit the .XML file in Notepad and change the Type value for each affected line from Number to String for the third cell:


2. Import Software License Information in Configuration Manager.

How to troubleshoot content mismatch issue on a DP in configuration manager 2012

A very nice document prepared by Michael Wray on how to troubleshoot Content Mismatch warning on Distribution point in System Center Configuration Manager 2012.

To read more click here

New Knowledge Base articles for System Center Configuration Manager 2012

There are few tips you may want to be aware of if you have ConfigMgr2012 installed in your environment or planning to do so.
For more information go to this link: