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Hotfix: SQL Server Management Studio and Server Manager crashing

Had an interesting issue with a client on a fresh install today.  SQL Server Management Studio would crash as soon as you tried to open a new query window or open a saved query.  Also if you tried to view the local server in Server Manager it was crash as well. 

After some searching, I came across the following KB which fixed both my issues. This occurred on 2 separate servers that were fresh installs.

The issue apparently has to do with the winspool.drv


Free ebooks from Microsoft Press

If you haven’t seen this before, well here you go 🙂

Really great list of free ebooks in various format (PDF, EPUB and Kindle) that covers a wide range of topics. 

Download the books here.

The current list is as follows:

Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience

Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure

Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure

Introducing Microsoft Azure HDInsight

Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals

Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model

Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals

Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms, Preview Edition

Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

.NET Technology Guide for Business Applications

Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience

Microsoft System Center Introduction to Microsoft Automation Solutions

Microsoft System Center Extending Operations Manager Reporting

Microsoft System Center: Integrated Cloud Platform

Microsoft System Center: Network Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution

Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Microsoft System Center: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks

Microsoft System Center: Configuration Manager Field Experience

Microsoft System Center: Cloud Management with App Controller

Microsoft System Center: Troubleshooting Configuration Manager

Microsoft System Center: Optimizing Service Manager


Dynamically Installing Applications Using Configuration Manager with MDT

I’ve written a few blogs in the past on using a little known feature in MDT where you can deploy applications based on the previous inventory.  This a fairly unknown feature that’s been around in BDD/MDT for quite some time.

Here is a previous post on the subject.

Brad Tucker over on The Deployment Guys blog has a nice fresh post on the subject using ConfigMgr 2012.

Read his post here.


How To: Inject Drivers from USB During a ConfigMgr Operating System Task Sequence

Fellow MVP Greg Ramsey has put up a really great post on injecting drivers from USB during a Task Sequence.

Read the full post here.

ConfigMgr OSD does a great job of injecting drivers ‘on the fly’ into your OS Deployment process. For example, you can create task sequence steps with conditional statements to apply drivers for a specific model. That’s great for your standard build, but how do you handle those one-offs, those non-standard builds? Here’s a process that you can you for those non-standard builds, or for that hardware that you’re testing, but haven’t quite committed to being a standard yet.  All we need is a vbScript, raw drivers, and an additional step in your task sequence (haven’t tested with MDT, but should work there as well). The following process ONLY works on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. If there is enough demand, I’ll create a similar script for previous Operating System versions.



System Center 2012 Licensing FAQ

Microsoft has recently announced various changes to the licensing model
for System Center. If it wasn’t confusing before, well it still probably
is :)

Click on the post title to download a FAQ for System Center 2012 Licensing.


System Center 2012 Licensing

Microsoft has recently announced various changes to the licensing model for System Center. If it wasn’t confusing before, well it still probably is 🙂

Click on the post title to download a nice licensing sheet from Microsoft that does a good job explaining the new structure of the System Center 2012 Licensing.



Automatically populate the SCCM Client Patch property during OSD

One of my previous posts has been incredibly popular.  I worked with Michael Murgolo on testing a great ConfigMgr hotfix that would automatically apply hotfixes during a ConfigMgr OSD Task Sequence. 

Matt Benninge has created a new version of the hotfix script with some very nice feature adds.  Matt added the following features:

  • Hotfixes are installed in order based one numbers. So my script installs KB2000 after KB98 where Michael’s would do the opposite.
  • I always assume that the OS-disk will end up as C:, Michael’s script would not work if you had a Bitlocker partition during WinPE that was C: and OS as D: which then would become C: only after system had booted into “full OS”.
  • You have the ability to exclude hotfixes with my script
  • Limitation: The Hotfixes must all be located in a folder starting with “KB”, if this is not true that hotfix will be ignored.

My original post on how to install still holds true, and Matt has a post on how to use the script and some of his new features posted here.


Deploying Windows 7 with Configuration Manager 2012

TechEd Australia video featuring Michael Niehaus.

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 is a significant upgrade. Learn how this new version affects the OS deployment process, and explore the new OS deployment capabilities provided in this release.

Watch or download the video here.


Replace Scenario alternative for USMT Migration

Fantastic post over on The Deployment Guys blog about using USMT in a Replace scenario. 

Read the full post here.

While USMT 4.0 in a Refresh Scenario provides some great advance by using Hardlinking in a Replace Scenario customers still face multiple operational challenges and potential capital costs during large scale deployments because user data needs to make its way from the legacy computer to the new computer.   Managing that data and its transfer can be an expensive task.

System Center Configuration Manager does provide some help in Replace Scenarios with their State Migration Point role, but with that approach comes several operational and hardware requirements.  In the short term, when managing an enterprise wide migration of a desktop operating system, as many customers are facing with Windows 7, the state migration point can potentially become a bottleneck during the migration.  There is a need for more storage capacity for USMT Data on the server.  Without it only so many migrations can be run at any one time.  There may be additional disk subsystem IO performance requirements as well which if not addressed could slow capture and restore of USMT data.  The data also needs to be transferred twice over the network which costs additional time and could make the NIC of the SMP server a potential bottleneck.  In remote offices transferring USMT data over WAN links would also potentially slow down network links impacting other business functions and increasing the time a given migrations may take.  Managing and tracking all of these risks is one more thing IT admins have to take into account for a migration.

Some alternative approaches that enterprises use is a more manual method where a technician uses either Easy Transfer or USMT’s core tools, Scanstate.exe and Loadstate.exe, with a USB hard drive/stick to ports the user data from the legacy computer to the new one.  Those approaches do work, though operationally they can be very labor intensive and thus does not scale well when an organization is facing hundreds if not thousands of systems to migrate.

There is a third approach to consider.  Both Scanstate.exe and Loadstate.exe, the core utilities for USMT have input parameters for where to save and restore data.   Using that functionality, data could be captured from the legacy OS and saved directly to the new computer over the network.  The benefits to this are numerous.  It would defuse the network and Disk IO load across many more computers and each of their NICS and hard drives thus avoiding potential bottlenecks of a centralized server.  USMT data would only have to be moved once across the network.  The process could still be zero touch without the need for any manual processes beyond delivering the new computer to the end user’s desk.  There would be no need to purchase additional storage or manage it for state migration points.  This isn’t to say there are no costs associated with the approach, but that the engineering and infrastructure required to make it happen should be weighed carefully against other options.  For some organizations this approach does make sense and if so you’ll be interested in the processes I have outlined below to make this work.


Known Issue and Workaround: Duplicate Records When You Use Unknown Computer Support with Active Directory Delta-Discovery

Really great post over on the System Center Configuration Manager Team Blog.

Read the full post here.

This post describes how and when you might see duplicate records when you use unknown computer support with Active Directory Delta-Discovery in Configuration Manager 2007 R3, what problems you might see, and some suggested workarounds.

Unknown computer support is an operating system deployment feature that was introduced in Configuration Manager 2007 R2.  It allows you to find unmanaged computers so that you can install an operating system on them, and optionally, install the Configuration Manager client: Active Directory Delta Discovery is a new feature in Configuration Manager 2007 R3 that enhances the discovery capabilities of the product by discovering only new or changed resources in Active Directory Domain Services instead of performing a full discovery cycle:

If you use these two features at the same time, you might see duplicate records for the unknown computer in Configuration Manager database.  In this scenario, you will see two records in the Configuration Manager console that have the same name of the computer that installed an operating system by using unknown computer support: One record shows that it is a client and assigned; the other record shows that it is not a client and not assigned.