Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X
Aside

Advanced Format Hard Drives – The “Low-Down” (Summary of Resources)

The new advanced format drives are coming and there has been a lot of confusion on what steps are needed to support them. I’m going to try and present the information available in the simplest way possible. I will also update the resources on the bottom of the post as new information is presented or relayed to me.


Hope it helps.


WinPE


WinPE 3.0: Apply 982018


WinPE 3.1: Support already present


Windows


Windows 7 RTM: Apply 982018


Windows 7 SP1: Not required, but recommended to apply 982018, it’s a “recommended” update via Windows Update.


Resources:


KB982018 Windows PE/Windows 7 hotfix


KB2510009 Information about Microsoft support policy for large sector drives in Windows (XP is NOT supported)


The Dell guys have done a really nice job of putting together a bunch of really good information. Be sure to check out this link, they are adding new content as it’s available!  Deploying Dell systems with Advanced Format Hard Drives


Xtreme Consulting: New Tool: Advanced Format Drives


Dell TechCenter: Are you ready for Advanced Format (AF) Hard Drives?


Michael Niehaus: MDT 2012 Beta 1: UEFI Support


HP – Preparing Advanced Format hard drives for Microsoft Windows installations on HP Business Notebook PCs and Desktop PCs


Phil Schwan: Quickly Update WinPE 3.0 Boot Images to support AFHD (script)


Chris Nackers: Automatically Patching WinPE 3.0 with MDT 2010

Aside

Configuration Manager 2012–Offline Servicing for OSD

Configuration Manager 2012 has a new feature for updating your images.  This process uses Component Based Servicing (CBS) updates.  By updating the image this way, you are decreasing the time it takes to deploy your image and reduce the vulnerabilities during the OSD process.  Hopefully this process is also simpler to manage than rebuilding your image to get the latest updates included.

The follow operating systems support this method:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 and later
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 and later
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RTM
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2

*SP1 support for Win7/Server 2008 is not included at this time.

The log used for troubleshooting is OfflineServicingMgr.Log and is located in the default log location.

First we need to right-click on the image you want to update and select “Schedule Updates”. 

image

Next we will see a listing of applicable updates.  You can change the architecture to match your image if it’s not already on the correct architecture.  You can select the updates you want to inject into your image.

image

Next we can do a “as soon as possible” update or schedule the update to happen at a later time.

image

Once the process has completed, you will see a status overview of the updates injected into the image.

image

Here we can see that the updates are currently being processed.

image

Here we can see that the update process was successful. 

image

In the details, we can see what updates were installed in a quick view.

image

You can also open up the properties of the image, go to the “Installed Updates” tab and see a complete listing of any updates that have been injected into the image.

image

Aside

How to create offline or standalone USB media for OS Deployment in ConfigMgr 2007

Great new post over on The Configuration Manager Support Team Blog

Read the original post here.

Steve Rachui | Senior Premier Field Engineer

Operating System Deployment (OSD) in System Center Configuration Manager 2007 offers several options for deploying images to target systems. One option includes support for imaging systems that are completely disconnected from the network using stand-alone media. You will also see this referred to as using offline media.

Using stand-alone media doesn’t require access to the ConfigMgr infrastructure during imaging because all components needed during the imaging process are copied to the stand-alone media and available locally. This includes the task sequence and any packages or other items referenced by the task sequence. For this reason, stand-alone media can be quite large – often exceeding the space available on a DVD. To avoid swapping DVD’s during imaging with larger stand-alone media based images, it is convenient to use a USB thumb drive. Because of smaller size, easier portability and convenience, USB media is often preferred over DVD’s even when image sizes don’t require DVD spanning. But there are a few requirements for using USB stand-alone media successfully. Let’s walk through the process of creating USB stand-alone media and then go through a few requirements that need to be in place to avoid problems.

…….

Problem: Cannot create offline media from an SCCM 2007 Admin console running on a Windows 7 workstation.
Resolution: This is a known issue with three potential workarounds documented at

Problem: >32 GB USB disk won’t work to create TS media.
Resolution: You can create a 32 GB partition on a larger USB drive by using diskpart and the following script. The resulting partition will be formatted with an NTFS partition using the script below. Note: The value # in the script should be replaced with the drive number.

Problem: You see an error in the CreateTSMedia log stating ‘directory name is invalid’.
Resolution: The offline media was being created from content located on a branch distribution point. The problem was due to the users account (in this case an admin on the system) not having permissions to the SMSPXEImages$ share. Adding permissions resolved the problem. This problem can happen with any distribution point if appropriate permissions are not in place.

Problem: An error was noted that the USB disk being used was too small but in reality had plenty of space.
Resolution: The error resulted because not all packages had replicated successfully to the distribution points being used for media creation.

Problem: You run out of disk space while trying to create the offline media.
Resolution: Sufficient disk space is required to stage all the content in the current logged on users %TEMP% directory. If the offline media wizard is run on a server where the C:\ is a small partition to host just the OS, you may run out of space during the media creation without a clear error. Workaround this by changing the %TEMP% variable path to another drive with sufficient space, or leverage a remote console on a workstation with sufficient C: drive space to stage the content.

Problem: The formatted USB flash drive may not have enough space to hold the image.
Resolution:
If the USB flash drive is formatted using a FAT32 partition then no file can exceed 4 GB in size (which is common with the WIM). Format the USB Flash stick as NTFS first.

Problem: When running the offline media wizard the attached USB flash drive is not detected.
Resolution: The USB flash drive must be connected prior to launching the wizard.

Aside

Using ZTIWindowsUpdate.wsf To Install Updates In A System Center Configuration Manager Task Sequence

There are instances were you may want to install updates during a ConfigMgr Task Sequence without using Software Updates in ConfigMgr.  Maybe you don’t have it implemented yet, or maybe you are still using WSUS for updates.  I’ve seen it asked many times if there is a way to pull updates from WSUS during a ConfigMgr TS, so I just wanted to show you a few ways to handle this situation.

Using ZTIWindowsUpdates.wsf in a ConfigMgr Task Sequence

You can use ZTIWindowsUpdate.wsf in a non-MDT integrated task sequence without very much configuration at all.  It basically consists of using the ztiwindowsupdates.wsf script and setting a WSUSServer variable. 

In order to use the ztiwindowsupdate.wsf script, we also need to have ZTIUtility.vbs available to the script. So first, lets create a package called “ZTIWindowsUpdate” that contains the ztiwindowsupdate.wsf and ztiutility.vbs script.

image

image

Next, we’ll need to add a few steps to our task sequence. First we need to set a value for a variable “WSUSServer”, this tells it what WSUS Server to contact for the updates. This is a Set Task Sequence Variable step.

image

Next we need to add a step to call the ZTIWindowsUpdate.wsf script. This is a Run Command Line step.

image

We need to make sure that we reference the package we created earlier containing the ztiwindowsupdates.wsf and ztiutility.vbs scripts.

image

Using ZTIWindowsUpdates.wsf in a MDT-Integrated Task Sequence

You can also use the script in a MDT integrated Task Sequence.  In order to do this, we need to set the variable for WSUSServer and add a Run Command Line step to call the script.

First, you can set the variable in the Task Sequence, OR you can set the variable in your setting package that contains customsettings.ini

Setting the value using customsettings.ini

image

OR

Setting the value using a Set Task Sequence Variable step

image

Next we need to add a Run Command Line step to call the script. We don’t have to specify a package for this because the script already exists in the Toolkit Package \scripts directory.  (The Use Toolkit Package task sequence step specifies the package that contains the MDT scripts)

image

Aside

Building A Windows XP Reference Image, Typical Customizations Examples

Nick Moseley has a nice post on some typical XP customizations that are done to your reference XP Image.  He has some examples of system settings, user settings, and some unattend.txt settings as well. 

Read his full post here.

Aside

Fix: Unable to delete the OSDStateStorePath folder in an OSD Task Sequence using USMT 4.0 with Hard Links in ConfigMgr 2007

Read the original post here, contributed by:

Clifton Hughes | Senior System Center Support Engineer

When using Hard Links for User State Migration, attempting to remove the OSDStateStorePath folder after restoring the users data in a Task Sequence may fail or appear to hang.

Note: This is in reference to the steps listed in this article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee344267.aspx

The command .\%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%\usmtutils.exe /rd %OSDStateStorePath% may appear to hang unless you configure a timeout value on the Run Command Line step, and/or it may fail with one of the following errors or warnings depending on how the Task Sequence Advertisement is configured:

SMSTS.log may show one of the following errors or warnings.

Warning: This command is going to delete the following list of path(s).
Please review before continuing…
C:\UserState
Are you sure you want to proceed (Y/N)?

If you do not configure a timeout value, it will hang at this point, however, since you cannot see the prompt for user input you cannot continue.

Or, if you configure a timeout value on the Run Command Line step, you may see this error in the SMSTS.log

This operation returned because the timeout period expired. (Error: 800705B4; Source: Windows)

The amount of detail you see in the log will also depend on how you have configured the Advertisement for the Task Sequence. If the Advertisement is configured to Download content locally when needed by running the task sequence (commonly referred to as Download and run locally) then you will not see as much detail on the command line being run. However, if you select Access content directly from a distribution point when needed by the running task sequence (commonly referred to as Run from DP), then you will get more details on the command line being run, and it may show the prompt "Are you sure you want to proceed (Y/N)?" in the SMSTS.log. If you tried adding the cmd.exe /c echo Y | in front of the command and still try to use the Run from DP option, the command will fail with a Path not found error.

Cause

There are two things we are trying to overcome with this issue when running the USMTUTILS.EXE command from a ConfigMgr 2007 OS Deployment Task Sequence:

1. This command requires user input in order to delete the OSDStateStorePath folder and does not seem to support any command line switches to bypass this prompt.

2. Although we are able to use the echo command to pass the Y for yes to the command line step using cmd.exe /c echo Y | "command", this will only work if the Advertisement is configured to Download content locally when needed by running the task sequence (commonly referred to as Download and run locally). If you select Access content directly from a distribution point when needed by the running task sequence (commonly referred to as Run from DP) this step will fail. This is due to the echo command we are needed to pass, it is a built in command in the command interpreter, cmd.exe, so that is why we must specify the cmd.exe /c in the beginning of the command line, as this is not present in the package on the DP.

Resolution

Note: This will only work if the Advertisement is configured to Download content locally when needed by the running task sequence (commonly referred to as Download and run locally). If you select Access content directly from a distribution point when needed by the running task sequence (commonly referred to as Run from DP) this step will fail.  This is because  the echo command we need  to pass is a built in command in the command interpreter, cmd.exe,  We must specify the cmd.exe /c in the beginning of the command line since this is not present in the package on the DP.

NOTE: Data Loss Warning, do not select Continue on error on the Restore User Files and Settings!  It is also important to not select “Continue on error” on the Options tab, or  “Continue if some files cannot be restored” on the “Properties” tab of the “Restore User Files and Settings” task sequence step, Selecting these options will allow the next task sequence step to delete the User Files and Settings even if they are not successfully restored.

This resolution assumes you have already successfully configured and tested an OS Deployment with ConfigMgr 2007 SP2 using Hard Links with USMT 4.0 . If not, follow the steps to configure the OSDStateStorePath, OSDMigrateAdditionalCaptureOptions, and OSDMigrateAdditionalRestoreOptions variables for using Hard Links with USMT 4.0 in ConfigMgr 2007 SP2:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee344267.aspx

To add a step that should successfully remove the User State folder after the User Files and Settings are restored, follow these steps:

1. In the Task Sequence Editor, after the Restore User State step, click Add, navigate to General, and then click Run Command Line action. Type the following in the Run Command Line action:

2. Type the following in the Command line field:

cmd.exe /c echo Y | ".\%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%\usmtutils.exe" /rd "%OSDStateStorePath%"

3. Select the Package check box.

4. In the Select a Package dialog box, browse to the USMT 4.0 package, and then click OK.

Although we are able to use the echo command to pass the Y for yes to the command line step using the command line step:

cmd.exe /c echo Y | ".\%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%\usmtutils.exe" /rd "%OSDStateStorePath%"

Aside

Configuration Manager R3 – Prestaged Media Setup and Walkthrough

This blog will be a walkthrough and setup guide for Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) R3 prestaged media.  This will cover the basic steps required in order to use the new R3 feature in your environment.

First some background on prestaged media from Microsoft:

Prestaged media is an alternative way to deploy an operating system to computers. Prestaged media is a Windows Image (.wim) file that can be installed on bare metal computers by the computer manufacturer or at an enterprise staging center. This media includes a boot image and an operating system image that an administrator can predeploy to a hard disk prior.  Prestaged media reduces network traffic and the time required to provision a computer. Prestaged media works with existing task sequences to provide a complete operating system deployment.

Prestaged media is suitable for use in environments where you would want to deploy content to a computer, but do not want to or are unable to have the computer fully provisioned, for example during the computer manufacturing process or at an enterprise staging center. Computers are distributed within the enterprise with the prestaged media already loaded. When the computer starts for the first time, the computer will boot into WinPE and connect to the Configuration Manager site management point to check for available task sequences.

NOTE: When creating prestaged media, ensure that the boot image you are using has the appropriate network and mass storage drivers need for the system to complete the provisioning process.

Creating the prestaged media image

Right click on Task Sequences and select “Create Task Sequence Media”.

image

Select “Prestaged Media”.

image

Enter any information you want added to the .wim file, then specify the location and name of the file, then click Next.

image

Take note of what you put in the Created By field because whatever you put there, will end up the name of the drive as in these examples.

image

image

You can however change the field in the image properties.  If you leave it blank, then “SCCM” will be added automatically for you. 

image

image

Next, you can select whether or not to enable unknown computer support, password protect the media, as well as the certificate options.

image

Next, we need to select the boot image and operating system you want to stage to the computer.

image

Then we have our summary before the operation begins.

image

Click Close when the process is completed.

image

Importing the prestaged image into ConfigMgr

Next we need to import our newly created .wim into ConfigMgr.

image

Browse to the path where you put the prestaged wim we previously created. Then select Next.

image

Provide properties for the image, then select Next.

image

Review the summary and then select Next.

image

Click Close when the process has completed.

image

Next you will need to distribute the image out to the distribution points. Right-click on the image and select Manage Distribution Points.  Then select “Copy the package to new distribution points”. Then select Next.

image

Select the Distribution Points you want to copy the image to, then select Next.

image

Select Next.

image

Click Close when the process completes.  You can monitor distrmgr.log to review the distribution status.

image

Creating a Task Sequence to deploy the prestaged image to a computer

Right-click on Task Sequences and select New – Task Sequence.

image

Select “Create a new custom Task Sequence”.

image

Name the Task Sequence appropriately and then select Next.

image

Select Next.

image

After the process completes successfully, click Close.

image

Ensure the Task Sequence has the appropriate boot media. You can do this by selecting Properties on the Task Sequence.

image

Ensure the boot image selected is the same one as you used when creating the Prestaged Media image.

image

Next we need to edit the Task Sequence and add the appropriate steps.

First we need to add a “Format and Partition Disk” step.

image

If you are using Bitlocker, then you’ll need to create a 100mb partition, something similar to this example.

image

image

 image

If you are not using bitlocker, then you can just create a single partition.

image

image

NOTE: You do not need a Bootsect.exe command as you may have seen with other documentation.  This is unnecessary as the Format and Partition disk step takes care of this for you. 

Next we need to add a “Apply Data Image” step. Select the Prestaged media image you had previously imported.

image

image

If you are not using bitlocker, then you can leave the Destination as “next available formatted partition”.

image

If you are using bitlocker, then you need to change the Destination to match your configuration.

image

Next we need to add another “Run Command Line” step to shutdown the computer and end the Task Sequence.

image

Using a command line of “wpeutil shutdown”.

image

The finalized Task Sequence should look something like this.

image

Next if you advertise this Task Sequence to the appropriate collection, then you can run this Task Sequence on a reference machine to apply the prestaged image to that machine. (Other Task Sequences have been removed from the screenshot)

image

Configuring a Task Sequence to “finish” a prestaged image

Prestaged media is designed to work with your existing Task Sequences.  We only need to make one minor change to the “Partition Disk” step in order for Prestaged media to work successfully. We need to add a Task Sequence variable step that says _SMSTSMediaType not equals OEMmedia. This tells the Task Sequence to skip this step when using Prestaged media, so that we don’t delete the content we’ve prestaged.

image

No change is required to the Apply Operating System step as the logic already exists to detect OEMMedia.

You will however, need to configure your Destination to match whether or not you are deploying bitlocker or whatever other custom setup you may have.

If you are using bitlocker, ensure this step matches the configuration you used when applying the prestaged image to the disk.

image

If you are not using bitlocker, then just use the default configuration.

image

Executing the Task Sequence on a prestaged machine

If you power on a computer that has a prestage image applied to it, it will automatically boot the WinPE image that is staged on the machine.

image

Then we can contact the ConfigMgr server and get our policies.

image

You will see it run through the first Task Sequence steps fairly quickly.

image

After a couple minutes you’ll see the system reboot.

image

Sysprep will then run, along with whatever final configurations you have in your Task Sequence and you should find yourself with a computer joined to the domain and ready to log in within a few minutes.  In my Hyper-V lab, without any additional software applications to install, the login prompt was presented in less than 10 minutes after starting the Task Sequence.

image

Aside

Back to basics – Understanding Unattend.xml automation in Windows 7

Johan has a nice blog post over his blog I just noticed today, it’s back from October, so shame on me for not reading it until now Smile.  Here is a snippet and you can read the rest of the post here.

First
If your goal is to very quickly have a nice fully automated Windows 7 setup, including drivers, application etc. – This article is not for you. If that’s your goal, you should download the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010, and use that as your deployment solution.

Second
That being said, if you rather is a hardcore geek who wants to build everything yourself from scratch, instead of using the standard tools that Microsoft recommends, this article will help you create your own answer files to automate the core Windows 7 setup.

This is also your chance to challenge the 20+ people strong deployment team at Microsoft, showing them that you are better building deployment solutions than they are. Why use a standard solution that 300.000 other people on this planet are already using when you can re-invent what they have done and build it your self.

So here is the text to get in touch with your inner deployment geek…

Aside

Deployment Walkthrough Videos Now Fully Posted

REALLY great post by Richard Smith over on The Deployment Guys Blog.

Read the full post here and view the videos. I would highly recommend you watch some of these videos as they are excellent, really great content and very easy to follow walk-through’s.

Thanks you all for your patience waiting for the full set of deployment walkthrough videos to be posted on TechNet Edge. As per my previous post, over the past few months I have been updating the deployment walkthrough videos and I am pleased to announce that the whole video series has now been posted. In all there are seven videos (around 10 hours of content) – you can see the full list of videos here or you can link to the individual videos below:

DEPLOYMENT PLANNING:

OFFICE DEPLOYMENT:

IMAGE ENGINEERING AND SERVICING:

IMAGE DEPLOYMENT:

Remember that you can download the video file (instead of streaming it) directly from the TechNet Edge web page for each video – look for the “Downloads” section at the bottom of the page to download the .WMV/MP4/PSP file

Aside

You cannot use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup tool on a Windows Vista-based computer

This article describes the reasons why you cannot use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup tool on a Windows Vista-based computer. The ImageX.exe tool ships as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

You can use the ImageX.exe tool to capture an operating system installation image on which you have run Sysprep (Sysprep.exe) from the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). You can then deploy the operating system installation image on another computer.
Although the ImageX.exe tool may appear to be a mechanism to create an image of a computer for backup, there are several issues that prevent using the ImageX.exe tool as a supported backup mechanism.
The following are the issues when you use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup mechanism:

  • Extended attributes are lost.
  • The ImageX.exe tool only applies reparse points that are symbolic links or junctions.
  • Sparse files on the system are captured and applied. However, the sparse files are no longer sparse after they have been applied.
  • Object IDs on files are lost in the capture process or in the apply process.


APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Starter