Patching workgroup computers and template VMs in CM2012

I recently needed to update the templates of our VMWare servers to reduce the amount of patching required after each deployment. IMO it’s good practice to do this every six months or so and reduces the time it takes for the server to be in a state that is ready for business.

Our template is essentially a non-domain-connected workgroup with no licence key as you’d expect (this all gets added during the orchestration process). As such this presents additional challenges as regards deployment from SCCM which would typically be to a domain-joined machine. The process below can be used for any deployment  to a workgroup-based machine of any type from SCCM, it just so happens I need to do this for software updates to a server.

1.) Ensure you have a local administrative account set up on the workgroup machine, eg %computername%\SBond in my example below.
2.) RDP onto the machine using account above. Copy the CM2012 client install folder from a site server (eg Primary or MP) and paste it via an RDP session on the desktop.
TIP: Copy over CMTrace.exe too, you’ll more than likely use it for something.
3.) Add the local account to ConfigMgr:

4.) Bring up an administrative cmd prompt and CD to C:\Users\<localuser>\Desktop\Client. Run the following command (update as appropriate):


5.) Recommended: Depending on your setup, you may wish to add the following registry entry for preferred MPs. Select at least one MP on the same subnet as your machine:
REG_Multi_SZ (eg)
This should stop much of the noise you’ll get trying to contact MPs you’re not interested in. This might be the case if you have cross forest relationships, etc. This step can safely be ignored if your configuration is reasonably simple.
6.)  Leave for 10 mins or so and then find machine in ConfigMgr. Right-click and select Approve.
7.) Open the CM Client applet and if you don’t already have all the tabs you’d expect usually ~7) then click Machine Policy Refresh under the Actions tab and Find Site under the Site Tab. Give it a few more minutes and the tabs should all appear.
8.) Finally, Add the computer to the appropriate patch collection and wait for patches to download. Ensure there are no further patches to run after reboot.
9.) Remember to remove the registry entries from earlier before handing back the machine!
1.) In my case, because the template machine hasn’t been deployed, it doesn’t have a licence. If you select to run the software update scan cycle you’ll see a popup like that below. You can safely ignore this, it will still install the updates. You will also see this popup from time to time just before they start installing. Just ignore it.

 “You may be a victim of software counterfeiting.”

2.) I noticed all the machines had the same name. Because they’re in a workgroup, this is acceptable to CM and had no noticeable detrimental impact on deployment.