Category Archives: SCCM

Script Status Message queries!

If, like me, you spend more than your fair share of time searching through status messages to figure out what broke in the deployment over the weekend, then you’ll know what an arduous process it can be putting the criteria into each query. If you have a good few machines to check then you literally spend half your time typing in machine names and times.

Well no more, because did you know it is perfectly possibly to script this? Status Message Viewer (statview.exe) is simply an executable and with the right parameters and the correct time format applied, you can simply call the status messages from as many machines as you see fit (although I’d recommend you limit this to no more than 15-20 at a time).

One observation when running this against multiple machines is that you’ll notice some of the status messages won’t always contain as much info as you expect – simply refresh the status message and all info will display as expected.

Finally, create a text file containing a list of the machines you wish to take status messages from and use the path as a parameter along with the date from which you wish to obtain the messages, in the format YYYY-MM-DD.

Please note this script assumes you have installed the ConfigMgr admin console on the machine on which you run the script, and in the default location. If you have installed it elsewhere please change statview.exe path accordingly.

Param(
 [string]$path,
 [string]$date
 )
If($date -eq "" -or $path -eq "") 
 { 
     Write-Host "File path and date must be supplied as a parameters.
     Example: 
     -path C:\Temp\Computers.txt
     -date 2021-04-09"
     exit
 } 
$command = "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\bin\i386\statview.exe"
$siteServer = "SCCMSiteSvr.contoso.com"
$startDate = Get-Date -Format "yyyyMMddHH:mmm.000" -Date $date
$Computers = Get-Content $path
foreach($compName in $Computers)
{
    $commandArgs = "/SMS:Server=\\$siteServer\ /SMS:SYSTEM=$compName /SMS:COMPONENT=Task Sequence Engine /SMS:COMPONENT=Task Sequence Action /SMS:SEVERITY=ERROR /SMS:SEVERITY=WARNING /SMS:SEVERITY=INFORMATION /SMSSTARTTIME=$startDate"
    & "$command" $commandArgs
} 

in-line script execution time-out…

Had this recently on a machine we were upgrading to Win 10 1909. Initially it looked as though there was an issue detecting the application being installed correctly but on closer inspection, the AppDiscovery log file revealed that the same timeout issue was happening on several applications. Googling about there were quite a few posts on how later versions on ConfigMgr now incorporated a client property to change the script timeout setting but this sadly appeared not to be the case. Other posts suggested a script that could be run at server level to fix this. Not really the short-term fix I needed to sort my issue as it would doubtless take weeks to get the change through at work.

Then I found what I needed – a client-side script which I have now lost the source to, so really sorry if this came from you. I’m happy to set the record straight and link as needed. In any case, I do have the script itself, see below. This wil set the timeout to 1200 seconds (from the 60s default). This fixed my issue. I would imagine this could be added to the start of a task sequence if required. Note it’s a VBScript…old skool.

On Error Resume Next
strQuery = "SELECT * FROM CCM_ConfigurationManagementClientConfig"
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & "." & "\ROOT\ccm\Policy\Machine\ActualConfig")
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery(strQuery, "WQL")
For Each objItem in colItems
objItem.ScriptExecutionTimeOut=1200
objItem.put_()
Next

Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & "." & "\ROOT\ccm\Policy\Machine\ActualConfig")
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery(strQuery, "WQL")
For Each objItem in colItems
If 1200 = objItem.ScriptExecutionTimeOut Then
WScript.Echo "True"
Else
WScript.Echo "False"
End if
Next 

Timed out waiting for CcmExex service to be fully operational

The mis-spelling above is intentional BTW, this is how it appears in the SMSTSLOG.log file. Typically a task sequence will be ticking along then something will happen after which the above error is displayed, almost always when it is trying to install either a ConfigMgr package or a ConfigMgr application (ie not a command-line). This is because the client isn’t actually required to execute, for example, a Powershell command line, but it must be initiated if a package or application is called on.

Ultimately, in my experience, this always comes down to one issue – an inability to reach the Management Point. There maybe various reasons for this and one such reason is described here.

However in my case this wasn’t the problem. Following a task sequence upgrade to 1909, I found all our laptops failing with this same error. These laptops were all on the internal network (ie not connected via VPN/DA, etc). If I logged on locally, I found that while I was able to ping machines, I was unable to reach shares from other machines on the network. Something was very wrong with networking (and obviously why the build was failing).

Running an IPCONFIG /all revealed that the broken laptops were all trying to use the IP/HTTPS Tunnel Adapter Interface. This synthetic interface is typically used for Direct Access which these laptops were certainly not using at the time. On further investigation, if I removed the group policies the laptops inherited for the duration of the upgrade I was then able to complete the upgrade without issue.

THE SOLUTION

The group policies are causing the tunnel adaptor to become active albeit briefly (haven’t got to the bottom of why this happens BTW). Unfortunately the adaptor isn’t able to communicate with the MP as it should. Then I read an article about a bug found in the 1909/2004 OS’s. You must ensure this patch (Oct 2020 update) is applied to the installation media prior to upgrade. Essentially, the certificates were disappearing causing the communication problem with the Tunnel adaptors on the laptop models. Once the patch was added, all was well.

Configmgr client application stuck at 0% downloading

I’ve been meaning to do a quick blog about this issue for some time now especially as I have witnessed this incredibly frustrating problem at two separate clients during roll-outs, particularly OS deployments that also require updated applications, etc. A Google search will reveal many different ‘fixes’ for this issue, most common of which tends to involve re-installing the ConfigMgr client. Indeed this is an approach I took first time round and usually seemed to work but it isn’t really a fix as such.

In the latest instalment, this approach just didn’t work at all so I needed to find what else was causing the issue. If I left the offending application to time out – this might take several hours btw – I could usually restart it and it would go ahead and download. However this was still unacceptable.

SOLUTION

Turns out the answer, with hindsight, was the same in both instances – too many policies. Essentially in both circumstances, the machines experiencing the issue had a lot of applications and/or task sequences deployed to them. Task sequences in particular usually have many steps and this seems to flood the client causing it to display this ‘stuck at 0%’ behaviour. Try removing the machine from all unnecessary collections, leave for an hour or so for the machine to expunge any of the old deployments and try again.

This still feels like a Microsoft issue to me but until it’s addressed this is the workaround.

OneDrive needs your attention. Onedrive can’t sync now please try again later.

I recently had this while uploading thousands of photographs to my ODfB account. Essentially, you’ll set it syncing (perhaps overnight) and then come to it in the morning and you’re presented with the error message, “OneDrive can’t sync now, please try again later”.

I tried resetting the app (onedrive.exe /reset), re-starting, reinstalling, nothing worked. Turns out, there is a limit to how much data you can upload per day.

The Solution

The setting you want lives in the ClientPolicy.ini :

For ‘standard’ (personal) OneDrive, go to: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\settings\Personal\ClientPolicy.ini.

For OneDrive For Business (ODfB) OneDrive, go to: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\settings\Business1\ClientPolicy.ini.

Please note, depending on your OneDrive setup and number of accounts, the Personal/Business folder name may change.

Open the ini file in notepad and change MaxClientMBTransferredPerDay from its current value to something higher. I found that I needed to change this value to 50000000 in my case. It appears that simply setting it to ‘0’ doesn’t work for infinite, either.

One other observation: occasionally, I noticed OneDrive would appear to change this value back to what it was and fail again. Just repeat the procedure above and it will carry on.

Hope this helps.

Unable to license Office 365 ProPlus

I don’t know quite how widespread this issue is but it’s something I have had some trouble with on and off since I updated my OS to Server 2019 last year. That said, I’m not saying this is an issue limited to this OS; indeed I have seen it on other OS’s too.

The issue is this : Word will ask you to sign in and after entering your email address, it will freeze for 5 minutes before returning you to the (unlicensed) state you were previously in. Similar with Outlook – you enter your email address and the white password box appears but appear blank and freezes for 5 mins before returning you to the previous (unlicensed) state.

There are a number of things that you might try (including full uninstall/reinstall in desperate cases) but I’ll show you a couple of things you should try before doing this (or calling Microsoft, as they will ask you to do this too, more likely than not).

First – Remove previous license information

  1. Open C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16
  2. From a cmd prompt, type cscript .\OSPP.VBS /dstatus
  3. This will give you a list of previous license keys used. Remove all these using cscript ospp.vbs /unpkey:<5 digit code>

Second – (if the above doesn’t work) Disable Modern Authentication.

Open up regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Identity

Add a new DWORD value called EnableADAL with a value of 0.

Open up Outlook and it should now present you with a password window you can actually use. Word/Excel etc should open up as expected.

For a little more info on Modern Authentication in Office 365 see here.

Phased deployments not deploying

AKA…

Exception: System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: objectID
at Microsoft.ConfigurationManager.PhasedDeployment.Application.Deploy(IDatabaseOperation databaseOperation, List`1 phases, String phasedDeploymentID, String objectID)
at Microsoft.ConfigurationManager.PhasedDeployment.PODRuleEngine.EvaluatePhasedDeployments(SqlConnection connection)

I was testing a phased deployment the other day and couldn’t get it to work for the life of me. Although the phased deployment appeared under the Phased Deployments tab for the Office 365 application I was targeting, a corresponding deployment didn’t appear for the phase 1 collection under the Deployments tab.

I took a look at the SMS_PhasedDeployments.log on the site server and all I could see was the error message above. I would also see it repeat about every 2 minutes as below.

It kept mentioning there were two phased deployments it was trying to evaluate, but there were no other phased deployments set. There is a well-known bug when a task sequence can get locked and the admin will typically go into the db and remove the offending ID locking the task sequence from the database. Well it turns out this is a similar issue with an equally similar solution.

SOLUTION:

  1. Go into the ConfigMgr (sorry, Endpoint Manager!) DB and find dbo.PhasedDeployment, right-click the table and click Select Top 1000 rows.
  2. Identify the offending Phased Deployment from the list and copy the PhasedDeploymentID.
  3. Click New Query from the toolbar and type:

DELETE FROM dbo.PhasedDeployment WHERE PhasedDeploymentID='<PhasedDeploymentID>'

I would be inclined to delete and recreate your original phased deployment (from the console!) to be sure of a clean deployment but technically you be good from here on.

Add SSL Certificates For SCCM

Arguably there are newer and more fancy ways to do this in recent iterations of SCCM. If you wish to set up a standard internet facing SCCM environment or just an SSL secured environment this is the old skool way.

CREATE SCCM CERTIFICATES

  1. Open CA | Right-Click Cert Templates > Manage
  2. Right-Click Web Server template > Duplicate template
  3. Open new duplicate template :
    a Request Handling tab: Check ‘Allow private key to be exported’
    b General tab : Change name to “ConfigMgr IIS Cert”, validity 5 years
    c Subject name : default (‘supply in the request’ should be checked)
    d Security tab : remove the ‘Enroll’ permission from Domain Admins and Enterprise Admins, add your SCCM_Site_Servers group and add Enroll and read permission to this group | Click OK
  4. Open CA | Right-Click Cert Templates > Manage
  5. Right-Click Workstation Authentication template > Duplicate template
  6. Open new duplicate template :
    a Compatibility tab: keep defaults (ensure Windows Server 2003)
    b General tab : Change name to “ConfigMgr DP Cert”, validity 5 years
    c Security tab : Add your SCCM_Site_Servers group and add Enroll and read permission to this group | Click OK. Remove ‘Enroll’ for Enterprise Admins. On Request Handling tab, select Allow private key to be exported
  7. Right-Click Workstation Authentication template > Duplicate template
  8. Open new duplicate template :
    a Compatibility tab: keep defaults (ensure Windows Server 2003)
    b General tab : Change name to “ConfigMgr Client Cert”, validity 5 years
    c Security tab : Click ‘Domain Computers’ group and add AutoEnroll and read permission to this group (don’t uncheck ‘enroll’) | Click OK
  9. Open CA | Right-Click Cert Templates > New > Certificate Template to issue
  10. Select the three new certs from the ‘Enable Certificate Templates’ box. | Click OK
  11. Open the GPMC, open default domain policy (or wherever you have your PKI policy)
    a Windows Settings > Security Settings > Public Key Policies > Trusted Root Certification Authorities
    b Open up ‘Certificate Services Client – Auto-Enrollment’. Change ‘Configuration Model’ to ‘Enabled’
    c Check ‘Renew expired certs…’ and ‘Update certificates that use cert templates’

ADD CERTS TO SCCM

  1. On the DP open the certificate MMC > Computer > Personal > Certificates | Right-click folder > All Tasks > Request New Certificate
  2. Next > Next | On ‘Request Certificates’ page check ‘ConfigMgr DP Cert’ and click ENROLL > Finish
  3. While still in the certs MMC, Right-click the DP cert you have just imported > All Tasks > Export > Next. Select Yes, export private key
  4. Keep defaults on Personal Information Exchange – PKCS #12 (.PFX) and click next.
  5. Enter a password > Next > Save the file as C:\Temp\SCCM_DP_Cert. Click finish
  6. On the MP open the certificate MMC > Computer > Personal > Certificates | Right-click folder > All Tasks > Request New Certificate
  7. Next > Next | On ‘Request Certificates’ page check ‘ConfigMgr IIS Cert’ and click ‘moe information is needed…’ link
  8. Under Subject Name, select ‘Common Name’ and add the name of the server, eg SCCMMP01 > Add
    9.Under Alternative Name, select DNS and add the FQDN of the server > Add
  9. Under the GENERAL tab, add the name of the server as the friendly name
  10. Under the Cert Authority tab, select your CA if it’s not already selected. Select Enroll > Finish.
  11. On the MP (internet facing if there is one) open IIS > Default Web Site > Bindings… | Edit HTTPS
  12. Select the new SSL certificate. If you don’t see HTTPS, click add and create it.
  13. Repeat the above on any other MPs
  14. From the SCCM console go to Admin\Overview\Site Configuration\Sites | Properties > Client Computer Communication. Add the Root CA Certificate you created earlier.
  15. FINALLY!!!! Go to Admin\Overview\Distribution Points | Properties and add the certificate and password you created on the DP in point #5. Rinse and repeat for all your DPs.
    Just select YES if you get a message about it being a copy of one used on another DP.
  16. To add certs for the SUP/WSUS see https://www.petervanderwoude.nl/post/how-to-configure-a-software-update-point-to-use-ssl-for-communicating-with-wsus/

Simple Configurable Front End SCCM

The business of adding a front end for a PXE-driven SCCM OS build is generally a pretty important consideration if you want to specify some basic information prior to deployment. It’s also something that I’ve felt has never been properly addressed by the SCCM development team. To be fair you could argue it’s not their job to do this but with more functionality being adding to every single aspect of SCCM in every new release, it does feel like something that probably should be looked at in the future.

For now, there are plenty of examples of great front ends on the internet – look up ‘Pretty Good FrontEnd’ by Johan Arwidmark or ‘Pretty Good Front End Clone’ by Maik Koster. These two have been around donkey’s years. One of my favourites is Nicolaj Andersen’s very neat ConfigMgr Front End which offers a whole world of features. Additional infrastructure is necessary to accommodate this however, in the form of web services.

So why create another? Well I’m certainly not pretending to  set the world alight with some kind of ingenious new approach but I always felt there was just a little too much fiddling about with most of the solutions I saw elsewhere. What I wanted was something I could ideally just drop straight into my WinPE image which would just work.  There are certainly features I could add (and may indeed do so if enough people ask) such as ability to remove certain sections, eg, domain, OS, etc. However in an effort to keep things simple I have left this for now.

The Front End

This is a typical illustration of what it looks like in my lab. Most aspects are configurable via a small ini file (yes I know it’s a bit 90’s but let’s face it, it’s a damn sight easier to use than an xml file for this kind of thing). The ini file below is configurable for the OUs in your environment, the domain (or domains) and even colour and font size. One area I went a little off the beaten track is the ability to select different images you want to use in your task sequence. This is great in my lab as I often want to test stuff out on different OS’s and will routinely add a new image when necessary to my tried and trusted task sequence.  As such I’ll detail this a little more.

If you want to use the same task sequence but have different images available in that sequence, you can enter them in the ini file. Just be sure to enter the appropriate option/filter in appropriate task sequence step. For example, in the image above we have  a number of different OS’s which relate to separate images. Under the INSTALL section of your task sequence you might have one or more separate steps to Install Windows 10, Install Server 2016, etc. On each of these steps, click Options and add a Task Sequence Variable condition, eg:

TS VARIABLE: OSDImage Equals <Windows 10 1803>

It is important that the text in the OS box above equals the OSDImage value of your condition. 

Of course, you can just add a description in the Config.ini file instead and have one image step in your task sequence with no condition set and all will be well. I suspect this is what most people will want. The option to do it this way is just there if you want it.

CONFIG.INI

Typical Config.ini settings below. This file must always exist in the exact same folder as the NewFrontEnd.exe executable.

:: [ORG_UNIT] - Enter all OUs you want displayed in format OU=Dept, OU=Org, DC=domain, DC=suffix one after the other.
:: [DOMAIN] - In most cases, this is more for show but can be used to build a workgroup machine too if WORKGROUP is specified underneath the primary domain.
:: [OS] - If your task sequence can build more than one image, add it here, eg Windows 10 1607 LTSB. Then add a task sequence variable condition called OSDIMAGE and equal it to the image name in your TS.

:: [MISC]
:: LOGO, recommended max size is approx W:120, H:120 for a font size of 8-10
:: BACKGROUND, Enter standard OS colour names, eg Red, DarkRed, Marroon, MidnightBlue, etc
:: FONTSIZE, recommend, 8-10 but it will go bigger. Seems to jump in 2s, eg, 8,10,12, etc. This has a bearing on the size of the form.
:: FONTCOLOR (American spelling, sorry) see BACKGROUND, above.
:: SMSTSPREFERREDADVERTID, If specified, enter the Deployment ID of the task sequence you want to run. This will override any other advertised task sequence either 'available' or 'required' and the wizard won't show.

:: HIRESDISPLAY, If HIRESDISPLAY=True the size of the form is increased so it doesn't get 'scrunched up' on the display. This has been tested against a Surface Pro 4.

:: NOTE - [ORG_UNIT], [DOMAIN] and [OS] should all have at least one value (ideally) so the interface has something to show. Settings under [MISC] can be removed or ignored by adding a semicolon before the setting.

[ORG_UNIT]
OU=Workstations,OU=Bondynet,DC=BONDYNET,DC=org
OU=Servers,OU=Bondynet,DC=BONDYNET,DC=org
OU=Secure Workstations,OU=Bondynet,DC=BONDYNET,DC=org

[DOMAIN]
BONDYNET.org
WORKGROUP

[OS]
Windows 10 1803
Windows 10 1607
Windows Server 2016
Windows 2012 R2
Windows 10 1607 LTSB
Windows 7
Windows 8.1
Windows Server 2008

[MISC]
LOGO=logo-3.png
BACKGROUND=LightSteelBlue
FONTSIZE=8
FONTCOLOR=Black
SMSTSPREFERREDADVERTID=PR120019

WinPE Setup

So how do you get this working in WinPE?

  1. Create a share somewhere and drop NewFrontEnd.exe, Config.ini and your company logo png into it (and/or possibly RunFEUI.vbs – see end of post)
  2. In SCCM go to your chosen boot image, right-click | properties | Optional Components. Select Microsoft .NET (WinPE-NetFx). This is a C# application so it needs this option available in your boot image binaries.
  3. Select the Customisation tab. Under Prestart Command Settings enter “X:\sms\PKG\SMS10000\NewFrontEnd.exe”
  4. Select Include files for the prestart command
  5. Select the share you created above with the files in for the source directory.

If you want to, add a background, click OK  and you’re done. After the update distribution points wizard has completed, double check the Last Update information in the bottom section of the SCCM console to ensure the time matches the time you ran the wizard and everything has updated as it should. This is important as it hasn’t usually finished updating just because the wizard progress bar has completed.

.

For The Adventurous.

One of the neat things about using the above method is that there is no ugly command prompt in the background as it brings up the front end interface. However the downside of this is that all the files are inside your WinPE image so if you want to update them you have to go through the above process once again which is both time consuming and laborious. One solution though is to simply point to a script that will map a drive to a share that exists elsewhere on your network and execute the files from there instead. This facilitates updating the files on the fly.

In the zip file included below, there is a file called RunFEUI.vbs. Simply open it and edit it to fit your environment (ie edit line 4 with the appropriate drive mapping and account).

DOWNLOAD HERE:

NewFrontEnd_v1.2

Please ask any questions or suggestions for improvements in the comments below.

[*** UPDATE ***]

I have added a new variable, HIRESDISPLAY=True. If you have a Surface or another slate type device, it is common to see forms get squashed up. Set this if you need a larger form to display.

Office 365 Client Updates Not Showing Up in SCCM Summary as ‘Required’

Had a tag-team of problems with Office 365 Client updates and this one reared its ugly head just a I managed to successfully get the O365 updates syncing successfully.

The Problem

Under Software Library|Office 365 Client Management|Office 365 Updates none of the client updates were checking in as ‘required’. Given that the O365 client on 5000-odd machines was at version 16.0.8201.2207 (v1705) this seemed odd to say the least. Everything was set correctly in SCCM for O365 Client Deployment so the summary screen should theoretically be showing that the whole estate needed at least every version beyond this.

The Solution

After some considerable digging I discovered that for updates to work in SCCM, the CDNBaseUrl and the UpdateChannel settings in the registry MUST BE IDENTICAL. In my case, whoever had packaged the application had a bogus entry in the UpdateChannel setting that made no sense. I copied the CDNBaseURL setting (something along the lines of http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/492350f6-3a01-4f97-b9c0-c7c6ddf67d60) into the UpdateChannel setting, restarted the Microsoft Office Click-To-Run service and ran an update scan and update deployment policy refresh from the SCCM control panel applet. Immediately O365 client updates showed up as required. This can be checked under the following ConfigMgr report:

Compliance 8 – Computers in a specific compliance state for an update (secondary)

I then set up a GPO to push this URL out to the estate and watched the count increase.