Saturday, 28 May 2011

Windows Phone 7 - Mango Update

Yet again, going off on a tangent, but I couldn't help posting this since I'm looking at getting a new phone.

I had a WP7 phone in my previous role, but an iPhone for my new role.

Since I miss my WP7 so much I started looking around for a good deal, but the recent WP7.1 (Mango) update news snippets coming out of MIX2011 and live press conference they had on the 24th have me wondering whether to hold off buying now or wait and see if any new handset models are released this autumn along with the mango update.

Until then, these videos caught my eye.

Friday, 27 May 2011

System Center Updates Publisher 2011 Released

Tuesday the 24th saw System Center Updates Publisher 2011 sneak out the stable door.

You can find the download here:

The TechCenter is here:

From the TechCenter:
New in System Center Updates Publisher 2011

  • An improved user interface that allows better control of managing software updates.
  • A new automatic publication type with which Updates Publisher 2011 can query Configuration Manager to determine whether the selected software update or software update bundle is published with full content or only metadata.
  • A new Software Update Cleanup Wizard that you can use to expire software updates that exist on the update server, but are not in the Updates Publisher 2011 repository.
  • The ability to create Software Update bundles
  • The ability to define prerequisite updates and superseded updates as part of a software update definition

ConfigMgr Hotfix - KB2509007 - Many updates causing task sequences to stop

I've had this problem before, but only occasionally, so always thought it was just a hiccup at that moment in time during an OSD.

However, MS released a couple of weeks ago a hotfix to resolve this issue:

This is a client patch that you install on the site server and then edit your task sequences that have the client install step to add the following to the Installation Properties section:

Where <Package_ID> should be replaced with the ID of your SCCM client install package.

One thing to note is the client version is increased to 4.00.6487.2188, so any reports/queries/health scripts you have that reference the client version should be updated to reflect this hotfix.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

User State Virtualisation (a.k.a. Folder Redirection & Roaming Profiles)

While researching into User State Virtualisation to gain a better understanding into how Folder Redirection & Roaming Profiles, specifically under Windows 7, can help deliver a much more dynamic desktop I came across the following resources:

Best Practice Guide for USV:

This brilliant blog post picks apart all the different terminology and processes, as well as giving some implementation examples, video overviews and the recomendations towards best practice.

Reduce logon times by removing bloat:

This post points you in the right direction for excluding data from roaming profiles that otherwise would be needlessly sync'd to the servers, causing profile bloat.

Make Office 2010 User Customisations Roam:

Again, another useful blog post from Aaron Parker that reminds admins that the Office 2010 GPO setting for "Allow roaming of all user customizations" needs enabling to ensure the customisations are stored in the roaming profile rather than the Local AppData folder.

Script to make desktop gadgets "roam":

Files and Settings Guide for Outlook:

Ever wondered where a file or setting for Outlook is stored and whether it can be made to roam or migrated?  Chances are it's listed here.

Video Series on User State Virtualistion

Part 1 Gives an overview about how Roaming Profiles and Folder Redirection gives you User State Virtualisation.

Part 2 Shows an example of how Roaming Profiles can be used to give your users a better experience.

Part 3 Goes though an example that explains how Folder Redirection can help your roaming user access their files from various desktops and laptops.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

SCCM Clients failing to install windows updates

Quick nod in Wayne's direction for this one:

Windows updates not deploying to SCCM Clients

Proxy value set in registry here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Connections\WinHttpSettings
Deleted the value WinHttpSettings

More information on the WinHttpSettings registry setting and how the Windows Update client determines which proxy server to use to connect to the Windows Update Web site:

Monday, 23 May 2011

Updated RSAT tools for Windows 7 SP1

Not exactly System Center related, but worth knowing as undoubtedly anyone administering System Center products will also have the Remote Server Administration Tools installed
Also I hadn't noticed they had been updated to reflect the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 release.

Download Here:

Description of Available Tools:

From the download site:

**Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 can be installed ONLY on computers that are running the Enterprise, Professional, or Ultimate editions of Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1.**
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on remote computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (and, for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003) from a remote computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1. It includes support for remote management of computers that are running either the Server Core or full installation options of Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2, and for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008. Some roles and features on Windows Server 2003 can be managed remotely by using Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1, although the Server Core installation option is not available with the Windows Server 2003 operating system.

This feature is comparable in functionality to the Windows Server 2003 Administrative Tools Pack and Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Service Manager 2010 SP1 - Cumulative Update 2 (CU2)

I've been away for a few days and I've just come back to find that CU2 has been released!

You must already have Service Pack 1 installed, but you can upgrade either direct from SP1 or from CU1 if you already have that installed.

Main points of update/improvement are:

Included in this update are fixes for the following issues:
  • Exception when you move between views in the UI
  • Console stability fix while you switch between views
  • Knowledge search performance improvements
  • Console performance improvements
  • Improvements to grooming
  • A fix to the notifications infrastructure
  • Added ability to see affected incidents in portal
  • Active Directory Connector improvements

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

SCCM 2007 Asset Intelligence - Certificate Update

If you've noticed in the last few days that your Asset Intelligence in ConfigMgr has stopped working, with the error "Connection failed -bad certificate" in the console, it's in all likeliness because the certificate has expired.

You could also check Aiupdatesvc.log for the following messages:
Asset Intelligence Catalog Sync Service Warning: 0 :<Log Date>:WebException trying to enroll: Status = ProtocolError
Asset Intelligence Catalog Sync Service Error: 0 :<Log Date>:Exception attempting sync - The request failed with HTTP status 403: Forbidden.

The default certificate in SP1 and SP2 had an expiration date of 25th April 2011.

It's now the 18th May and MS just released yesterday a hotfix to replace the certificate and get you back up and running.

If you're on SP2 then visit this link to grab the hotfix:

If you're on SP1, either follow the instructions here or get on with upgrading to SP2 ;)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

SCOM Distributed App Health Dashboard

Since I've been doing a bit of work recently on System Center Dashboards I thought I'd quickly post this snippet that I've just done.

SELECT  distinct   BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName, case State.HealthState when 1 then 'Healthy' when 2 then 'Warning' when 3 then 'Critical' when 4 then 'Not Monitored' else 'Unknown' end as Status
BaseManagedEntity ON State.BaseManagedEntityId = BaseManagedEntity.BaseManagedEntityId
where (BaseManagedEntity.FullName like 'Service_%'
or BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName = 'Active Directory Topology Root'
or BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName = 'Certificate Services'
or BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName = 'ConfigMgr 2007 Site Hierarchy'
or BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName = 'Operations Manager Management Group')
and BaseManagedEntity.Name is NULL
or (BaseManagedEntity.DisplayName = 'Exchange Service' and State.HealthState <> '0')

This gives a result that looks like this:

If you take out the case statement so it returns 1,2 & 3's instead of Healthy, Warning & Critical then this SQL snippet can be used to create a RAG scorecard in the System Center Dashboard that produces a result like this:

Also (for my reference) Kevin Holman has a ton of useful SCOM SQL queries:

Reporting runbook sucess/failure in Opalis using Service Manager 2010

I attended the Best of MMS 2011 UK event the other week along with Rob and after the sessions got chatting to Sean Christensen about Opalis, Orchestrator (SCO) and reporting.

While SCO will be offering data feeds from the web service, from what I can tell (it's early days yet) there's no plans for a specific customised reporting module.

Chatting to Sean about this, his fresh pair of eyes suggested maybe taking the data out to another system for reporting, which led onto talking about extending Service Manager to hold the information and using the SCSM dashboards to display this back in "Management" format.

I'll not go into depth here on how we did this, I'll leave that for Rob to post about as he did the design work while I sat back and watched ;)

But briefly:
  1. We created a new MP in SCSM to hold a new class with a couple of properties.
  2. Created a new runbook in Opalis and used the SCSM IP to query & write to the new class, this can then be triggered by a policy to record it's success or failure
  3. Created a SQL query to read the new class from the DW and added it along with a graph as a sharepoint webpart
  4. Added a new dashboard view to the SCSM Dashboard MP to display the dashboard
Like I mentioned, Rob should post a more detailed post about how it's all hung together, but this is the end result:

(This is from our test environment, hence not much data)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Importing data into Service Manager 2010 using CSV imports

A question was asked by Peter the other day on the TechNet Gallery regarding importing data into the Asset Management Solution that I uploaded.

It’s very easy to do, and hopefully this post will explain how for those that don’t know.

Imports can be performed using the “Import from CSV file…” task found in the console under Administration>Connectors.

To be able to import you need two files.

a)      An XML file that defines the columns in the CSV and the related class & properties

b)      A CSV file containing the data you want to import

For this example I’ll use the Network Infrastructure class as that was the one Peter asked about, but same procedure applies to any Service Manager class.

Let’s start with the CSV.

The Network Infrastructure class is built from inheriting the Asset Management Base class with the Network Infrastructure properties added on top:

Asset Management Base Class
Property ID
List Used









 Network Infrastructure Class
Property ID
List Used



In this example I’m going to import some data for:

Equipment Type (This is a Key so MUST have data in the CSV)
Asset Tag (This is a Key so MUST have data in the CSV)
Serial Number
Maintenance Contract Reference Number
Maintenance Expiry Date

You could build the CSV file using the friendly display names of the equipment, but I prefer to use the enum values as this cuts down on the amount of false errors shown during import.

To get the enums, either open the xml of the management pack and search for them, or use the brilliant little tool ListGuids.exe by Rob Ford.

N.B. If you’re adding your own equipment types, manufactures, models etc, these must all be added, BEFORE you attempt to import.

For Equipment Type I’ll be using AssetManagementEquipmentTypes.NetworkInfrastructure.Switch.Enum as the six items are all switches.
For Manufacturer I’ll be using AssetManagementManufacturerAndModel.Cisco.Enum as the six items are made by Cisco.

For Model I’ll be using AssetManagementManufacturerAndModel.Cisco.Switch.WSC355048PSS.Enum and AssetManagementManufacturerAndModel.Cisco.Switch.WSC356024PSS.Enum as the six items are a mixture.

Serial Numbers are unique.

Supplier is using AssetManagementSuppliers.ComputaCentre.Enum

Maintenance Contract Reference Number and Maintenance Expiry Date are unique/random for the devices.

So, for this example the CSV would look something like this:

Next the XML file needs creating to define the columns used and the classes/properties being referenced.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <Class Type="NetworkInfrastructureAsset">
                <Property ID="EquipmentType" />
                <Property ID="AssetTag"/>
                <Property ID="Manufacturer" />
                <Property ID="Model" />
                <Property ID="SerialNumber"/>
                <Property ID="Supplier" />
                <Property ID="MaintenanceContractReferenceNumber" />
                <Property ID="MaintenanceExpiryDate" />

The Class Type defines the class within Service Manager to target the import at, in this example the “Network Infrastructure Asset” class.
The Property ID’s then define what each of the columns in the CSV represent.

And it’s as simple as that!

Finally to import the data, click the “Import from CSV file…” task from connectors, and use the browse buttons to select the XML file and Data (CSV) file.

Hopefully, it should import them all just fine.

As I’ve already said, this can be used for any class/property, both OOB and extended.

You can also import things like asset custodians and other relationships by modifying the XML to include SEED properties, but I’ll save that for another post.
I've uploaded the CSV and XML to my skydrive for you to download and play with.
A list of classes and properties for the Asset Management solution can be found in the documentation included in the Asset Management zip file.