PXE Boot not working after restart

In case you have PXE Boot working normally but suddenly it is not working anymore, it may be because of the WDS service. This might sound strange but sometimes Windows Deployment Services (WDS) Server does not start after restarting the server, even if it is set to automatically start. It happened to me a few times….

Starting the service fixed the problem (in my case) every time. I didn’t tried, but maybe configuring delayed start for this service will fix the problem in the future.

“The hash value is not correct”

Here is another error related to Task Sequence and MDT 2008. After creating and advertising a task sequence, most probably you will run it :). Make sure you have the latest version of your packages on the distribution point, otherwise you will receive an error while running the task sequence. This will be something like “Task Sequence: your task sequence name has failed with the error code (0x80091007). For more information, please contact you system administrator or helpdesk operator.”

In the log file you will find this: “The hash value is not correct.”

What you can do to resolve this? Two  things:

  1. to update your distribution point with the latest version of the packages. To be sure the package was updated successfully, you can put a txt file somewhere and verify if it is on the DP.
  2. modify the advertisement to not download the files locally but access the files directly from the DP, although I’d not recommend it.

“The ConfigMgr Provider reported an error”

Today I came across an interesting problem in ConfigMgr while creating a Windows Vista image of reference computer. And again, ConfigMgr 2007 displays the error with not much intuitive help.

I’m using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 with ConfigMgr 2007 when I need to deploy an operating system. At the end of the imported Task Sequence, after the wizards creates the .wim image, it copies the image to a share specified by me. During this step I received the following error: “Error while importing Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Task Sequence. Details: The ConfigMgr Provider reported an error”.

Checking smsprov.log I have found the error code – 5. Yes, 5 :). From the log file: “Failed to make a copy of the source WIM file due to error 5”. Nice… what could I say? Shortly, error 5 is about permissions.

I started to play with share permission. Granted read permission to admin account I was using and to the ConfigMgr computer account but I had no success. Granted full control permissions to these accounts. Same error :(.

Well, the problem was because ConfigMgr is accessing local shares using NT AUTHORITYSYSTEM account and not computer account (the shared folder was on the same computer). I granted full control permissions to SYSTEM account and next time I run the task sequence to create an image of the reference computer, it was ok and the image was copied to my shared folder.

Using Group Policy to deploy Office 2007

Last week I tested how Office 2007 installs via Group Policy.

I created a software installation package and it worked successful; except the fact that it is not fully installed when a user logs on and that it will not upgrade (or remove) the existing version of Office even if I added the Office 2003 package that should be upgraded. After the Office 2007 installs, the users will have both version of Office – 2007 and 2003.

This is because Microsoft changed a little the way Office 2007 installs; and here they explain why they did this. Bellow are some considerations from that article:

  • Difficulties with scheduling installation, consistently managing network bandwidth, and providing feedback on the status of the installation.
  • Limited ability to customize features or user settings before installation of the 2007 Office system. You cannot use Office Customization Tool to create an .msp file. All customizations have to be made in the Config.xml file.

So, the best way to install Office 2007 in a medium organization is to use System Center Essentials or Configuration Manager in a large organization. Using these tools you can know exactly what features to install, when to install and how to install or upgrade Office 2007 suite.

Group Policy – User Configuration Logon script

Something I have learned the other day…

I had to install a small .msi using Group Policy, using a logon script. As it was a small package and not very important, I used a User Configuration Logon script.I created and linked a new GPO to a specific OU with some users (with no admin privileges) and client computers only. The script run well and the package installed very quickly on all machines in that OU.

The problem was that I have another OU with member servers and at the moment I logged on to one server using a normal user account, I had the package installed right after first logon. This is because I configured User Configuration logon script instead of Computer Configuration startup script.

What I’ve learned? That I should plan more careful even the installation of a small package.

How to format Hard Disk and apply the operating system on a specific partition

Yesterday, on SCCM TechNet forum, somebody asked me more info about “Format and Partition Disk” and “Apply Operating System Image” tasks in a task sequence. As the answer requires some screenshots to be provided, I decided to write a post here with that details and direct that user to this post.

Format and Partition Disk:

In SCCM console navigate to Computer Management, Operating System Deployment, Task Sequences. Suppose you already created or imported a new Microsoft Deployment Task Sequence. If not, do it now.

  • Select the desired Task Sequence and click Edit in the Actions pane
  • In the <Name> Task Sequence Editor window, in the left pane select Format and Partition Disk

  • Click the yellow star to add a new partition
  • In the Partition name type the name of your system partition, this will be you disk C:
  • Under Partition options, select the Partition type as Primary
  • Choose how you want to set partition size, use a percentage of all hard disk drive or a fixed value. I use 50% of the HDD size, because not every time I know what HDD size new laptops/PCs will have but for sure it will be more than 80GB
  • Check the box to make this partition bootable
  • Under Formatting options, choose the file system you want and check the Quick format checkbox (optional) to save time during installation
  • Under Advanced options write a Variable name
  • Click OK when you’re done making your changes

Now you’ll see this volume in the task sequence editor.

To add another partition click the yellow star again and fill in the following details:

  • In the Partition name type the name of your partition, this will be you disk D:
  • Under Partition options, select the Partition type as Primary
  • To use all the remaining disk space, select “Use a percentage of remaining free space” and set the Size(%) to 100
  • Under Formatting options, choose the file system you want and check the Quick format checkbox (optional)
  • Under Advanced options write a Variable name
  • Click OK when you’re done making your changes

Now you’ll see both volumes in your task sequence editor window. Next time you will deploy an operating system, the hard disk will format and create 2 partitions (C: and D:) and your computer will boot from the first partition (C:).

How does SCCM know that it needs to apply the OS image on the first partition and not the second? Well, it doesn’t, we will set this up in the “Apply Operating System Image” task.

Apply Operating System Image:

In SCCM console navigate to Computer Management, Operating System Deployment, Task Sequences.

  • Select the desired Task Sequence and click Edit in the Actions pane
  • In the <Name> Task Sequence Editor window, in the left pane select Apply Operating System Image
  • If you are installing the OS using the source media, then choose “Apply operating system from an original installation source” option using Browse choose one of the installation packages you have created when making the task sequence
  • If you have captured and OS image previously as a .wim file, you can select “Apply operating system from a captured image” option and select the image you want
  • Check to use a sysprep answer file and select the package using the Browse button
    • Now is the time to tell SCCM where you want your image to be applied.

          – To apply the image on a specific partition, under Destination select “Specific disk and partition”. Under Disk select 0 (zero) and under Partition select 1 (first partition). This is the option I use every time
– To apply the image on the C: partition, under Destination select “Specific logical drive letter”. Under Disk letter select C:

This is it about these two tasks. Of course these tasks can be further customized using the Option tab of each task.

*009* error codes

During “troubleshooting period”, I have found a very nice website with error codes’ descriptions. Now, every time I get an error in any program, I check the list from this blog http://blogs.msdn.com/joshpoley/pages/errors-009-facility-sspi.aspx.

This is how the table with error codes looks like:

Code

HRESULT

Description

#define

1 0xC0090001 The specified event is currently not being audited. ERROR_AUDITING_DISABLED
1 0x80090001 Bad UID. NTE_BAD_UID
2 0xC0090002 The SID filtering operation removed all SIDs. ERROR_ALL_SIDS_FILTERED
2 0x80090002 Bad Hash. NTE_BAD_HASH
4103 0x80091007 The hash value is not correct. CRYPT_E_HASH_VALUE

The last row shows an error I got the day before yesterday and reading this description helped me understand the problem I was having.

Thought it might help you sometimes…