Install software using Task Sequence

Besides using Software Distribution to install software, you can do this using a Task Sequence too. This can be done during and Operating System Deployment process or not.

Usually, I install software during an OSD. For this, you must have a package for that software product (of course) and at least one program that runs silently. If the program  requires user intervention, you will not have the possibility to add it to your TS. I hope you know the fact that the package should exist on a Distribution Point.

This is how one of my simplest TSs looks like:

To add an Install Software step, in your TS click Add from the menu and select GeneralInstall Software.

Then, type a name for this step and using the Browse button select a package to add the TS. Remember that you can only add packages that has a program to run without user intervention.

I find it useful to have a step to install latest updates after all install software steps.

One more way to install software using a TS, is to have only Install Software steps. This way, you can install multiple software products using one advertisement instead of advertising every package. I use this only when I have an OS installed and I want to install software on it.

This is how such a TS looks like:

During OSD, format first partition only

Our helpdesk asked me to make a task sequence that can be used on computers with more than one partition. In this case, I had to make sure that the operating system will install only on first partition and will not touch the data on other partitions.

To achieve this, I copied another TS and modified the following 2 steps:

  • removed any “Format and Partition Disk” step
  • in the “Apply Operating System Image” step, under “Select the location where you want to apply this operating system” made the following modifications:
    • Destination: Specific disk and partition
    • Disk: 0 (if all computers are installed on first hard disk)
    • Partition: 1 (if all computers have OS installed on first partition)

This way, when TS runs, it automatically wipes partition 1 from disk 0 and will not touch any other partition or disk.

Wiping volume C:\

Deploy ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) agent

Having to create a package with McAfee ePO agent, I wanted to make it available to task sequence too so it can be installed during the operating system setup. For this, I had to make it install unattended or silent not requiring any user input. As I have never worked with McAfee, first, I did not understand what the purpose of this agent is. I couldn’t understand why you should install the agent and not the antivirus software itself? When I did, I started to think how to deploy it easily and with no user interaction.

So, to do this, simply put FramePkg.exe into a folder, say “ePO”, and create a package as you normally would. Then create a program that has the following command line FramePkg.exe /install = agent /silent.

If you want to install ePO as part of one task sequence, make sure the program can run whether or not a user is logged on and do not allow users to interact with the program.

This way, after the computer is added to domain, it will connect to the server and will receive all necessary settings (for example install antivirus software, patches and latest definition updates).

Failed to Run Task Sequence – 0x80072EE7

If you receive the following error: “An error occurred while retrieving policy for this computer (0x80072EE7)” when Task Sequence Wizard starts, this can happen if you have DHCP or DNS problems.

You should check if you can contact the DHCP server in order to get an IP address or you can configure a static IP address.

If you have a switch with STP enabled, you might want to read this post.

Failed to Run Task Sequence

I just spent half an hour trying to understand why my task sequence cannot find the files on a distribution point; although the TS runs normally, I see all available TSs and I can choose the one I need. Then I found why: I missed something I never missed before and that must not be forgotten! I forgot to configure the network access account.

So, if you receive the following error: “This task sequence cannot be run because the program files for <your package here> are inaccessible on the distribution point.”, you should check if your network access account are configured and the information is correct.

To resolve this issue, you must correctly configure the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 client network access account. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Use an account that has administrative permissions to log on to a computer that has the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Administrator Console installed.
  2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Systems Management Server, and then click SMS Administrator Console.
  3. Expand ServerName, expand Site Management, expand SiteName, and then expand Site Settings.
  4. Click Client Agents, right-click Computer Client Agent, and then click Properties.
  5. In the Computer Client Agent Properties dialog box, next to the network access account that you want to configure, click Set.
  6. In the Windows User Account dialog box, enter the user name and the password that you want to use for the network access account, and then click OK two times.

Here is Microsoft’s article about this:

Troubleshooting Task Sequences in SCCM

I don’t do this usually, but this time this is really interesting.

I want to recommend a very good blog post written by Kenneth Van Surksum about troubleshooting Task Sequences in Configuration Manager. Find it here

He talks about the smsts.log file, where to find it during installation and what tool you can use to read the logs easily. Also, at the end, he wrote a list of helpful links to get you start troubleshooting.

Definitely I will add his feed to my “SCCM blogs I read” list.

Setup Windows and ConfigMgr – 0x80004005

Suppose you have created a task sequence, advertised it and booted from task sequence media or however you want; if you receive the following error: “Task Sequence: <TS name> has failed with the error code (0x80004005). For more information, please contact your system administrator or helpdesk operator.” at Setup Windows and ConfigMgr step you might want to check the Product Key!

Most probably the key is not correct, so either write another one or remove the product key at all from Apply Windows Settings step in your task sequence and you will have to provide it during the install phase.

I left the product key blank and next time I booted the PC from the TS media, at the Setup Windows and ConfigMgr step I was asked to provide a product key. I entered my Business edition product key and everything was ok.

“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.