Robert Marshall's Blog


Home for my ConfigMgr and Industry related ramblings


Owner of SMSMarshall Ltd, active Enterprise Management MVP

    • Wed, Aug 22 2018

    ConfigMgr Current Branch Build 1806–Woot

    Current Branch Build 1806 released on the 17th, Check out the Build 1806 What’s New page for more info: Intune Hybrid is no longer a supported scenario CMPivot is welcomed into the production build, what a smart bit of tech Changes to High Availability , the support of a fully functional additional Primary, we’re closer closer to the day when we can migrate by standing up another Primary and closing down the...
    • Wed, Aug 22 2018

    Technical Preview 1807– Work-surfaces and Documentation

    One of the things I’ve noticed over a couple of decades as a contractor who eventually turned into a roaming consultant, is that my customers, their engineers, ranging from complete novices to experts, a troubling percentage have no idea the documentation library exists, or they know it exists, but it is out of sight and thus out of mind (most fall into this grouping), for a few it’d be easier to visit Mars than that...
    • Wed, Aug 15 2018

    ConfigMgr PatchMaster 1.5 released

    Slow in blogging, tweet is my primary source for announcements. So PatchMaster 1.5 landed, and in time for Patch Tuesday for some of you! The updates to the tool, I hope they help, let me know on twitter @robmvp or comments on this blog if you have any feature requests or issues. Download from the TechNet Gallery here and let me know how you get on with it. I wrote it for you For us
    • Fri, Jul 6 2018

    PatchMaster V1.5 draws closer to release

    I’m at the tail-end of the development of PatchMaster to bring it up to version 1.5. The driver for this code release was silent running mode, headless mode. And instead of releasing once done, I kept the project back longer than I normally do, several weeks in fact, so that I can return to the code here and there to tweak, finesse and add in more features. It has worked out quite well, things I would have tutted over...
    • Fri, Jul 6 2018

    MVP Renewal–10th year

    July 1st 2018 brought some exciting news, I am the grateful recipient of a renewal in the MVP programme for Enterprise Mobility, SCCM and Intune. This marks my 10th year, a whole decade of being involved in something truly wonderful and extremely appealing to the likes of me. I would like to thank the global community first, you’re the reason I do this, I get endorphin hits helping you all where I can. When I see...
    • Mon, Jun 4 2018

    VNC, ConfigMgr and WINPE

    Customer asked me to hobble together a solution, that would allow them to VNC into a WINPE session as soon as WINPE has finished starting up, and before the ConfigMgr pre-execution hook kicked in. Someone still needs to boot WINPE and look for the IP, but once the IP lease is issued, it’ll be reused by the VM if WINPE is rebooted, making a reconnection reasonably reliable. If you try this approach using ConfigMgr’s...
    • Wed, May 2 2018

    CMTrace put out to pasture

    We have a new tracing tool in town, OneTrace, which comes in the latest Technical Preview Build 1804 . You’ll also find the Log Viewer that comes with Support Center: Above its opened several logs and merged them together as default behaviour. For CMTrace users, highlighting is located in Advanced Filters > Add > Highlight, a few extra clicks than before, but doable, especially what with the flexibility...
    • Wed, May 2 2018

    SCCM Configuration Baseline – Detect Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser DLL Version

    One of my customers is currently waiting for the results to come back, from a deployment of a Configuration Baseline which was pushed out to detect the Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser DLL problem. The problem itself can cause chaos on the networks, due to excessive WSUS communications, and should be read up on here. The problem seems to be due to specific versions of the Compatibility Appraiser, which version...
    • Sun, Apr 29 2018

    PatchMaster V1.4 released

    Managed to get a new version of PatchMaster ready for shipping, as version 1.4. You can download it here on TechNet Gallery . This one has several enhancements, that should make it more universally adoptable. I realise that it will be nigh-on-difficult, to make PatchMaster an all-singing-all-dancing highly configurable tool that’ll meet everyone’s requirements; But I can get PatchMaster to meet most requirements...
    • Tue, Apr 17 2018

    PatchMaster V1.3–Guide

    Finally have the time to sit down and work out a guide to explain what PatchMaster is, and why you want it to do what it does. PatchMaster automates the entire SUM experience. With a one time configuration, each Patch Cycle can be initiated with full automation end-to-end, from searching for patches, to downloading and deploying them. If you are use to rolling your own each month, burning time on the task, this...
    • Thu, Apr 12 2018

    PatchMaster–Unique Deployment Settings for each Product Classification

    Currently working for a customer who is transitioning their Patch workload from WSUS Standalone to ConfigMgr, and I’ve introduced PatchMaster to automate the middle part, the actual monthly work, leaving them to keep an eye on Reporting, and reacting to Out of Cycle patches if needs be. They asked me for a unique scenario: Security and Critical Updates must induce a controlled reboot (count down, UI experience)...
    • Sat, Mar 31 2018

    Intune Standalone – Part 2 – Enrol from OOBE

    In this series: Intune Standalone–Part 1 In Part 1 of this series, I enrolled a device that in an post-OOBE state, had it in workgroup mode and finished the setup. Here’s a brief run through on what it looks like to manually enrol a device that is sitting at the first prompt of Windows OOBE [ 2 ]. I’m enrolling a Windows 10 Build 1709 Operating System, with unmodified media. We will at some point in the series...
    • Mon, Mar 26 2018

    ConfigMgr Build 1802 released

    A new build release has arrived for System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch, Build 1802. Just look at the crazy treasure in this release, some of which was coded from ideas and work done at the SCCM MVP Hackathon, that took place in Seattle last November and which I attended. Was a amazing experience working so closely with the product group, to realise some of the stuff that landed in this release, there...
    • Sun, Mar 25 2018

    Intune Standalone–Part 1

    Welcome to my guides on using Intune Standalone and ConfigMgr, to service Windows 10 devices. They will be aimed towards initiates, basically anyone that hasn’t yet dug their spurs into Intune and Azure. Intune and Azure are an ever shifting landscape, so if you are visiting, the guide was written in March 2018 and some options or call outs may have been renamed or deprecated. The scope of these guides will be limited...
    • Tue, Mar 20 2018

    PatchMaster 1.2–Shaping up for release

    As the author I can see that PatchMaster wasn’t ‘there’ yet, worked, but needed much more coding loving before it could become a universally usable tool. Version 1.1 worked well enough, but much of the Deployment Properties were defaulted and unavailable. Version 1.2 nails this down with full deployment property control. And I took it a bit further, which took a few days of keyboard hammering, but now you can define...
    • Mon, Mar 12 2018

    PatchMaster V1.1

    Released V1.1 last night, while I was ‘adjusting’ back to UK time from Seattle time, I fixed up the problem causing V1.0 to become a Tech Demo with no fangs. I let it run overnight, and all my minions are lined up for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10: We even have special Software Update Groups that you will use for product reporting per month, a rollup of a patches classifications per product: Staggered deployments...
    • Fri, Mar 2 2018

    PatchMaster–Version 1 releases

    Rushing to get things ready for the week ahead at the MVP 2018 Summit, my main bit of fun was dragging its heels to get out the door, PatchMaster, but its done now, wrapped in an MSI and out the door. Whether its forgotten a shoe or a sock, who knows, well you will actually, if you install and give it a try and something exciting happens. Many nights of coding, time I could have spent chillaxing in World of Tanks...
    • Fri, Feb 16 2018

    November MVP SCCM Hackathon Summit 2017–P1

    This weekend I’m going to sit down and write about one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my long career with SCCM\ConfigMgr. I was truly privileged to be invited to attend the Microsoft campus in Redmond for a week out of cycle from the normal MVP Summits this past November. Much happened that weekend to make a really good post, giving some insights into the Product Group, the SCCM\ConfigMgr Product, Microsoft...
    • Fri, Feb 16 2018

    Presenting at MMS MOA 2018

    This is so awesome. I’ve been selected to present at MMS this year. I’ll be putting on the following session with my esteemed peer Wally Mead, and will present in one or more others. Here’s my session details, if you attend and fancy it, would love to see you there. Architecting ConfigMgr Description: Come and enjoy a guided tour through the latest Microsoft products available to ConfigMgr Infrastructure architects...
    • Tue, Jan 16 2018

    PatchMaster Update

    Jogging along at a good rate here. Moved off of the UI and collecting Patches to building out the ConfigMgr objects. Some simple rules to define Windows 10 and Office: Yields the following Software Update Groups, with the total patches in each: And here they are in the ConfigMgr Console: The Software Update Packages and Deployments are next, lots of fiddly coding ahead. The Software Update Packages (SUP...
    • Fri, Jan 12 2018

    PatchMaster–Almost out of Alpha

    Pretty much rounding off the UI logic after major coding underneath. Rule system is pretty much done now: Deployments can be assigned to individual Device Group members, get’s complicated, but you can carve out as many server (or client) deployments as you want (so as to stagger\stage): If you use RBA to split off admin and read access to SUGs then the Security Scopes feature will let you go crazy with permissions...
    • Thu, Dec 28 2017

    Save-CMSoftwareUpdate–Given some loving by Adam Meltzer

    Recently I submitted a UserVoice entry to tweak behaviour on the Save-CMSoftwareUpdate Applet, glad to say it was actioned very quickly (Adam you rock!). The changes do not yet show up in the Applet Documentation Library, but as described below, two new parameters have been added: RetryCount RetryDelaySec Here’s the UserVoice submission : As I said above, as of the time of writing the documentation has...
    • Thu, Dec 28 2017

    PatchMaster–Entirely Automate SUM

    In 2017 two customers at roughly the same time asked me to ‘fully automate SUM’, both requests were driven by the low skill level of inbound SUM admins, the intent was to reduce the work surface for these admins, basically take out much of the SUM activity at each Patch Tuesday so that they could focus on troubleshooting to soak up issue clients. Before then I was never asked to trick-out SUM, simply stand it up against...
    • Wed, Nov 29 2017

    ConfigMgr Build 1710 –Run Task Sequence (Preview Feature)

    In ConfigMgr Build 1710, the Run Task Sequence step feature has entered pre-release. Pre-release as a ‘term’ needs some definition. Pre-release means a feature is fit for production use and has been well tested by Microsoft, has Microsoft Support fully behind it, but its a feature that is still being fleshed out, has a low customer uptake and thus a narrow telemetry surface. If things go wrong with a Pre-release...
    • Tue, Nov 28 2017

    ConfigMgr Build 1710 now GA

    ConfigMgr with its servicing channel certainly moves fast now, a feature-laden Build 1710 just released and should be showing up in your Console. Peer Cache is no longer a pre-release feature (Yay!) Surface Driver Management is no longer a pre more