Robert Marshall's Blog


Home for my ConfigMgr and Industry related ramblings


Owner of SMSMarshall Ltd, active Enterprise Management MVP

    • 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
    • Mon, Nov 20 2017

    My new Blog

    I thought I’d try and carve out a space for my own personal blog, and move it off of the WMUG platform. I’ll setup my WMUG  Blog so that it consume this blog from here, and I’ll stop posting there after what, 10 years, has been a real more
    • Mon, Nov 20 2017

    Visualising ConfigMgr Site Servicing from a unique perspective for fun

    My DA was broken last week, so while away at the MVP 2017 SCCM Hackathon Summit, I couldn’t nudge my lab server to upgrade to the latest Technical Preview, Build 1711 shortly after Jörgen Nilsson and Kim Oppalfens clicked the button to re...
    • Sat, Aug 12 2017

    ConfigMgr and Branding Devices

    When it comes to identifying what department a device belongs too, it can either be easy or beyond complicated. For some it is a simple case of relying on a well-organised Active Directory Site layout, or Organisational Unit structure, but for other...
    • Wed, Jun 14 2017

    SQLAlwaysOn and SCCM

    Thought I’d give one of the new features in ConfigMgr Technical Preview build 1705 called Improvements for SQL Server Always On Availability Groups a walk through, so that I could soak up all the SQL AlwaysOn Availability Group and Windows Serve...
    • Fri, May 26 2017

    ConfigMgr MP Replica–Client Registration a bit wonky– Great news and Good news

    Couple weeks back I mentioned that Client Registration is broken for Management Point Replicas . I escalated it up to the product group and the great news is that it looks likely to be fixed at the next current branch hotfix rollup for 1...
    • Thu, May 11 2017

    ConfigMgr MP Replica–Client Registration a bit wonky

    Had a customer reporting issues with client registration when devices use Management Point Replicas . Had a look around and discovered that MP Replica’s are not processing brand new Client Registrations. You’ll see the issue manifesting in...
    • Wed, May 10 2017

    User Voice: Trusted Source location

    This is an idea of the highest order! It deserves to get the "Most votes ever on User Voice" due to its utter brilliance! Joking aside, quite a helpful feature if we can get it implemented. Man up, click here, apply a vote! User Voice: Trusted Source Locations - Complete the trusted source story
    • Thu, Apr 20 2017

    LogLauncher 3.5–In development

    LogLauncher is back in the development dry-dock for a refitting, no small change indeed, as I’m adding in a feature request from Zeng (Sandy) , the ability to scan as many devices as you want, and see them in the navigation tree on the left so you can hop around them removing the need to open several LogLauncher processes to accomplish the same result, something like this working code example: Fortunately the code-base...
    • Sat, Apr 15 2017

    Issue with upgrading ConfigMgr Current Branch Build

    Was onsite with a customer recently, and had failure trying to upgrade their Build 1610 Current Branch Hierarchy to Build 1702. The problem was being reported in the SMS_DMP_Downloader log as follows: Download redist for update 0fb0a697-662d-45c2-a96c-8c95e5944df7 SMS_DMP_DOWNLOADER 05-Apr-17 12:42:14 PM 19500 (0x4C2C) ERROR: Failed to download redist for 0fb0a697-662d-45c2-a96c-8c95e5944df7 with command /RedistUrl http...
    • Sun, Apr 2 2017

    ConfigMgr and Supported Platforms

    Things turn over so rapidly now, it would seem, and as we iterate forwards with new releases of ConfigMgr using the Servicing channel, we suddenly get hit with an announcement that support for something important or at least popular has been dropped, making us feel that things are moving too quickly, after a pace that hasn’t changed much for a decade. The following comes from the What’s new in Version 1702 documentation...
    • Sun, Apr 2 2017

    ConfigMgr–Software Update Point Affinity

    There are quite a few cool features in the Build 1702 release of System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch, the one I’m going to go over here is the feature that gives Software Update Points Boundary Group-awareness , or boundary affinity. This complements the already boundary group-aware Distribution Point, Management Point and State Migration Point roles, and with this introduction, we finally have usage control...
    • Tue, Mar 28 2017

    Optimise ConfigMgr Client Deployment using BranchCache

    An overlooked part of content management for ConfigMgr / SCCM is Client Deployment and Client Upgrade. This is mostly because, organisations hardly feel the hit of pushing out the ConfigMgr client for the first time, or when updating the client to a higher version, having well-connected sites and fast and wide communication paths to most of the network. I’ve witnessed many times a Client Push take place to a high density...
    • Sun, Mar 5 2017

    Running up a test environment for Intune and ConfigMgr Current Branch or Technical Preview

    I setup Intune quite a lot for Intune Hybrid POC’s, and I thought I’d run off a simple guide for those that want to spin this stuff up in their own lab at home. The goal of this guide is to get it running so you can tinker with the features available through Mobile Device Management (MDM), this isn’t a guide on how to get Intune and ConfigMgr setup for a production environment, and it falls short of covering what you...
    • Tue, Feb 28 2017

    ConfigMgr / SCCM CB Build1610 Hotfix 4010155

    The ConfigMgr team just released a hotfix rollup for ConfigMgr Current Branch Build 1610, KB4010155. (28/02/2017) Lots of little changes, worth reading the list in the KB Update rollup for System Center Configuration Manager current branch, version 1610 Key for those of you that have Management Point Replica’s in place, the SPROC is fixed
    • Mon, Feb 27 2017

    ConfigMgr Technical Preview Build 1702

    Hot off the press comes Build 1702 for ConfigMgr Technical Preview! Announcement Documentation Try It
    • Thu, Feb 23 2017

    LogLauncher 3.1

    I’ve released a point release for LogLauncher, it contains the following: Custom Locations now works on remote scans, instead of just local scans Progressive search implemented in the Log View, begin typing the log name to see it Monitoring in progress notifications introduced, red text in bottom left and applications title bar text changed to alert that monitoring it taking place The Product or Category being monitored...
    • Mon, Feb 20 2017

    LogLauncher V3.0

    A lot of my free time of late has been going into many things, one of which was redoing LogLauncher with modern ribbon look, and adding in some much needed functionality. Just a moment ago I updated the TechNet Gallery with V3.0, here’s what it looks like now: It has some strong features: Get at all ConfigMgr\SCCM logs easily, quickly Visualise changes to SCCM\ConfigMgr logs over time using the monitoring feature Open...
    • Sun, Dec 18 2016

    ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1612–Features–Recognise Deployment-blocking executables

    I needed a brief moment to think of a suitable way to describe the feature for this posts title, as its pre-release name is Prevent installation of an application if a specified program is running , not as catchy as its in-console name of Installer Handling , which I decided not to use as it isn’t descriptive enough, and may not be the final name for the feature, and decided upon Recognise Deployment-blocking executables...
    • Sun, Dec 11 2016

    Another “life made easy” tool

    Finished up coding Version 2 of the Log Launcher in readiness for a weekend release. Weekends are not the best time to release tools I’ve found, but heck why sit on it a whole weekend waiting for Monday I wrote this tool for the ...
    • Sun, Oct 16 2016

    ConfigMgr Current Branch and Long Term Servicing Branch–LTSB or not to LTSB

    Put simply, literally just a handful of customers will be opting to install System Center Configuration Manager Long-Term Service Branch. For 99% of the rest of us, Current Branch is the install base that should be chosen. It’s where the action is at. A recent Enterprise Mobility blog post on TechNet Blogs, described the Current Branch (CB) and Long-Term Service Branch (LTSB) ‘servicing’ models: If I was to have to distil...
    • Fri, Sep 30 2016

    ConfigMgr Boundary Groups revisited

    System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview Build 1609 was just released, and one of the most exciting enhancements, as an architect, is the redefinition of how a Boundary Group behaves. Note that there is a bug with Boundary Groups ...
    • Tue, Sep 20 2016

    ConfigMgr Port Checker–CheckPort

    Finding that I often do quick port tests related to ConfigMgr installations @ customer sites, and my traditional approach was to use TELNET and NETSTAT together, checking for ports marked as SYN (no synchronisation packet came back) as an indicator that the port is blocked or not being listened on, so I thought, why don’t I write a new (extensible) Tcp port checker to do the job for me. Falling back to the classic Tcp...