Archive for category http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

SCCM 2012 and Microsoft App-V Client 4.6 SP1

Believe it or not I had such a hard time creating a SCCM 2012 packaged application for Microsoft App-V Client 4.6 SP1.

I found several promising links on this topic, but none went to the point or explained the process from start to finish. After researching this process, it looks like you can use the EXE or the MSI to create the packaged application.
The MSI way is supposed to be the desired way, and what most people recommend. However, not everything works as people document it, and certainly it didn’t work for me after several days of working on this.

Note: The main issue I had with the MSI installation was due to the VC++ 2005 Redistributable requirement. Although I was able to extract the VC++ 2005 MSI, and I was able to properly install it, somehow the setup.msi file would not recognize it as installed in the system! I spent way too many hours troubleshooting this issue and in the end, my productivity had slowed down due to this problem, so it was time for me to move on.

In the end, I opted for using the easier way – the EXE setup file. Using setup.exe takes care of all requirements for you, no need to create separate packages for them. Microsoft instructions on how to perform a silent install using the EXE file is found here. The documentation on what each installation paramater mean, is found here.

First off, I do not use an App-v publishing server, so make sure you read Microsoft’s information about installation parameters!

Here we go:

  1. The installation command line I use is: setup.exe /s /v”/qb-! SWICACHESIZE=\”6144\”
  2. The detection methods I use are based on registry keys: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\sftmime.com
  3. The other detection method I use is: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\sftmime.exe
Here are some screenshots:


This method has worked flawlessly in our environment, and I hope this helps someone out there.

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Use the asset tag on a DELL Latitude E6500 as the computer name

Background

So I ran into an interesting bug with our DELL Latitude E6500 models and Microsoft’s SCCM 2012.

First off, in our environment we use the BIOS service tag information on all our DELL devices as the computer name in Windows 7. I’m able to get this information during the Task Sequence (TS) by means of using a VB script.

The script I mention above works on all our DELL computer and laptop models, with the exception of the DELL Latitude E6500 laptop models.

The Bug

On a DELL Latitude E6500, with the BIOS updated to the latest version, it looks like the BIOS asset tag information is somewhat misleading. If you view the information, you’ll see the asset tag information, but what you don’t see are the trailing spaces after the asset tag information. For instance, if the BIOS asset tag information on a laptop reads X1234, there are 5 trailing spaces after it, and these white spaces do not show!

Note: We use a tool called asset.exe, from DELL, to modify the asset information and the owner information in the BIOS. This tool works well on many of DELL computers and laptops.

SCCM 2012 and The Bug

During a SCCM Task Sequence (TS) job, we collect the asset information and we use this information as the Windows 7 computer account. The TS works perfectly until the last step: Setup is applying system settings – at this point, the TS fails with the message: Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]


The TS fails completely and you’re left with a computer whose OS isn’t working.

SCCM logs give a hint on what went wrong. In case you don’t know, those logs can be retrieved from the broken machine and the logs (setupact.log and setuperr.log) are located at: C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC
In our case, both files showed the following error message:

2013-02-27 15:35:17, Error     [Shell Unattend] ComputerName: failed to set the computer name [hr=0x80070057][gle=0x00000057]
2013-02-27 15:42:30, Error    [windeploy.exe] Setup.exe failed, returning exit code [0x1f]
2013-02-27 15:42:30, Error     [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation.  Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x80004005
2013-02-27 15:43:42, Error     [windeploy.exe] Setup.exe failed, returning exit code [0x1f]
2013-02-27 15:43:42, Error     [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation.  Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x80004005


After reviewing this log, this pointed me to the VB script mentioned earlier and to the BIOS asset tag information. I knew the script was working properly, so I turned my attention to the BIOS asset tag information.
After several hours of toying around with asset.exe, I realized that there were blank spaces after the asset tag information – 5 spaces in total!

The Workaround (not a fix)

Basically, I used asset.exe and deleted the current asset tag and re-typed it, but this time I added 5 letters to the end. In other words, my command line looked like this:

asset.exe X1234ABCDE

X1234 is the asset tag information (a.k.a my Windows 7 computer name); however, ABCDE is the workaround to make sure those blank spaces don’t break the TS.

After the TS finished, then I logged on as a local administrator and renamed the computer name to X1234 – life is good again!

Note: During this entire troubleshooting process we updated the laptop BIOS, and this didn’t seem to fix the issue.

I hope this helps someone out there.

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From a GUID to its GPO name.

Numerous times I had the issue, when troubleshooting a group policy object error, in which I only had the GPO’s GUID, but not its actual name. Well, it turns out that there is a powershell applet that performs a search in AD, using the GUID, and it returns the GPO’s full description for you.

  1. Open Widnows PowerShell Modules
  2. Type: get-gpo
  3. Paste that GUID and press ENTER


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MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Native Client – Deployment

In order to deploy Microsft SQL Server 2008 Native Client, follow these steps.


  1. Download it from here
  2. Once you get the MSI, create an application in SCCM 2012
  3. In the Programs tab, you’re going to use the following syntax to execute the MSI: msiexec /i “sqlncli_x64.msi” /q IACCEPTSQLNCLILICENSETERMS=YES
  4. Done
Note: Any time you use the /q parameter you must include IACCEPTSQLNCLILICENSETERMS=YES to accept the terms. This parameter only works for the client, as the title of this document reads.


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MS Office 2010 – Disable welcome screen

Since we’re getting ready to deploy Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus in our company, I was asked to disable the Welcome Screen from Office 2010.


First, make sure you run Setup.exe /admin (this allows you to run MS customization tool).

Then, follow the screenshot below.

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Hidden Folders In Finder (OS X 10.7)

Here’s something interesting that happened on my iMac after a restore procedure using Carbonite.


I had to restore all my movies to the Movies folder, the restore process worked; however, the folders were not showing in the Finder. I dropped to the terminal and I was able to see the restored folders.

I asked around and none of the commands I was given allowed me to display the subfolders in the Movies folder.

This command did the trick for me (once in the Movies folder type).

chflags -R nohidden *

I ran the previous command as the user, no need to sudo or reload Finder or anything else – it just works.

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Create New Local Administrator From Command Line

The following command line tools will allow you to:

  1. Create a new local user account
  2. Set the account from step 1 to password never expire
  3. Add the account from step 1 to the local “Administrators” group

net user /add

wmic useraccount where “Name=’‘” set PasswordExpires=false
net localgroup Administrators %computername%\ /add
I used these commands during a Task Sequence in SCCM 2012.

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Outlook 2010 Keeps Prompting for Credentials

Issue: Outlook 2010 keeps prompting for credentials.
Environment: Windows 7 64-bit and Outlook 2010 (MS-Office 2010 SP1 with all updates)


Possible Fix 1
These steps came from the following link. These did not work for me personally, but it has worked for some people.

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Click on File
  3. Click on Info
  4. Click Account Settings
  5. Click on Account Settings option, again..
  6. Double click the Exchange Account (your name)
  7. Click More Settings
  8. Click Security Tab
  9. Check the Always Prompt for Logon Credentials
  10. Close Outlook
  11. Open Outlook
  12. Enter username and password
  13. Click on Remember my Credentials
  14. Close Outlook (repeat steps 11 – 14 at least 3 times, and don’t forget to click on Remember my Credentials)
  15. Go back into More Settings (from step 7)
  16. Security Tab
  17. Now REMOVE the check from the Always Prompt for Logon Credentials
  18. Close Outlook

Possible Fix 2
This fix came from this link. These steps did work for me and my users.

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BulkShut

I wrote BulkShut last year using Visual Basic .NET 2008. This was one of my very first .NET projects. I used this application a few times at work; I used it primarily to reboot Windows XP Professional machines (some Windows Vista as well).
Purpose: BulkShut’s primary function is to allow you, the administrator, to reboot/shutdown Windows devices connected on your LAN. This application assumes that you’re an administrator and that you have the proper credential to shutdown devices.
Usage: You’re going to create a text file with the NetBIOS names for all the devices you want to reboot. The text file should be have one single column containing one computer name per line. See screenshots below for mor information.
To-do: Now that I’m a bit more versed with .NET, I’m going to re-write this tool soon. I will leave the GUI as is, but I’ll make some changes in the background process.

Main screen
Main screen

Sample text file
Text file

Main screen with text file loaded
Main screen with list

Download link

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Details.exe – command line utility

As an IT professional, I’ve come to collect a rather large quantity of command line utilities that I use during my dealings with computers, laptops and servers. I wrote this command line utility (details.exe) with the intension to help me gather information about computers I’m working with – without having to load, or carry with me, all those uitilities that I may need to do the job.
Details – by no means will replace the many utilities out there; however, it’s just one piece of software that will get the most common details about your system.
Details was written using Visual Basic 2010, so it requires .NET 4 in order to run it.
Here is a list of the parameters and their output.

  • /Os – Displays detailed information about the local Operating System.
  • /DNet – Displays detailed information about default network card.
  • /ANet – Displays detailed information for all network cards.
  • /DTraffic – Displays traffic information for default network card.
  • /Traffic – Displays traffic information for all network cards.
These parameters can be typed in lower case and it will the application will operate as intended.

Following is a list of screenshot with actual output from these parameters.
Parameter: /Os
Os

Parameter: /DNet
Dnet

Parameter: /DTraffic
Dtraffic

What “details” still lacks.

  1. I’ve noticed a few custometic details that I will fix shortly.
  2. There’s no elegant way to catch for any bugs yet; I’ll take care of that shortly as well.
  3. More features.

Disclaimer
As with any software written by people other than yourself, run this piece of software at your own risk.

Download link

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