FAQS on SMS/SCCM/MDT

There are no questions to read for the interview if you really worked on the any technology practically unless and until to see how the questions can be framed/asked in interview.

I would like to put some not all questions on SCCM 2007 since it is Huge and many questions can be framed if you gone through the SCCM Guide on TechNet . This post will keep updated on Day to Day basic with Newly Faqs.

Systems Management Server 2003 Technical Frequently Asked Questions :

  • Planning and Deployment
  • Site Systems
  • Clients
  • Discovery
  • Inventory
  • Software Metering
  • Software Distribution and Packaging
  • Remote Tools
  • Software Updates
  • Inventory Tool for Dell Updates
  • Reporting
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Security
  • Feature Packs, Management Packs, Toolkits, and Third Party Software
  • Operating System Deployment Feature PackBranch Distribution point:

    http://blogs.technet.com/wemd_ua_-_sms_writing_team/archive/2008/07/27/faqs-for-branch-distribution-points.aspx.

  • System center Configuration Manager 2012(SCCM 2012) FAQs:
  • http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682088.aspx
  • What is WinPE 3.0 ? what are the benefits in using this?

    Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 3.0 is a minimal Win32® operating system with limited services, built on the Windows® 7 kernel. It is used to prepare a computer for Windows installation, to copy disk images from a network file server, and to initiate Windows Setup.

    Windows PE is not designed to be the primary operating system on a computer, but is instead used as a standalone preinstallation environment and as an integral component of other Setup and recovery technologies, such as Setup for Windows 7, Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS), the Systems Management Server (SMS) Operating System (OS) Deployment Feature Pack, and the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).

    Benefits of Windows PE:

    Windows PE was created to help OEMs and IT professionals boot a computer with no functioning operating system.

    In the past, OEMs and IT professionals often used an MS-DOS-based boot floppy disk to start a computer. However, an MS-DOS-based boot floppy disk has a number of limitations that make it difficult to use for pre-installing Windows or recovering existing installations or data. It has:

    • No support for the NTFS file system.
    • No native networking support.
    • No support for 32-bit (or 64-bit) Windows device drivers, making it necessary to locate 16-bit drivers.
    • Limited support for custom applications and scripts.

    Because Windows PE is based on the kernel for Windows 7, it overcomes the limitations of MS-DOS-based boot disks by providing the following capabilities:

    • Native support for the NTFS 5.x file system, including dynamic volume creation and management.
    • Native support for TCP/IP networking and file sharing (client only).
    • Native support for 32-bit (or 64-bit) Windows device drivers.
    • Native support for a subset of the Win32 Application Programming Interface (API).
    • Optional support for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Microsoft Data Access Component (MDAC) and HTML Application (HTA).
    • Ability to start from a number of media types, including CD, DVD, USB flash drive (UFD), and a Remote Installation Services (RIS) server.
    • Windows PE offline sessions are supported.
    • Windows PE images can be serviced offline.
    • Windows PE includes all Hyper-V™ drivers except display drivers. This enables Windows PE to run in Hypervisor. Supported features include mass storage, mouse integration, and network adapters.

    For more information ,refer TechNet

    1. What is the process behind the client installation or How does the Client push installation works ?

  • When SMS discovers the client computer and then generates a client configuration request (CCR) file. The CCR file contains the client computer name and additional information.
  • The SMS Client Configuration Manager connects to the ADMIN$ share on the client. This is based on the information in the CCR file.
  • The Client Configuration Manager connects to the client registry and gathers information about the client. This process is displayed as a log entry in the Ccm.log as connecting to IPC$.
  • The SMS core component files, MobileClient.tcf and Ccmsetup.exe, are located in the SMS\bin\I386\ folder. These files are downloaded to the %windir%\System32\ccmsetup folder on the client computer.
  • The Client Configuration Manager verifies that the Ccmsetup service started successfully before disconnecting. The CCR file is added to the SMS\Inboxes\Ccrretry.box folder for verification that the installation succeeded. On a second verification pass, SMS determines that the SMS Agent Host is running, and then deletes the CCR file.
  • If the Client Configuration Manager encounters any errors during this process, the CCR file is renamed to the name of the target client computer and is put in the SMS\Inboxes\Ccrretry.box folder. The Client Configuration Manager checks for files in this inbox folder every 60 minutes and tries to reprocess them 168 times (7 days) before they are discarded. This information is logged in the Ccm.log.
  • For more information look at here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/9252822. what is .mif files and where do u see such type of file. What u will find when u open .nif file and how it is named (is there thumb rule for this). ?

    It is Managemement information file and it collects information about the clients inventory and processed into Database.It contains Machane name,Inventory date and its classes also GUID.

    3.what is Dataldr ? what is the default period of deleting the badmif ?

    This folder stores corrupted .mif files for hardware inventory or custom IDMIF files. A backlog of files may indicate a bad custom MIF file or that a client computer cannot transfer the file correctly. SMS automatically deletes all files in the \Bad
    mifs folder that are older than 14 days.

    4.What is DDR ?what is period of deletiong bad DDr?

    This folder stores .ddr files that are corrupted. A backlog of files may indicate a network corruption problem or a problem with the DDM. SMS automatically deletes .ddr files that are older than 25 hours

    5.How will u come know that,data received from child or parent sites ?

    \Despoolr.box\Receive - This folder stores the data that is received from a child SMS site or a parent SMS site. Typically, files are processed and moved as soon as SMS receives the instruction file (.ins file).

    6.What is inventory folder ? and how will it process the files?

    This folder temporarily stores hardware inventory files from CAPs after clients transfer their hardware inventory to the CAP. The Inventory Processor converts the .nhm file to a binary .mif file and then moves the file to the \Dataldr.box folder.

    7.What is replmgr folder and how it process the files?

    This folder receives files from the SMS despooler after processing files from other SMS sites. The SMS Replication Manager determines whether the file is transaction-oriented and then verifies that the serial numbers are correct. If the file is not transaction-oriented, no additional verification is performed. The Replication Manager transfers the file to the recipient component for final processing.

    8.what is mobileclient.tcf file and what is the use of it ?

    It is located in SMS_sitecode/bin/i386 folder and it is mainly used for the installation of SMS client. When we install the sms client, it first gets sms core components files, mobileclient.tcf and ccmsetup.exe and downloaded to system32\ccmsetup folder.Mobileclient.tcf file contains information about ccmsetup,network access account,server path for sms server client,and also about the sitecode information i.e sitecode,log file size,MP,port number also about auto sitecode and subnets.

    9.How you troubleshoot Newly discovered client computers are not assigned to the current site ?

    This issue typically occurs when the SMS site boundaries are configured incorrectly, or the site boundaries do not align with the type of discovery data that has been gathered. If this is the case, no CCR files are created for the client computers by the SMS Discovery Data Manager, and the installation process does not occur.

  • 10.what are the possible causes that,I am unable to install sms client via SMS client push installation method ?

    The network path was not found.

    Error code 53 is usually preceded by the following error message:

    000004b3 - “No network provider accepted the given network path.”

    This log entry may occur before the error 53, or there may be additional information between this log entry and error 53 in the log file.
    This issue may occur when one or more of the following conditions are true:

    • There are network connectivity problems.

    • There are name resolution issues with, for example, Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) or Domain Name System (DNS).

    • The Remote Registry service is disabled on the client computer.

    • The Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 firewall is blocking communications between the SMS Advanced Client and the SMS site server.

    • The Server service on the client is not started.

    • File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is not installed on the client computer.

    Note If File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is not installed on the client, you receive the following error message:

    Error 67 - The network name cannot be found.

    11.How will you come to know that, The SMS Advanced Client Push Installation account is configured incorrectly or is missing or is locked out ?

    When this issue occurs, an error code 5 message appears in the Ccm.log file on the site server. In the following example, Computer is the computer name of the SMS Advanced Client computer:

    Attempting to connect to administrative share '\\COMPUTER1\Admin$' using account 'domain\account'
    WNetAddConnection2 failed (LOGON32_LOGON_NEW_CREDENTIALS) using account domain\account (0000052e)
    LogonUser failed (LOGON32_LOGON_INTERACTIVE) using account domain\account (0000052e)
    ERROR: Unable to connect to remote registry for machine name "Computer", error 5.
    ERROR: Unable to access target machine for request: "Computer", machine name: "Computer", error code: 5

    Note Error code 5 is an Access Denied error.

    Solution The Advanced Client Push Installation account must have administrative credentials on the computers where you want to install the SMS Advanced Client components.
    On all potential client computers, the Advanced Client Push Installation process requires that you grant administrator rights and permissions to either of the following accounts:

    • The SMS Service account when the site is running in standard security mode

    • The Advanced Client Push Installation accounts that you define

    You can create multiple Advanced Client Push Installation Accounts. Clients that are not members of a domain cannot authenticate domain accounts. For clients that are not members of a domain, you can use a local account on the client computers.
    For example, if you set up a standard account on each computer for administrative purposes, and all the accounts have the same password, you can define an Advanced Client Push Installation account as %machinename%\account.

    13.How do u check what is SMS site server name and site domain and all of its configurations about what features that have been selected at the time of installation ?

    We can look at sms setup.log file to know above information.

    14. What are the components that SMS backup the information at the time of backup schedule?

    15. What is the difference between status messages and state messages?

    Status -->provide information about components behavior and data flow

    State—> provide snapshot of state of process at specific time.

    16.what are SCCM site server Roles?

    Site server database ,Branch DP,Device MP,DP,Fallback status point, MP,PXE service,RP,SLP,SUP,System health validation point,SMP.

    17. Package distribution process flow?

    18. Advertise program process flow?

    19.What is SMS provider ?

    The SMS Provider is a WMI provider that allows both read and write access to the Configuration Manager 2007 site database. The SMS Provider is used by the Configuration Manager console, Resource Explorer, tools, and custom scripts used by Configuration Manager 2007 administrators to access site information stored in the site database. The SMS Provider also helps ensure that Configuration Manager 2007 object security is enforced by only returning site information that the user account running the Configuration Manager console is authorized to view.

    If the SMS Provider computer is offline, all Configuration Manag
    er 2007 consoles for the site will not function.

    The SMS Provider is not capable of translating information from one language to another, but it is capable of providing data stored in different languages in the site database to requesting computers. For example, if you are requesting site data from the site database on a computer with a Japanese language operating system installed, and the stored information in the site database is formatted in the same language codepage, the SMS Provider would return information formatted for the Japanese language code page instead of English. If you requested the same Japanese language code page information from the site database from an English based operating system Configuration Manager console installation, the resulting information returned would not be readable.

  • How do u check whether the client is able to talk with MP or not?Ans: http://NAME:80/SMS_MP/.sms_aut?MPLIST Gives blank page
    http://NAME:80/SMS_MP/.sms_aut?MPCERT gives some random numbers

    2. Sccm 2007 client agent deployment using Software updates:

    Sccm 2007 has a new client deployment method called Software update point based client installation. The idea behind Software update point based client installation is to publish the Sccm 2007 client as a critical update, and hence its name is installed from the Software update point. Most of you will probably now that Software Update management in Sccm 2007 integrates with Wsus 3.0 Sccm 2007 relies on Wsus to synchronize the catalog and to scan clients, but that's food for another post.

    Why?

    Why does Sccm 2007 require a new installation method? What was wrong with the previous installation methods we had in sms 2003? To be honest, not much, but they all had their drawbacks. Let's just have a look at each of the installation methods and their drawbacks before we continue and see what Software update point based installation has in store for us.

    Manual installation: This installation method lacks automation and requires the end-user to be a local administrator on the machine which is obviously a big NONO security wise.

    Login script installation: Lacks from the same security issue as manual installation and is by consequence a NOGO.

    Software Distribution based installation: Good installation method but this is often a chicken or egg kinda problem, you already need to have a software distribution mechanism out there for this to work.

    Client Push Installation (Wizard): Great installation method but it has some requirements that could prove to be problematic in a real secure environment. It requires remote local admin privileges which is usually fine. But it also requires remote registry and access to the admin$ share. A secure environment should have file and print sharing disabled on desktops or laptops, or at the very least have them blocked by a personal firewall.

    GPO based installation: Nice installation method with very modest requirements on the machine to be installed, but it suffers from its own drawbacks. The main problem with GPO based installation is that it is end-user driven. GPO's software installation only happens at logon or after a restart. Both events normally only happen after the end-user gave their user name and password or powered on the machine. If you have pesky users that just close their laptop lid in the evening and open it back up the next morning then your out of luck with gpo's. With today’s more stable os's like Windows XP and Windows Vista It could take a pretty long time before the machine actually needs to be rebooted on the lan.

    Software update based client installation: Superb installation method that mixes the benefits of GPO based installation with those of software distribution based installation. In other words it has pretty low requirements on the target machine, even lower as software distribution based installation as it does not require a software distribution solution in place and doesn't require the target machine to be in active directory. (You'll need a different way than adm templates to set the registry keys though). On top of that it offers a Schedule based installation which eliminates the end-user initiated drawback of gpo's. By the way if you install a newer version of the SCCM 2007 beta or install a Service pack after RTM you will be able to update your publication so that you can use this method to easily upgrade your existed install base to the new version.

    How?

    How do you get this to work? Remarkably easy actually.

    STEP 1 Configure the Windows Update agent GPO:

    1. Open a GPO
    2. Go to Computer configuration\Windows Components\Windows Update
    3. Configure the Configure automatic updates option, Set it to auto download and shedule the install
    4. Choose your own schedule
    5. Configure the Specify intranet microsoft update service location
    6. Configure both options with the value http://Wsusserver

    STEP 2 Import the SCCM-2007 adm template: 

    Download the adm template to configure SCCM 2007 client installation command line parameters http://www.blogcastrepository.com/files/folders/documents/entry15469.aspx

    1. Open a GPO
    2. In Computer Configuration Right-click on Administrative templates
    3. Browse to the SCCM-2007  and add the template.
    4. Go to Computer configuration\Windows Components\SCCM 2007\Software Update point client installation
    5. Configure the command line with the parameters you want.

    STEP 3 Publish the SCCM 2007 client (As documented in the SCCM 2007 help file)

    To publish the Configuration Manager 2007 client to the WSUS server:

    1. In the Configuration Manager console, navigate to System Center Configuration Manager / Site Database / Site Management / <site code> – <site name> / Site Settings / Client Installation Methods.

    2. Right-click Software Update Point Client Installation, and click Properties.

    3. To enable client installation, select the Enable Software Update Point Client Installation check box.

    4. If the client software on the Configuration Manager 2007 site server is newer than that stored on the software update point, the Upgrade Client Package Version dialog box will open. You should click yes in this dialog box to publish the most recent version of the client software to he software update point.

    5. To finish configuring the software update point client installation, click OK.

    3. Do I have to extend my Active Directory schema to use SMS?

    Ans : No. You need to extend the schema only if:

    • You want to use global roaming for Advanced Clients.

    • You want to use the most secure method available for authenticating management points to Advanced Clients.

    • You want to use automatic key exchange for secure site-to-site communication
    .

    • You want clients to automatically detect the server locator points and management points without requiring Windows Internet Name Service (WINS). If you do not extend the schema, WINS is required for automatic site assignment, roaming, and selection of a local management point.

    Although running SMS 2003 in an Active Directory domain gives you many other benefits, such as advanced security and support for boundaries based on Active Directory sites, schema extension is not required for those features.

    4. Does status message descriptions are stored in SQL?

    Ans: No, They are stored inside the server's DLL files as Windows message table resources.

    If you open climsgs.dll with a tool like Resource Hacker or CFF Explorer, you'll see the message table resource and all the status message descriptions stored inside it.

    A reasonable way to do this would be to download the status message spreadsheet from the Microsoft web site, and upload it into your own SQL table in the site database.

    Also check out no: 2's blog, and comment in the end.

    http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jnelson/archive/2008/05/21/117428.aspx

    6.How to Uninstall IE8 via SMS 2003

    Ans: c:\WINDOWS\ie8\spuninst\spuninst.exe

    7. Can I install a SUP on a secondary site?

    The information provided in this topic can help you determine what Configuration Manager 2007 sites must have an active software update point, which sites should have an active Internet-based software update point, and when a Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster should be configured to be the active software update point.

    8.Name some of the client log files which will help in software update troubleshooting?

    WUAHandler.log : Provides information about when the Windows Update Agent on the client searches for software updates. .Also gives you what pathes are installed with reboot pending status.

    UpdatesStore.log : Provides information about the compliance status for the software updates that were assessed during the compliance scan cycle. Gives you the installation status of particualr title as installed or failed etc.

    UpdatesHandler.log: Provides information about software update compliance scanning and about the download and installation of software updates on the client.

    UpdatesDeployment.log: Provides information about the deployment on the client, including software update activation, evaluation, and enforcement. Verbose logging shows additional information about the interaction with the client user interface.Also tells you that,how many updates are visible to notify for reboot pending and if there are any updates in pipeline etc.

     

  • Active Software Update Point:

    The central site server is the primary site server at the top of the Configuration Manager hierarchy. An active software update point is configured on the central site so that software updates can be centrally managed and monitored. Many of the software updates synchronization settings are configured at the central site and not available at child sites, such as the synchronization schedule and languages synchronized for software updates summary information. The active software update point on the central site synchronizes with Microsoft Update.

    All primary sites in the Configuration Manager hierarchy must have an active software update point. The child site synchronizes with the active software update point configured for the parent site. Secondary site servers can be configured with an active software update point, or client computers at the secondary site can connect directly to the active software update point on the parent primary site.

    When the site is in native mode, the active software update point can be configured to accept connections from client computers both on the intranet and on the Internet or from only clients on the intranet. When Internet-based client computer connectivity is not accepted on the active software update point, an active Internet-based software update point can be created.

  • Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates :

    Since ITMU is used for patching the workstations and servers as well.Below are some of the questions on this as well

    SMS Site Server: To install the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates, you must have 10 MB of available hard disk space for your installation directory. The installation directory must be formatted with NTFS, must be on a local drive, and must not be encrypted.

    SMS Clients:To install the inventory tool on the SMS 2003 SP1 clients, each client must have an additional 5 MB of available hard disk space for the inventory tool and 2 MB for the log files.

    1. Where I can install ITMU? for ex :I have 3 primary sites and 2 secondary sites and 1 central site .is it required to install in primary or any site can I install?
    Ans: you can install on any primary site to manage the clients but If you want to manage all the clients in Ur environment, then it is better to install in central to manage all systems.

    2. IS It possible for me to install ITMU in legacy clients? If not why so?

    No,u can install ITMU on advanced clients and ITMU doesn’t install not actually install the inventory tool on the clients, but it creates packages, programs, and advertisements that will install the inventory tool automatically when sent to the desired collection

    3. Can you tell me the folders that are used in software update process?

    During Setup, the wizard creates a directory named PkgSource under the destination folder specified in the wizard. Setup shares this folder as \\siteserver\PackageSrc and grants the local Windows Administrators group and SMS Administrators full control. If there is already a shared folder with the name PackageSrc, Setup shares the folder as PackageSrc_x instead, where x is the next available number that will create a unique share name.

    4. What is synchronization host and what it does?

    During Setup, one computer is specified as the synchronization host. After Setup is complete, the synchronization host runs a program that updates the PkgSource folder, either from the Internet or from the local catalog location. The synchronization host compares the hash on the Windows Update Catalog on the Internet or in the local catalog location with the hash on the version in the PkgSource directory. If the hashes do not match, the version in the PkgSource folder is replaced by the version from the Internet or the local catalog location. If the Windows Update Catalog version is updated, the synchronization host is responsible for copying the new version to all distribution points.

    5. When you install ITMU, what is the suggested base name that you provide? Have u ever installed ITMU is for u might have seen the base name that it will ask?

    During Setup, you must specify a base name for the objects SMS will create. The suggested base name is Microsoft Updates Tool

    6. From which directory ,Microsoft Updates Tool package always obtains its source files?

    From
    PkgSource directory

    7.let say, I have 10 DPs in my site and I have installed ITMU,so do I need to distribute the update file(cab file ) to al DP or how will It happen?

    Setup can automatically configure the package to be copied to all distribution points in the site and to all child sites. If you prefer to limit the distribution points that contain the inventory tool package, you can manually configure the distribution points for the Microsoft Updates Tool package after Setup is complete.

    8. What are all the packages that ITMU creates and what are all its programs?

    9. What is the advertisement named called Microsoft update tool and where does it applied?

    During Setup, you have the option to create an advertisement called Microsoft Updates Tool to send the Microsoft Updates Tool package and program to the Microsoft Updates Tool collection.

    10. What do you meant by Microsoft update too pre production and Microsoft update tool ?

    If ITMU Setup creates the advertisement and the collections, you have the option to designate an Advanced Client to use as a test computer. The computer must have the SMS Advanced Client already installed, and it must belong to a collection that you can read with the account you are logged on with while running Setup. Setup adds the test computer to the Microsoft Updates Tool (pre-production) collection. The Microsoft Updates Tool collection has one query-based membership rule to include all operating systems where the version is greater than or equal to 5.0.2195, which evaluates to all computers that are running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003. However, because the default query rule properties limit the Microsoft Updates Tool collection to the Microsoft Updates Tool (pre-production) collection, the effective membership after Setup completes includes only the single test computer. This ensures that initially the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates runs only on the known test computer. After you have completed your tests, you can remove the collection limiting option and the SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates will automatically be distributed to all computers that are capable of running the inventory tool.

  • Difference between Binary Differential Replication and Branch Distribution Points:Binary Differential Replication is based on the actual bits that are different or changed in a file or set of files. Instead of sending the entire file to the destination if it has changed, only the bits that have changed in a file are sent to the destination where they are merged in with the copy of the file already there. BDR is particularly useful with large images where you do not want to send the same multi-GB file over the network multiple times just for a small change. BDR is meant to save network bandwidth and not necessarily time.

    Normal file based replication is on a per-file basis meaning that each and every file that has changed is sent to the destination in its entirety.

    Neither replication method sends the entire package though; one sends changed files, one sends bits.

    In Small ,delta replication is file level and binary differential is bit level.

  • Difference between how SCCM collection queries and report queries:Collection queries are created using WQL. They get information through WMI. Reports are using "real" SQL and they get information through SQL Views.

    How do you test if the SMS/SCCM clients are communicating to Management Point or not ?

    Test a Server Locator Point is functioning correctly:

    Questions on Distribution Points:

    Using Binary Delta Compression (BDC) Technology to Update Windows Operating Systems:

    Binary Delta Compression (BDC) technology helps reduce the download size of software update packages for Windows operating systems. BDC works by compressing and downloading only the differences between old files and new files, thereby creating smaller software update packages that require less time and network bandwidth to install. Files downloaded from later versions of Microsoft Windows Update also support the use of the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), which asynchronously transfers update files, preserves the responsiveness of other network applications, and automatically resumes file transfers after restarts or network disconnects. In addition, update installations that use the latest version of the Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) client no longer require Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) server but can download updates from any server that supports HTTP 1.1, thereby reducing server traffic. Together, BDC and BITS can help streamline the process for downloading critical and security updates.

     

    I want to create an advertisement that will download, execute, and recur on a schedule. Will it download once and then run each time from the cache? Must it download every time the advertisement recurs?

    Before running any program, the Configuration Manager 2007 client checks to see whether content is available in the cache. If content is in the cache and if it is the correct version, it always runs the program from the cache, whether or not the advertisement is set to recur. If the version has changed or if the content was deleted to make room for another package, it is downloaded again.

    The client downloads the mandatory content as soon as it receives the advertisement. The program then waits to run until the assigned time.

    What is the difference between delta replication and binary differential replication?

    In SMS 2003, only file level changes were replicated (delta replication), but in Configuration Manager 2007, changes at the byte level can be detected and replicated if you enable binary delta replication on the package properties. A file is considered to be changed if it has been renamed, moved, or its contents have changed. If you do not enable binary delta replication, Configuration Manager 2007 still detects and replicates changes at the file level.

    Do clients participate in delta replication or binary differential replication?

    No, delta replication and binary delta replication occur when moving packages between two sites or from a
    site server and a distribution point.

    With replication of programs, how does source version incrementing work?

    Configuration Manager 2007 keeps track of the source version of a package on each distribution point it is assigned to. For example, when originally distributing a package, the source version would be 1. When you update the package source files and tell Configuration Manager 2007 to update distribution points with a new package source version, the local version would change to 2. Configuration Manager 2007 detects the version on each distribution point, so it would update each distribution point with version 2.

    What does it mean that replication on distribution points only supports five deltas?

    If a site or distribution point is more than five versions out of sync with the source files, it will receive the entire package.

    What happens when the connection with the distribution point is unexpectedly broken? Can the client resume the download in the middle of a file?

    Yes, interrupted client downloads from BITS-enabled distribution points resume at the point at which they stopped transferring, even if the client connects to a different distribution point.

    Does the client use BITS or SMB by default?

    It depends. If the advertisement has been set to run the program from the network, the client always uses server message block (SMB). If the advertisement has been configured to download and run locally and if the distribution point has been configured to use BITS, the client tries to use BITS but might fail over to SMB if the content cannot be accessed over BITS.

    How can I tell if my Advanced Client is using BITS or SMB?

    Look at the DataTransferService.log on the client. BITS downloads have a URL that starts with http://<distributionpoint>, and SMB downloads have a URL that starts with \\<distributionpoint>. For details about the BITS download, you can run bitsadmin /list /allusers /verbose | more from the command line. If the client used SMB, you can also get details in the FileBits.log on the client.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb632366.aspx

    Does my distribution point require IIS?

    It depends. If you configure the distribution point to be BITS-enabled, you must install IIS and enable WebDAV. If you do not configure the distribution point to be BITS-enabled, IIS is not required. A distribution point must be BITS-enabled to support Internet-based clients and mobile device clients. If a distribution point is not BITS-enabled, clients will always use server message blocks (SMB) when retrieving content from the distribution point, even in native mode. If the distribution point is BITS-enabled, clients attempt to use BITS first but might fall back to SMB.

    Can I use a SAN for my distribution point?

    Yes. Using a storage area network (SAN) is supported as long as a supported Windows server is attached directly to the volume hosted by the SAN.

    Can I use a SIS volume for my distribution point?

    No. Configuring distribution point package and signature folders to be configured on a Single Instance Storage (SIS) volume is not supported.

    Can I use DFS for my distribution point?

    There is limited support for Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) in Configuration Manager 2007. Distribution points can be targets of a DFS root, but packages must be deployed to the shared folder on the distribution point, not to the DFS link name. Clients can use programs that point to <DFS root>\<DFS link>\<executable>.

    Does Configuration Manager include an application to create packages?

    No. Configuration Manager 2007 can distribute any package you create, but it does not actually create the packages for you. Applications vary greatly in how they are installed.

    Very simple applications might be installed with a batch file or script.

    If the application is installed with Windows Installer, you typically include all of the Setup files in the package and create the program to run the .msi file. However, the application might require you to do an administrative installation first to decompress the source files, or it might be advisable to create Windows Installer transforms to modify how the application is installed.

    If the application does not use Windows Installer, you might be able to use the Setup file included with the application. Generally, if you can copy the installation files to a network share and run the Setup file from a client computer, the installation is likely to work with Configuration Manager 2007. However, some applications have specific requirements. For example, one application might run only from drive letters while others might run only from UNC paths, so you might have to modify the Configuration Manager 2007 program properties. Also, the Setup file might require user input when you would prefer to install without any user intervention.

    Several commercial applications exist to assist in repackaging applications, including converting varied Setup formats into Windows Installer packages. Macrovision makes available a limited-featured version of AdminStudio Enterprise Edition called AdminStudio Configuration Manager Edition. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=103420.

    How do I uninstall software using Configuration Manager?

    Configuration Manager 2007 does not provide a specific way to uninstall an application. However, Configuration Manager 2007 can run any program that you configure, including a script or executable file to uninstall an application. Consult the documentation for the application to see whether there is an option for uninstalling. For example, if you create a Configuration Manager 2007 package with a Configuration Manager 2007 program to run a Windows Installer file to install an application, you might be able to create an additional Configuration Manager 2007 program in the same package using the /x option to uninstall the application.

    Configuration Manager 2007 could also theoretically uninstall an application that was not distributed with Configuration Manager 2007, if you can build a script or executable to cleanly uninstall the application.

    Is there any way to make software distribution happen faster?

    Software distribution is always a balance between how quickly things happen and how much bandwidth they consume. For example, for a client to run an advertisement, you must create the package, program, and advertisement. The client is configured to poll at a certain interval for new advertisements. If you make that interval smaller, clients poll more frequently but consume more bandwidth with their polling. Also, if the package contains source files, the client cannot run the package until the package is on the distribution point. If the client is at a child site, the Sender between the sites might restrict the transmission of the package to off-peak hours, further delaying the time until the client can install the package.

    If you have time to plan a large deployment, you can pre-deploy the package and advertisement but configure the advertisement so that it is not available until a future time. The advertisement will be delivered to the clients but will not be displayed
    until the time you specify. This allows time for packages to be copied to all distribution points and for clients to retrieve the policy containing the advertisement.

    If I select “Always obtain files from source directory for a package”, will a package refresh copy source file changes to the distribution point?

    Package refresh generally operates on a single distribution point/package pair.

    • On the source site server, package source files are copied directly to the distribution points for that site, which include changes made at the source.
    • On a child site server, the existing local compressed package is copied to the distribution points for that site. Therefore, no changed source files are included.
    • On a child site server, if the compressed package file is missing, the source site server passes its existing compressed file to the child. No changed source files are included.

    Note

    If you choose to refresh all or several distribution points in the site hierarchy, only the source site distribution points receive changed files. The source site server does not pass down a new compressed package file to child sites. In this situation, child site distribution points do not receive changed source files.

    If you want changes to source files to be copied to all distribution points, use package update instead of package refresh.

    If there are multiple advertisements, in what order do they run?

    If multiple advertisements are available at the same time, there is no guaranteed order in which they will run. You can create program dependencies if you must run another program first. For more information, see Program Name Properties: Advanced Tab. You can also create a task sequence to perform tasks in a specific order. For more information, see About Task Sequences.

    How many types of Upgrade strategies are there in SCCM ?

    Upgrade strategies are divided into two major categories:

    You are not limited to a single upgrade strategy for the entire site hierarchy. Because of the complex nature of Configuration Manager 2007, you might decide to employ a mixture of upgrade strategies that best fit your needs.

    In-Place Upgrades:

    In-place upgrades offer the following benefits:

    • Generally easier to do and require less planning than side-by-side upgrades.
    • Better suited for use when you do not want to modify any computer hardware currently in use in your Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 sites.
    • Do not require the purchase of new hardware.
    • Do not require site boundary changes between sites.
    • Do not require clients to be reassigned to new sites.

    Side-by-Side Upgrades:

    Side-by-side upgrades offer the following benefits:

    • Better suited to upgrade sites when new hardware will be used.
    • Easier to revise the existing SMS 2003 site hierarchy.
    • Allow you to rearrange sites and clients within the site hierarchy.

    Difference between a package, a program and advertisement in Configmgr 2007:

    Package = Source Files = the "What"

    Program = Command-line = the "How"

    Advert = the "Who/Where" and optionally the "When"

    Programs can be any valid command-line thus an uninstall is perfectly valid. Note also that a package could be "empty" or set not to include any source files. This directly implies that the source files required to run any programs specified already exist on the system where the program(s) will be run.

    The Group Policy advertisement are actually MSI concepts that are rarely used and are distinct from ConfigMgr advertisements. It is technically possible to use the /j switch (the MSI switch that installs an app in "advertised" mode that Group Policy uses) but there aren't any practical reasons to do so.

    SMS 2003 Related Questions:

  • What are DP's and what are they required for.What are collections and why would you need them.

    Understanding of Management point, Distribution Point, Client Access Point, Reporting Point, Server Locator Point.

    Differences between Advance Client and Legacy Clients.

    From where would you run a backup of the sms primary site.

    What are primary sites and secondary sites?

    How does information flow in the hierarchy?

    What are packages?

    What are advertisement?

    How would you manage the patch lifecycle for the operating system?

    -What log file would you look at to find out if a client has reported their Hardware inventory to the primary site server on the site server?

    -How do you extend the out of the box Hardware inventory of SMS?

    -How do you extend Software inventory?

    1. When the SMS client gets’s installed on a system, what is the line in the execmgr.log file that tells you it's running? A: The first few lines have WMI errors, but "normally" the 4th line says "Software Distribution enabled".

    2. Can you use ccmclean.exe as a package and remove the client with an advertisement? A: Yes, you can then run the report for all advertisements for a specific package. Select the advery for ccmclean. You should see success messages for the ones who begin the installation and then no more messages because it's no longer a client. Since the console will still reflect that the resource is a client, delete the resources that started the package and let discovery bring them back from a discovery. This is a great way to remove the client from servers when you don't wan't the client on the servers or was deployed by accident.

    3. What footprint is left on a machine that was cleaned by ccmclean.exe? A: The CCM folder stays as well as a couple log files. There are also a few registry keys. If installed by Client Push, the ccmsetup folder also remains.

    4: Can you run the site repair without a backup available? A: Yes, you won't be able to restore, but it's a good way to fix errors from packages that have DP problems... that's one example.

    5. What's the name of the batch file SMS Backup looks for after a backup? What does it do? A: AFTERBACKUP.BAT (or something like that... lol.. I can't remember the answer to my own question!). If there, with the exact name, will preform any task you put into the batch file. Nothing specific, it's just something you specify.

    1) Describe some of the major difference between SMS 2.0 and SMS 2003?
    - Advanced client
    - Updated Web report
    - BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service)
    2) What is a MIF file? What are the problem(s) associated with MIF files?
    - MIF = Machine information file
    - MIF file are static, therefore the information is only valid when the file was created.
    - SMS 2003 do not automatically collect MIF files.
    3) You need to update the McAfee engine and DAT files on 400 client PCs. What program and command line would you run to force the update o
    f both with no client interaction?

    - Sdat????.exe /q /f
    - Superdat.exe /q /f
    4) You have been asked to collect the local printer information for every workstation using SMS. What would you do?
    - Edit the SMS_DEF.MOF to enable the collecting of local printer information.
    5) What is KIX32 and what is it normally used for?
    - Logon scripts
    6) You have been asked to create a report on free hard drive space of every workstation with a Pentium 3 CPU. You know that your manager will ask for this report several times. What do you do to reduce your work load?
    - Create a Web report.
    7) What log file would you look at to find out if a client has reported their Hardware inventory to the primary site server on the site server?
    - Dataldr.log
    8) Name a few Web sites that you use to trouble shoot SMS problems
    - www.myitforum.com
    - http://www.momcommunity.com/
    - http://faqshop.com/
    - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/default.mspx
    - http://www.microsoft.com/smserver/community/default.mspx
    9) Tell us about a problem that you had with a workstation and what did you do to fix it and why ?

    1. Explain how SMS uses IIS to send policy
    2. explain how SMS works in a primary/child relationship, (collections, queries, etc)
    3. Explain how you would troubleshoot a web reports not working

    1. A workstation is a SMS client and although you have added the workstation to a software deployment group, the application and core advertisement do not install. Describe the steps you would take to troubleshoot the client before you called the SMS Admin.
    2. Where can you go to see the success and or failures of an advertised package?
    3. How would you know if your management point is down? What logs would you look at and what possible tools would you use?
    4. What does the Execmgr.log, CAS.log and LocationServices.log files each tell you?
    5. If you are unsure if a particular patch has been applied to the SMS client during the monthly patch deployment, where would you find the log file for a specific KB update on that workstation? Also, what is the name of the log file?
    6. What are the proper steps to remove and reinstall the SMS client? Also, where is the client software located?
    Say that your entire site is not receiving packages. What do you do?
    7. A package has been advertised to one of your SMS clients. The package is set to download to the client but never installs. You notice an error in the CAS.log file where “hash does not meet expected”. What does that mean and how can it be fixed?
    8. What does it mean when you go into the Control panel and look in the SMS Run Advertised Programs and the window is blank?
    9. What tool(s) can you use to see what the status is of all advertisements on a specified workstation? There are 2 that we use.
    10. How can you run an advertisement again for one workstation?
    11. What is the SMS Toolkit as provided by Microsoft?
    12. An AD group has been created for a new package. You add the first workstation to the group and you notice the SMS collection does not update with the workstation name, thus the package doe not install. What is the most likely reason?
    13. When you RIS a workstation that has already been a SMS client, should you delete the workstation in SMS before you RIS the computer?
    14. What does it mean when you have a computer that shows up twice and one says it’s “obsolete”? What does Obsolete mean? What if you had 2 workstations listed and neither were obsolete? How would you know which one to keep and which one to delete?
    15. What is the default size of the SMS cache on the clients by Microsoft? What does the cache do and how can you increase the size? Why is the size important?

    1. What do you mean by MIF?
    2. The two SMS DPS are on the same lan segment you are distributing one package to both DPs One dp get updated on 2 mins where as the other dp took 8 mins ??? where you goona find out the problem  (Answer from SMS perspective no permision issues)
    3. If you want to have SMS hierarchy in cross forest infrastucture what all consideration you need to take care ??
    4. What remains uncleaned with Ccmclean??? or what all process you goona follow for removing the client from worksation all possibilities with sequence , ccmclean, msiexec /x ect ect
    5. Why the backlogs being created in the site server inboxes???
    6. what all are WMI classess ??
    7. What log you goona check for one software distribution in site server ???
    8. what is the relationship of sms and wmi ? how abt this relationship in terms of the SMS client and WMI ??
    9. What WMi Version the SMS 2003 Sp2 use or which is the miniumum version of the WMI is required for sms client .
    10 The Status messages from the secondary site servers are not coming to the primary site server
       case a;- When the status messages from all secondary site servers associated with the particular Primary site server is not coming
    Case B : Couple of them are not sending it over
    11. In the cross forest design can you configure any site system role in the forest where you dont have sms hierarchy in the place ?? How do you register MP, SLP in WINS database as per one of the requistes in cross forest design .
    12 Differences between WBEM and WMI
    13. Why the ITMU cab name is changed recently ?? Or otherway around how many records does the new cab support??

    14. How do u push the information to Central site? Just be reporting the primary to central.

    Technical FAQs:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd252650.aspx

    http://www.faqshop.com/sms2003/default.htm?http://faqshop.com/sms2003/sms2k3hlinks.htm

  •  

 

39 Responses to "FAQS on SMS/SCCM/MDT"

  1. Hi Eswar, I am trying to perform inplace upgrade Windows 10 (Enterprise, x64, en-US, Evaluation version) using TS created on MDT 2013 update 2 in my Hyper V Lab. I have deployed this TS to Win 7 (Enterprise, x64, en-US, trial version) but it is failing with error 0xC1900204.

    Reply
    1. Hi,
      it is difficult to analyze without the logs (bdd.log and other logs). Please provide more details like what step do you get error during the task sequence execution.

      Regards,
      Eswar

      Reply
      1. Hi,
        Thank you for your response..

        Here is there is the error which i am geeting in bdd log during task sequence deployment.
        File C:\MININT\Scripts\LTITriggerUpgradeFailure.wsf already exists in Target.

        i have doubt whether we can try with evaluation version for windows 10 in place upgrade or not.
        As per my assumption it's seems like licencing issue because i am trying with evaluation version at both way.

        please provide me your email id so that can send all complete logs.

        Reply
          1. Hi,
            Thanks for response..

            I was getting error while doing in place upgrade using Windows 10 (Enterprise, x64, en-US, Evaluation version) to Win 7 (Enterprise, x64, en-US, trial version). Then I downloaded win 10 professional using media creation tool then I converted install.esd file into Install.wim ,After that my deployment got successful .

            Reply
  2. hi

    I am successfully deploy OSD in my (HYD) Location, if i want to deploy in Bangalore location im trying to boot with bootable media, here it is showing error as unable to read task sequence configuration disk

    Please help

    Regards,
    Saritha

    Reply
  3. Hi Eswar,

    I have another issue, iam using Group policy for sccm client Install, but another(desktop support) team also deploying client using client push installation, now how does i know for new machine sccm client installed using group policy or client push

    Regards,
    saritha

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I did using the given link, here iam able depoly OS image using Run From DP, but im not able to deploy my driver package(700 MB) and office 2010 (1.7GB) using run from DP

    Regards,
    Saritha

    Reply
  5. Hi,

    Thanks for your help,i kept my driver package after network settings, now it is working fine. i want 1 more help, task sequence download the contents locally and install, can we make it run from DP (all packages like OS Image, driver package and Office 2010 package)
    Thanks in advance

    Regards,
    Saritha

    Reply
  6. Hi,

    it just break the task sequence with error 0x8004017, i chked in smsts.log, where it doesn't show anything regarding drivers.

    I have created driver package and placed it in between apply network settings and setup windows and configuration managerwith condition WMI Query Select * from win32_computersystem where model like "%optiplex 7010%"

    Regards,
    saritha

    Reply
    1. i would suggest to install the drivers network settings,domain join and other configurations done.
      may be you could add the driver packages after all the basic things required to install image is done.
      smsts.log (if it was full,you can try to increase the smsts.log size or look at renamed smsts.log) why the driver package breaks the TS.
      you can also look at the task sequence for specific computer with all the actions and its status.

      Reply
  7. Hi Eswar,
    O
    I am deploying SCCM OSD, if i select auto apply drivers in the task sequence, my OSD is successful. but if i select driver package (DELL Optiplex 7010), task sequence fails. please provide me a soluiton.

    Regards,
    Saritha

    Reply
    1. What does the log says smsts.log? Auto apply drivers will only install storage control drivers but not all. Log can tell you why does it fail.

      Reply
  8. Hi Eswar,

    I have done a LAB setup for SCCM 2012. Configured WSUS & SUP on the Primary Server. Now I can see all updates are showing as expired. I cant download. It says "All software update in this selection are expired or meta data only, and cannot be downloaded" .
    I tried reinstalling the SUP role, doesn't help.

    Can you help to resolve this issue? How can I delete these expired updates? How will I get proper software updates , which are downloadable/deployable?

    Reply
  9. Thanks

    Refresh doesn't help and we were able to fix this issue by rebooting the server. Not sure if there is any better way to fix this though.

    Reply
    1. HourGlass is an indication for updating the collection.It will check the query what is used in the collection and based on this,get the information from SQL DB and make it available in Console. you can monitor collevalutor.log or use Configmgr 2012 R2 toolkit(if you are on CM12 R2).
      try refreshing the collection twice,hourglass goes away.

      Reply
    1. advanced clients are referring to computers which are running windows XP and above and legacy terms used to refer computers running windows 2000 and below like windows 98.

      Reply
  10. Hi Ishwar,

    Can you help me in understanding the software distribution flow like you explained the client oush installation in steps.

    Please provide some link or document for this.
    Thank You in advance.

    Mohit

    Reply
    1. installing it under X86 is default location path.if you want,you can change to different folder.what are you going to with that to change to 64 bit app ?

      Reply
  11. To make sccm client active on sccm server,I have done settings at client level. I have enabled remote desktop and remote assistance enabled and my sccm client became active. Does Microsoft recommends to enable remote desktop and remote assistance to make sccm client active?

    Reply
    1. its all up to the organisation requirement go or not.Usually these settings are done using GPO easily rather going with SCCM since it requires Client to be active on all machines else it wont work but GPO does it smoothly.

      Reply
  12. i would request prepare link or portal with respect sccm 2007 overall functionalists like a) installation 2) configuration 3) software update 4) software distribution 4) OSD 6)DCM 7) software metering 8) software & hardware inventors 9) site server 10) distribution server 11) single & multiple site hierarchy 11) NAP 12) SCCM automatic task like delete folders (inbox) after few days

    Reply
  13. Hey very cool blog!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?I'm glad to seek out a lot of helpful info here in the put up, we want work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    Reply

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