After 4 years of trusty and indestructible service from my Samsung Omnia 7 I’ve finally upgraded my phone. Although I would *love* to get the latest shiny thing as soon as it comes out, I also have an issue with the whole throw-away mentality that consumer technology seems to have created. I tend to use my technology to the point where it is no longer able to do what it’s intended purpose is. Essentially, I will use it to death.

So after going through the pain of deciding if I was going to stick with Windows Phone or make the jump to Android (iOS really doesn’t appeal to me) the Lumia 930 was released. So I folded and decided to give MS one more go.

I’m not reviewing the phone in detail here, just listing my observations and comparisons against the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) environment I’m coming from.

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Another one of those “this has been bugging me for ages” things. Sometime *ages* ago one of my servers had an unexpected shutdown (crash/bugcheck whatever). After it came back up and all the various repair and recovery stuff completed it was back to normal… more or less.

One thing that started happening was that the task scheduler would throw an error “Task Scheduler is not available. Task Scheduler will attempt to reconnect to it.” every time it was opened, and some scheduled tasks didn’t always seem to trigger.

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Overall I didn’t bother about it too much as I planned to decommission the server anyway. One and a half years later, the server is still going :sigh:

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When working with new packages, in particular very large ones, or when performing an action with a wizard that insists on adding distribution points (e.g. Software Update download) I find it helpful to use a “dummy” Distribution Point Group.

The reason for this is simple. For example, I want to create a new Software Updates deployment package that will contain a lot of updates, and using the wizard it requires me to select a target to distribute this new package to. I plan to add other updates or make further changes so I don’t really want (or need) it to be sent to an actual DP just yet. This is especially true when creating temporary update source content (another issue for another post).

To work around this, I just create a “Blank”, or testing Distribution Point Group with no members. This DP Group is perfectly fine to use in the wizard and allows the package source to be created and downloaded without then needing to wait for it to be sent to the DP.

Being able to document Task Sequences is a handy thing, but doing it manually is incredibly tedious, error prone, and likely to miss details.

There is a process that has been around for a while now, so I figured I’d just post it here for easy reference as I keep forgetting where to find it. This process was developed for ConfigMgr 2007, but there is also a way to do it for 2012 as well.

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A simple task sequence deployed to a collection, a virtual machine (Hyper-V guest) booting with PxE to run that task sequence.

WinPE starts up, loads the networking (which gives a working IP address, can ping/connect to servers) but then the computer just reboots. No errors or warnings.

With WinPE debug mode enabled, you can press F8 to load the command prompt, but smsts.log doesn’t report an obvious error. Lot’s of “access denied” type messages that led me hunting issues with Network access accounts and such

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This post is going to be more of a “brain-dump” post of thoughts and ideas around the process of using ConfigMgr to deploy Microsoft updates in your environment. There are already numerous “guides” on the net already, so why?

This may or may not be a long read. It will just be my thoughts at this stage, with later posts (possibly) going into details of the pros and cons of different approaches and issues encountered. All feedback or experiences you would like to share are most welcome, and I’ll incorporate new ideas and points to consider into the post

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Some quick commands I hacked together to make it easier to check what services are running on a machine after it has restarted, and compare them against a “known good” baseline of the services that *should* be running.

The key purpose was for after a server crash to check the services such as SQL and exchange have all started again.

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