ConfigMgr Tech Preview Install Guide

Hey all,
After seeing Adam Gross’ very interesting content on CM TechPreview’s new AdminService feature, I immediately started to wonder how I could go about using it in place of remote WMI Operations.
So I connected to my stale Tech Preview Environment (it was TP 1806, lol!) and found it had expired 😢.
After googling for 14 seconds, I found no one had made a completely slap-dash guide to deploying the current version of CM Tech preview complete with all of the links you’ll need, so I decided to do that here.
note: I am assuming you’ve installed ConfigMgr **a lot of times** before this, so I won’t go too in-depth into what you need to do for each step.  Where relevant I provide a link to a post with the exact step you need to do, in case you’re not sure.

Have an AD domain

You must have a domain to setup ConfigMgr.  Womp womp.  If you need a domain controller, make a new Server 2019 VM and follow this blog post for a one-click domain controller install.

Make a Service Account

You don’t want to be stuck doing this when you get to the SQL Install step so do it now.  Make a new account and set it to never expire and give it limited perms.
Do not place it in Domain Admins or Enterprise Admins

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Progressive Automation: Part I

Progressive automation - real world automation in increasing complexity

In this series, I thought it’d be fun to walk through the common phases of an automation initiative and specifically show how I love to handle this sort of situation when it arises today.

We’ll walk through recognizing a good opportunity to move a manual task to automation covering these three main steps, over the next few posts here:

  • Begin with something terrible and manual and ease the pain by adding a simple script
  • Increase the sophistication and take it to the next level by adding a User Interface
  • Migrate our Automation from a PowerShell UI to a simple and easy asp.net portal which calls a script to run the task

Depending on the amount of steam I have left, we may even go one step further and make our dotnet site more advanced, if you all are interested ☺

Our goal is to go from ‘hey it actually worked’ to ‘It works pretty well now’, to ‘hey it actually still works!’

Tell me where it hurts

You should always start your automation by finding the biggest pain points or wastes of time and starting there.  Ideal cases are things that:

  • Require your specific manual intervention (+3 points)
  • Have to happen in an off hour or over the weekend (+5 points)
  • Are hard to do, or repetitive  (+5 points)
  • Have a nasty penalty if you get them wrong (+5 points)

Add them up and if you’re over 10 then you should think about automating it. Hell, if it’s over 6, you should automate it. Continue reading

Faster: ConfigMgr Collection Manipulation Speed Test

Recently at work, we had a task come up which saw us needing to move tens of thousands of devices between collections in CM. We decided to run some tests to find the fastest way! We compared:

  • The SCCM 1511 Era Collection Cmdlets
  • The newly released speedier Collection Cmdlets which shipped with Tech Preview 1803
  • Using Keith Garner’s super powerful CMPSLib Module
  • Query Based Membership
  • AD Group Query Membership
  • Direct SQL Membership Tampering ☠

I’d always kind of wondered myself, so it was a fun challenge to come up with some hard numbers.  And for the last item in the list…this is just for fun, I do not recommend using this in your production…or your testlab.  Or anywhere.

The test lab

All testing occurred in my VM Testlab, a Ryzen 7 1700 with 64 GB of RAM, with storage served on NVMe m.2 SSD drives.   A beastly machine (also hello to viewers from the year 2025 where we have 6TBs of storage on our phones and this is laughably quaint.  Here in 2018, we believed more RBG = more better, and we were happy, damn it!) Continue reading

Windows 10 Must-have Customizations

I’ve performed a number of Windows 10 Deployment projects, and have compiled this handy list of must-have customizations that I deploy at build time using SCCM, or that I bake into the image when capturing it.

Hope it helps, and I’ll keep updating it as I find more good things to tweak.

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MDM errors failures and how to fix them

Over the course of this many month Air-Watch MDM project I’ve been conducting, I have run into WAY more than my fair share of MDM enrollment related issues.

Troubleshooting MDM issues presents a whole new set of difficulties, because where SCCM provides glorious log files with tons of community engagement and answers, MDM gives you hard to locate Windows Event logs. Every SCCM error code is meticulously documented on the web, where MDM errors give you this result:

This is how you know you are WAY off the reservation!

Never fear though, for I have compiled the most common and frustating errors which I have painstakingly worked through into this, very originally named volume

Where to find enrollment errors

You can monitor the status of an enrollment in the Windows Event Viewer, under this area:

Microsoft-Windows-DeviceManagement-Enterprise-Diagnostics-Provider/Admin

It is routine to see some errors here, so not all errors need to be solved, however when you’re trying to troubleshoot why a machine won’t enroll in MDM, then you should be looking here first.   Continue reading