How to flash BIOS during OSD (Lenovo ThinkPad laptop)

In this blog post I will go into details about how I flash the BIOS of our Lenovo ThinkPad series during OSD using ConfigMgr.

First off you obviously need to download the latest BIOS from the Lenovo support site: http://support.lenovo.com/dk/en/. In this example I’m flashing the BIOS of a ThinkPad T450s.

Go ahead and locate and download the BIOS Update Utility for Windows. The most recent version as of now for T450s is 1.21:

T450BIOS

When downloaded, extract the content to your source file library. In this case I have a folder structure equal to this: D:\Pkgsource\Applications\Lenovo\BIOS\T450S\1.21

The content of the 1.21 folder should be looking like this:

T450BIOS2

Next, mind the highlighted file: FlashBIOS.cmd. Create this file manually with following content (I exit the script with exitcode 0, as the BIOS update itself might return exitcodes seen as failures. Some might dislike this approach, but you can also translate the actual exitcode into zero using whatever method you prefer):

“%~dp0WINUPTP.exe” -s
exit 0

T450BIOS3

With this in place, go ahead and create a package in ConfigMgr with above content and distribute the package to your distribution points (I’m not going into details on this one, as this is pretty standard).

My packages in ConfigMgr looks like this (I have highlighted the package used in this example):

T450BIOS4

Next we will be using the package in our task sequence in a step of Run Command line. This is done somewhere after the step of Setup Windows and Configuration Manager like this (I put BIOS updates in the end of my task sequence as they require reboots):

T450BIOS5

As updating the BIOS to this specific version is a onetime operation, you would want to add following conditions to the Options tab:

T450BIOS6

This will make sure that the step is only run when a Lenovo Thinkpad T450 is being deployed AND when the BIOS is not already the most recent version (no need to run the step again, if the same laptop should be reinstalled in a near future)

You can run following powershell commands to display the computermodel and what BIOS version that currently is installed:

Get-WmiObject Win32_Computersystem

Get-WmiObject Win32_BIOS

T450BIOS7

Enjoy :-)

Update 1602 for System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch

So, Update 1602 is out for SCCM Current Branch and I just updated my environment.

The new 1602 update is available from within the SCCM console, browsing: Administration > Cloud Services > Updates and Servicing. Right Click the update and select Install Update Pack.

1) Click next on the general page.

1

2) Select the desied features to be included.

2

3) Options for Client Update. I decided to test the new SCCM client on a selected test collection at first.

3

4) Finish the wizard and accept the license terms.

4

5) Go watch CMUpdate.log and wait for following line in the log: INFO: Successfully dropped update pack installed notification to HMan CFD box which translates into installation is complete.

6

Notes from the field:

  • I ran the pre-requisitecheck on the 1602 update before installing. Doing so required me to restart the SMS_EXECUTIVE service on the site server before the actual installation would continue. The status in the console was stuck on Installing, but nothing happened until the restart of the service. (CMupdate.log)
  • I decided to test the new client on a pre-production collection. Doing so actually did that the client binaries wasn’t updated (\\Siteserver\SMS_SITECODE\Client). To update the client binaries, you have to go back to the 1602 update in the console and accept the new client for production in Client Update Options. Yet again, I had to restart the SMS_EXECUTIVE service to see any action in CMupdate.log.

5

 

How to renew Apple Push Certificate for Intune (Hybrid SCCM)

It’s that time of year, where I have to renew my Apple Push Certificate for Intune. And like every other year, I keep forgetting how I did previously.

So now it’s time to put it down in writing. Here goes:

  • First off you have to create a signing certificate. You do that directly in the CM console: Administration > Cloud Services > Microsoft Intune Subscriptions. Click Create APNs certificate request in the ribbon and save the .csr file.

RequestApplePushRibbon

  • Secondly you have to upload the request to the Apple Push Certificates Portal: https://identity.apple.com/pushcert/. Go to the portal and renew your existing certificate.

PushPortal

  • Thirdly, upload the signing certificate (.csr) you just created in the first step and your certificate has been renewed. Download the renewed certificate. This is a file with the extension of .pem; MDM_ Microsoft Corporation_Certificate.pem

  • Finally, go back to your CM console: Administration > Cloud Services > Microsoft Intune Subscriptions. Click Configure Platforms in the ribbon, and select iOS in the dropdown menu. Browse to the location of your .pem file and open it.

IntuneSubProperties

  • Done. The certificate has been renewed.

 

 

ConfigMgr 1511 – Notes from the field

I just updated my ConfigMgr environment to 1511 (CurrentBranch) and while the installation itself went safe and sound, following is to be noted:

  • The new Software Center never got installed properly with a shortcut in the start menu (%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft System Center\Configuration Manager)
    I had to re-enable the setting in my Client Settings (Disable the feature, OK, Enable the feature, OK and do another policy refresh)

ClientSettings

  • None of the new Windows 10 1511 software updates was synced into SCCM. I checked WSUS manually, and the classification Upgrades was not selected regardless of the Upgrades being indeed selected in SCCM. To solve this, I had to de-select all classifications in SCCM and select them again on the Software Update point. When I checked the chosen classifications in WSUS again, the proper selections was inherited from SCCM as expected and the next sync downloaded the Windows 10 Upgrades.

Classifications

Activate Windows 10 clients with KMS

Looking to activate your shiny new Windows 10 clients with your KMS? This is what you need to do.

1) Install following update on your KMS host: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3058168 (Select the OS of your KMS. Reboot is required.)

2) While we are waiting for  Windows Server 2016, MS has created an unique KMS key for the use of activating Windows 10 clients with a Server 2012 R2 key. Browsing your licensing site, you will find a key named like this: Windows Srv 2012R2 DataCtr/Std KMS for Windows 10

3) Install the new key with the usual command: slmgr.vbs /ipk NEWKEYGOESHERE

4) Activate the key using: slmgr.vbs /ato

5) Lean back and watch your W10 clients being activated by your KMS.

 

New PXE deployments: “Skipping Task Sequence because it is not active yet”

I just updated to Windows 10 ADK and was eager to start building my new Windows 10 image.

So I created brand new WinPE10 boot images (x64/x86), deployed them to my DP’s and PXE points. Imported the new OS into SCCM and created my build and capture TS and deployed it to my BuildCapture collection. I booted my VM and noticed my new task sequence wasn’t on the list. I did another reboot just to make sure the new policy was downloaded, but no. Still no W10 build and capture task sequence.

Having a look at the SMSTS.log revealed following: “Skipping Task Sequence because it is not active yet”

Seems like the time is a bit off when deploying with a default available schedule of now. I had to edit the deployment and set the date/time a few days back for the TS to show up. (This is CM 2012 R2 SP1)

 

KB3025417 breaks SCEP reporting (and the solution)

Beginning of June I had my ways with a problem in SCCM/SCEP and the update KB3025417.

I did what I usually do in those situations. I went to the forums, and created following thread: Here!

After fighting with MS 1st line support and not really getting anywhere, then sudden following blog pops up at the ConfigMgr team: Here!

They came up with an alternative solution, which is what I was looking for. However, running W81 x64 and looking to push the mentioned script using ConfigMgr, comes with following obstacles:

  • Packages in SCCM is being launched as a 32bit process. (This is what most people would use, considering that it’s a script and most would use .bat/cmd)
  • The provided script cannot run under a 32bit process. (I learned so the hard way. I confirmed that the script worked when run manually. I took it for granted that it worked as a SCCM package as well – it doesn’t)

So the solution to this is either of following:

  • Use the application model. (Not really prefered in this case, as it requires a detection method)
  • Trick the file x64 redirection to run cmd.exe from %SystemRoot%\Sysnative

An example of the last mentioned solution could be this batch script:

“C:\Windows\Sysnative\cmd.exe” /c “%~dp064bit.bat” (This coming from a x86 process, will run 64bit.bat in a x64 context instead)

64bit.bat will then contain the original script.

Debug and view Windows .dmp files.

Quick and short post.

Nowadays if a BSOD happens in Windows, the OS automatically restarts the system. The users in an enterprise never notice that an BSOD just occured, but will find their computer automatically rebooting and as a result hereof, the users calls the helpdesk.

If a BSOD just happened, windows will log the errors in .dmp files. Typical location is %SystemRoot%\MEMORY.DMP

To view the .dmp files, you will need  the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). This one is for Windows 8.1: https://msdn.microsoft.com/da-DK/windows/desktop/bg162891

Following the SDK, comes windbg.exe. This is the tool that allows you to view the content of the .dmp files.

Before opening any .dmp files, you will need to specify a symbol search path. You do so by launching WinDbg and click File -> Symbol File Path.

Insert following path: SRV*C:\Symbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols

(Replace the text in bold with your preffered location for the symbols)

More on the symbols: http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/311503

 

Software Updates and KB3000850 (failed installing updates with error 0x8024000b)

Microsoft just released a major update for Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2. A so called Update Rollup for November 2014: https://support.microsoft.com/kb/3000850

KB3000850 is treated as any other updates, and is being downloaded and deployed with my Configuration Manager 2012 environment.

Doing so out of the box was however not without obstacles. The updates is classified as a regular update, and therefore has a max. runtime set to 10 minutes.

Deploying the update as it is, was resulting in a failed status, and this in the WindowsUpdate.log:

WARNING: WU client failed installing updates with error 0x8024000b

This translates into maximum runtime exceeded, so you will have to go ahead and change that.

MaxRuntime

The update has a size of a service pack, so I allowed 60 minutes just be sure.