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How to - System Centre Configuration Manager - Part 4a (OS Images - Get Started)

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by , 18th February 2012 at 02:04 PM (35431 Views)
Welcome to Part 4a of my System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) series! So - here is probably the most anticipated post - how to get started with OS Imaging! Im going to show you how to get SCCM ready for building your first Windows 7 image - and then in 4b, how to deploy that (with a load of extra options and fancy stuff!) to your estate. In the mean time, if there is something specific you need, or that you think Ive missed, please comment or send me a PM. Alternatively, you can find me on Twitter @TheScarfedOne.

So... introductions over with, lets get started! First things first, lets get into the SCCM Console. Im going to assume for the purposes of this guide that you have followed the rest of this guide (or have a basic functioning setup); and that you are Remote Desktop'd to the SCCM Server.

Add the PXE Service Point (PSP) role to SCCM

So, before we can get started - we need to first activate the PXE role in SCCM. This will enable our machines to boot through SCCM. Want to know more - or see the best practice stuff - head over to Technet

You must be getting used to where we need to go in the Console by now - yes that's Site Database/Site Management/Site Code/Site Settings/Site Systems and highlight your server. Right click on it and choose New Roles, which will give us that nice wizard.

Get ready for a load of Next, Next, Next! On the "New Role" screen, highlight the PXE role and select it, click next. This will want you to confirm, so say yes.


Up next, the PXE - General options page. For your testing, I would suggest that you remove the password requirement - but in production, you will want one of these. It stops little monkeys getting into your deployment system by mistake.

Now - if your server already has been used for WDS - and you are still using that actively whilst testing out SCCM - this bit is for you! By fiddling with the PXE server response settings - you can swap between which system you are using. For SCCM, this value should be less than the value listed in your Windows Deployment Services PXE delay, you can verify the WDS pxe delay by right clicking the WDS server and choose properties/PXE response Settings.

What we want to happen here is that SCCM answers the first PXE boot request(s) from a client and if they are not associated with a Task Sequence then let WDS take over with the PXE boot routine.


Now - sometimes SCCM and WDS can get themselves in a tangle. If you find things arent happening in the right order, then this is what you need....

Installing the PXE Service point adds a service to the machine and a registry entry for WDS so WDS knows what to do with a boot request.

If you open regedit and browse to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\WDSServer\Providers\ WDSPXE there is a "ProvidersOrder" key with some values in it. These values represent the boot order of WDS.

- SMS.PXE.Filter - The PXE filter script added by MDT.

- SMSPXE - Configuration manager PXE service point.

- BINLSVC - WDS and RIS legacy menus.

If you change the order of the ProvidersOrder key you should be able to switch between which device answers the PXE call first..

The above is rare though - but hey - its a useful insight into what is going on behind the scenes! Now, where were we? Ah yes, SCCM's PXE role - lets finish it off. Unless you can think of any real reason (I cant), then you will want to accept the PXE-database settings and click next. When dealing with the Certificate used for PXE, set the expiry to a long long long time into the future. The last thing you need is in a year is to have to renew it. Chances are, you will have forgotten about this setting by then - and will be head scratching why PXE booting isnt working! Save yourself the hassle then!!


Last up, that summary screen, so click next and then click close to finish. Ta da! Done! Next up - configuration time: thats boot images, operating system setup files and other lovely stuff! You will need your Window 7 Enterprise / Professional DVD to hand...

Create the SCCM Client Deployment Application

Now we are going to get to know a new bit of the console! It will be the bit you will actually get to know pretty well, as everything you do in the future in SCCM will be done here, rather than in the Settings bit we have been in so far! So... in the console, go to Computer Management and select the Software Distributions node. You then want to right click on packages and choose New Package from Definition. We need to give SCCM a copy of the client, which it uses to manage systems; and it helps out in our build and capture also! You use the Definition option where you have a pre-build package - like MSIs. You dont have to, but SCCM creates all the install and uninstall options for you which makes life a bit easier.

You will get another wizard, aptly called the Create package from Definition wizard! Click next, and since SCCM is relatively clever, it already knows about its client. Select the package called Configuration Manager Client Upgrade, click next and choose the second option "Always obtain files from a source directory".

You will then need to choose the Network Path (UNC name) as the type and click on browse - choosing your sites SMS directory (SMS_xxx where xxx=the SMS site code) eg: \\SERVERNAME\sms_xxx\Client

Time for the usual Summary screen, and click Finish.

Right-click on the new package you've just created and review it's properties - just to make sure it matches what we have done, and while you are at it rename it from Upgrade to Installation. I have no idea why the package is called Upgrade and not Install!

Create and Update Distribution Points

Now you have created a package - here is a concept to get used to. Once you make one, you have to distribute it. No - that doesnt mean install it - it means make the setup files for it available. Until you do this, you will get an error "Source files not available on any distribution point" error. Not good!

So, we need to select the Package we have just created (Configuration Manager Client Installation) and expand it. Right-Click on Distribution Points and choose new distribution points - select the standard distribution point only and click next (I will go into the difference between the two later on in the Boot Images section).

Now that you have created the distribution point, right click on Distribution points again, and choose Update Distribution points, answer Yes when prompted. What you have done is create a reference point on the server for your installation files (step 1), and then populated it (step 2).

Windows Boot Files, getting your SCCM PXE to Boot

In your basic installation, there will already be x86 and x64 bit boot.wim images, however we want to create our own and then distribute them to both the standard share and the PXE share. This is generally better, because then at least you arent faffing with the default ones!

In that trusty console, select Operating System Deployment under Computer Management, and expand the boot images node. Then right click, and choose Add Boot Image.

Browse to the network share where SCCM stores it's boot.wim files, first off for the 32 bit one (then repeat for the 64 bit one later) eg \\SERVERNAME\SMS_xxx\OSD\boot\i386\boot.wim

Now you can fill in some details for the boot.wim and call it something sensible - like x86 Windows PE boot environment for SCCM

Summary time, just check it - then click next to apply the changes.

Now that you have done the 32 bit boot.wim, I hinted at it a min a go - you know whats coming next! Repeat the above actions for the 64 bit (X64) boot.wim file by using the 64 bit path (\\SERVERNAME\SMS_xxx\OSD\boot\x64\boot.wim).

You should now have two new boot.wim files listed in the Boot Images section.

Now - when you boot SCCM normally - you would get the default Microsoft corporate background. Looks fine, yes - but why not look like a pro where you are, and put your own background in... its so simple. In explorer, browse to \\SERVERNAME\sms_xxx\OSD\bin\i386 and locate a file called WINPE.BMP, open it in Microsoft Paint and paste in your own company Logo, save the file (after backing up the original) and repeat this action for the WINPE.BMP file stored in the x64 path, this background will appear during the Deployment of Windows Vista, 7 or Windows Server 2008.

Once done, right click your chosen Boot.wim file in the console and choose properties and then the Windows PE tab, select the Specify the customer background bitmap (UNC Path) and browse to your newly created WINPE.BMP file, apply the changes and answer NO to the Distribution points update reminder as we'll be doing that shortly.

Remember what we did for the SCCM client installer - the whole distribution points jazz. Well, it applies here too - actually, it applies to all installs - client, OS, setup.... everything! So, we need to select the x86 Windows PE boot environment for SCCM boot image and expand that node, right click on distribution points and select New Distribution Points - which will give us that wizard.

Now, heres where things are a bit different. When the Copy Package screen comes up, make sure to select BOTH of the distribution points listed, one being the normal one and the other is the PXE distribution point, both are required for this to work properly. As at this point, we are in PXE mode for the boot - the files need to be on the PXE point too. You need to repeat this for the x64 as well.

Now you need to Update the distribution point, so right click on Distribution Points and choose Update....

Next up - its Operating System setup time. So... really, last warning for those DVDs!

Updated 18th February 2012 at 02:50 PM by TheScarfedOne (Added some more sections...)




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