Michael Griswold's SCCM Tips and Tricks

Things I have learned and want to share

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  • Blog Post: Get more from your queries

    Every SCCM admin has figured out how to create a collection with a query rule to dynamically update its membership (you don't just do direct rules I hope). Most admins have also learned that the columns able to be returned by a collection are limited but if you create a query in the Query node of...
  • Blog Post: To hotfix or not to hotfix, that is the question

    Let me start this blog post by making it clear that this is my opinion, not an official stance. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and this is just mine. Feel free to ignore it if you like. I often time have discussions with customers about applying hotfixes, and more recently cumulative updates...
  • Blog Post: How to manually clean your SCCM server roles off the box

    Occasionally it becomes necessary to manually clean off a server of SCCM components. When that becomes necessary I usually tell customers to just flatten and rebuild the box, but that is not always an option. In those cases I have this mental list of things I go through to remove all the traces that...
  • Blog Post: How to get clients to avoid one of your management points

    The other week I had a customer asking me how they could keep clients from using a Management Point, yet still have it installed and functional to interact with some 3rd party software they wanted to use. That question didn’t have a simple answer. By default an SCCM 2012 client will randomly choose...
  • Blog Post: The easy way to test SQL connectivity

    While I can’t say I have to do it all that often, there are occasional times when I need to test connectivity from a machine back to SQL.  The question then comes up, how to easily get that done?  Installing SQL tools is the most obvious, but not always handy and I really don’t want to be installing...
  • Blog Post: Clean-up your inboxes!

    One of the things I often get asked to do is to look over ConfigMgr 2007 installs and provide feedback on any issues I see. One of the things I look at is the folders in \Microsoft Configuration Manager\Inboxes. These folders contain all the activity of ConfigMgr and typically consist of files which...
  • Blog Post: A warning about direct memberships in collections

    Today’s blog post again comes from a fellow PFE and I can’t take any credit. However, I thought it was a worthwhile topic and I wanted to make sure the knowledge and information is out there for other folks. When you create a collection and decide to populate it you have two options, direct membership...
  • Blog Post: WBEMTEST..., your easiest gateway into WMI

    If you spend much time around Configuration Manager you become aware that a lot of it runs through WMI.  WMI is “Windows Management Instrumentation” and is essentially Microsoft’s implementation of a internet standard called Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM). If you are doing task sequences...
  • Blog Post: An alternative way to handle Forefront updates

    I was with a customer recently who found management of their Forefront updates to be problematic and they were looking for an alternative method to the general recommendation (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd185652.aspx ). They had actually come to this idea on their own then asked my input...
  • Blog Post: What to do while you wait for ConfigMgr to process

    Before System Center Configuration Manager was known as “ConfigMgr 2007” or “SCCM” it was Systems Management Server (SMS). You have probably all heard the joke about what SMS stood for; Slow Moving Software. Well, those that have not adjusted their lifestyles to suit the speed (and I will add, power...
  • Blog Post: Find and fix those unhealthy clients!

    While the ConfigMgr product has matured over the years the general category of client health continues to make admins curse. For those that don’t know what I’m referring to (lucky folks), “client health” generally refers to making sure all the components, drive space, network...
  • Blog Post: Quick tips to improve the accuracy of your metrics for deployments

    One of the topics that comes up with a lot of my SCCM customers is how their management is looking at reports of things like updates deployments or software deployments and seeing low success rates.  Getting 100% success is rare in any large deployment but each company should know a reasonable number...
  • Blog Post: Simple, but important, things

    When I talk with customers new to SCCM there are two things I advise them to not mess with: Heartbeat discovery and the “All Systems” collection. Heartbeat discovery is configurable, and it is ok to adjust the interval to meet your company needs, but don’t turn it off. It isn’t obvious to the new SCCM...
  • Blog Post: SCCM, Intune, and you

    With System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service pack 1 came new ways to manage new OS types.  Mac and Unix/Linux management were big additions, but perhaps equally big was the expansion of mobile device management to manage things like iOS devices, Android devices, Windows Phone 8, and Windows...
  • Blog Post: “Dial Me In Baby” and the other magical files of Configuration Manager

    10/22/14 update - Added archive_reports.sms section Back in the SMS 2.0 days I was doing phone support and I would often have to listen to statements of disbelief when I told customers to create a Dial_Me_in_baby.sms file in order to enable logging to troubleshoot their issues. While that file...
  • Blog Post: How to move a collection

    This is one of those little known tricks of SMS/SCCM, but it can be handy. I often run into customers who have SMS 2003 and their collection management is out of control for various reasons. When going to SCCM they want to clean up their collections. Deletion is the easy way to do that, but doesn’t work...
  • Blog Post: Are you Intune?

    Working in the System Center space I occasionally I get asked about management of environments that don’t really fit the world that SCCM focuses on. SCCM is not a cost effective solution for many small businesses and with a top scale of 200,000 clients (soon to increase with R3 release) there are...