Unified physical and virtual IT management for midsized businesses
When a computer group is created in Essentials 2010 using Create a Computer Group in the Computers space, a corresponding group is created in the WSUS database. This can be seen in the WSUS console.
Figure 1. Computer groups in the WSUS console.
Deleting these computer groups from the WSUS console will result in the computer group not showing in the Computers space.
Use this tool if you no longer see some or all computer groups in the Essentials console that you had previously created.
The Fix Computer Group tool must be run on the Essentials 2010 server.
To run this tool:
1. Open a Command Prompt window with Administrator rights.
2. Navigate to the Essentials 2010 installation directory.
3. Run LinkDG.exe.
The Fix Computer Group tool does not take any arguments. It will connect to the Essentials 2010 server and identify or fix any broken computer group relationships. The tool will display a list of completed tasks in the command prompt window after completion.
Figure 2. Default Essentials 2010 computer groups fixed.
Figure 3. Customized Essentials 2010 computer groups fixed.
System Center Essentials 2010 (SCE 2010) is certified to work with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
Important Note – SCE2010 will not be enhanced to support configuration of Dynamic Memory and Remote FX (new features that were added in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1) on virtual machines, although SCE itself can run fine in a VM configured with dynamic memory. Therefore, if you want to use dynamic memory on a VM you must configure it directly from the Hyper-V Manager console. SCE can monitor and manage such VMs configured to use dynamic memory without problems. You simply won’t be able to make any changes in dynamic memory/Remote FX using the SCE console.
J.C. Hornbeck | System Center Knowledge Engineer
The App-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/appv/ The WSUS Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/sus/ The SCMDM Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/mdm/ The ConfigMgr Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/configurationmgr/ The SCOM 2007 Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/operationsmgr/ The SCVMM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/scvmm/ The MED-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/medv/ The DPM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/ The OOB Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/oob/ The Opalis Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/opalis The Service Manager Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager The AVIcode Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/avicode The System Center Essentials Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/systemcenteressentials The Server App-V Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/serverappv
The installation of SCE 2007 SP1 blocks with a warning “WSUS Valid Date”. This happens because the WSUS 3.0 SP1 image present on the SCE 2007 SP1 DVD is expired in October 2010. This blog lists the steps to download and install WSUS 3.0 SP2 to unblock and complete the installation of SCE 2007 SP1.
On running SetupSCE.exe from the SCE 2007 SP1 DVD, the installation of SCE stops on the prerequisites check page with the warning: “Current WSUS Version is Out of Date”. The NEXT option on the prerequisite check page is disabled (as shown in the screenshot below):
This happens because the WSUS 3.0 SP1 Present on the SCE 2007 SP1 DVD has expired and needs to be replaced with WSUS 3.0 SP2. The steps involved for downloading WSUS 3.0 SP2 and unblocking the installation of SCE 2007 SP1 are as follows:
1. Download the appropriate WSUS 3.0 SP2 package from the Knowledge Base Article: KB972455 at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=161140
2. Copy all the files from the SCE 2007 SP1 DVD onto a local folder on the machine, like C:\SCE 2007 SP1.
3. Replace the existing WSUS.exe in the Setup folder of SCE 2007 SP1 present in the local folder on the machine created in step 2 (C:\SCE 2007 SP1) with the WSUS3.0 SP2 KB article package downloaded in Step 1.
4. Run SetupSCE.exe from the SCE Setup present in the local folder on the machine created in Step 2.
5. The Installation Prerequisites page still shows the warning message “Current WSUS Version is out of date”. But the NEXT option is enabled and we can go ahead with the installation of SCE ignoring this warning message.
6. Proceed with the remaining pages on the SCE 2007 SP1 wizard to complete the installation of SCE 2007 SP1.
7. The version of WSUS installed is WSUS 3.0 SP2. This can be checked in the WSUS properties once the installation of SCE 2007 SP1 completes.
At the Dynamics Convergence 2010 conference I mentioned to several people that it is possible to create a dynamic group based on whether a piece of software is installed or not but I never went into the details of how to do it. This posting describes how to create a group for a particular piece of installed software (Microsoft Office 2003 Web Component for the purpose of illustrating the process).
Creating a group based on if software is installed is helpful for approving new versions of software for installation (e.g. you want to upgrade from version 2 to version 3),
There is a three step process to create a dynamic group based on if a software application is installed:
The first step is to create an attribute that we can use to evaluate whether a computer has a piece of software installed or not. This can be based on either a registry key or WMI query. If you have a choice between using a registry key or a WMI query, opt for a registry key – the lookup process is more efficient.
You can use any registry key or WMI query. For this blog, since I am looking for a 32bit application installed on a 64bit computer, I’m going to use a registry entry under
If I was searching for a 32bit application on 32bit computer (or a 64bit application on a 64bit computer) then I could look in:
I’m using the above registry key location since it tends to be a reliable way to determine which software is installed. In the above registry locations will be any currently installed software that has an uninstall program or feature.
To create an attribute:
We have now created an attribute, whose value will be collected every 12 hours from each Windows Computer managed by Essentials.
Now that we have an attribute, we can use the attribute to define a group whose membership will change based on whether the value of the attribute is true (i.e. Office 2003 Web Components are installed).
To create the Managed Group:
We have now created a group whose membership is controlled by the value of the attribute defined earlier. In our case, we now have a group for all computers with the Microsoft Office 2003 Web Component installed.
Managed groups do not show in the Computers workspace by default. Our final step is to add the group we created in the previous step into the Computers workspace, where it will then be available for approving software and updates.
You now have a computer group whose membership will change depending on the software installed on the computers managed by Essentials.
By saving the attributes and group definitions in their own management pack you can export and share your software groups with other people. You can also export the management pack and manually edit it (its XML) if you want to create multiple groups without stepping through the wizards.
Before you create lots and lots of groups, it is important to know that we’ve tested Essentials 2010 to be able to handle up to 100 computer groups. While the process above will also work with Essentials 2007, we are aware of scale issues that can cause group synchronization to stop working in Essentials 2007 when there are around 30 groups (for some people the number is higher, for others it is lower).
During Essentials installation, Setup creates a number of log files in the %localAppData%\SCE\Logs folder:
To help identify installation issues, the Essentials Resource Kit includes a log parsing tool, SetupLogParser.exe. SetupLogParser can parse both the managed bootstrapper log file (SCESetupWizard.log) and the Essentials Windows Installer log file (SCEMSI.log).
Start the log parser tool by double-clicking SetupLogParser.exe in the Resource Kit installation folder. On the File menu, click Open to load a log file, as shown:
In the Open dialog box, select a log file:
Click Open to load the selected log file. SetupLogParser will check the contents of the log file to verify that the contents are in the correct format for either the managed bootstrapper file or the Essentials Windows Installer log. If SetupLogParser cannot validate that the file contains data in a recognized log file format it will show error message:
If the content of the file is in one of the supported log file formats, the program will show a progress window:
After the parsing and conversion is completed, SetupLogParser reads the log file and creates a report, as shown:
Possible issues Essentials Setup encountered during installation will be shown in red:
SetupLogParser does not offer an explanation of possible reasons for failure, but in many cases the log message itself is self-explanatory.
For example, Setup will fail if a pending reboot request is detected:
In the case of the Essentials Windows Installer log, the failure of a custom action does not always cause Setup as a whole to fail. In this case, the log contains a record in green informing you that Windows Installer converted an error result to a success result:
For large Essentials Windows Installer log files, the time that it takes to generate a report can be a few minutes or more. To avoid the time required to generate the report again from the same log files at a later time, you can save the generated report. To save the report, on the File menu, click Save As:
In the Save As dialog box, select XAML files (.xaml) in the Save as type: list, and then click Save:
To open previously saved report, on the File menu, click Open. In the Files of type: list, select XAML files (.xaml) and click Open:
SetupLogParser converts text log file to XML format before generating a report. If you want to use the log file information in some other application, you might want to save the XML version of the log file. However, the SetupLogParser tool does not support loading XML log files.
To save the log file in XML format, on the File menu, click Save As, select XML files (.xml) in the Files of type: list, and then click Open:
Here is a sample tour through one of the log files generated during Essentials Setup testing. The report contains a header for the main Setup log file:
Next, you will see the various report sections, examples of which are included here.
Here is an example that shows the date and time when installation started and command line that was used to start the installation.
This reports that User CHOCOLATE\testAdmin started the installation of OEM English version of System Center Essentials on computer SCETEST015D. Local system is 64-bit Windows NT 6.1.7600.0.
This reports that Windows Update is not installed on local computer, and that neither Essentials 2007 nor 2010 are installed in the local domain.
You will see an entry like this when Setup successfully ran Windows Update prerequisites check.
Here is an example of an error: The database check failed. The local ESSENTIALS instance of SQL Server already has a System Center Essentials database.
This prerequisite check generated a warning message. Warning messages will not block Setup.
This lists successfully passed prerequisite checks.
In this example, the user cancelled the installation.
Here is a possible reason why the user cancelled Setup.
Sometimes, failed prerequisite is not really a problem, just an indication that one of the required prerequisites is not installed. In this case, “Failed prerequisites” section will follow with “Prerequisites passed with choices” and “Prerequisites selected for installation”:
In this example, Setup could not find any instance of SQL Server.
In this example, Setup has offered to install SQL Server 2008 SP1 Express Edition on the local computer.
In this example, the user opted to install SQL Server 2008 SP1 Express Edition on the local computer.
Setup successfully installed SQL Server 2008 SP1 Express on the local system.
In this example, Setup successfully installed System Center Essentials.
This entry indicates that Setup successfully installed Windows Update.
In this example, the System Center Essentials Setup program failed. The Setup logs include Windows Installer process log entries.
Here is one of the log files generated during Essentials Setup testing:
This is a header for Essentials Windows Installer log report. The log entries begin with the date and time when installation started and command line used to start the installation.
In this example, an error has been reported. The entry Action: INSTALL starts the initial phase of the Windows Installer process. During the initial phase, the installer collects information about the local computer and prepares the installer for the deferred phase. No changes to the local computer are made during the initial phase. The result shown is the overall installation result. Actions in the initial installation phase start with word “Action”. All properties set or modified by the custom action are shown. For example, the WindowsFolder.F0DF3458_A845_11D3_8D0A_0050046416B9 custom action set the property WindowsFolder.F0DF3458_A845_11D3_8D0A_0050046416B9 to a string value “E:\WINNT\”.
The entry Action: InstallFinalize represents the start of the deferred phase of the Windows installer process. During deferred phase Windows Installer is making changes to the local computer, such as copying or deleting files, creating or removing registry keys and values, and so on.
The result for the InstallFinalize action shows the overall result of the deferred phase.
Here is an error example: the _CreateDatabase custom action failed to create the database.
Here is an example of a failed installation: The installation failed with an error code of 1603. The description for error code 1603 is “Fatal error during installation,” which is a common error when Setup fails because of one of the custom actions failed.
For a complete list of Windows Installer error codes, see the following Knowledge Base article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/229683.