Sessions approved for TechEd New Zealand 2014!

I’m very excited to announce that I will be presenting two sessions at TechEd New Zealand 2014, in Auckland.

This will be my fourth consecutive year presenting at TENZ – it’s a great event which is always well-organised and well-attended – a pleasure for any presenter :-)

TENZ is being held from 9-12 September at the SKYCITY Convention Centre. More information about the event here:

I will be presenting on the following topics:

  • Automated Compliance, Auditing and Remediation for the Enterprise Datacenter (Level 300)
  • Deep Dive – Deploying and Managing Windows To Go (Level 400)

I’ll update this post with more details when the session catalog is released, so stay tuned for updates.

See you at TechEd New Zealand!




Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 2014!

I received a very welcome email overnight from Microsoft, letting me know that I have been awarded the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for a fifth consecutive year :-)

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2014 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Enterprise Client Management technical communities during the past year.

Being a part of the MVP community has given me the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented people from all over the world, to push myself as a technical communicator and to present at some great events.

MVPs play a critical role within Microsoft – engaging with the wider community, testing new products and features and working with the product teams to make Microsoft’s offerings ever better.  We are independent and are not kept on any kind of retainer – we do the role because we’re passionate about helping Microsoft and Microsoft’s customers achieve the best possible outcomes.

More about the MVP award here -

Onwards for another year :-)

Use CreateMedia.exe without installing the SCCM console

I’ve been doing some work out a customer recently, and there was a requirement (or at least a “it would be really great if we could do this”-type request) to be able to trigger the creation of SCCM prestaged media on a remote system which did NOT have the SCCM console installed.


As you know, you can create a variety of bootable media from the SCCM console, and under the hood the console is calling the CreateMedia.exe commandline utility, which you can also call directly if required.  There’s a good list of the available switches and usage here on TechNet.

However, how to enable this on a remote system which didn’t have the console installed, and where installing the console was not an option?

The solution is as follows:

From a machine which does have the SCCM console installed, navigate to the installation path (you can use the %SMS_ADMIN_UI_PATH% variable to get there directly). From this location (which is something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\bin\i386) copy the following files to a separate folder:

  • CreateMedia.exe
  • CreateTsMediaAdm.dll
  • The complete OSD folder

Copy the folder over to your remote system (it’s less than 40MB in size) and then on the remote system create the following registry entry:

  • Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\ConfigMgr10\Setup (for a 64-bit system)
  • String: UI Installation Directory
  • Value: C:\Temp\CreateMedia (or whatever is the full path of the folder which you copied across)

Now you can run CreateMedia.exe from this location to build your SCCM media, without needing to install the console.

One word of warning – if you ever DO want to install the console on the remote system, delete that registry entry first so that it doesn’t get in the way.

Teensy bug in Learn SCCM 2012 R2 Lab

Time for a small mea culpa.

The original lab environment for Learn SCCM 2012 R2 in a Month of Lunches used Windows 8 as the client operating system, not Windows 8.1.  When Windows 8.1 launched I quickly switched operating systems in the hydration script so that readers would be using the latest client OS, but I missed updating the LAB-CLIENT01 task sequence.

As a result, when you go to deploy LAB-CLIENT01, you’ll hit an error.  There are two ways to resolve this.

Option One – edit the LAB-CLIENT01 task sequence and change the “Install Operating System” step (which will be in an error state) so that the operating system to install is “Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64″.  Update MEDIA001 to regenerate the ISO and you’ll be good to go.

Option Two – download the updated hydration script here – this has the correct LAB-CLIENT01 task sequence.  Then, either re-run the hydration process again, or simply copy ..\DS\Control\LAB-CLIENT01\ts.xml to the MDT Deployment Share and replace the one which is already there.  Again, update MEDIA001.

Thanks to Chris van der Lugt for bringing this to my attention – much appreciated :-)

Learn SCCM 2012 R2 in a Month Of Lunches – Manning Deal Of The Day!

No sooner has the Early Access Program for the book been launched, but for the next 48 hours you can pick it up for half price!

When you go to check out, enter “dotd1030″ as the promotional code :-)