SCCM OSD Failed Setup Could Not Configure One or More Components

Last week I got asked to look at an issue where a new model of laptop was failing to deploy using a Configuration Manager Operating System Deployment Task Sequence. We knew that the environment was good as other machines were able to complete the task sequence without any issues and the first thought was that it could be a driver issue.

Initially I was sceptical of it being a driver issue as when we see problems with machines completing operating system deployment, problems with drivers normally fall into the category of silent fail whereby the driver is missing all together and we end up with the yellow exclamation mark in Device Manager or the task sequence fails because the driver missing or problematic is related to network or storage and blocks the task sequence from completing.

In this instance however, we knew that the problem was specific to this model. Given that we are failing in the Windows Setup portion of the task sequence, the usual smsts.log file is of no help because the Configuration task sequence has not yet been re-initialized after the reboot at the Setup Windows and ConfigMgr step. in this instance, we need to refer to the setuperr.log and the setupact.log in the Panther directory which you will find in the Windows installation directory. This is where errors and actions relating to Windows Setup live as opposed to the normal smsts.log file.

We rebooted the machine back into WinPE to allow us to open the log file with visual Notepad and began reading the file. Sure enough, we hit an error and the code given was 0x80004005. Looking at the activity either side of this, we can see that the machine is busy at work with the CBS (Component Based Servicing) engine and is initializing and terminating driver operations so we know that something has happened to a driver to cause this problem.

At this point, we had nothing more to go on. Two weeks’ ago, I had a similar issue with another customer whereby the issue was clearly logged to the setuperr.log file and the problem in that instance was an update we had added to the image with Offline Servicing required .NET Framework 4.5 to be present on the machine however Dism didn’t know to check that so we simply removed the update but here, we have no such helpful fault information.

Given that this was a new machine and given that we are deploying Windows 7, I had a thought? What if these drivers being applied require the User or Kernel Mode Driver Framework 1.11 updates that were released for Windows 7 some time ago?

This theory was easy to check. I mounted the Windows 7 .wim file on our SCCM server and then used the Get-Packages switch for Dism to list the installed updated in the image. Sure enough, User-Mode Driver Framework 1.11 (KB2685813) and Kernel-Mode Driver Framework 1.11 (KB2685811) were both absent from the list. I downloaded the updates from the Microsoft Download Center and Offline Serviced the Windows 7 image with the updates and commited the changed back into the .wim file.

After reloading the image in the Configuration Manager Administration Console and updating the .wim file package on the Distribution Points we re-ran the task sequence and by-jove, the machine completed the task sequence with no dramas.

For background reading, the User-Mode and Kernel-Mode Driver Framework 1.11 update is required to install any driver file which was written using the Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 Driver Kit. What I have yet to be able to determine is if there is a way of checking a driver .inf file to determine the version of the Driver Framework required. If there had been a way to determine this, Configuration Manager administrators around the world may rejoice a little so if you do know of a way to check this, please let me know as I would be interested to hear. This would have not been an issue had the reference images been patched with the latest (or at least some) Windows Updates however in this case, I was not so lucky.

Windows XP End of Support

Yesterday was crunch day for many people out there still running Windows XP as Microsoft support for the aged operating system ended. Yesterday was significant being Patch Tuesday, the usual monthly release cycle of Windows Updates across the Microsoft operating system and product lines but for Windows XP, this is supposedly the last.

Some customers have already paid up multi-million pound deals to continue getting support for Windows XP beyond this date such as the UK government which agreed a £5.5 million deal with Microsoft to continue to receive support (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/10741243/Government-pays-Microsoft-5.5m-to-extend-Windows-XP-support.html) but this only gives them an extra 12 months before the support ends once more. I think that people have left the Windows XP support issue to so late in the day to even give thought to that it’s costing them sums of money like this is a huge shame and a missed opportunity.

I work in IT and I’m a big evangelist for the latest and greatest from Microsoft so I’ve got a hugely biased view on the Windows XP support issue but this isn’t something that Microsoft have pulled out of the bag without notice. Microsoft have been warning people for quite some time that XP support would end and for an operating system first released in 2001, it’s had a fantastic run of 13 years but times have to move on as holding onto the past only hinders you long term.

You can see for yourself when Microsoft will be retiring support for applications and operating systems and the transition between phases of the support lifecycle at the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Index at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselectindex.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is a great mainstay operating system and for 99% of applications currently running on Windows XP, you won’t have an issue so moving to Windows 7 not only keeps you in support but it will improve the effectiveness of your employees due to improvements and usability gains in Windows 7 over XP, not to mention the ability to support a fuller and richer set of hardware features and capabilities: 64-bit anyone? Windows 7 has extended support available until January 2020 which gives you another 6 years before you need to worry about the problem. Windows 7 has a pretty similar look and feel to Windows XP which means the operating system isn’t a culture shock to them.

Windows 8

Windows 8 has improved a lot since it’s initial release with Windows 8.1 and most recently with the Windows 8.1 Update 1, not that I personally had a problem with it prior to these update releases but we know that others did for certain. Sure, there are going to be application compatibility issues with applications coming forwards from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 but that’s to be expected really when you try and make a 13 year technology jump in one hit but unless applications are making specific calls into hooks in the operating system there still shouldn’t be any major issues aside from perhaps browser?

The user interface and experience is going to be daunting for some people sure but Microsoft are aiming to quash this with more and more updates to Windows 8.1 to improve keyboard and mouse control for classical desktop users and actually, the majority of people will love it once they become accustomed to it.

I moved by mum over to Windows 8 and later Windows 8.1 sometime last year. She works for a government sector group in the UK and is one of these stuck on Windows XP and Office 2003 people by day. She took to Windows 8.1 like a duck to water and loves it and that’s on a conventional laptop, not even a touch screen device to really get the most out of it.

Internet Explorer

One of the biggest hang ups for Windows XP that I see is Internet Explorer. As sad as I find it both as an IT Pro and someone who tries to write code for websites, people still use Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 because some enterprise applications were designed for the ways that they uniquely rendered pages and moving upwards to Internet Explorer 11 seems like an unsurpassable mountain.  Old versions of Internet Explorer not only potentially harm the user experience because of limited or no support for modern Internet standards but also for security because the older browsers can be more susceptible to attacks through exploits which are often protected against either in more modern software or even at a hardware level thanks to improvements in technologies like Intel Data Execution Protection (DEP).

I’m aware of one organisation who is deploying Google Chrome to allow them to use a new HTML5 web application instead of upgrading from Internet Explorer 8.

Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer 11 with the Windows 8.1 Update 1 release is designed to try and deal with this by allowing Internet Explorer to render pages in a manner consistent with older versions of Internet Explorer and we can control all of these settings as an administrator with Group Policy.

Group Policy Enterprise Mode

Office 2003

Yes, some people do still use. There are so many features, improvements and optimizations in every version of Office since 2003 that people working with Office 2003 must feel like they are being left out to pasture. I think if I had to go back to working with Windows XP and Office 2003 that a part of me would actually die. It’s even just the little things that make all the difference like Flash Fill in Excel 2013, one of my personal favourites.

If anyone has ever send you an Office 2003 format document such as a .doc and you are using Office 2010 for example, open that file, and save a copy of it as a .docx and check the file size difference. The XML file formats are so much smaller that if you were to convert all of a businesses existing documents to the XML formats, I’m pretty confident that you could reduce your storage growth expenditure for the forthcoming financial year paying for a large part of your Windows operating system upgrade project.

Upgrade Easily

Moving to later versions of Windows need not be as hard as some people fear either. System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) for example can be used with User State Migration Toolkit (USMT) to migrate a machine, applications and all of the users data and settings from a Windows XP machine to a Windows 7 machine using an automated task sequence process requiring no user input. You could even deliver it as a self-service offering for end-users to upgrade when its convenient to them.

Moving off Windows XP could even be the driver you need to review your technology approach and spur you to start looking at other options like VDI or tablet devices?

Try It You Might Like It

I guess what I’m getting at is that I work in IT, I deal with enterprises all day long and I understand the challenge but I still don’t quite understand how some people have managed to hang on to Windows XP for quite so long especially with the rise of the millennial in the workplace. These new workers are becoming more demanding of enterprise IT to provide technology experiences not only with more synergy to experiences they are used to in the home but also with the adoption of BYOD. Yes, BYOD adoption rates are questionable in both volumes according to who your source is and what exactly do you define as BYOD but there is no denying it is happens to varying extents.

I believe that there are a lot of organisations out there who have a perceived Windows XP problem because that’s what they think is the case through fear and uncertainty (FUD) spread through the media about new versions of Windows but I ask have you actually tried Windows 7 or Windows 8.1? Have you actually built out a device with the operating system and tested all of your applications? What is the cost to replace one or two applications that don’t upgrade quite right or the cost to revamp a web interface with a web developer for a couple of weeks verses paying large sums of money for special support arrangements for Windows XP with Microsoft, something which doesn’t actually help you solve the problem but only prolongs it’s effects upon you?

I’m an MCSE – What’s Next?

I  had a booking today for what was to be the final exam in my path to becoming an MCSE – 70-298: Designing Security for a Windows Server 2003 Network.MCSE

I arrived at the testing centre to be told there was a problem with the link to Prometric and that the exam would need to be rescheduled. Whilst the centre organised a Prometric Incident ID for the fault they managed to get the link restored I was exuberant that I managed to sit the exam today.

I passed with a sore of 784 – Not the highest I’ve achieved on an exam but neither was it the lowest so I was quite happy with that fact.

The pass today does indeed mean that I have now met all of the criteria for an MCSE certification. These are the exams I’ve actually sat to make up my MCSE:

70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-291: Implementing, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294: Planning, Implementing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure

70-270: Installing, Configuring and Administering Windows XP Professional

70-298: Designing Security for a Windows Server 2003 Network

70-350: Implementing Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004

My plan was originally to also complete 70-299 to allow me to obtain my MCSE: Security status, however this Server 2003 usage falling by the wayside and Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 ever increasing in market presence, I’ve decided to drop 70-299 from my calendar and proceed ahead with the MCITP track for Server 2008.

I ordered the book for the 70-680: Configuring Windows 7 Technical Specialist exam on Thursday last week and Home Delivery Network should be bringing me that either later today or tomorrow.

In the mean time, I already have the ICND1 CCENT under my belt and I am sitting the second week of training and Global Knowledge in late May to allow me to plough ahead and sit my ICND2 to give me my CCNA certification.

My aim is to complete the ICND2 and the CCNA track by mid-June so that I can move to start the Windows 7 training and hopefully the Windows 7 exam by around July or August time. I slacked in 2009 on my personal training and development and I didn’t really get a lot of it done, however with 2010 being the year Microsoft seem to have a real product development rocket up their bottom, I’m going to try and make 2010 the year I put the rocket up myself.

The Anatomy of UPnP Device Discovery

Since my Cisco ICND1 training last week, I’ve become somewhat obsessed. I’ve previously been looking at NETGEAR routers to replace my current FVG318 as I am hitting the concurrent connection limit on it almost daily. Due to now seeing a little piece of Cisco, I figured why not look at getting a Cisco router so that the router will be more reliable and also will help give me some on the job training.

Everything was looking good until I thought about UPnP. I use UPnP quite heavily at home: Not for the port forwarding but for the internal advertisement of network services (namely media streaming to the PlayStation 3).

I discovered a few articles which outlined that Cisco doesn’t support UPnP on any of its devices and that it looks like there is no plan to add support for it either which is a bad thing if you are an SME looking for easy to deploy networking products but good from a security standpoint I suppose.

To test, on the FVG318, I disabled UPnP and had Nicky test the media streaming, however it didn’t work so today I took it upon myself to test this to ensure I can actually achieve full functionality using a Cisco 2651XM.

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Windows Home Server Backup: Wife Approval and the Potential

Last night I spent about two hours working on Nicky’s laptop which she had somehow managed to get infected with a virus or multiple viruses should I say.

I tried loads of things to correct the wake of problems caused by it, however I was having a hard time so I contemplated using my investment in Windows Home Server and flexing it’s Recovery CD for fighting crime (or virus).

I didn’t have to run the backup in the end as I managed to fix the problem, but the point needs to be addressed of just how wife friendly Windows Home Server actually is, and let’s face it: If your a geek / tech-head with any interest in things like Home Servers, Media Centres and the like you know that it has to be wife friendly or you will never get budgetary approval 🙂

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Windows 7 Laptop Battery Issues

Due to a growing amount of chatter on blog sites and the like, Steve Sinofsky, President of the Windows and Windows Live divisions at Microsoft – Head of Windows 7 has posted on the Engineering Windows 7 Blog about the problems.

http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2010/02/08/windows-7-battery-notification-messages.aspx

Having been a user of Windows 7 since Build 7000 – The first Beta, I have had no such problems with the batteries as a result of Windows 7, but as a result of the batteries themselves.

I use a Dell Latitude D630 which is about 18 months old now. From new, I could get about  five hours usable battery life from my extended life 9-Cell Dell battery, however over time (While running XP and Vista) this degraded to about three hours as is to be expected when the laptop is connected to a docking station for the majority of the day. The battery continued to worsen and it got down to about two hours before Build 7000 became available.

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The Myth of Leaving it Plugged In

The aged old myth of leaving your laptop plugged in forever and a day remains strong even today.

Many people claim that this is an old adage that doesn’t apply to modern Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) batteries, however there is just as many people who disagree. Even Apple agree with an official statement on their site about not leaving your laptops plugged in all of the time:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

However, an article on the Dell website doesn’t recommend the same thing – In actual fact it neglects to comment on what you should do once your notebook is fully charged. HP even circumvent the topic in their article.

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/batteries_sitelet/en/replacement?c=us&cs=29&l=en&s=dhs
http://h20271.www2.hp.com/SMB-AP/cache/122140-0-0-155-121.html

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Managed Software Installation in Windows Vista and 7

In Windows XP, a domain client computer would display messages like “Installing Managed Software Windows Defender” “Apply Computer Settings”.

In Windows Vista all of this disappeared and was replaced with “Please Wait”. In my opinion this was a bad move because users can get anxious that something is wrong quickly and sitting with the Please Wait message is tempting users to hit the power button.

I noticed sometime ago that Windows Server 2008 displays the correct messages to the user at start-up such as “Applying Default Domain Policy” and “Installing Managed Software X”

I didn’t realise however that it was possible to get this functionality back in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Open your GPMC and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System

In here you will find a policy named Verbose Vs Normal Status Messages. Enabling this policy has the following effects according to the GMPC information:

Directs the system to display highly detailed status messages.

If you enable this setting, the system displays status messages that reflect each step in the process of starting, shutting down, logging on, or logging off the system.

This setting is designed for sophisticated users that require this information.

Note: This setting is ignored if the “Remove Boot / Shutdown / Logon / Logoff status messages” setting is enabled.

Gold, Gold

If your remotely attached to the world of technology, you will know that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 went into gold build status (GA) jut over a week ago.

This week it’s the turn of Windows Mobile 6.5 to go gold.

I’ve been using Windows Mobile 6.5 for quite some time now and it’s great – A serious improvement over Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 and a much welcome UI refresh and polished approach.

For anyone that’s interested, I use Miri’s WWE 6.5 ROM from here:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=493911

The most recent available 23017, and much to my dismay I have been unable to confirm if this is the gold build announced this week, however Miri recompiled the ROM on the 3rd of August so it is highly likely.

Things I’m looking forward to are seeing the Windows Marketplace as this has been missing from previous WM 6.5 builds, and to see if Live Mesh works properly (see my bug https://connect.microsoft.com/LiveMesh/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=481053).

As for the remainder of the week? Well lots of people on the blogosphere and the Internet have been posting about Windows 7 RTM and changes etc – Some people have only just caught up 🙂

Me? I’m holding out for Friday when TechNet customers are going to be able to officially get their paws on the product (that’s me) so that I can rebuild to x64.

I’m sure I will blog about my experiences with the RTM build of Windows 7.