Five Routine’s That Sums Up Desktop Management

IT departments play a major role in systems maintenance and it takes some effort for a system administrator to keep servers and end user workstations up and running for stability and productivity reasons. Lets take a look at system administrator’s daily routine and the importance of it.

1. Downloading and Deploying patches to user computers

System administrator has to identify required patches (3rd party) on systems, download them from the vendor websites and deploy them to end user computers. Managing these patches on a one of basis seems straightforward but it becomes cumbersome on a routine basis and especially when there are many systems to patch. Using a Patch Management solution, these routine tasks can be automated and scheduled to lessen the cumbersome workload on system administrators.

2. Installing software to user computers

Manually installing software on remote computers can be a daunting task and is challenging. A Software Management solution can resolve this complication by allowing a system administrator to deploy software from any location, handle tickets with ease and assist users demands in software installation with simplicity.

3.Troubleshooting remote computers

Troubleshooting servers and workstations for Operating System issues, software installations, security patches, system crashes can be remedied much easily with software management solutions, especially with remote capabilities and centralized management interface.

4. Managing IT assets in your network

Asset tracking for hardware and software in your organization is highly important and can be done with ease with the use of an asset management software. Apart from tracking the hardware and software in the organization, software license management, hardware warranty management, and identifying the usage of software particularly for licensing, restricting unwanted software in your network is important as well. An asset management solution provides a systems administrator the tools needed to effectively gather and manage this data.

5. Deploying configurations and managing mobile devices

Managing and configuring devices such as computers, tablets, phones, and peripherals in a growing organization with rapid demands for technology can be a challenging task for system administrators. MDM and desktop management solutions provide much flexibility and the tools needed to handle these technology challenges in the enterprise.

ManageEngine Desktop Central is one such ideal solution for desktop management, with its bundle of features and pricing compared to some known industry solutions. Desktop Central offers Patch management, Software management, Asset management, Remote support, Mobile device management, Failover Service, and Auditing capabilities. Desktop Central supports heterogeneous platform in 16 different languages. Finally, Desktop Central offers a fully functioning edition to manage 50 endpoints completely free with no hidden cost.

Download Desktop Central now and experience simplified IT management.

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MDOP Group Policy Templates v2.7 Now Available

New Group Policy Templates, version 2.7 (.admx and .adml) for Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) are now available from Microsoft to manage policies across the enterprise for the following MDOP technologies:

App-V 5.0
App-V 5.0 SP1
App-V 5.0 SP2
App-V 5.0 SP3
App-V 5.1
MBAM 1.0
MBAM 1.0 R1
MBAM 2.0
MBAM 2.0 SP1
MBAM 2.5
MBAM 2.5 SP1
UE-V 1.0
UE-V 1.0 SP1
UE-V 2.0
UE-V 2.1
UE-V 2.1 SP1

The download is available from the Official Microsoft Download Center.

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Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT 8443) Released

mdt_2013-8443

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released and the most current build (8443) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 version 1607 (10.1.14393.0) which is available for download on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center.

According to the MDT blog post by Aaron Czechowski (Senior Program Manager), MDT is now tagless without the year and version number and going forward, new releases will be identified by their build numbers only.

You may notice that we are not tagging this release with a year or update version. To better align with the current branches of Windows 10 and Configuration Manager, and to simplify the branding and release process, we are now just referring to it as the “Microsoft Deployment Toolkit”, using the build number to distinguish each release. This is not necessarily a “current branch” of MDT; we are committed to updating MDT as needed with revisions to Windows, the Windows ADK, and Configuration Manager.

Some of the significant changes in this update include:

  • Supported configuration updates
    • Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1607
    • Windows 10, version 1607
    • Windows Server 2016
    • Configuration Manager, version 1606
  • Quality updates
    • Deployment Wizard scaling on high DPI devices
    • Johan’s “uber bug” for computer replace scenario
    • Multiple fixes for the Windows 10 in-place upgrade scenario
    • Several fixes to Configure ADDS step
    • Removed imagex/ocsetup dependencies, rely solely on DISM
    • Includes the latest Configuration Manager task sequence binaries (version 1606)

The following post provides some information on How to get help with MDT, in case you need it.

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Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) Version 1.2 For Windows 10

rsat

The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following two download files available for version 1.2 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:

  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x64.msu (92.3MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x86.msu (69.5MB)

See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.

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How To Fix: Bitlocker Recovery Key Prompts On Every Reboot

windows-10-bitlocker-featured

There are few reports of users having Bitlocker issues following the October 2016 patches.

The issue: On every reboot, the Bitlocker recovery key is required which is quite disruptive and cumbersome. As a workaround in order to solve this issue, the following steps can be taken:

On the next reboot and once in Windows, reset Bitlocker by disabling and re-enabling it.
In administraive command prompt, do the following:
manage-bde -protectors c:-disable
then do this:
manage-bde -protectors c:-enable

At this time, I’m not certain on which patch is causing the issue but I wanted to share this info to help. You can also discuss in this TechNet post.

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System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Console Crash

scom-gsx-solutions

** UPDATE**
(October 19, 2016)
A fix for the SCOM console crash issue as previously blogged below has been released. See the following KB320006 article to obtain the hotfix.

***************************************************************************************************

**Posted on October 18, 2016**

There is a widespread report of System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2012 R2 / 2016 console crashes due to some bugs in October 2016 Cummulative Updates, in particular with the following patches: KB3194798 / KB3192392 / KB3185330 / KB3185331.

The product team has acknowledged the issue on their blog post and is said to be working on releasing a fix soon. The current recommendation is to uninstall the problematic patches as a temporary workaround. According to the blog post, an announcement will be made on the SCOM Team blog when a fix has been made available. So, keep a close eye on it.

Links related to this post:

SCOM Product Team Console Issue Ackowledgement
TechNet Discussion
SCOM Product Team Blog
Microsoft Tech Community Discussion

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ADMX, ADK, RSAT Released For Windows 10 (Version 1511)

Computer_update_comic

With the release of Windows 10 version 1511, the following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX), Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), as well as the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

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Update – Windows ADK For Windows 10 (Version 1511)

windows10_adk

Update / Warning:

Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Client and Mobility has issued a warning regarding the latest release of Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1511:

“…….there is a serious issue with it that blocks the following Configuration Manager OS deployment scenarios:

  • From Software Center, launch a task sequence that uses a Windows PE v10.0.10586 boot image. When the computer restarts into Windows PE, it will fail when “Initializing hardware devices” with the error: “Windows PE initialization failed with error code 0x80220014.”

At this time, we do not recommend that Configuration Manager customers use the 1511 version of the Windows 10 ADK.”

Johan Arwidmark, a System Center and OSD expert had also posted a warning on November 15, 2015 on his blog post “Inside Windows 10 ADK Build 10586“.

Warning: Do NOT upgrade your ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 or MDT 2013 Update 1 environments to this build yet. For ConfigMgr, even though it seems to fix the x64 UEFI / PXE and Powershell/.NET issue, which is great, the new ADK does break Computer Refresh scenarios (Bare metal works). The error code is 0x80220014. Research and discussions with the product teams in progress… MDT 2013 Update 1 yet to be validated, but error comments on twitter does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.”

——————————————————————————————————————–
Original post: November 20, 2015.

The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10, version 1511 is now available from Microsoft’s “Download Kits and Tools for Windows 10” site.

The Windows ADK now includes:

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Cisco AnyConnect VPN Error – “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation”

anyconnectwin_reconnect2

Problem:
Error: “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation” occurs during installation of Cisco AnyConnect client. This generally happens due to a failed upgrade installation of the client..

Solution:
Uninstall any version of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if it exist on the system.
Then, edit the registry by following these steps:

  • Launch the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in the search window or box.
  • If a dialogue box pops up displaying the following: “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”, Click Yes.
  • Browse to the following location: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\
  • Within the Products folder, locate and delete the registry key which contains the product information for Cisco AnyConnect.
    1. Go through each key in the Products folder until you find the one for Cisco AnyConnect. For example, the registry key for Cisco AnyConnect is named {D5BA4DB6420F33A4BAA83AD8BF69D037}
    2. Please note that the version of Cisco AnyConnect that you have may display a different registry key name.
  • Close the registry editor.
  • Install the Cisco AnyConnect client.

** Please make a backup of the registry before deleting or modifying any keys.

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