I’m so Thankful, honored, and excited to receive the above email from the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award team confirming my award renewal for the 2018-2019 year. This is my second consecutive award since receiving my first one on January 1, 2017. It has been a wonderful, exciting, fun, challenging, and rewarding experience with endless opportunities.
The MVP award has provided some great opportunities for me in terms of my career growth, skill development, and avenues to give back and help others in the IT Professional community. I have been invited to speak at conferences such as Microsoft Ignite (Orlando 2017), MVP Community Connections (Boston and New York City), TechMentor, IT/Dev Connections, MMSMOA, user groups, webinars, as well as opportunities to guest blog, expert panelist, review technical books, test and evaluate software, provide technical expertise, guest podcaster, community reporter at Ignite 2017, community engagement specialist at various events, and much more.
I am very grateful and appreciative for my MVP award and various opportunities provided to me over time. Thank you very much to each and every one of you for making me successful in my efforts as a MVP, IT Professional, and community contributor, and for providing me with the valuable resources and networking opportunities. Thank you!
On April 30, 2018, Microsoft released the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) build to customers worldwide. 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), and the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update v1803 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following download files available for version 1.0 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:
See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.
With the release of Windows 10 version 1803, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1803 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).
Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1803 with this version of the ADK.
The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.
The latest version of the Windows ADK includes:
The Windows Assessment Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit to assess the quality and performance of systems or components.
Deployment tools such as WinPE, Sysprep, DISM and other tools that you can use to customize and deploy Windows 10 images.
The ISO download for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update edition (version 1709) has been released and is now available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center(VLSC) portal. You’ll find both 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files with a download size of 3164 MB and 4382 MB respectively.
Here is a good article on “How to verify if you have downloaded or installed the latest version of Windows 10”. I would recommend that you check out Michael Niehaus’ blog post where he shares some important information regarding the changes with the volume license media and upgrade packages with Windows 10, starting with v1709. There is only one ISO with a single WIM (Windows Image) file that contains all the volume license images as listed below:
Here’s what’s new in Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has kicked off 2018 with a brand new release of the ConfigMgr Technical Preview branch with version 1801. As always, new features and improvements to the product derive from the feedback they receive from the community on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum. Now, you can also provide feedback directly from within Windows 10 by using the Feedback Hub App. See additional documentation to provide ConfigMgr feedback.
This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:
Run Scripts – You can now import and run signed scripts and monitor the script results.
Moving Distribution Points between sites – You can now move an eligible distribution point from one primary site to another primary site or from under a secondary site to a primary site . For information about requirements for moving a distribution point see “Reassign Distribution Point”.
Improvements to client settings for Software Center – Client settings for Software Center now has a customize button where you can preview your customizations before deploying them to machines. You can also hide unapproved applications in Software Center.
New settings for Windows Defender Application Guard – For Windows 10 version 1709 and later devices, there are two new host interaction settings for Windows Defender Application Guard. Websites can be given access to the host’s virtual graphics processor and files downloaded inside the container can be persisted on the host.
Co-management reporting – You can now view a dashboard with information about co-management in your environment.
Phased Deployments – You can use phased deployments to automate a coordinated, sequenced rollout of software without creating multiple deployments.
Support for hardware inventory strings greater than 255 characters in length – For newly added classes, you can specify string lengths greater than 255 characters for hardware inventory properties that are not keys.
Improvements to Automatic Deployment Rule evaluation schedule – You can now schedule Automatic Deployment Rule evaluation to be offset from a base day.
You can update to the 1801 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node. The baseline version of the Technical Preview branch is now at version 1711 and available on the TechNet Evaluation Center.
The following document provides further details on the capabilities in Technical Preview 1801 for System Center Configuration Manager.
Here’s my video tutorial which I did for version 1701. The steps are the same for 1801.
Here are the step-by-step upgrade guide (if you prefer not to watch the video) to get your current ConfigMgr Technical Preview site to version 1801:
You will find the 1801 update available in the ConfigMgr console under Administration > Updates and Servicing. If you don’t see it, click on Check for Updates in the menu ribbon.
Right-click on Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1801 and click on Install Update Pack. If you prefer, you can also use the Install Update Pack option from the ribbon menu. I recommend that you run the prerequisite check first to make sure there are no issues reported with your site server. Otherwise, you will need to address the issues before proceeding with the update.
Click Next and select the checkbox if you want to ignore the prerequisite check warning.
Select the features desired for install in the update pack. You can choose to do this later under the Updates and Servicing node.
Pick your option to validate or not to validate the upgrade against a collection. For my production Current Branch site, I generally select Validate in pre-production collection and choose one of my test collections for the first phase of the upgrade. However, since this is the Technical Preview site and only used in a test environment, you can continue with the option, Upgrade without validating.
Select the license terms and click Next.
Click Next to confirm the settings.
You can now monitor the status of the upgrade under Monitoring > Updates and Servicing Status. Then select the update package name and click on Show Status in the ribbon menu.
The window below will show the stages of the upgrade process where you can monitor it’s progress. If there are any issues, you will see it listed here with a warning and the details provided in the description box in the bottom of the window.
Upon successful completion of the hotfix installation, you will be presented with the pop-up window as seen below to indicate a console upgrade from version 22.214.171.12495.1000 to 5.1802.1050.1000 is available.
You can verify the console upgrade in the About System Center Configuration Manager drop down menu from the console.
Version 1801 for Technical Preview
Console version: 5.1802.1050.1000
Site version: 5.0.8611.1000
And you now have ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1801 running in your test environment.
On January 23, 2018, I received an email from Rise Social Media with the weekly listing of social media influencers and their respective rankings among 1000 Tech bloggers. Typically, I quickly scan the email and delete it, but this time in the week 3 newsletter, something caught my eye and it was this message:
I did a double take and clicked on the week 3 link and confirmed that I had moved up to the number 2 spot from way down the list. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to share the news with my friends and followers on social media, which is the source of my influence. I remember being just as excited when I made it to the 14th spot on week 43 in 2017 (see image below).
I was first introduced to Rise Global by my friend Richard Hay, who is well respected in the technology industry where he covers valuable news, reviews, and many other tech related matters as a tech journalist. Rich has taught me how to use several useful tools, helped me with some automation techniques, as well as shared some insightful strategies which in turn has made me successful with my social media work. We also had the opportunity to work together as the official social media journalists for the IT/Dev Connections Conference held in San Francisco in October 2017. We are looking forward to do the same at IT/Dev Connection 2018 in Dallas.
And then we have my friends Christian Buckley and Vlad Catrinescu, who are great contributors in the tech community and powerhouse Microsoft MVPs. These guys make Rise Global status ranking fun and exciting to take part in. We have a running joke and a friendly competition between us, which often involves some fun teasing to keep things challenging. We are rooting for each other to get to the top spot, and then we can call it a collective success. It will happen sooner than later!
As an IT Professional, I enjoy social media quite a bit and have a knack for it. I have developed some strong skills in this respect which has allowed me to contribute to the community in various ways from helping IT Professionals with valuable information and resources to keeping commuters safe during their daily travels. My social media activities have provided many wonderful opportunities which include travel, representation at large conferences, member of various committees, access to privileged groups, speaking engagements, contributions to technical newsletters, reviewer for products, books, and software, and some consulting work to name a few. I am humbled and grateful for these opportunities and to everyone who has helped me and continue to support me. Thank you, Thank you!
Well, I’m not naive to know that my reign on Rise Global will not last for long but I did get my five minutes of fame for what it’s worth. If you have somehow come across this blog post, please feel free to follow my social media channels, subscribe to my blog, YouTube channels, and podcasts. You’ll enjoy the information I share. Thanks.
The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released and the most current build (8450) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 version 1709 (10.1.16299.15) which is available for download on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center.
Some of the significant changes in this update include:
Supported configuration updates
Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1709
Windows 10, version 1709
Configuration Manager, version 1710
Win10 Sideloaded App dependencies and license not installed
CaptureOnly task sequence doesn’t allow capturing an image
Error received when starting an MDT task sequence: Invalid DeploymentType value “” specified. The deployment will not proceed
ZTIMoveStateStore looks for the state store folder in the wrong location causing it to fail to move it
xml contains a simple typo that caused undesirable behavior
Install Roles & Features doesn’t work for Windows Server 2016 IIS Management Console feature
Browsing for OS images in the upgrade task sequence does not work when using folders
MDT tool improperly provisions the TPM into a Reduced Functionality State (see KB 4018657 for more information)
Updates to ZTIGather chassis type detection logic
Upgrade OS step leaves behind SetupComplete.cmd, breaking future deployments
Windows 10 ADK 1607 and later UEFI boot issue on some hardware
Includes updated Configuration Manager task sequence binaries
I recently came across a post by Jim Naroski on The Office 365 Guy TechNet blog site. He listed the links to the UserVoice portal for the various products or topics which Microsoft utilizes to gather feedback and feature requests. One important link is missing from the TechNet blog, which is for the System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) feedback site, and I have added that to the list below. Start using this valuable resource to help improve products and make your voice heard.
Uservoice provides an opportunity for customers or end users of products to provide feedback, request features and interact with others as well as with the product teams. If you discover a request or feedback that you agree with and would like to support, you can add a vote to that post. Each UserVoice member receives a limited number of votes to use and these votes are returned once the the particular feedback has been acknowledged and completed. See above screen capture.
Another useful feature of UserVoice is the ability to see the status of the posts such as Noted, Planned, Under Review, Started, and Completed. See examples below:
With the release of version 1710 for System Center Configuration Manager Current Branch on November 20, 2017, I pursued to update my ConfigMgr 1706 site to take advantage of some of the exciting new features, which you can read more here! Use this PowerShell script to enable the early update ring for ConfigMgr 1710.
I tested the update in my test lab and the upgrade to v1710 worked just fine. As usual with my production environment, I always run the prerequisite checker to make sure nothing is flagged as an issue, which in my case all was fine with green checkmarks. However, the actual installation of the update failed on the Installation step for “Upgrade ConfigMgr database” as seen in the screen capture above. The description for the error indicates: [Failed]: Upgrading ConfigMgr database. Check cmupdate.log for details.
The following is an error was seen in the cmupdate.log: Failed to apply update changes 0x87d20b15 –
I located a blog post by my friend Anoop dated from October 2016 referencing a similar error code where he points to providing the NT Authority/System account in SQL with the sysadmin security role, however that was not the cause of my upgrade failure and the security roles were already defined correctly. The following TechNet thread was a dead end as well.
My post on Twitter as seen above caught the attention of another friend of mine, David James, Director of Engineering for ConfigMgr at Microsoft, who with his team were able to pinpoint the problem in no time at all and quickly provided a solution which resolved my ConfigMgr 1710 upgrade installation hang up. Thanks David and to the ConfigMgr team! The gist of the problem is that my environment had an old compatibility level 100 set for the SQL Server database for the CM_XXX database, and you can find this referenced in the cmupdate.log file. Changing it to 110 fixed the compatibility level needed for ConfigMgr 1710.
If your SQL COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL<110 (i.e. SQL 2008); that will be a problem for #SCCM 1710. Set it to >=110. We will fix soon. If you see an upgrade failure, set it; and retry the upgrade.
Run the following query in SQL Management Studio (please change XXX to your ConfigMgr Site Code) and retry the installation via the Update and Servicing node in the ConfigMgr Admin Console. This also addresses the issue where TRY_CONVERT is not recognized as a built-in SQL function:
ALTER DATABASE CM_XXX SET COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL = 110
** Additional Mention **
Check out this blog post, “In Telemetry We Trust?” written by a friend and fellow ConfigMgr admin, Peter Egerton, who shares a similar experience and the positive nature of telemetry data especially in the ConfigMgr space.