Book Review: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: Mastering the Fundamentals

There are handful of books on SCCM 2012, all of them good in their own right, but what I love about this book is its practicality. The book is not about giving you a history of SCCM, or explaining the inner complexities of features, or in deriving much of its content from blog posts that are curated together in a mildly organized fashion. The book is about giving you an efficient primer of how to install and put SCCM 2012 and many of its most commonly used features into production in your environment.

One of my biggest criticisms of some of the other System Center books is that there is a tendency to gloss over huge pieces of relevant information–like how to install SQL for example. All too often there will be a Step One- find a SQL DBA and have them install SQL properly for you. This is great, but not everyone has a competent SQL DBA. Kent is not afraid to get his hands dirty with SQL, and gives invaluable best practice advice like setting min and max values for memory consumption in SQL Management Studio as well as sharing his entire SQL Configuration.ini file so that you can setup your SQL server exactly as he does for his clients. (Granted the storage/hardware that you run it on will vary and this must be kept in mind, but this type of instruction is sadly lacking from most of the large orange books that while I find useful are often more suited to killing scary insects.)

The key to understanding this book is it teaches, where other books tell. I don’t want you to tell me how awesome SCCM can be, I want to be taught how to put in into production so that I can tinker with it and learn and then I can take a deeper dive at a later date with a thicker book.

I used this as a guide to setup SCCM 2012 SP1 with SQL 2012 SP1 so I had to be a little creative at times on the SQL side, but for the most part it still serves a great introduction to SCCM 2012 and SCCM 2012 SP1.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Kent Agerlund

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: Mastering the Fundamentals

I am also very excited to learn that the SP1 2nd edition to this book is due to be out anytime now.


How do I: Monitor a service and automatically restart it if it stops (SCOM 2012)

1. Go to Authoring – Management Pack Objects – Monitors

SCOM Monitor 001

2. Right Click Monitors – Create Monitor – Unit Monitor…



3. As always do no save anything to the Default Management Pack, if you have a custom management pack where you want to save the monitor if now click New


4.  Name your Management Pack – Next


5. Click Create


6. Windows Services – Basic Service Monitor – Next


7. a. Name your Monitor (I recommend the naming convention: unique prefix which should be a part of every custom rule/monitor/group-Servername-ServiceName)

b. Select a Monitor Target (Monitor Target Scope must apply to the server that contains the service you want to monitor. If you target Server 2003 and the Server that contains the service you want to monitor is Server 2008 you monitor won’t work)

c. Uncheck Monitor is enabled (You do not want to leave the this checked. If you do SCOM will try to monitor for this service on all Servers based on the monitor target even if they don’t contain the service you are trying to monitor. You will narrow the scope further and enable the monitor via an override once you are finished building it.)


8.  If you know the name the of the Service you can just type it in, but I recommend clicking the …selection button to point the monitor to the exact name of the service you want to monitor to avoid troubleshooting later on.


9. By default it will pull the available services from the management server you are running the console to see services from a different server click the … button and browse to your desired server.


10. For this example I am selecting the WMI Winmgmt service


11. Next


12. Generate alerts for this monitor – Automatically resolve the alert when the monitor returns to a healthy state – Create


13. Find your newly created monitor by searching for your custom prefix: ops-


14. Right click your new monitor – Overrides – Overide the Monitor – For a specific object of class: Windows Server 2008 R2 Full Operating System


15. Select the specific server that you want to monitor:


16. Enabled – Override Value – True (This will activate this service monitor for the associated server) – Apply – Show Monitor Properties


17. Configure recovery tasks – Add

Diagnostic and Recovery tasks2

18. Add – Recovery for critical health state

add recovery task

19. Run Command

run command

21. Name Recovery – Run recovery automatically – Recalculate monitor state after recovery finished

Start Service

22.  Enter the following items Parameter will vary based on the name of the service you are trying to recover automatically.


23. Once your Override and recovery are in place schedule a time when it is ok to stop the service you are trying to monitor/recover so that you can observe the behavior to insure you made no errors as well as to see if you want to tweak the timeout.

Troubleshooting: Server 2012 Error Copying File to Folder

I have noticed that Server 2012 has a bug where copying large files between an RDP session fails:

server 2012

Anything over a few gig and I get an “Error Copying File or Folder.” File copy of large files over RDP has always been a little shaky, and eventually Microsoft will have a fix, but in the meantime if you find yourself running into this problem you can get around it by copying the files using UNC paths.

In Windows Explorer type: \\servername\c$ and then copy your files from there. \\Ipaddress\c$ should work as well you just have to make sure windows firewall is open to file and print sharing between the two systems.

Talk: What’s New in Windows Server 2012 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Remote Desktop Services

Adam Carter, Microsoft’s Technical Product Manager for VDI and RDS is fast becoming one of my favorite speakers from TechEd and MMS. If you are thinking of piloting VDI then this talk from TechED 2013 is a must see:

“If you are doing VDI to save money you are probably going to be disappointed, it is always going to be more expensive to buy server class hardware and storage than pcs. So don’t go into it thinking you are going to save a lot of money.” 

This is why you should do VDI:



Troubleshooting: WSUS with Server 2012

A few weeks ago I had a request to setup a new WSUS server running on server 2012. The setup was easy, but once I had turned it over to our client systems group they were trying to figure out how to have it run on port 80 for testing purposes.  By default WSUS on Server 2012 uses port 8530 for Windows Updates. They quickly discovered that modifying the bindings in IIS won’t work in this case.

To modify WSUS to use port 80 the wsusutil tool is the preferred method.

The tool is located in c:\Program Files\Update Services\Tools

The command to change the WSUS website to use port 80 is: wsusutil usecustomwebsite false


The contents of this site are provided “AS IS” with no warranties, or rights conferred. Example code could harm your environment, and is not intended for production use. Content represents point in time snapshots of information and may no longer be accurate. (I work @ MSFT. Thoughts and opinions are my own.)