Deploying custom registry keys – to use with System Center

It can be useful to tattoo servers automatically on deployment with a custom reg – environment, service and component key set.


AssetName Environment Service Component

Unfortunately we had a bunch of legacy servers out there, with a flakey app containing this information centrally.

Not only did we want this information into SCSM, but also available for SCOM and SCCM to use for different purposes. So, armed with a CSV of data (in the format above) I needed to get this applied quickly to a few hundred VMs.

#Set Variables
$ENV = $args[0]
$ENVVAL = $args[1]
$SERVAL = $args[2]
$COMVAL = $args[3]
New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Environment -PropertyType String -Value $ENVVAL -Force
New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Service -PropertyType String -Value $SERVal -Force
New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Component -PropertyType String -Value $COMVal -Force
# Import CSV file
$list = Import-Csv C:\temp\ServiceData\servicedata.csv
# Pipe variable contents and invoke script
$list | foreach-object{
$obj = $_
Invoke-Command -ComputerName $obj.AssetName -ScriptBlock $SCRIPT -ArgumentList $ENV,$obj.Environment,$obj.Service,$obj.Component
# End of Script

The script above sets variables for the reg path, then a script – which will be passed to the server remotely using invoke-command.

This script sets variables based on the command arguments received in the loop at lines 20+21. The CSV data is formatted as the above example table, so the command connects to the computer (defined as AssetName), sends the script (variable $script) and appends the reg path, Environment, Service & Component data as Argument positions 0,1,2&3.

At the other end, it runs the script passed, which in the example CSV above, line 1 would be:

 New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Environment -PropertyType String -Value $ENVVAL -Force
 New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Service -PropertyType String -Value $SERVal -Force
 New-ItemProperty -Path $ENV -Name Component -PropertyType String -Value $COMVal -Force

It will proceed to loop round and apply each server in turn. Yes, it’s raw and there’s no error handling there, but you could easily put a TRY/CATCH in there to verify the server can be contacted, plus you can output the results to a file etc…

Now, you can build out dynamically adjusting patch groups in SCCM – based on Environment & Service, gather data into SCSM for services and customise SCOM monitoring & alerting based on Environment, plus set scheduled maintenance mode in SCOM for these groups when they patch.

After all, you dont want to be dragged out of bed for a non-prod server going offline or a routine patch cycle.


Deploy DPM Remote Management Console 2016 + UR2

Unlike all the other system center products, which can normally accept a straight forward setup.exe /install /client and install silently – DPM is different (no shock there then!)

After a long search for documentation on the available install switches, it lead me to a blog post by Steve Buchanan which is for the 2012 console install.

So, 2016 follows the same principle, but for some very bizarre reason – source media contains:

2012 Console,

2012 SP1 Console,

2012 R2 Console and….

2016 Console.

The only command line for install – Setup.exe /i /cc /client – installs all 4 versions – FAIL.

So, the only way round as far as I can see is to live with it and then remove the unnecessary components after install, then apply UR2.

Follow Steve’s post to getting it into config manager (i’m not rewriting his post) – in the source directory, add your source media, a copy of the UR2 console patch (you can extract the file and grab the MSP – it’s called: DPMMANAGEMENTSHELL2016-KB3209593.MSP ) and finally a batch file for install and reference that instead.

so – your file layout should look something like this:


In your batch file:

start /wait cmd /c “Setup.exe /i /cc /client”

start /wait cmd /c “msiexec.exe /x {DFF93860-2113-4207-A7AC-3901ABCE8002} /passive”

start /wait cmd /c “msiexec.exe /x {FF6E79E3-66E5-4079-BE10-2B9CFBE3B458} /passive”

start /wait cmd /c “msiexec.exe /x {88E17747-6E2C-48A0-88CC-396AC8D9C5BB} /passive”

start /wait cmd /c “msiexec.exe /f {BF23ED54-5484-4AC1-8EA7-6ACAFBBA6A45} /qn”

start /wait cmd /c “msiexec.exe /update DPMMANAGEMENTSHELL2016-KB3209593.MSP /qb”

So, we are installing all consoles, then removing 3 of 4 versions. This for me caused the 2016 console icons to go awry – so a quick repair of the 2016 one before finally installing the UR2 MSP.

Dont forget to reference Visual C++ 2008 Redist x64 in your dependencies list in SCCM – otherwise it won’t install 🙂



System Center 2016 UR3

It’s out now –

A lot of good VMM fixes in there – which I will be testing soon. Bulk host agent update script is in Charbel’s blog here:

Details of SCOM fixes in Kevin’s blog here:

I’m a little disappointed to see DPM missed an update in UR3. VMware support is still missing from 2016 – but all will be forgiven if this turns up in UR4 along with fixes for woes experienced with UR2 currently:

Tape Library Sharing – 2012 OS cannot remove TL sharing & re-establishing 2016 OS TL required a manual DB cleanout (with Premier Support).

Console Crashing on PG alteration – requires DLL from MS (see my previous posts)

Mount points, whilst supported for the storage (see my other posts) uncover a known issue with DPM mouting the VHDX files for Modern backup Storage – the workaround for this is to add a drive letter to the storage.

If you don’t urgently need supported SQL 2016 backups / SharePoint 2016 protection from DPM, I would seriously consider sticking to UR1 for now.

Roll on UR4! 🙂



DPM 2016 agent installations – Making your life easier with SCCM

Take the pain away from manual deployment – grab the agent and put it into SCCM. The command lines for agent install (2016 UR2) are:

DPMAgentInstaller_KB3209593_AMD64.exe /q /IAcceptEULA

DPMAgentInstaller_KB3209593.exe /q /IAcceptEULA (for x86)

Just make sure all the agent pre-reqs are in place (WMF 4.0 for 2008 R2 etc…) and make the detection of those a pre-req for the SCCM deployment.

If you know what DPM server you are going to protect with – simply add the server name to the install above – that will open the ports and make the agent ready to be attached.

If you dont just yet – then run a second SCCM task to call a batch file running the setdpmserver.exe (in the DPM agent Bin directory) to configure the agent.

Run an “Application deployment type compliance details” report in SCCM, using your target collections, application, deployment type and status of “Success” to generate a CSV file of the installed agents.

Take the computer name column in excel, append your domain name (using concatenate) and put the resulting list into a .txt file (no headings or any other info required)

Open the DPM console – select Install, Attach Agents, click add from file and point to your txt file.

Output from SCCM report, manipulate and import in ~10 mins saving many hours of manual config.

Job Done!

VMM 2016 UR 2 on Windows 2016 – Storage Management Bug

Recent installs of VMM 2016 have shown nice improvements over 2012, especially a much needed performance boost with storage operations through SMI-S.

Our latest SMI-S provider from NetApp (for ontap 9.1) in combination with VMM 2016 – seems to be light years ahead of 2012 R2. It’s responsive and carries out tasks in a tenth of the time that VMM 2012 took with ontap 8.

All issues with the SMI-S provider going unresponsive have been found to be due to a little service running in windows:


This little chap seems to randomly keel over – with system and application logs revealing nothing as to why.

  • Log Name: Application
    Source: Application Error
    Date: 28/04/2017 17:44:20
    Event ID: 1000
    Task Category: (100)
    Level: Error
    Keywords: Classic
    User: N/A
    Faulting application name: svchost.exe_MSStrgSvc, version: 10.0.14393.0, time stamp: 0x57899b1c
    Faulting module name: concrete.dll, version: 10.0.14393.0, time stamp: 0x57899a8c
    Exception code: 0xc0000005
    Fault offset: 0x0000000000002eb0
    Faulting process ID: 0xe38
    Faulting application start time: 0x01d2c03e31b6c56d
    Faulting application path: C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe
    Faulting module path: c:\windows\system32\concrete.dll
    Report ID: 1bc955fe-6a3b-469b-8c0c-de7992f3858d
    Faulting package full name:
    Faulting package-relative application ID:

I have logged it with premier support – they know about it, but a fix isn’t available as yet. Frustrating, but not the end of the world – just start the service again, wait 2 mins, then refresh the provider in SCVMM – all is good!

As soon as a fix is available – I will post an update here.


  • WinCXE is planning of hotfix for Windows 10 version 1607. The KB article ID is going to be 4019472.

This should be available towards the end of May 2017.

DPM 2016 – Modern Backup Storage (MBS) Volumes

An excellent feature of 2016 and not to be missed. Gone is the LDM limitation and the volume mess of 2012. This is by far the best improvement on the table for DPM.

I followed some guides to test – mounting 64tb of backup storage as drive letters to windows makes it a target for temporary storage – VERY IRRITATING INDEED

You will quickly find your DPM volume has attracted itself as a temporary dumping ground for hotfixes and patches. This is not acceptable.

To avoid this – simply create yourself a folder on C: – in this case ‘MountPoints’, create yourself two empty folders – then mount your backup storage in there – rather than assigning a drive letter.


Open DPM, refresh disks and click add – you will see the two volumes available for use.

Windows wont see them in it’s drive letter searches and thusly – they will remain clutter free and available for DPM use only!

As long as you make sure they have a volume label – SCOM will happily monitor the health of drives mounted in this manner.

Update – Aug 2017

Currently under UR2, we experience errors pertaining to DPM being unable to mount certain files under the mount points. It’s a known issue and current workaround is to also add a drive letter to the disks (can be added along side the mount point, no need to change anything else).

This should be resolved in further updates.


DPM 2016 – Installation – SQL 2016 SP1


Just a quick snippet from Technet as it’s easily overlooked. When installing DPM 2016 RTM, you need to make sure that SQL 2016 does NOT have SP1 installed.

Once DPM is installed and you have applied UR2, you can patch SQL to SP1.

Don’t forget to enable browser service, named pipes (for Library sharing) and clear all pending reboots…