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The Power of Task Sequences. Nick Moseley Senior Consultant 3/28/2012. Agenda. Welcome : Rod Trent, CEO, myITforum Overview : BDNA & myITforum Nick Moseley The Power of Task Sequences Wrap Up : Rod Trent, CEO, myITforum. Google+ Hangouts & Forums.

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The Power of Task Sequences

Nick Moseley

Senior Consultant


  • Welcome: Rod Trent, CEO, myITforum
  • Overview: BDNA & myITforum
  • Nick Moseley
    • The Power of Task Sequences
  • Wrap Up: Rod Trent, CEO, myITforum
google hangouts forums
Google+ Hangouts & Forums
  • Reed Porter’s Hangout:

password: welcome

    • myITforum SCCM GURU webcast live forum
    • #sccmguruhashtag on twitter
bdna normalize for configmgr
BDNA Normalize for ConfigMgr™
  • NEW PRODUCT: BDNA Normalize CM™
    • Extracts ConfigMgr inventory data
    • New native classes to use in console
    • Create queries, collections and reports
  • Demo on website:
  • Download trial version, free for 60 days
  • Come see us at MMS at Booth 551

Pradeep Bhanot

Product Marketing

BDNA Normalize for ConfigMgr™

  • Ron Crumbaker, myITforum
    • All things “System Center”
    • Since 1999
    • Large and growing community (over 120,000 visitors a day)
    • Huge storehouse of System Center knowledge
    • Noobies to experts
about nick
About Nick
  • Began working with SMS/SCCM in 2004
  • Involved in various aspects of the systems management community and forums
  • Blogging at
  • Recently joined the great team at Catapult Systems, consulting in SCCM and Windows 7 Upgrades
the power of task sequences
The Power of Task Sequences
  • Task sequences:
    • Versatile, robust, and flexible
    • Not limited to OS deployment
  • Today’s presentation:
    • The fundamentals of task sequences
    • Various demonstrations
    • Example scenarios

Setting a foundation

  • Task sequence steps
  • Task sequence variables
  • Task sequence conditions
task sequence steps
Task Sequence Steps
  • Task sequence steps are the basic components that take action within the task sequence
  • 27 total steps
  • Covering five today
task sequence steps10
Task Sequence Steps

Run Command Line

task sequence steps11
Task Sequence Steps

Install Software

  • Single app
  • Multiple apps
task sequence steps12
Task Sequence Steps

Install Software Updates

  • Independent oftask sequences
  • Scripts to resolveproblem of notall updatesinstalling duringa task sequence
task sequence steps13
Task Sequence Steps

Restart Computer

task sequence steps14
Task Sequence Steps

Task Sequence Variables

task sequence steps15
Task Sequence Steps

Live Demo!

Demo 1: three ways to run an install

  • Run Command Line – Local System
  • Run Command Line – Package
  • Install Software – Package/Program
task sequence variables
Task Sequence Variables

Live Demo!

Demo 2: Multi-application install

  • Set two task sequence variables
  • Install Software step for multiple apps
task sequence steps17
Task Sequence Steps

Success/Failure Exit Codes

  • Success: 0 or 3010
  • Failures: all else!
  • Can workaround installers that do not have a standard success exit code
    • Custom wrapper
    • Use Run Command Line step
task sequence steps18
Task Sequence Steps

Live Demo!

  • Demo 3: Example that causes the TS to fail with custom exit code 68
  • Demo 4: Example that causes the TS to succeed with custom exit code 68
task sequence variables19
Task Sequence Variables
  • Mechanism to configure/customize steps
  • 154 built-in task sequence variables!!
  • Can create your own custom variables
  • Many possibilities: configuration of settings/actions, custom values, arguments, override defaults, generalize conditions, evaluate actions, etc.
task sequence variables20
Task Sequence Variables

Built-in Variables

Read only begin with an underscore (_)




task sequence variables21
Task Sequence Variables

Built-in Variables (continued)





task sequence variables22
Task Sequence Variables

Custom Variables

  • The sky is the limit!
  • “Disappear” after the task sequence quits

Collection Variables

  • Alternate option
  • If blank/empty, dialog will be presented
    • Good for computer name entry
    • Local admin password
task sequence variables23
Task Sequence Variables

Scripts to get and set variables

  • VB Script

Set oTsEnv = CreateObject ("Microsoft.SMS.TSEnvironment")

sName= oTsEnv(“_SMSTSMachineName “)

oTsEnv (“OSDComputerName”) = sName

  • PowerShell

$tsenv = New-Object -COMObjectMicrosoft.SMS.TSEnvironment

Write-Host $tsenv.Value ("_SMSTSMachineName")

task sequence variables24
Task Sequence Variables

Live Demo!

Demo 5: VB Script for Variables

  • Get/output read only variable
  • Set custom variable
  • Get/output custom variable
task sequence variables25
Task Sequence Variables

Live Demo!

Demo 6: custom single collection variable

  • “RodsMMSTwiterArmyApp” = “Sign me up!”
task sequence variables26
Task Sequence Variables

Live Demo!

Demo 7: custom sub-collection variables

  • Set custom variable on a sub-collection
  • “TwitterBlocker” = “What is Twitter?”
  • Task sequence is assigned to the parent collection, but configured to apply to the child (sub) collections
task sequence conditions
Task Sequence Conditions

Task sequence conditions

  • Optional
  • Evaluated at runtimeof a step
  • Further conditional“if” statements
task sequence conditions28
Task Sequence Conditions

Live Demo!

Demo 8: Example of each condition

Demo 9: How to use the “if” statements

non os deployments
Non-OS Deployments

Non-OS Deployments

  • Automating tasks
  • Chaining installs
  • Configuring Windows
  • Decision Logic
  • Etc!
non os deployments30
Non-OS Deployments

Chaining Steps

  • Linking programs to other programs
    • Has limitations and other challenges
    • A failure halts the rest of the chain
    • If rerun, it started from the very beginning
  • Task sequences
    • Make the linking of programs a thing of the past!
    • Can account for errors
    • Do not need to rerun if previously failed
non os deployments31
Non-OS Deployments

Live Demo!

Demo 10: Upgrade MS Office 2003 to 2010

  • Change the restart behavior
  • Restart Windows
  • Uninstall old Office tools, such as 2007 Compatibility Pack, incompatible add-ins, etc.
  • Install Office 2010
  • Install security updates
  • Defrag the disk
non os deployments32
Non-OS Deployments

Scenario: miscellaneous admin tasks

  • Delete temporary files
  • Purge SCCM cached files
  • Flush/register DNS
  • Cleanup the local admins group
  • Run a WMI health script
  • Force a group policy update
  • Restart Windows just because!
non os deployments33
Non-OS Deployments

Scenario: multiple ways to accomplish a software installation

  • Use the standard Install Software step
  • Use the Run Command Line
    • Setup files in a package
    • Setup files on the local disk
  • Connect to network folder to run the setup
  • Use Software Updates
    • Setup files published in software updates
    • Setup files published in SCUP
non os deployments34
Non-OS Deployments

Live Demo!Demo 11: Operations within Windows PE

This is our 7th inning stretch in the presentation!

os deployments
OS Deployments

Don’t forget about OS Deployments!

Consolidation of task sequences

  • Core Image Build and Capture
    • Unique image only necessary for different architecture (x86 or x64)
    • Should only need Windows, Office, and other core MS software such as .NET Framework or MSXML
  • Core Image Deployment
    • One task sequence to do the rest!
os deployments36
OS Deployments

Last Demo!

Demo 12: single deployment task sequence

  • Custom HTA to prompt for the PC specific configuration items
  • Applying drivers to a specific PC model
  • Software only for desktops or laptops
  • Department specific software
summary and closing
Summary and Closing
  • Fundamentals
    • Steps
    • Variables (built-in, custom)
    • Conditions
  • Examples for non-OS deployments
    • Chaining steps
    • Miscellaneous admin tasks
  • OS Deployments
    • Simplifying to a single TS
    • Expanding functionality
wrap up with rod trent
Wrap Up with Rod Trent

Next SCCM GURU Webcasts:

  • April 10th Johan Arwidmark
  • May 2nd Brad Anderson


wear your guru t shirt to mms
Wear your GURU T-shirt to MMS

Wear your SCCM GURU t-shirt to MMS, stop by the BDNA booth (yes you must be *wearing* your t-shirt), and register to win something super cool – we haven’t decided what yet. We’re going to raffle something at the end of each day so you’ll have 4 chances to win!

Find out how to get a t-shirt at the end of this webcast!

sccm guru community group
SCCM GURU Community Group

itunes podcasts videos
iTunes Podcasts & Videos

SCCM Guru Webcast Series under Technology – Software How-To

sccm guru youtube channel
SCCM GURU YouTube Channel

All SCCM GURU webcast replays posted here!

sccm guru swag store
SCCM GURU Swag Store

thanks for attending
Thanks for attending!

To thank you for participating in our SCCM GURU webcast, we’d like to offer EVERYONE on the webcast a super cool SCCM GURU Webcast T-shirt. Please register here:


questions contact info
Questions, Contact Info

For more information…

BDNA Normalize for ConfigMgr™


Rod Trent

+1 (513) 217-7122