30 Days of ConfigMgr Tips

What started as a simple retweet of a ConfigMgr tip by David James has turned into a community sharing event. Our own Sandy Yinghua threw down the gauntlet, asking that the lone SCCM tip become an entire month’s event, and then responding with the second. Now some of the brightest minds are sharing their tips on ConfigMgr management. This friendly competition is open to the community and is recorded below for posterity. Follow the hashtag #30DaysOfConfigMgr to keep up on the fun.

Day 1  David James

If you want to open the #ConfigMgr Client agent directly, use run “control smscfgrc””

(original post by Jakob F.Jakob F.)

Day 2  Zeng Yinghua (Sandy)

“Use status message query OSD staus in real time. Get the query from GitHub, change PackageID to your OSD PackageID”

Day 3  Davie James

“use “dial_me_in_baby.sms” to turn on all logging very quickly.”

Day 4  Kim Oppalfens

“Replace CMTrace with ConfigMgr support center. We tell all our customers that report client issues to collect a set of logs for us with it. It’s simply amazing”

Day 5  David James

use CMPivot to query who is in admistrator on all of your machines… real time.”

Day 5.5  David James

“pair with (parameterized) runscripts to remove users/groups from admin group that shouldn’t be there.”

Day 6  Tom Degreef

“CTRL+C, CTRL+L, CTRL+V. Thats the key combinatie to lookup an error code in CMTrace”

Day 7  David James

“Don’t need CMPivot for reboot. It is realtime in the console.”

Day 8  Ari Saastamoinen

Even without #ConfigMgr CMG you can see interesting facts how your clients connect to your INTRANET MPs.

Day 8.5  Benjamin Reynolds

“Do you hate SW Inventory too? Check out my latest blog post for my latest workaround to using it for a request from MSIT…”

Day 9  David James

“Use Phased deployments… even w/ a single ring / collection … to slow roll (throttle) an required application deployment over many days.”

Day 10  Zeng Yinghua (Sandy)

“Use variable SMSConnectNetworkFolderAccount and SMSConnectNetworkFolderPassword. In “Connect to Network Folder” step set account name is %SMSConnectNetworkFolderAccount% and leave password empty.”

Day 10.1  Zeng Yinghua (Sandy)

“Mask sensitive data stored in task sequence variables. In the Set Task Sequence Variable step, select the option to “Do not display this value”. Another useful variable: Use variable “OSDDoNotLogCommand” hide sensitive information from logs.”

Day 11  David James

Use #ConfigMgr‘s o365 integrated installer; to move from 32->64 bit office; or from 2013/16 -> O365 (setting prefered ring) or even office 2019. Including the clean up of the old version.

Day 12 (Hijacked)  Mirko Colemberg

“run the Console with a different user “runas.exe /env /user:domain/admin “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\bin\Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe” “”

Day 12 (Un-Hijacked) 

“Use the “Merge selected files” option in CMTrace to open multiple logs in one pane. Handy for watching the progress of something that spans multiple processes”

Day 12.1 

“Want to know what CMPivot runs under the scenes on your client machines? It’s just a Script! Reveal the script with this SQL code: SELECT CONVERT(VARCHAR(MAX), Script) ‘Script’ FROM Scripts WHERE ScriptName = ‘CMPivot'”

Day 12.2

“We record the running\waiting queries snapshot of the ConfigMgr DB every 10 minutes in DBMon_RunningQueries table. So if you know there was a perf issue yest (State Messages not processing\backlog or DRS backlog) you have a handy place to go.”

Day 13  David James

Click a couple of checkboxes and turn on Branch Cache to immediately start using the peer-to-peer technology that has been built into windows since win7. No risk I can think of; High Value.

Day 13.1 

“Quickly identify the point of failure in your #ConfigMgr #OSD task sequence by applying this CMTrace filter to smsts.log. In the example screenshot the task that follows ‘Install Updates’ is where it failed.”

Day 13.2

“We track changes to the Site Control File (SC_*) tables in SCCM_Audit table. So changes to Site\Components if (un)expected can be tracked. A practical use to know ConfigMgr update history in your hierarchy”

Day 13.3 

“don’t use your site server like your second desktop. Leave it alone. Keep it clean, lean and mean.”

Day 14 

“See which SP’s run console dashboards. SELECT * FROM Console_DashboardCharts Bonus: Dashboard HTML files are installed with the console. Right click a dashboard for the path.”

Day 14.1 

“Enable debug mode in console. Add “sms:debugview” to the end of the console extension properties. “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\bin\Microsoft.ConfigurationManagement.exe” SMS:DebugView””

Day 14.2 

“Enable #BranchCache in your environment via #ConfigMgr only (via properties on the DP or cmdlet) because ConfigMgr will coordinate the server secret.”

Day 14.2 

“CMTrace Tip to change highlight color to distinguish highlighted entries from warnings!”

Day 15 David James

Turn on ArchiveLogging! HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Tracing, ArchiveLogging=1, ArchivePath=<local drive\folder>

(original post by )

Day 15.1 

“You can add the impact column to the Updates and Servicing node so you know what components are part of that SCCM update. “

Day 15.1 

“BranchCache doesn’t rely on Peer Cache, and Peer Cache doesn’t rely on BranchCache. You can use one, the other, or both. They are shiny P2P technologies that give you more options for extending traditional content distribution methods. “

Day 15.2 

“Quit creating an ADR just to create a deployment. Right-click your ADR and select Add Deployment. Re-run the ADR and, hey presto, all your related SUGs will have the new deployment listed against them.”

Day 16 

“If you want to create custom #SCCM report about # of current online clients, the data is found in BGB_Statiscs table. Remember to use corresponding fn_rbac_BGB_Statistics() function to utilize #ConfigMgr RBAC. In DB, you find online info over 30 d”

(original post by )

Day 16.1

“DEBUGVIEW switch for the console is nice, but this is my favorite way to find WQL (and translated SQL) Queries behind the console. NOTE that this is only useful when multiple users are not using the Console/SDK”

Day 16.2 Bryan Dam

Stop creating query rules for AD-based user collections. Use a direct membership rule for a User _Group_ Resource instead and disable all scheduled membership eval. Eliminates col eval time and will evaluate instead when the user policy is generated

Day 17 David James

CMPivot is EXTENSIBLE? 🙂 Anything you extend in the SMS_Def.mof shows up in CMPivot as a querable class. Here I added an ambitrary class to HINV called “aaa” to demostrateCMPivot is EXTENSIBLE? 🙂 Anything you extend in the SMS_Def.mof shows up in CMPivot as a querable class. Here I added an ambitrary class to HINV called “aaa” to demostrate

Day 18

“If you search for Servername or Ip Adress etc. in #ConfigMgr Logs use the “Find in Files” Feature to find it in all Logfiles.”

Day 18.1 THaarala

“You can get the basic console information from v_CombinedDeviceResources view and use it in custom reports. Including the goodies that come through fast channel (pendingrestart information can be calculated from ClientState).”

Day 18.2 Adam Juelich

“Need to remediate or target devices that are Non-Compliant regarding a Compliance Setting? Simply ‘Right-Click’ the Deployment and choose ‘Create New Collection.'”

Day 19

“Create global condition, configure requirement rule in application and deploy a software on a base collection where multiple device are available, look magic of requirement rule”

Day 20 

“Want to see the SQL code behind any action in the admin console? View the SMSProv.log and look for ‘Execute SQL’ to find the magic!”

Day 21

“Everyone knows you can use Service Windows on collections, but did you know that your site infrastructure can have Service Windows too to control CM site updates?”

Day 21.1 

“Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, Logs, and more logs. Learn them. Parse them. Love them. They will love you long time.”

Day 21.2 

Shared by: Jakob F. and Paul Winstanley

“If you select a group of lines, it will show you the time elapsed.”

Day 21.2 

“The best way to implement certificate-based client operations in SCCM is to have certificates.”

Day 21.3 

“Did you know that you can use the Render operator in SCCM CMPivot to visually display your query result? We just find out..”

Day 22 

Day 23 

Day 23.1 

Day 23.2

Shared by:

“No mouse cursor appears during a Configuration Manager OSD task sequence”

Day 24  Chris Buck

“built-in pre-req check for upgrading your environment does not check EVERYTHING! Verify the account you are performing the upgrade with has the proper permissions over the install directory or else Hash Mismatch error”

Day 24.1  Chris Buck

“When you’re converting a secondary site to a DP remember all of the roles will be removed during that process. So make sure you pre-stage your content on that server ahead of time to avoid redistributing content over the WAN. Ask me how I know!”

Day 24.2  Chris Buck

“OSD Broken b/c of all unknown computers collection has been deleted. You can recreate this object and add to collection on your primary site server set “CreatedUnknownDDR” value to 0 like below”

Day 24.3  Chris Buck

“Have duplicate unknown object GUIDS after a site restore which is breaking #OSD to unknown objects? in #SQL select * from UnknownSystem_DISC and delete the older duplicate object from when you first created the hierarchy like the code below”

Day 25 

“Tip: Almost everything in the console can be copy pasted. – I still run into people who don’t know this. Try it! Highlight all software update in a group Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V into a spreadsheet.”

Day 25.1 

“Scale out, scale in. Did you know that your #SCCM #CMG is elastic? Enable auto-scaling today then breathe out, breathe in, #Azure will handle it from there.”

Day 26 

“Tip: Have you had issues with packages missing files, but content distribution appears successful? Long UNC source paths? Installations failing? Then use the Content Explorer tool to ensure that the content on your DP ‘s matches your source.”

Day 27 

“1 Tweak you PXE boot!!! RamDiskTFTPWindowSize & RamDiskTFTPBlockSize is your best friends!! and test, test, test different models different issues…”

Day 27.1 

“If you havent already. update to .NET 4.7 for improved console accessibility”

Day 27.2 

“In the run dialogue you can type “CCM” to get to C:\Windows\CCM”

Day 27.3

#SCCM reporting for dummies: 1) Search for right devices/collection members 2) Right-click the header 3) Select the columns 4) CTRL+A & CTRL+C to copy 5) Paste with CTRL+V “

Day 28

“Not sure what the SCCM SQL table or column you are after is called? Run the below SQL query on SSMS: select * from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.tables where TABLE_NAME like ‘%bios%’ select * from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS where column_NAME like ‘%memory%'”

Day 28.1

“Don’t use a typical AD user account for your SQL services. I mean, one that is actually used for routine logins. If you see that, immediate face kick with ice climbing boots.”


Donna Ryan

Donna Ryan is a Principal Consulting Engineer with CDW Corporation's Integrated Technology Services Mobility practice. She began her formal IT career in 2011 as an Associate Engineer with CDW. Her primary skills are around System Center Configuration Manager, specifically operating system deployment, software update delivery, and application packaging. Having consulted hundreds of clients in a variety of industries, she has also delivered projects in multiple other Microsoft technologies such as Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services. In 2016, she was awarded CDW’s Coworker of the Month for her leadership and dedication to a large and highly visible Windows 10 deployment project for a school district in the Pacific North West.  In 2018, Donna was invited to participate in Microsoft's Mini Enterprise Mobility MVP Summit, as well as the Microsoft CLIP event for the Windows 10 1809 rollout. Her passion for technology and the tech community is a driving force that keeps her exploring the latest and greatest.

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