System Center Configuration Manager as a system management product does an extremely well job of automating and managing devices in an organization. Especially when it comes to operating system deployment, where the product really shines. It provides the functionality that enables support for every kind of process organizations have to create almost anything they can possibly think of, if you’re creative enough and skilled in scripting or developing. For the past 6 months, I’ve been working on frontend software that enhances the operating system deployment process that ConfigMgr provides, empowering either the end user or a technician to quickly and easy get the deployment process started with a rich set of features.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the general availability release of ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd. I’d like to pay a special thanks to everyone who have contributed by testing the software, provided feedback and reported bugs.

Download

ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd can be downloaded from the TechNet Gallery using the following link:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/ConfigMgr-OSD-FrontEnd-100-55209031

Features

ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd provides a rich set of features and has been built with a focus on operating system deployment of unknown devices (bare metal), but also with the capability of supporting known devices for re-deployment (refresh). By leveraging the ConfigMgr WebService, this frontend software provides the following set of features:

  • Identification of hidden task sequence deployments based upon known or unknown device
  • Support for Unknown Computer mode in Configuration Manager
  • Support for known devices in Configuration Manager and MDT
  • Computer name configuration
    • Manually enter a computer name
    • Generate computer name by serial number
    • Read computer name from external PowerShell script
    • Detect known device staged in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and read the computer name
    • Detect known device from Configuration Manager
  • Associate a computer with multiple roles in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
  • Set native or custom task sequence variables for regional configuration like keyboard layout, OU, time zone and more
  • Associate a primary user with the device
  • Format hard drive if a volume is detected as encrypted
  • Pre-flight checks
    • Network connection type (not connected to WiFi)
    • ConfigMgr WebService accessibility
    • Power state (see if power adapter is connected)
  • Customizable color branding of the whole graphical user interface
  • Admin area for access to useful tools when troubleshooting

In future releases there will be more features included in this frontend.

Documentation and Usage

Embedded in the download package for ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd is a PDF file called ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd 1.0.0 – Documentation. This file contains all the information regarding how to get started, detailed explanation of how to use the frontend and some tips and tricks.

 

Nickolaj Andersen
Principal Consultant and Enterprise Mobility MVP. Nickolaj has been in the IT industry for the past 10 years specializing in Enterprise Mobility and Security, Windows deployments and Automation. In 2015 Nickolaj was awarded as PowerShell Hero by the community for his script and tools contributions. Author of ConfigMgr Prerequisites Tool, ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd, ConfigMgr WebService and a frequent speaker at user groups.

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comments
  • S. L. Smith
    Posted at 01:30 February 28, 2017
    S. L. Smith
    Reply
    Author

    OMG! Sounds very promising. I will be utilizing it in a MDT environment. I will follow with how things went.

    • Nickolaj
      Posted at 13:10 March 2, 2017
      Nickolaj
      Reply
      Author

      Please keep me updated on how that went. I’ve not tried this, and I’m uncertain if it will work.

  • Marius A. Langseth-Nilsen
    Posted at 10:40 February 28, 2017
    Marius A. Langseth-Nilsen
    Reply
    Author

    Hello.
    Awsome frontend, but will the client wright back MDT roles settings to the database? Is there a webserivce in backhand who handles information both ways?
    It would be really nice if the client remebered the choises made last time.

    Best regards.

    • Nickolaj
      Posted at 17:03 February 28, 2017
      Nickolaj
      Reply
      Author

      Hi Marius,

      I’d assume that you’ve not tested the frontend yet, because the software reads the existing roles selected from when the device was first deployed (if it has any roles). The reset button clears all selected roles. I’d advice you to read through the documentation included in the package from TechNet Gallery 🙂

      Regards,
      Nickolaj

      • Marius A. Langseth-Nilsen
        Posted at 07:59 March 1, 2017
        Marius A. Langseth-Nilsen
        Reply
        Author

        Hehe, sure thing.
        Just got exited, and wantet an answer before i even downloadet it 🙂
        I ha ve something simlar, and gets writback with a webservice. But this seems simpler 🙂

  • jac3d
    Posted at 00:11 March 1, 2017
    jac3d
    Reply
    Author

    Yes was waiting for this. Loved your pre-release and will be installing the new release in DEV today! Thanks Nickolaj!

    • Nickolaj
      Posted at 13:05 March 2, 2017
      Nickolaj
      Reply
      Author

      You’re most welcome!

      • jac3d
        Posted at 19:30 March 3, 2017
        jac3d
        Reply
        Author

        Nickolaj,
        In my DEV enviorment I am having issues with: ERROR: Unable to detect any task sequences. I have the OSD deployments the same with (Hidden) option. I didnt have this issue with the prerelease version. I replaced all files etc…also generated new keys. Everything else works fine…Pull Name by SN, Roles are populating, Regional settings, just TS are not pulling up. I removed the TS name from the OSDFrontEnd.exe.config and readded and both ways no luck.

        • jac3d
          Posted at 21:35 March 3, 2017
          jac3d
          Reply
          Author

          Disrecard…
          Found a unknown computer object in CM…deleted it out and was all good.

  • Maro
    Posted at 18:48 March 1, 2017
    Maro
    Reply
    Author

    Thank you for this Webservice. It seems very promising. It doesn’t seem to work or maybe i’m just missing something as I am new to Web service configuration. I followed the instructions step-by-step and when booting to ConfigMgr Boot CD, nothing shows. I then tried to test the Web service URL http://myserver.domain.com/ConfigMgrWebService/ConfigMgr.asmx and I get the following error:

    Configuration Error
    Description: An error occurred during the processing of a configuration file required to service this request. Please review the specific error details below and modify your configuration file appropriately.

    Parser Error Message: Unrecognized attribute ‘targetFramework’. Note that attribute names are case-sensitive.

    Source Error:
    Line 5:
    Line 6:
    Line 7:
    Line 8:
    Line 9:

    Source File: C:\inetpub\ConfigMgrWebService\web.config Line: 7

    Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.8000; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.8001

    This is a Server 2012 R2 server with .NET FRamework 4 and ASP.NET installed under IIS.

    Would you happen to have any ideas where I can check?

    • Nickolaj
      Posted at 13:07 March 2, 2017
      Nickolaj
      Reply
      Author

      Hi Maro,

      How does your web.config file look like?

      Regards,
      Nickolaj

      • Nickolaj
        Posted at 13:07 March 2, 2017
        Nickolaj
        Reply
        Author

        Also, have you set the correct .NET version for the Application Pool?

  • Maro
    Posted at 15:01 March 2, 2017
    Maro
    Reply
    Author

    Hi Nickolaj,
    I figured it out. So even though I set the CLR version in the Application Pool Defaults to v4.0, I did not set the ConfigMgrWeb Service correct application pool when I added it to the Default Web site, which is step three under section 5.3.

    Now, I need to figure out how to the error i’m getting when I boot my system to the boot CD.

    I get the following in smsts.log

    Set command line: OSDFrontEnd.exe
    Executing command line: OSDFrontEnd.exe
    CreateProcess( NULL, (LPWSTR)m_sCommandLine.c_str(), NULL, NULL, TRUE, bNT ? CREATE_UNICODE_ENVIRONMENT : 0, m_pEnvironmentBlock, pszWorkingDir, &si, &pi ), HRESULT=80070134 (e:\nts_sccm_release\sms\framework\core\ccmcore\commandline.cpp,1019)
    CreateProcess failed. Code(0x80070134)
    Command line execution failed (80070134)

  • Kenneth Davis
    Posted at 23:14 March 2, 2017
    Kenneth Davis
    Reply
    Author

    Great Front End, I’ve been testing this out and it works fine via PXE bot when using Boot Media it attempts to write to the logs to a location on the media itself which is read only. It gives an error for not being able to write log and does not continue. Any thoughts?

  • Jim Gfroehrer
    Posted at 23:05 March 6, 2017
    Jim Gfroehrer
    Reply
    Author

    Nickolaj,
    Thanks for this. Really great stuff. I’m moving my organization from Johan’s Frontend to this. Any chance you will be releasing the source code?
    Jim.

  • jac3d
    Posted at 19:49 March 17, 2017
    jac3d
    Reply
    Author

    Nickolaj,
    If you ever update to a new version. Have you thought on adding a field to add to specific OU in AD?

    • Nickolaj Andersen
      Posted at 21:01 March 17, 2017
      Nickolaj Andersen
      Reply
      Author

      Hi,

      This functionality already exists within the Regional section. You can create multiple configuration, e.g. for departments or regional locations, with different task sequence variables that the frontend will create. In the sample config.xml file that is included, it shows how to set the TS var for OU placement.

      Were you thinking about something else?

      /Nickolaj

  • Daniel
    Posted at 14:39 March 20, 2017
    Daniel
    Reply
    Author

    Hello Nickolaj,

    works great but i have some problems. If i’m starting your frontend from bootable ISO File, at the last Apply step there is a failure:

    Access to the path ‘:\SMS\PKG\\OSDFrontEnd.log’ is denied.

    The Script tries to create a Log File on the emulated CD-ROM which isnt possible.

    Additionally everytime this failure occurs, a SCCM Device Object with Name ‘Unknown’ and the MAC Address of the Machine will be created. After the next boot there are no more task sequence are available – because it’s no more unknown.

    Another thought from me is to seperate language settings and domain join in the regional settings step. i have different language settings in the same domain join step. maybe you can configure it seperately from each other.

    otherwise, good work !

  • Danny
    Posted at 14:22 March 30, 2017
    Danny
    Reply
    Author

    I see that in the documentation, there are some “optional” MDT settings, but is it possible to use this OSD Front End completely without MDT?

    In our ConfigMgr environment, we do not have MDT integrated, so I was wondering if I could still use this OSD Front End, or are there some components in this OSD Front End that require an MDT database?

    • Nickolaj Andersen
      Posted at 19:16 March 30, 2017
      Nickolaj Andersen
      Reply
      Author

      Hi Danny,

      With ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd 1.0.0 you do not need to have MDT integrated with ConfigMgr. Simply just set the IsRoleEnabled setting to False in the OSDFrontEnd.exe.config file, disabling the role elements. In version 1.1.0 that will be out soon, I’ve extended this functionality so that you can complete hide the Role section (including other sections).

      Regards,
      Nickolaj

      • James
        Posted at 21:00 April 25, 2017
        James
        Reply
        Author

        Looking forward to the new release. Any updates on testing or availability?

  • seb
    Posted at 16:53 April 4, 2017
    seb
    Reply
    Author

    sounds very interesting, thank you for putting this together and sharing it (and document it!)
    if you don’t mind I have a few question
    I’m currently using MDT with UDI, thinking about replacing it (slows down too much the deployment) do you think your frontend
    I don’t see anything related to usmt or data transfer is it something you’re considering adding or that we should set up on the side in the TS?
    Did you (or anyone) tried it in a bios to uefi scenario (with format etc..) is it working?
    I saw a few comment on errors when started from usb or cd boot media, does that mean it’s working only for pxe boot?
    thanks!

  • James
    Posted at 16:43 May 10, 2017
    James
    Reply
    Author

    Nickolaj,

    Love this product. I saw the new release but I have had a chance to use it yet. I had a question regarding 1.0.0. Recently, every computer we try to image is being sent to unknown. We delete them, try to image them again, and the same result. The front end works as expected. We name the PC, assign a task sequence, start the process, and it fails and says “no task sequence assigned”. Log file says Provided preferred deployment TS12008B is not fount among available deployments. TS12008B is the deployment we have set for All Unknown PCs. Have you had this happen before? I’m at a loss. I guess if I can’t get this working I’ll try and move to the new 1.2 front end!

    • James
      Posted at 18:47 May 11, 2017
      James
      Reply
      Author

      You can ignore this. I’ve moved to FrontEnd 1.2. I have another issue but I’ll post it there.

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