Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Deploying Windows Server 2003 with SCCM 2012

There is a lot of information written about deploying various operating systems using task sequences through SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012 and i'm not going to describe it here.
The point that i want to address is about deploying Windows Server 2003 using SCCM 2012.
When you would like to deploy Server 2003 using "Operating System Installer"(aka "Original Installation Source"), at the first sight it will look like it is working out-of-the-box (assuming that you've configured your SCCM 2012 for OSD, imported the necessary drivers etc), but... after OS installation file have been downloaded, Apply Drivers step has been completed, SCCM client was downloaded...... then your system went through Windows setup, and then finally it starts OS and goes to install SCCM client by executing "Setup Windows and Configuration Manager" TS step...............................................

The TS progress bar flashed quiet fast, system reboots and this is it.

NO TS error message
NO more status messages in deployment status
THERE is not even a SMSTS.log on the system...
.................... searching for solution ...................
the only thought you've got left after trying to resolve this issue for hours is WTF!

Well, lets look on it again  with a fresh look.
The only usable logfile we've got on the system is %WINDIR%\ccmsetup\ccmsetup.log. It ends up with
<![LOG[CcmSetup failed with error code 0x80004005]LOG]!>
Unfortunately everybody, who's been using SCCM for some time, knows that in most cases this message (alone ;) ) doesn't mean anything :(
Luckily for us there is another entry in the log file

<![LOG[This operating system does not contain the correct version of BITS. BITS 2.5 or later is required.]LOG]!>
And this is our clue!

As stated in Prerequisites for Windows Client Deployment in Configuration Manager:
"Microsoft Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is required to allow throttled data transfers between the client computer and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager site systems. BITS is not automatically downloaded during client installation."
and in "Important note" just below it:
Most operating systems include BITS, but if they do not (for example, Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2), you must install BITS before you install the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager client.

SCCM 2012 client install doesn't include BITS any more. To be able to install SCCM 2012 client on Server 2003 system you must deploy Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 2.5 (KB923845) prior to deploying client on the target systems.
When deploying client to live systems, you can use different ways to achieve this, but what to do if you want to deploy Windows 2003 through SCCM OSD???
Well, the answer is quiet simple:
You must slipstream KB923845 into your Windows Server 2003 source!

P.S. If you haven't been using Windows 2003 and forgot how to slipstream a hotfix into your OS distribution, we still can find this info here - How to integrate software updates into your Windows installation source files.