Troubleshooting with System Context

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When creating a Program for a Package, there are essentially two Environment options for how the Program run – with the user’s rights, or with administrative rights.  Using administrative rights will cause the program to run the command line under system context (svchost). 

I recently needed to test an install (when running under system context and when running from the SCCM server) as I was unable to visually see the behavior first hand (e.g. errors).  To do this type of testing, follow these simple instructions.

  1. Log in to Windows with an account that has admin privileges
  2. Launch cmd.exe
  3. Enter “time” and get the value. 
  4. Enter “at time+1min /i cmd” – this will open another command prompt at that time
    For example, if the time is 14:18, the value time+1min will be 14:19
  5. Once the next command prompt opens, you’ll notice that process listed in the title bar is “svchost.exe”
  6. Enter “net use z: \\servername\share”
  7. Enter credentials that have access to the share, such as your own
  8. Then change to new driver letter and then to the directory.  From there you can launch whatever .exe, .msi, script, etc, that you need visually see.

I used this process to confirm that executables and .msi files were being blocked with an Open File – Security Warning when running from a server share.

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One thought on “Troubleshooting with System Context

    Nicolas Moseley responded:
    August 25, 2010 at 10:32 am

    John Marcum has an easier alternative to testing in system context (using PSExec.) Check it out! – http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jmarcum/archive/2010/08/25/150872.aspx

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