Month: September 2011

Displaying Front-End HTAs within a SCCM Task Sequence

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I’ve often heard the phrase “MDT solves problems to issues you didn’t even know you had.”  And it’s certainly true in this case!!

I was  looking for a process or procedure that would allow me to present my current custom OSD front end HTA to an active end-user who is logged into Windows.  Unfortunately, standard SCCM task sequences don’t allow this to happen.  To workaround this, my first consideration was to run the HTA as a prerequisite of the task sequence, but therein lay another issue with SCCM task sequences – since the HTA was run as a prerequisite Program, it was not technically within the Task Sequence environment and therefore I could not set task sequence variables, etc.

Fortunately the good folks on the MyITForum discussion list were able to steer me in the right direction.  MDT 2010 Update 1 contains a standalone executable (ServiceUI.exe) that allows execution of anything (not just an HTA) within a task sequence and enables the end-user to interact with it.  To utilize ServiceUI without integrating MDT with SCCM, perform the following:

  1. Install MDT 2010 Update 1 on your local computer
  2. Find ServiceUI.exe (for the appropriate target architecture) and put it into the same directory as your HTA front end script(s)
  3. Create a script that will
    a)  Make a copy of the HTA on the local executing computer (only if your advertisement is set to “run from server”)
    b)  Run command: ServiceUI.exe -session:1 %WINDIR%\system32\mshta.exe C:\CustomSystemOptions.hta

    1. Note 1: it’s important to know that the options “-session:1” will only work if the user logged into Windows has local admin rights.  My suggestion is to restart Windows and login as the local Administrator account.
    2. Note 2: Thanks to Ryan for feedback that when running on a 64-bit system, use %WINDIR%\SYSWOW64\mshta.exe
      The exception to this note is if you’re using SCCM 2012 … then it must use mshta.exe from System32.
  4. Update your task sequence to include a “Run Command Line” as the very first item in the task sequence
    a)  Name it something like “Service UI – Custom System Options”
    b)  Set the command line as “TheNameOfYourScript.vbs”
    c)  Use the package which contains your scripts
    d)  CRITICAL: Do not set option “Time-out (minutes)” as this will cause ServiceUI to error!
    e)  On the Options tab, add a condition to check that TS variable “_SMSTSInWinPE” = false

In short, this should be all that you need to get going to display the HTA to end-user.  However, the thing that I do not yet have resolved in this all this is that when connected to a system through RDP, ServiceUI will launch the HTA, but it’s not displayed.  Still gotta figure that one out….and then update this post of course ;-)

OSD Options Chooser v2

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Attention – this Options Chooser has been superseded by Nick’s “version 3” which can be reviewed at

The following custom HTA can be used during OSD when imaging computers with SCCM 2007.  It has been updated from my previous version and will do the following:

  • Section 1 – for the name to be give to the computer.
  • Section 2 – for the technician imaging the computer
  • Section 3 – for a ticket number
  • Section 4 – for adding a user to the local admins group
  • Section 5 – for selecting the computer’s time zone
    Note: additional time zones can be found at
  • Section 6 – for selecting a flavor of Acrobat as post installed software
  • Section 7 – for selecting other software to be installed
    Note that on the first three sections, if the option is left empty, then after clicking finish a circular prompt is done until a value is added.  Also, they set custom Task Sequence variables which you will need to use later in your process, such as in custom logging or setting a registry key for your organization, etc.

Also, remember to enable HTA support in your boot images –

<!-- ----------------------------------------------------------- Created by Nick Moseley For this script to function, HTA support must have been added into the boot image See for more information - --------------------------------------------------------------- -->

OSD Options Chooser

<script type="text/vbscript" language="vbscript">// <![CDATA[
window.resizeTo 375,700
window.moveTo 5,5

Sub FinishClickTasks
'On Error Resume Next
Dim oTaskSequence, oShell, sComputerName, bErrComputerName, bErrTechName, bErrTicketNumber, sCurPath, sKioskName
Set oTaskSequence = CreateObject ("Microsoft.SMS.TSEnvironment")
Set oShell = CreateObject ("WScript.Shell")
sComputerName = UCase(ComputerName.Value)

' Set values inputed from HTA dialog
If sComputerName = "" Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDComputerName") = "null"
oTaskSequence ("OSDComputerName") = sComputerName
End If

If TechName.Value = "" Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDTechName") = "null"
oTaskSequence ("OSDTechName") = TechName.Value
End If
If TicketNumber.Value = "" Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDTicketNumber") = "null"
oTaskSequence ("OSDTicketNumber") = TicketNumber.Value
End If

' Check for errors with the computer name or technician name
Dim sTSVar1, sTSVar2, sTSVar3, bNoErr
sTSVar1 = oTaskSequence("OSDComputerName")
sTSVar2 = oTaskSequence("OSDTechName")
sTSVar3 = oTaskSequence("OSDTicketNumber")
bNoErr = False

If sTSVar1 = "null" Then
bErrComputerName = True
End If
If sTSVar2 = "null" Then
bErrTechName = True
End If
If sTSVar3 = "null" Then
bErrTicketNumber = True
End If

' Display error message
If bErrComputerName And bErrTechName And bErrTicketNumber Then
MsgBox "Error: Computer name, technician name, and Incident or Service Request number cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrComputerName And bErrTechName Then
MsgBox "Error: Computer name and technician name cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrComputerName And bErrTicketNumber Then
MsgBox "Error: Computer name and Incident or Service Request number cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrTechName And bErrTicketNumber Then
MsgBox "Error: Technician name and Incident or Service Request number cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrComputerName Then
MsgBox "Error: Computer name cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrTechName Then
MsgBox "Error: Technician name cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
ElseIf bErrTicketNumber Then
MsgBox "Error: Incident or Service Request number cannot be blank.", vbCritical, "Error"
End If 

' Loop until end-user enters a value
If bErrComputerName Then
sComputerName = InputBox ("Please enter a COMPUTER name to continue", "", , 30,30)
If sComputerName <> "" Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDComputerName") = sComputerName
bErrComputerName = False
End If
ElseIf bErrTechName Then
sTechName = InputBox ("Please enter a TECHNICIAN name to continue.", "", , 30,30)
If sTechName <> "" Then 
oTaskSequence ("OSDTechName") = sTechName
bErrTechName = False
End If
ElseIf bErrTicketNumber Then
sTicketNumber = InputBox ("Please enter an Incident or Service Request number to continue.", "", , 30,30)
If sTicketNumber <> "" Then 
oTaskSequence ("OSDTicketNumber") = sTicketNumber
bErrTicketNumber = False
End If
bNoErr = True
End If
Loop Until  bNoErr

' Set local time zone
For Each oTimeZone In TimeZone
If oTimeZone.Checked Then
oTaskSequence("OSDTimeZone") = oTimeZone.value
End If

' UserName to add as a local administrator
If UserName.Value <> "" Then 
oTaskSequence ("OSDAdminUser") = UserName.Value
End If

' Applications to install
' Acrobat
If Acrobat(1).checked Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDAcrobat10") = "standard"
ElseIf Acrobat(2).checked Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDAcrobat10") = "professional"
End If

' Other Apps
If ProjectStd2010.checked Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDProjStd2010") = "true"
End If
If VisioStd2010.checked Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDVisioStd2010") = "true"
End If
If StreetsTrips2010.checked Then
oTaskSequence ("OSDStreetsTrips2010") = "true"
End If

End Sub
// ]]></script>

<!-- HTML goes here -->

Computer Name

<input id="ComputerName" type="text" name="ComputerName" size="45" />

Technician Name Imaging Computer

<input id="TechName" type="text" name="TechName" size="45" />

Incident or Request Number

<input id="TicketNumber" type="text" name="TicketNumber" size="45" />

Username to add to Local Admin Group (if applicable)

<input id="UserName" type="text" name="UserName" size="45" />

<b>Select Time Zone For the Computer</b>

<input type="radio" name="TimeZone" value="Pacific Standard Time" />PST (US West Coast)

<input type="radio" name="TimeZone" value="US Mountain Standard Time" />AZT (US Arizona)

<input type="radio" name="TimeZone" value="Mountain Standard Time" />MST (US Mountain)

<input type="radio" name="TimeZone" value="Central Standard Time" />CST (US Central)

<input type="radio" name="TimeZone" value="Eastern Standard Time" />EST (US East Coast)

<b>Select Post Installed Applications</b>

<input type="radio" name="Acrobat" /> Do not install Acrobat

<input type="radio" name="Acrobat" /> Adobe Acrobat Standard X

<input type="radio" name="Acrobat" /> Adobe Acrobat Professional X

<input type="checkbox" name="ProjectStd2010" /> Microsoft Project Standard 2010

<input type="checkbox" name="StreetsTrips2010" /> Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010

<input type="checkbox" name="VisioStd2010" /> Microsoft Visio Standard 2010

<button accesskey="N" id="buttonFinish" onclick="FinishClickTasks" type="submit">Finish</button>

Created by Nick Moseley,

Common Software Install Command Lines

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When distributing software, there are often challenges that can arise during installation. For example, you may have experience a time when Adobe Reader will fail to install the latest security update because the application is actively running. Or maybe you’ve found that the only way to configure QuickTime to not check for updates is by having an HKCU setting and a configuration file in the user’s profile.  In attempt to get around such challenges like these, I’ve recently spent some time evaluating and retesting various common software distributions. 

  • Adobe Reader updates – using /qn (instead of /qb) will force the installation of the .msp patch even if Reader is actively in use
  • Adobe Shockwave  – The upgrade on this one is a little bit more tricky.  SW will fail to upgrade if a browser is actively using the technology (no surprise) but if you try “force” the install of SW, it’ll not remove previous versions.  So, you’ll first need to script the uninstall previous versions of Shockwave (you’ll want to find the uninstall key in the registry to ensure all versions have the same uninstall process).  Then launch the MSI installer with /qn /norestart to force the upgrade; again this is necessary if SW is in use on a webpage.  I noticed that pages actively utilizing flash with “hang”; by simply restarting the browser or tab, then SW works just fine.
  • Adobe Flash – not much complicated about this.  Flash successfully upgrades older version, even when flash is actively utilized in the browser.  So just /qb is fine for this one.
  • Apple QuickTime – the biggest headache for QuickTime is that Apple will want to check for newer versions and “other software” such as iTunes and Safari.  Well, you probably don’t want you users to have either of those (or maybe their not even admins!) so you want to remove the check for updates.  Anyhow, by downloading and using the default .exe installer from Apple will result in the software being installed that will check for updates.  At that point, you’d have to use a custom script to do some things to disable automatic update checking.  Here is the even better process: Extract the MSI files from .exe installer and only installer the two necessary components – AppleApplicationSupport and QuickTime.  You can also add to your overall deployment script to uninstall versions of AppleSoftwareUpdate.  Done!!

 I hope these command lines are useful to you!

Troubleshooting packages that just won’t install on DP’s (via ConfigMgr in the real world)

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This post saved me from having to recreate a default boot image on a DP failing to update! It’s great for overall troubleshooting of distribution point troubles!!

You may have seen in my earlier blog post instructions on how to deploy many packages to DP’s where you know they have a small link or where you’ve had to limit the rate used by SCCM to a very small %. Even where you have followed them, you’ll still probably find some stragglers that never get to the DP without a little bit more….persuasion! Below you’ll find the process I use to clean up that active packages report: Step 1 – Identify problem p … Read More

via ConfigMgr in the real world