SCCM USB Stick not booting

If you’re having issues with an SCCM USB stick not booting, that perhaps used to, then it most likely needs some manual input to help it go through.

When you build a USB stick in SCCM, you have the option to Format the USB stick and make it bootable but even after that, it still doesn’t work. Note that the BIOS does recognise it as a bootable media and shows in the bootable devices so that makes you think even more that there’s a different problem.

The solution for the SCCM USB Stick not booting is pretty simple, follow this step and you should be good (these had to be followed already prior SCCM 2012).

  1. Connect the USB stick to a Windows Vista+ device.
  2. Run a command prompt as administrator.
  3. Type DISKPART and press enter.
    1. The command prompt will now take a few instants to go start diskpart
  4. Type LIST DISK and press enter.
    1. This will return the list of disks attached to the machine. Note the Disk Number. In this example we’ll assume the USB disk is DISK 1.
  5. Type SELECT DISK 1 and press enter.
  6. Type CLEAN and press enter.
    1. This command will wipe everything off the USB stick. Make sure you selected the right disk :) .
  7. Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY and press enter.
    1. If you receive an error here, then you most likely need to grab a new USB stick.
  8. Type SELECT PARTITION 1 and press enter.
  9. Type FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK and press enter.
  10. Type  ACTIVE and press enter.
  11. Type ASSIGN and press enter.
    1. This will assign an available letter to the drive.
  12. Type EXIT and press enter to leave diskpart and repeat this step to exit the command prompt.

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Remove all failed packages from the Distribution Point

Removing a package from a Distribution Point through the console is pretty easy, you would just go in the package properties and under content location you can select the Distribution Point and Remove the package from it. What if you want to start clean and remove all failed packages from the Distribution Point?

The answer to that is: you can’t through the SCCM Console, unless you have just a few or unless you’d like to spend a few weeks cleaning that mess up :)

I put together a quick powershell script that will remove all failed packages from the distribution point/points. The script will firstly gather all packages in a Failed Distribution state, and then it’ll go through each one of them and delete it from the DP that shows it as failed.

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Skip the Get Online message

Whilst deploying Windows 8.1 with SCCM, I got the whole Task Sequence stuck to the point where Windows was asking me to choose a Wireless connection (or skip the step). I initially thought that the TS would be continuing underneath that interface so I left the office and the morning after the process was still stuck at that point. When I manually skipped the step, the Task Sequence continued with what was left to do.

Why did it appear?

Well, in my specific case, that appeared right after the Task Sequence installed the drivers, so that means Windows recognized also the wireless card of the machine (Dell Venue Tablet) I was imaging.

Windows 8.1 Get Online

How do I skip the Get Online message from Windows 8.1?

Simple, in order to skip the get online message I had to modify the unattended XML file I was using and I added these 3 lines to it (just to be safe):

This is how it looks in my case:

Windows8.1-GetOnline-Skip Wireless Setup XML unattended

That’s pretty much it :) Remember to update the OSD package content if you’re using SCCM (or else the Distribution Points would keep using the old xml file).

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Content Location shows the package as distributed but it’s not

I had this issues for a while and I ended up creating a ticket with Microsoft as I couldn’t get any answer to my issue. I’ve also posted this on technet, but nobody dared to answer :)
The reason why I wanted to open a ticket with Microsoft is that I have had a few issues since the migration to 2012 R2 and to be honest this kind of error it’s ok once, but what if it happens again? I could have just removed the package and started from scratch, that would have fixed it but this time I’ve been stubborn and I’ve learnt something new. Also, the package was 4GB, multiply that for all the Distribution Points. I don’t like to waste time if I don’t have to.
Here’s the post: SCCM Console is lying to me! Content shows as distributed but it isn’t.

The issue

In my case, this happened with one of the Microsoft Office Deployment Packages I created.
When I clicked on the Deployment Package, the Status at the bottom of the console would tell me that the content was distributed (correctly) to 6 Distribution Points but when I actually went in the Deployment Package’s properties I could see like 10 Distribution Points in there. So basically Content Location shows the package as distributed but it’s not.

SCCM DP targeted
If I tried to Remove/Validate/Redistribute the content, nothing would happen. I couldn’t even treat this as a new distribution as the phantom Distribution Points would not appear as it happens when the content is already distributed.
I was able to distribute this content to other DPs. Updating the content did not help either.
I’ve also tried to either distribute (Start-CMContentDistribution) and remove (Remove-CMContentDistribution) the package from these DPs via PowerShell but also here no luck. When I tried to distribute it, it told me that the package was already distributed, when I removed it, nothing happened as when I did it through the console.
I then checked one of the Distribution Points through Content Library Explorer and I could see that the content was grayed out and the package ID had a * right after the ID. Also here I could not validate nor re-distribute the content.

SCCM Content Library Explorer broken package

The cause

No idea! Microsoft went through the logs and found nothing. The engineer told me that he’s never seen such an issue before.

The solution

Well, as there was no root cause, the only solution that Microsoft suggested was to manually delete the entries of these Distribution Points, associated to the Package ID, from the SQL server. (more…)

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Task sequence has failed with the error code 0x800700A1

I see lots of administrators struggling with this error especially when they replace an HDD on a machine and then try to re-image it. Task sequence has failed with the error code 0x800700A1 is an error that also come up when you’re imagining a brand new Virtual Machine.

What does the error mean? 0x800700A1 means BAD_PATHNAME. The reason why you get this error, most of the times, is due the fact that the task sequence isn’t able to find the path because the drive is RAW.

sccm_error_0x800700a1

In order to fix this you will have to initialize and format that Hard Drive. If you are in the SCCM’s WinPE environment, simply press F8 to get to the command prompt and type the following:

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