Safe Mode from Windows To Go USB

I’ve been having an issue where my Windows To Go USB (running Windows 8 of course) logs onto a black screen. Since I can’t do anything apart from wave the cursor. Want to get into Safe Mode? It’s not obvious on how to do this, so here’s how to get there:

You should have BitLocker enabled, so at startup it willl say “Bitlocker – Enter the password to unlock this drive”. Below this, you have two options. “Press Enter to continue” and “Press Esc for BitLocker Recovery’.
Both don’t sound helpful, but press Esc. From the BitLocker Recovery screen, you get another option down the bottom that says ‘Press Esc for more recovery options”.
Doing this gets you to a third screen that says ‘Recovery – There are no more BitLocker recovery options on your PC”.
From here, there is a final option of “Press F8 for Startup Settings”. Pressing F8 takes you back to the BitLocker password entry screen, but this time after entering your password you’ll finally see all the Startup Settings, including Safe Mode.

Windows 8 – Easy Admin Access

One of the difficulties I’ve had with using Windows 8 is getting access to stuff. Stuff I’m used to accessing easily, like being able to edit a text file under C:\Program Files\. In Windows 8, on a non-domain connected PC and using a Windows Account, you can’t do this. Even if you’re an Administrator, and you’ve turned off User Access Control (UAC):

This gets frustrating very quickly. I was really baffled by this behaviour – why am I, as a local administrator on Windows 8 using a Windows Account, getting ‘Access Denied’ when trying to edit a text file under a Program Files folder??

I posted onto the Microsoft Technet forums here:¬†¬†where I was advised that this was by design. The upside, was that I was told about a handy little feature on how to run anything as administrator easily. ‘Create New Task’ has a great little tickbox that says ‘Create this task with administrative privilidges’. I’m not sure why this is called ‘Create New Task’ as it looks exactly the same as the ‘Run’ window, even with the same text. To get this, open Task Manager and go to File > Create New Task.

You can run anything here just as you would from the ‘Run’ window, including ‘explorer’ which will bring up Windows Explorer, but with PROPER full Administrator access, finally allowing me to edit that text file I was going on about earlier.

Hopefully once you know this, you’ll also be less frustrated like me!

SCCM 2012 Unknown Computers

While getting OSD (Operating System Deployment) working in SCCM 2012 I came across two little things.

First, I want to be able to specify the computer name as part of the deployment. Windows-noob has a great article on this, available here:

It’s just specifying the variable OSDComputerName needs to be set for your Unknown Computers collection, which will work as long as you have your OSD task sequence advertised there too.

The second thing, which was more of an issue, was that my PC wasn’t detecting my PXE server after the first time, even though the OSD Task Sequence bombed out.

After reading this Microsoft TechNet thread: I did a search for ‘Unknown’ in my devices, where 2 items popped up. In the properties I checked the MAC address, and sure enough one of the entries matched my PC.

In SCCM 2007 it didn’t quite work this way, generally if it bombed out there would be no record and you could continually PXE boot as many times as you liked. In 2012, as soon as you get to the list of available task sequences, the ‘Unknown Computer’ record is created.

A bit annoying, but there you have it.

SCCM 2012 Client Push Error 80041026

I’ve just been troubleshooting a PC that was failing when the SCCM 2012 client was being pushed to it, with the below error located on the client’s log file ccmsetup.log:

MSI: Setup failed due to unexpected circumstances
The error code is 80041026

After trying the install locally and still having it fail, I took the next logical step and googled it.

I found this blog, which had a similar issue but different error code:

Luckily the fix was the same, due to something wrong with the WMI Repositry.

Following these instructions worked perfectly:

Due to being an XP client, the steps I ran were:

net stop winmgmt

Using Windows Explorer, rename the folder %windir%\System32\Wbem\Repository. (For example, %windir%\System32\Wbem\Repository_bad). %windir% represents the path to the Windows directory, which is typically C:\Windows.

net start winmgmt

rundll32 wbemupgd, UpgradeRepository

That was it, no reboot required. Retrying the install again was then successful.

Thanks Madan’s Blog!

Running Remote Control without the SCCM 2012 Console

Just a quick one here, I figure this blog should also be sharing solutions that others have found and worked, rather than just my own content.

So, I can confirm the following works:

These instructions will let you run Remote Control from System Center Configuration Manager 2012 without needing any extra software installed. The logged on account still needs ‘Remote Tools Operator’ access from inside SCCM 2012, but they can fire this up to remotely connect after this.

Keep in mind that if you have a 64 bit OS, the path for the files will be “Program Files (x86)”. Also, this works on both 32 and 64 bit OSs, while the old 2007 required separate copies.

It should be a nice easy way to remove VNC or other less secure connection methods internally from your company.

I’ll also add that the 2012 version seems much more reliable than the 2007, especially with visual issues.

Have fun!