Using MAP in a Messy Network

I’ve been doing an assessment for a Windows 7 deployment in a network that’s not had any regular maintenance in a long time.  For example, there are 400+ computer accounts with around 100 real machines.  I can’t even use oldcmp to clean up because some of those “stale” account are associated with machines that are archived/stored for old projects that might need to be recovered.  I also have an issue where machines are not responding as expected to MAP, despite all the policies being in place.  Solution?  The Swiss Army Knife of systems management: System Center Configuration Manager.

I set up a ConfigMgr (licenses are there) and deployed an agent to all machines.  That had limited success as expected (see above).  I then set up a start up script to hit the machines when the reboot – which is not very often (it is a bit of a “wild garden” network).  The perk of this is that I get a client install that will audit machines are report back information, regardless of firewall, etc.

Over time the number of managed agents has doubled, giving me a good sample to work with.  I was able to run a report to get the computer names of all the desktop machines.  Now I took that CSV and converted it into a text file, each line having a computer name.  That’s perfect for a text file discovery in MAP.

I ran a discovery and assessment using that and got much better results than before.  It’s still not perfect and that’s because we are in the real world.  Many of the machines are offline, either out of the office or turned off.  Some machines haven’t been rebooted or powered up to get the ConfigMgr agent.  So there will be some sneaker net to take care of that. 

And that’s how I’ve done an assessment in a wild network that a simple MAP deployment would not have succeeded in.

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