Avoiding Microsoft “Fast Fail” Updates Using SCCM 2012/R2 Automatic Deployment Rules

I know there’s a risk in telling you to delay deploying updates for 1 month. Some think that means switching to manual approval – and that is an oxymoron because manual approval rarely happens. No; I would rather see large enterprises use a model that automatically deploys updates after delaying them for 1 month, just as you can do with System Center 2012 (R2) Configuration Manager (SCCM).

I’m going to refer you to the excellent guides by SCCM MVP, Niall C. Brady. SCCM uses WSUS to download the Windows Catalog. When I configure SCCM I configure WSUS to automatically sync and to automatically supersede updates. That means if Microsoft releases a replacement update, the old version is automatically replaced. That’s important so keep that in mind when reading the rest of the solution.

I will configure automatic deployment rules (ADRs) for each product. The ADR will be set up as follows:

  • Software Available Time: Set this to something like 21 days. That means that SCCM will hold back any applicable update for 3 weeks. That gives Microsoft lots of time to fix an update and the replacement will supersede the dodgy update.
  • Installation Deadline: With this set to 7 days, we have 4 weeks before updates are pushed out … and that assuming that we haven’t applied maintenance windows to any collections (servers, VMs, call centre PCs, etc) that might further delay the deployment.


With the above configuration, the dodgy August updates would not have been deployed to PCs or servers on your network. Instead, a tested and fixed update will be released, SCCM will sit on it and automatically approve it at a later date.

BTW, I do a similar thing with Endpoint Protection updates by delaying approval for 4 hours with immediate deployment.

I don’t know of a method for accomplishing this in Windows Intune – I’d like to see it. The same goes for WSUS, but a commenter suggested using cmdlets from this site for WSUS to write a script; I’d rather see a clean solution from Microsoft similar to what we have in ConfigMgr but less granular.

Microsoft News Summary – 30 July 2014

The big news here for MSFT techies are the releases of update rollups for SysCtr 2012 SP1 and SysCtr 2012 R2. Please wait 1 month before deploying to avoid the inevitable issues (history indicates that I am probably right) and use that time to carefully review the installation instructions.

Microsoft News Summary – 14 July 2014

After a week’s break in Finland, I am back with news from the last 10 or so days. It was a busy period!

Microsoft News Summary-30 May 2014

Greetings from Belgium where I will be presenting a Hyper-V over SMB 3.0 session (designing & implementing a SOFS) at E2EVC, a community virtualization conference. Here is the Microsoft news of the last 24 hours. It appears that the momentum to signing up to support and partner with Azure is growing.


TechCamp 2013 Wrap Up

Yesterday we ran TechCamp 2013, the Irish community launch of Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Intune.  All the feedback I have heard has been positive – thankfully!  🙂

We kicked off with Dave Northey (Microsoft CAT Program Manager).  Dave was the IT Pro DPE in Ireland for quite some time and has spoken at every launch event since Windows NT.  It would have been wrong not to have Dave in to do the keynote.


After that we broke into two tracks.  I did the WS2012 R2 session and next door, Damian Flynn (MVP) did the Windows 8.1 in the enterprise session.  I wanted to attend Damian’s session – I hear it was excellent, covering the BYOD and mobile worker scenarios.


In the desktop track, some speakers from Microsoft introduced the new generation of devices that the various OEMs are bringing to market for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and what Windows Intune now offers for distributed end users, mobile workers, and BYOD device/app management.

Back in the server & cloud track, Paul Keely (MVP) did a session on service automation.


Damian was back on stage in the server & cloud track talking about using SCVMM 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack to build a hybrid cloud on Azure and Windows Server 2012 R2.  Kevin Greene (MVP) wrapped up the track explaining how System Center can be used to manage service availability and quality.


Niall Brady (MVP), an Irish man living and working in Sweden, wrapped up the desktop & devices track by talking about System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2.


We asked for a small registration fee to encourage legitimate registrations and to get a higher turn-up rate.  That fee went to a good cause, an NGO called Camara.  We had Mark Fox in from Camara.  This gave Mark a chance to tell the audience (after the keynote) about the good work that Camara does.  They take unwanted PCs from businesses, securely wipe the PCs, track them, and reuse those machines to provide a digital education to needy kids.  Education is the best weapon against poverty and war, and Camara is on the frontline. Mark also staffed a stand in the exhibition room, and hopefully businesses found a way to get rid of machines in their drive to rid themselves of Windows XP, and make a difference in the world while doing it.


We have a whole bunch of sponsors to thank:

  • MicroWarehouse: My employers were the primary sponsor.  This event would not have happened without the huge effort by John Moran.  I would have been happy with a projector in a shed (with VPN access to my lab) but John made this a professional event.
  • Microsoft: Thanks for the support from Ciaran Keohane, the help from Michael Meagher.
  • Ergo: One of the leading Microsoft partners in Ireland, regularly winning Server partner of the year.
  • DataOn Storage: One of the manufacturers of certified Storage Spaces hardware
  • Savision: Creating dashboards for System Center that aid IT operations.
  • Toshiba: who had some devices on hand (including their new 8” Windows 8.1 tablet), most of which aren’t even on sale yet!

A big thank you goes out to each speaker who prepared 75 minute sessions (two of them in the case of Damian).  In case you don’t know, that’s probably a couple of days work in preparing slides, demos, and rehearsing, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.

And finally, thanks to everyone who helped us communicate the event, and of course, came to the event to hear about these new solutions.  I hope the day proved valuable.

We had a number of people ask if we’ll run more events like this next year.  I believe that this is something that we will strongly consider.  There won’t be any launch stuff for us to cover for a while, so maybe we’d look at doing more “here’s how” content.  We’ll have to review and consider our options before we make any decisions.

Launch Event – Learn From The Best; Not From The Rest

There are only hours now between now and the start of TechCamp 2013 in City West in Dublin, where Irish MVPs (and a couple of Microsoft folks) will be presenting on:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Service automation using System Center 2012 R2
  • Hybrid cloud using Hyper-V Network Virtualization, NVGRE, SCVMM 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack
  • Service level management using System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1 in the business
  • New Windows devices
  • BYOD, consumerisation of IT, and mobile device management
  • Enterprise desktop management using System Center 2012 R2

You could wait for a sales person come to town and tell you stuff that they’ve read about.

Or, you could make a little effort to come to TechCamp 2013 where some of the worlds leading experts independent experts (all with international followings and tech book credits to their names) on these technologies (who are Irish BTW) will be there to present an honest appraisal of this technology that they have worked with every day since the 2012 R2/8.1 previews were launched.

Windows Intune “Wave F”

The new version of Windows Intune is not actually called “Wave E”.  I found a presentation by Microsoft Norway that calls the latest release “Blue/Wave F”


Some of the slides hint that Intune is doing single sign-on for BYOD.  That’s not strictly true; that functionality is accomplished via new functionality in WS2012 R2:

  • ADFS + PKI
  • Workplace Join via Device registration service
  • Web Application Proxy
  • Work Folders synchronization and selective wipe

Intune can make use of single sign-on for the end user/admin experience to secure, apply policies, audit, remote control, offer support, and deliver apps to Android, Windows (real, RT, and Phone), and iOS.

Intune has pretty much evolved into Microsoft’s mobile device management (MDM) solution, also equally capable of managing the traditional on-premise PC.  Intune gives you a manage-it-anywhere platform that can control devices directly or through System Center Configuration Manager (like an extension of SCCM into the cloud for integrated MDM).  It’s either your BYOD management system and/or your remote device management system, partnering with the advancements in WS2012 R2. 

You can find out more about the new functionality in Windows Intune in this post.

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Event: TechCamp2013 – Learn About Windows Server & System Center 2012 R2 And Windows 8.1 (Dublin)

I’m delighted to announce that on November 28th in City West Hotel (just outside the M50 in Dublin), there will be a community launch of:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1 (in the business)

For all intents and purposes, this is the launch of the next generation of infrastructure products in Ireland.  Community launch means that you’re getting independent experts telling you the facts about these products.  The experts are Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), including:

  • Myself
  • Damian Flynn
  • Paul Keely
  • Kevin Greene
  • Niall Brady

All the details can be found on the event website at http://techcamp2013.wordpress.com/.  The site isn’t finished yet, but I was keen to get information out to you ASAP.  More event, speaker and sponsor information will be added in the coming days. 

You can also follow @techcamp2013 on Twitter to keep up with the latest news.

We’re really excited to present this event to you.  We really hope to see you there!


  • There is a small registration fee but all proceeds are going to a worthy tech-related charity
  • The event will be held once in Dublin and will not be repeated or travel.  This is too big of an event to take on the road.
  • We’ve deliberately selected a location outside of the city to make travel easier for long distance travellers.
  • The location, City West Hotel, has pretty economic accommodation and we’ve listed some nearby hotels that offer good rates on the site.
  • There will be no streaming of the event.


This is a two-track event so I’d strongly recommend that you come in pairs, maybe taking and sharing notes in OneNote or whatever your favourite note-taking tool is.


Windows Server & System Center

Windows 8.1 & Device Management



Speaker: Dave Northey, Microsoft

Learn how the entire package from Microsoft fits together


Windows Server 2012 R2

Speaker: Aidan Finn, MVP

What does WS2012 R2 bring to virtualisation, cloud, storage and networking?

Windows 8.1 in the Business

Speaker: Damian Flynn, MVP

How Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise can chance user experience an enable BYOD.



Get a drink/snack & meet the sponsors.


System Center Virtual Manage Manager & Hybrid Cloud

Speaker: Damian Flynn, MVP

Start deploying and taking control of the entire data center with VMM 2012 R2!

Windows 8.1 Devices

Speaker: Microsoft TBA

Devices are a central ingredient to the “Windows 8.1 in the business” story. What are Microsoft and partners doing?



Get something to eat & meet the sponsors


System Center Service manager & Self-Service/Automation

Speaker: Paul Keely, MVP

See how System Center can automate repetitive processes, optimise time planning for IT, and change the business.

Windows Intune

Speakers: Microsoft TBC

Windows Intune is a much bigger solution than you think, including branch offices, BYOD, and covering all kinds of devices (Windows & others).



Refuel for the afternoon push & meet the sponsors.


System Center Operations Manager & Service Management

Speaker: Kevin Greene, MVP

It delivers a service, but just how is that service performing?

System Center Configuration Manager

Speaker: Niall Brady, MVP

Take control of every device in your enterprise like you’ve always dreamed, but keep the users happy with self-service? That’s not possible, right? Wrong!

Event – The Path To Windows 8

I will be speaking at an event in London UK called The Path To Windows 8.

The Path to Windows 8 event brings together the brightest IT professionals from around the world to talk about Windows 8 and how Microsoft can help you migrate your current desktop infrastructure to Windows 8.

In addition, the team will demonstrate all aspects of a Windows migration and, with Windows XP life support ending april 2014, it is time to learn what and how you can do these tasks.

  • Date: 5 July 2013
  • Location: Microsoft UK Cardinal Place, 80-100 Victoria St, London SW1E 5JL
  • Capacity: 104 people
  • Click here to register


  • 8:30 – 9:30         Registration
  • 9:30 – 10:00       Keynote, Edward Cook – Microsoft Partner Technology Advisor
  • 10:00 – 11:15     Path to Windows 8, David Nudelman – Microsoft MVP
  • 11:15 – 12:30     Successful migrations to Windows 8 with Configuration Manager, Raphael Perez – RFL Systems – Microsoft MVP
  • 12:30 – 13:15     Lunch Break and Networking
  • 13:15 – 14:30     Creating your Configuration Manager Infrastructure with Hyper-V, Aidan Finn – Technical Sales Lead at MicroWarehouse – Microsoft MVP
  • 14:30 – 15:45     The Future of Desktop, Simon May – Microsoft Evangelist
  • 15:45 – 16:00     Break
  • 16:00 – 16:45     Ask the experts and Prize draw

Reminder: Re-Download Configuration Manager & Endpoint Protection 2012 SP1

You may have noticed some issues being reported with System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager deployments.  It turns out that there were also some issues with the Linux/iOS Endpoint Protection agents.  As a result, you might need to re-download your media.  Check out this blog post to get more information.

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