SCCM 2012 step by step guide – Part Two

By | July 20, 2012

In the first part of this guide, I covered the initial configuration of primary site server and extending the AD schema.  In the second part of the guide, I will cover the steps taken to install and configure a primary site server.

*Updated for SCCM 2012 SP1

Installing the primary site

Note: The following steps should be carried out whilst logged in with SCCM-Admin

  1. Browse to the DVD or mounted ISO and double click Splash.hta
  2. Click Install
  3. Click Next on the warning screen
  4. Select Install a Configuration Manager Primary Site
  5. On the Product Key screen enter your product key and Click Next, or Click Next to use an evaluation license
  6. Accept the license terms and Click Next at the EULA select accept and Click Next
  7. Accept all of the license terms on the Prerequisite Licenses screen, Click Next
  8. Specify a path to download the pre-requisite components

    Note:  If the machine you are installing Configuration Manager on does not have an Internet Connection, you can download the updates on a computer connected to the internet by following the below steps.  The computer will need to have access to the installation source:

    1. Create a directory on the local computer called SCCM2012Updates
    2. Open a command prompt with administrative permissions
    3. Change the directory to the installation source files Navigating to \smssetup\bin\X64
    4. Type SetupDL.exe C:\SCCM2012Updates, press Enter
    5. Once the updates have downloaded copy them to the computer you are installing Configuration Manager on to


  9. Select User previously downloaded updates…. And set the path to the folder you have just copied onto the computer 
  10. Click Next
  11. Click Next at the Server Language Selection screen
  12. Click Next at the Client Language Selection screen
  13. At the Site and Installation Settings screen enter your unique site code, site name and the installation location:
    1. Site Code: LAB
    2. Site Name: SCCM 2012 LAB Setup
    3. Installation Folder: D:\ConfigMGR2012
  14. Select Install the Configuration Manager Console and Click Next
  15. At the Primary Site Installation screen select Install the primary site as a stand-alone site and Click Next
  16. At the Configuration Manager prompt, Click Yes
  17. At the Database Information screen enter the SQL server name and Click Next
  18. At the SMS Provider Settings screen, verify the name of the server is the name of the server you are installing Configuration Manager on and Click Next
  19. At the Client Computer Communication Settings screen select Configure the Communication method on each site system role and Click Next
  20. At the Site System Roles screen verify both check boxes are ticked and the name of the server is the name of the server you are installing Configuration Manager on and Click Next
  21. At the Customer Experience Improvement Program screen, make your selection and Click Next
  22. At the Settings Summary screen, verify that all of the settings are correct and Click Next

    Note:  Configuration Manager will now run a prerequisite check, make a note of any warnings as these can be fixed once the installation has completed.  Any errors will need to be fixed before continuing with the installation

  23.  Click Close when the installation has completed and reboot the server.

TIP: you can open the ConfigMgrSetup.log with the CMTrace Tool to monitor the procgress of the installation. The CMTrace tool can be found in SMSSetup\Tools.

Now that Configuration Manager is installed, the next steps are to configure the additional settings such as site boundaries, discovery methods and the client agent policy. At this point you would also configure any additional roles that you require however for the purpose of my Lab the only role I require is the distribution point, which is installed as part of the installation

Configuring discovery methods

As in SCCM 2007, Configuration Manager 2012 has the ability to automatically discover resources within your domain by enabling the necessary discovery methods. As with SCCM 2007 you can enable multiple discovery methods to locate different resources. Which method(s) you enable will determine the resources and the data that will be discovered. The following link shows the various discovery methods, what each method does. By default only the Heartbeat discovery is enabled.

One thing I will say is that it can be very tempting to point each discovery method that you enable at the root of your domain. Whilst this will discover everything that has touched your domain, I wouldn’t recommend implementing discovery this way. Each discovery method should be targeted at specific OU’s relevant to the resources that you want to manage in SCCM.

For the purpose of my Lab, I’m going to target my desktop and laptop ou’s using Active Directory System Discovery.

  1. In the SCCM console, click on Administration
  2. Expand Overview -> Hierarchy Configuration and select Discovery Methods
  3. Right click Active Directory System Discovery and select Properties
  4. On the properties page, select Enable Active Directory System Discovery
  5. Click on the Yellow Star
  6. Click on Browse and select the Active Directory Container you are targeting
  7. Click OK
  8. Once you have completed these steps you can verify that your computers are being discovered via the Assets and Compliance menu option.

Configuring Site Boundaries

In Configuration Manager 2012 the concept of boundaries has changed, whilst a boundary is still a network location designated using an IP subnet, IP address range or an Active Directory site, boundaries are no longer site specific. Instead of assigning a boundary to a specific site within your hierarchy, you now define them for the whole hierarchy.

Before you can use a boundary, you must first add the boundary to a boundary group (a boundary can be a member of multiple boundary groups). Until the boundary is added to a boundary group, clients within this network will not be able to find an assigned site or locate content. Once a Boundary group is created and populated with a boundary, you can then assign it to one or more distribution points.

  1. In the SCCM console, click on Administration
  2. Expand Overview -> Hierarchy Configuration and select Boundaries
  3. Right click Boundaries
  4. Select Create Boundary
  5. Enter a description for the boundary i.e. Lab
  6. Select the Subnet type (in my case IP Subnet)
  7. Enter the Subnet ID i.e.
  8. Click OK
  9. Right Click Boundary Groups
  10. Select Create Boundary Group
  11. Enter and name for the Boundary Group i.e. Lab Boundary
  12. Click Add
  13. Select the boundary create previously
  14. Click OK
  15. Select the References tab
  16. Select Use this boundary group for site assignment
  17. Click Add
  18. Select the Site System you want to associate with this boundary
  19. Click OK
  20. Click OK
  21. On the properties page, select Enable Active Directory System Discovery
  22. Click on the Yellow Star
  23. Click on Browse and select the Active Directory Container you are targeting
  24. Click OK

Configuring Client Agent settings

The default clients settings are sufficient for the purpose of the lab, however depending on your configuration requirements in a live environment you may need to change some of the default settings to accommodate the implementation of an Application Catalog website or windows updates. As I’m not covering these in this guide I’m not going to change them.

Changes to the client agent policy are made via the Client Settings option in the Administration section of the Configuration Manager console.

Deploying the configuration manager client

At this point Configuration Manager 2012 is now setup and ready for you to deploy the client agent. If you are looking to do a side-by-side migration from an earlier version of SCCM or SMS I will be covering this in another post. If this is a fresh installation in your environment or you are not looking to migrate anything across from a currently implementation, the following will guide you through deploying the configuration manager client.

As with SCCM 2007, you have a number of options when it comes to deploying the configuration manager client, the full list of deployment methods can be found here.

For my lab, I’m going to use the client push installation method, which will use the SCCM-CIA installation account to install the client. The first thing you need to do is configure the client push installation to use the SCCM-CIA account.

  1. In the SCCM console, select Administration
  2. Expand Site Configuration and click on Sites
  3. Select your site and in the menu ribbon click on Settings
  4. Select Client Installation Settings
  5. Select Client Push Installation
  6. On the General tab select Enable Automatic site-wide client push installation
  7. On the Accounts tab, click on the yellow star and select New Account
  8. Enter the name of the client installation account i.e. sccm-cia
  9. Enter the password for this account twice and Click OK

To install the client on machines discovered using your selected discovery method carry out the below steps

  1. Click on Assets and Compliance
  2. Expand Devices
  3. Click on All Systems
  4. Right click on the machine you would like to install the client on and click Install Client.

After a few minutes the entry in configuration manager console should update to show the client has been installed. You can monitor the installation of the client via the installation logs files found in c:\windows\system32\ccmsetup.

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