Q: How do you deploy an OS over the network with System Center Configuration Manager 2012?

A: There are many steps to deploying an OS to a new machine over the network, and in this FAQ, we'll hit the major ones. I also recommend you check out my video for a step-by-step view of the process in action.

First, make sure you have defined a Network Access Account, which is used to actually connect to System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012 distribution points. Configure the Network Access Account via the Administration workspace at Site Configuration, Sites, , Settings, Configure Site Components, Software Distribution. (See the screen shot below.) Select the Network Access Account tab and specify a domain account that can access SCCM.


Next make sure you have created your own package to deploy the SCCM client. The built-in ones don't actually work for OS capture or OS deploy (you'll get 80070002 errors) but would work for upgrading existing SCCM clients. To create your own package and program for the SCCM client deployment, do the following:

  1. Open the Software Library workspace.
  2. Open Application Management and select Packages.
  3. Select the Create Package from Definition action.
  4. Select the Configuration Manager Client Upgrade definition and click Next.
  5. For source files, select Always obtain source files from a source folder and click Next.
  6. For the source location, navigate to \\\SMS_\Client.
  7. Click Next to all other dialog boxes. You now have a new Configuration Manager Client Upgrade package that has one program and a version of 5.0. Make sure you use this in your OS capture and deployment task sequences.

Check all the PXE configurations as discussed in my earlier FAQ “ Q: Why isn’t the System Center Configuration Manager 2012 PXE boot working?” 

Create your own image to deploy using SCCM instead of just taking the Windows Imaging Format (WIM) file from the source folder of your OS media. You can use the install.wim from media—but when you deploy with SCCM, it will install to the D drive instead of the C drive. The easiest way to create your own WIM is in the Software Library workspace. Under Operating Systems, Operating System Installers, import the extracted ISO of your media. This needs to be the complete contents of the media.

After you import it, make sure you distribute it to a distribution point. Now create a task sequence of the Build and Capture type. Use the OS Installer you just imported, and the SCCM client package you created, and deploy to a collection containing your test PXE machine used to capture. Make sure you make the deployment not required and don't push to All Systems; create a special collection just for your PXE client.

If you have problems on the OS deployment, look at the smsts.log file on the client, which typically gives you a good indication of why it’s failing.

Need more FAQs about System Center? Maybe virtualization? Or other Windows issues? See John Savill's FAQs for Windows!

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