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How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager

Updated: November 1, 2012

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Use task sequences to automatically perform tasks in your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment. These tasks can deploy an operating system image to a destination computer, build and capture an operating system image from a set of operating system installation files, and capture and restore user state information.

Use the following sections to manage task sequences:

For information about how to plan your task sequence strategy, see Planning a Task Sequences Strategy in Configuration Manager.

ImportantImportant
When you create or edit a deployment task sequence that ends in WinPE, make sure that the last step in the task sequence restarts the destination computer to the full operating system of the destination computer so that the task sequence exits correctly. If the destination computer is not restarted in this scenario, the client cannot be managed by Configuration Manager.

Where Task Sequences are Located in the Configuration Manager Console

Task sequences are located in the Software Library workspace, from the Operating Systems node. Under the Operating Systems node are several nodes that contain the objects that you use to deploy operating systems. One of these is the Task Sequence node that contains all the task sequences that you can use to deploy operating systems. You can create a flat list of task sequence or you can create subfolders to manage or group task sequences. The Task Sequence node, including any subfolders that you create, is replicated throughout the Configuration Manager hierarchy.

How to Create Task Sequences

Create task sequences by using the Create Task Sequence Wizard. This wizard can create the following types of task sequences:

 

Task sequence type More information

Task sequences that install an existing image package

When you create this type of task sequence, the Create Task Sequence Wizard adds steps to the task sequence and then groups those steps into groups.

Task sequences that build and capture an operating system image

This type of task sequence is referred to as a build and capture task sequence. The build and capture task sequence is run on a reference computer where the task sequence creates an operating system image that is based on a set of operating system source files.

The operating system image can then be deployed by a deployment task sequence that includes the Apply Operating System Image step.

Custom task sequences that perform actions that are specific to your environment

When you create this type of task sequence, the Create Task Sequence Wizard does not add any steps to the task sequence. You must add steps to the task sequence after it is created.

Use the following procedures to create the different types of task sequences.

To create a task sequence that installs an existing image package
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Task Sequence to start the Create Task Sequence Wizard.

  4. On the Create a New Task Sequence page, click Install an existing Image package, and then click Next.

  5. On the Task Sequence Information page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Task sequence name: Specify a name that identifies the task sequence.

    • Description: Specify a description of the task that is performed by the task sequence.

    • Boot image: Specify the boot image that installs the operating system on the destination computer. The boot image contains a contain a version of Windows PE that is used to install the operating system, as well as any additional device drivers that are required.

      ImportantImportant
      The architecture of the boot image must be compatible with the hardware architecture of the destination computer.

  6. On the Install Windows page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Image package: Specify the package that contains the operating system image to install.

    • Image: If the operating system image package has multiple images, specify the index of the operating system image to install.

    • Partition and format the target computer installing the operating system: Specify whether you want the task sequence to partition and format the destination computer before the operating system is installed.

    • Product key: Specify the product key for the Windows operating system to install. You can specify encoded volume license keys and standard product keys. If you use a non-encoded product key, each group of 5 characters must be separated by a dash (-). For example: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

    • Server licensing mode: Specify that the server license is Per seat, Per server, or that no license is specified. If the server license is Per server, also specify the maximum number of server connections.

    • Specify how to handle the administrator account that is used when the operating system image is deployed.

      • Disable local administrator account: Specify whether the local administrator account is disabled when the operating system image is deployed.

      • Always use the same administrator password: Specify whether the same password is used for the local administrator account on all computers where the operating system image is deployed.

  7. On the Configure Network page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Join a workgroup: Specify whether to add the destination computer to a workgroup.

    • Join a domain: Specify whether to add the destination computer to a domain. In Domain, specify the name of the domain.

      ImportantImportant
      You can browse to locate domains in the local forest, but you must specify the domain name for a remote forest.

      You can also specify an organizational unit (OU). This is an optional setting that specifies the LDAP X.500-distinguished name of the OU in which to create the computer account if it does not already exist.

    • Account: Specify the user name and password for the account that has permissions to join the specified domain. For example: domain\user or %variable%.

      ImportantImportant
      You must enter the appropriate domain credentials if you plan to migrate either the domain settings or the workgroup settings.

  8. On the Install Configuration Manager page, specify the Configuration Manager client package to install on the destination computer, and then click Next.

  9. On the State Migration page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Capture user settings: Specify whether the task sequence captures the user state. For more information about how to capture and restore the user state, see How to Manage the User State in Configuration Manager.

      TipTip
      Two deployment scenarios where you might want to capture user state:

      • Side-by-side deployments where you want to migrate the user state from one computer to another computer.

      • Update deployments where you want to capture and restore the user state on the same computer.

    • Capture network settings: Specify whether the task sequence captures network settings from the destination computer. You can capture the membership of the domain or workgroup in addition to the network adapter settings.

    • Capture Microsoft Windows settings: Specify whether the task sequence captures Windows settings from the destination computer before the operating system image is installed. You can capture the computer name, registered user and organization name, and the time zone settings.

  10. On the Include Updates page, specify whether to install required software updates, all software updates, or no software updates, and then click Next. If you specify to install software updates, Configuration Manager installs only those software updates that are targeted to the collections that the destination computer is a member of.

  11. On the Install Applications page, specify the applications to install on the destination computer, and then click Next. If you specify multiple applications, you can also specify that the task sequence continues if the installation of a specific application fails.

  12. Complete the wizard.

To create a task sequence that builds and captures an operating system image
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Task Sequence to start the Create Task Sequence Wizard.

  4. On the Create a New Task Sequence page, select Build and capture a reference operating system image.

  5. On the Task Sequence Information page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Task sequence name: Specify a name that identifies the task sequence.

    • Description: Specify a description of the task that is performed by the task sequence, such as a description of the operating system that is created by the task sequence.

    • Boot image: Specify the boot image that installs the operating system image.

      ImportantImportant
      The architecture of the boot image must be compatible with the hardware architecture of the destination computer.

  6. On the Install Windows page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Package: Specify the Operating System Installers package that is referenced by the operating system image. This package contains the files that are required to install the operating system.

    • Edition: Specify the Windows edition for this package. If the Operating System Installers package contains multiple editions, you must select the appropriate edition for the Windows product code that is specified by the associated Product Key.

    • Product key: Specify the product key for the Windows operating system to install. You can specify encoded volume license keys and standard product keys. If you use a non-encoded product key, each group of 5 characters must be separated by a dash (-). For example: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

    • Server licensing mode: Specify that the server license is Per seat, Per server, or that no license is specified. If the server license is Per server, also specify the maximum number of server connections.

    • Specify how to handle the administrator account that is used when the operating system is deployed.

      • Disable local administrator account: Specify whether the local administrator account is disabled when the operating system is deployed.

      • Always use the same administrator password: Specify whether the same password is used for the local administrator account on all computers where the operating system is deployed.

  7. On the Configure Network page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Join a workgroup: Specify whether to add the destination computer to a workgroup when the operating system is deployed.

    • Join a domain: Specify whether to add the destination computer to a domain when the operating system is deployed. In Domain, specify the name of the domain.

      ImportantImportant
      You can browse to locate domains in the local forest, but you must specify the domain name for a remote forest.

      You can also specify an organizational unit (OU). This is an optional setting that specifies the LDAP X.500-distinguished name of the OU in which to create the computer account if it does not already exist.

    • Account: Specify the user name and password for the account that has permissions to join the specified domain. For example: domain\user or %variable%.

      ImportantImportant
      You must enter the appropriate domain credentials if you plan to migrate either the domain settings or the workgroup settings.

  8. On the Install Configuration Manager page, specify the Configuration Manager client package that contains the source files to install the Configuration Manager client, add any additional properties needed to install the client, and then click Next.

    For more information about properties that can be used to install a client, see About Client Installation Properties in Configuration Manager.

  9. On the Include Updates page, specify whether to install required software updates, all software updates, or no software updates, and then click Next. If you specify to install software updates, Configuration Manager installs only those software updates that are targeted to the collections that the destination computer is a member of.

  10. On the Install Applications page, specify the applications to install on the destination computer, and then click Next. If you specify multiple applications, you can also specify that the task sequence continues if the installation of a specific application fails.

  11. On the System Preparation page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Package: Specify the Configuration Manager package that contains the appropriate version of Sysprep to use to capture the reference computer settings.

      If the operating system version that you are running is Windows Vista or later, Sysprep is automatically installed on the computer and you do not have to specify a package. If the operating system version that you are running is Windows XP SP3 or Windows Server 2003 SP2, you must specify a package that contains the version of Sysprep and its support files that is appropriate for that operating system version. This package does not require a program. Configuration Manager uses the Sysprep files contained in the package.

  12. On the Images Properties page, specify the following settings for the operating system image, and then click Next.

    • Created by: Specify the name of the user who created the operating system image.

    • Version: Specify a user-defined version number that is associated with the operating system image.

    • Description: Specify a user-defined description of the operating system computer image.

  13. On the Capture Image page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Path: Specify a shared network folder where the output .WIM file is stored. This file contains the operating system image that is based on the settings that you specify by using this wizard. If you specify a folder that contains an existing .WIM file, the existing file is overwritten.

    • Use the following account to access the output folder: Specify the Windows account that has permissions to the network share where the image is stored. You must copy the image to the location that is specified.

  14. Complete the wizard.

To create a custom task sequence
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Task Sequence to start the Create Task Sequence Wizard.

  4. On the Create a New Task Sequence page, select Create a new custom task sequence.

  5. On the Task Sequence Information page, specify a name for the task sequence, a description of the task sequence, and an optional boot image for the task sequence to use, and then complete the wizard.

After you complete the Create Task Sequence Wizard, Configuration Manager adds the custom task sequence to the Task Sequences node. You can now edit this task sequence to add task sequence steps to it.

How to Edit a Task Sequence

You can modify a task sequence by adding or removing task sequence steps, adding or removing task sequence groups, or by changing the order of the steps. Use the following procedure to modify an existing task sequence.

ImportantImportant
When you edit a task sequence that was created by using the Create Task Sequence Wizard, the name of the step can be the action of the step or the type of the step. For example, you might see a step that has the name “Partition disk 0”, which is the action for a step of type Format and Partition Disk. All task sequence steps are documented by their type, not necessarily by the name of the step that is displayed in the Editor.

To edit a task sequence
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. In the Task Sequence list, select the task sequence that you want to edit.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Task Sequence group, click Edit, and then perform any of the following operations:

    • To add a task sequence step, click Add, select the type of the step, and then click the task sequence step that you want to add. For example, to add the Run Command Line step click Add, select General, and then click Run Command Line.

      For a list of all task sequence steps and their type, see the table that follows this procedure.

    • To add a group to the task sequence, click Add, and then click New Group. After you add a group you can then add steps to the group.

    • To change the order of the steps and groups in the task sequence, select the step or group that you want to re-order, and then use the Move Item Up or Move Item Down icons. You can move only one step or group at a time.

    • To remove a step or group, select the step or group and click Remove.

  5. Click OK to save the changes.

The following table lists the task sequence steps that you can add to a task sequence. For more information about a specific task sequence step, click the task sequence step in this table.

 

Task sequence step Type of step Supported operating system Description

Apply Data Image

Images

Windows PE only

Copies the data image to the specified destination partition.

Apply Driver Package

Drivers

Windows PE only

Downloads all the drivers in the driver package and installs them on the Windows operating system.

Apply Network Settings

Settings

Windows PE or standard operating system

Specifies the network or workgroup configuration information for the destination computer.

Apply Operating System Image

Images

Windows PE only

Installs an operating system on the destination computer.

Apply Windows Settings

Settings

Windows PE only

Configures the Windows settings for the destination computer.

Auto Apply Drivers

Drivers

Windows PE only

Matches and installs drivers as part of the operating system deployment.

Capture Network Settings

Settings

Standard operating system only

Captures Microsoft network settings from the computer that runs the task sequence.

Capture Operating System Image

Images

Windows PE only

Captures one or more images from a reference computer and store them in a WIM file on the specified network share.

Capture User State

User State

Windows PE or standard operating system (Windows PE only for offline deployments)

Uses the User State Migration Tool (USMT) to capture user state and settings from the computer that runs the task sequence.

Capture Windows Settings

Settings

Windows PE or standard operating system

Captures the Windows settings from the computer that runs the task sequence.

Connect To Network Folder

General

Windows PE or standard operating system

Creates a connection to a shared network folder.

Convert Disk to Dynamic

Disk

Windows PE or standard operating system

Converts a physical disk from a basic disk type to a dynamic disk type.

Disable BitLocker

Disk

Standard operating system only

Disables the BitLocker encryption on the current operating system drive, or on a specific drive.

Enable BitLocker

Disk

Standard operating system only

Enables BitLocker encryption on at least two partitions on the hard drive

Format and Partition Disk

Disk

Windows PE only

Formats and partitions a specified disk on a destination computer.

Install Application

General

Standard operating system only

Installs one or more applications on the destination computer.

Install Deployment Tools

Images

Standard operating system only

Installs the Configuration Manager package that contains the Sysprep deployment tools.

Install Package

General

Standard operating system only

install the one or more Configuration Manager software packages on the destination computer.

Install Software Updates

General

Standard operating system only

Installs software updates on the destination computer.

Join Domain or Workgroup

General

Standard operating system only

Adds the destination computer to a workgroup or domain.

Prepare ConfigMgr Client for Capture

Images

Standard operating system only

Uses the Configuration Manager client that is installed on the reference computer and prepares this client for capture as part of the imaging process.

Prepare Windows for Capture

Images

Standard operating system only

Specifies the Sysprep options to use to capture an operating system image on the reference computer.

Release State Store

User State

Standard operating system only

Notifies the state migration point that the capture or restore action is complete.

Request State Store

User State

Standard operating system or Windows PE (for offline deployments)

Request access to a state migration point during the capture or restoration of user state.

Restart Computer

General

Windows PE or standard operating system

Restarts the computer that runs the task sequence.

Restore User State

User State

Standard operating system only

Initiates the User State Migration Tool (USMT) to restore user state and settings to the destination computer.

Run Command Line

General

Windows PE or standard operating system

Runs the specified command line.

Set Task Sequence Variable

General

Windows PE or standard operating system

Sets the value of a variable to use with the task sequence.

Setup Windows and ConfigMgr

Images

Windows PE only

Performs the transition from Windows PE to the new operating system.

How to Distribute the Content that is Referenced by a Task Sequence

Before clients run a task sequence that references content, you must distribute that content to distribution points. At any time, you can select the task sequence and distribute its content to build a new list of reference packages for distribution. The content that is distributed is the content that is currently referenced by the task sequence and does not automatically include any changes made to the task sequence.

Use the following procedure to distribute the content that is referenced by a task sequence.

To distribute referenced content to distribution points
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. In the Task Sequence list, select the task sequence that you want to distribute.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Deployment group, click Distribute Content to start the Distribute Content Wizard.

  5. On the General page, verify that the correct task sequence is selected for distribution, and then click Next.

  6. On the Content page, verify the content to distribute, such as the boot image referenced by the task sequence, and then click Next.

  7. On the Content Destination page, specify the collections, distribution point, or destination point group where you want to distribute the task sequence contents, and then click Next.

    ImportantImportant
    If the task sequence that you selected references content that is already distributed to a specific distribution point, that distribution point is not listed by the wizard.

  8. Complete the wizard.

Starting in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, you can prestage the content in a task sequence. Configuration Manager creates a compressed, prestaged content file that contains the files, associated dependencies, and associated metadata for the content that you select. Then, you can then manually import the content at a site server, secondary site, or distribution point. For more information about how to prestage content files, see the Prestage Content section in the Operations and Maintenance for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

How to Deploy a Task Sequence

Use the following procedure to deploy a task sequence to the computers in a collection.

noteNote
The status messages for the task sequence deployment are displayed in the Message window on a primary site, but they are not displayed on a central administration site.

To deploy a task sequence
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. In the Task Sequence list, select the task sequence that you want to deploy.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Deployment group, click Deploy.

    noteNote
    If Deploy is not available, the task sequence has a reference that is not valid. Correct the reference and then try to deploy the task sequence again.

  5. On the General page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Task sequence: Specify the task sequence that you want to deploy. By default, this box displays the task sequence that you selected.

    • Collection: Specify the collection that contains the computers that will run the task sequence.

      ImportantImportant
      Do not deploy task sequences that install operating systems to inappropriate collections, such as the All Systems collection. Be sure that the collection that you select contains only those computers that you want to run the task sequence.

    • Comments (optional): Specify additional information that describes this deployment of the task sequence.

  6. On the Deployment Settings page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Purpose: From the drop-down list, choose one of the following options:

      • Available: If the task sequence is deployed to a user, the user sees the published task sequence in the Application Catalog and can request it on demand. If the task sequence is deployed to a device, the user will see it in the Software Center and can install it on demand.

      • Required: The task sequence is deployed automatically, according to the configured schedule. However, a user can track the task sequence deployment status (if it is not hidden) and install the task sequence before the deadline by using the Software Center.

    • For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

      Deploy automatically according to schedule whether or not a user is logged on: This option is not available when you deploy a task sequence.

      noteNote
      In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, this option is named Pre-deploy software to the user’s primary device.

    • Send wake-up packets: If the deployment purpose is set to Required and this option is selected, a wake-up packet will be sent to computers before the deployment is installed to wake the computer from sleep at the installation deadline time. Before you can use this option, computers and networks must be configured for Wake On LAN.

    • For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

      Allow clients on a metered Internet connection to download content after the installation deadline, which might incur additional costs: When you have a task sequence that installs an application but does not deploy an operating system, you can specify whether to allow clients to download content after an installation deadline when they use metered Internet connections. Internet providers sometimes charge by the amount of data that you send and receive when you are on a metered Internet connection.

      noteNote
      While using a metered Internet connection might work for task sequences that do not deploy an operating system, it is not supported.

    • Require administrator approval if users request this application: This option is not available when you deploy a task sequence.

    • Specify when to make this task sequence available. The available options are different depending on which version of Configuration Manager you are running.

      • Make available to boot media and PXE: For Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with no service pack only:

        Specify whether the task sequence can be run when you deploy an operating system by using boot media or PXE boot. When you select this option, the Download all content locally before starting task sequence on the Distribution points page is not available.

      • For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

        Make available to the following: Specify whether the task sequence is available to Configuration Manager clients, media, or PXE.

        ImportantImportant
        Use the Only media and PXE (hidden) setting for automated task sequence deployments. Select Allow unattended operating system deployment and set the SMSTSPreferredAdvertID variable as part of the media to have the computer automatically boot to the deployment with no user interaction. For more information about task sequence variables, see Task Sequence Built-in Variables in Configuration Manager

  7. On the Scheduling page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Schedule when this deployment will become available: Specify the date and time when the task sequence is available to run on the destination computer. When you select the UTC check box, this setting ensures that the task sequence is available for multiple destination computers at the same time rather than at different times, according to the local time on the destination computers.

      If the start time is earlier than the required time, the client downloads the task sequence at the start time that you specify.

    • Schedule when this deployment will expire: Specify the date and time when the task sequence expires on the destination computer. When you select the UTC check box, this setting ensures that the task sequence expires on multiple destination computers at the same time rather than at different times, according to the local time on the destination computers.

    • Assignment schedule: Specify when the required task sequence is run on the destination computer. You can add multiple schedules.

      You can specify the date and time when the schedule starts, whether the task sequence runs weekly, monthly, or on a custom interval, and if the task sequence runs after an event such as logging on or logging off the computer.

      noteNote
      If you schedule a start time for a required task sequence that is earlier than the date and time when the task sequence is available, the Configuration Manager client downloads the task sequence at the scheduled start time, even though the task sequence is available at an earlier time.

    • Rerun behavior: Specify when the task sequence is rerun. You can specify one of the following options.

      • Never rerun deployed program: The task sequence does not rerun on the client if the task sequence has been previously run on the client. The task sequence does not rerun even if it originally failed or if the task sequence files have been changed.

      • Always rerun program: The task sequence is always rerun on the client when the deployment is scheduled, even if the task sequence has successfully run previously. This setting is particularly useful when you use recurring deployments in which the task sequence is routinely updated.

        ImportantImportant
        Although this option is set by default, it has no affect until you assign a required deployment. Available deployments can always be rerun by a user.

      • Rerun if failed previous attempt: The task sequence is rerun when the deployment is scheduled only if the task sequence failed to run previously. This setting is particularly useful for required deployments so that they will automatically retry to run according to the assignment schedule if the last attempt to run was unsuccessful.

      • Rerun if succeeded on previous attempt: The task sequence is rerun only if it has previously run successfully on the client. This setting is useful when you use recurring deployments in which the task sequence is routinely updated, and each update requires that the previous update is installed successfully.

      noteNote
      Because a user can rerun an available task sequence deployment, make sure that before you deploy an available task sequence in a product environment, you carefully evaluate and test what happens if a user reruns the task sequence multiple times.

  8. On the User Experience page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Allow user to run the program independently of assignments: Specify whether the user is allowed to run a required task sequence independently from the deployment assignments.

    • Show Task Sequence progress: Specify whether the Configuration Manager client displays the progress of the task sequence.

    • Software installation: Specify whether the user is allowed to install software outside a configured maintenance windows after the scheduled time.

    • System restart (if required to complete the installation): Specify whether the user is allowed to restart the computer after a software installation outside a configured maintenance window after the assignment time.

    • Allow task sequence to run for client on the Internet: Specify whether the task sequence is allowed to run on an Internet-based client that Configuration Manager detects to be on the Internet. Operations that install software, such as an operating system, are not supported with this setting. Use this option only for generic script-based task sequences that perform operations in the standard operating system.

    • Embedded Devices: For Configuration Manager SP1 only. When you deploy task sequences to Windows Embedded devices that are write filter enabled, you can specify to install the task sequence on the temporary overlay and commit changes later, or commit the changes at the installation deadline or during a maintenance window. When you commit changes at the installation deadline or during a maintenance window, a restart is required and the changes persist on the device.

      noteNote
      When you deploy an application to a Windows Embedded device, make sure that the device is a member of a collection that has a configured maintenance window.

  9. On the Alerts page, specify the alert settings that you want for this task sequence deployment, and then click Next.

  10. On the Distribution Points page, specify the following information, and then click Next.

    • Deployment options: Specify one of the following options:

      noteNote
      When you use multicast to deploy an operating system the content must be downloaded to the destination computers either as it is needed or before the task sequence is run.

      • Specify that clients download content from the distribution point to the destination computer as it is needed by the task sequence.

      • Specify that clients download all the content from the distribution point to the destination computer before the task sequence is run. This option is not shown if you specified that the task sequence is available to PXE and boot media deployments (see the Deployment Settings page).

      • Specify that clients run the content from the distribution point. This option is available only when all packages associated with the task sequence is enabled to use a package share on the distribution point. To enable content to use a package share, see the Data Access tab in the Properties for each package.

    • When no local distribution point is available, use a remote distribution point: Specify whether clients can use distribution points that are on slow and unreliable networks to download the content that is required by the task sequence.

  11. Complete the wizard.

How to Export and Import Task Sequences

You can export and import task sequences with or without their related objects, such as such an operating system image, a boot image, a client agent package, a driver package, and applications that have dependencies.

Consider the following when you export and import task sequences.

  • Passwords that are stored in the task sequence are not exported. If you export and import a task sequence that contains passwords, you must edit the imported task sequence and specify any passwords again. Ensure that you specify passwords for Join Domain or Workgroup, map network drive, and Run Command Line actions.

  • As a best practice, when you have multiple primary sites, import task sequences at the central administration site.

Use the following procedures to export and import a task sequence.

To export task sequences
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. In the Task Sequence list, select the task sequences that you want to export. If you select more than one task sequence, they are stored in one export file.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Task Sequence group, click Export to start the Export Task Sequence Wizard.

  5. On the General page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • In the File box, specify the location and name of the export file. If you enter the file name directly, be sure to include the .zip extension to the file name. If you browse for the export file, the wizard automatically adds this file name extension.

    • Clear the Export all task sequence dependencies check box if you do not want to export task sequence dependencies. By default, the wizard scans for all the related objects and exports them with the task sequence. This includes any dependencies for applications.

    • Clear the Export all content for the selected task sequences and dependencies check box if you do not want to copy the content from the package source to the export location. If this check box is selected, the Import Task Sequence Wizard uses the import path as the new package source location.

    • In the Administrator comments box, add a description of the task sequences to export.

  6. Complete the wizard.

The wizard creates the following output files:

  • If you do not export content: a .zip file.

  • If you export content: a .zip file and a folder named export_files, where export is the name of the .zip file that contains the exported content.

If you include content when you export a task sequence, make sure that you copy the .zip file and the export_files folder, or your import will fail.

To import task sequences
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Import Task Sequence to start the Import Task Sequence Wizard.

  4. On the General page, specify the exported .zip file, and then click Next.

  5. On the File Content page, select the action that you require for each object that you import. This page shows all the objects that Configuration Manager will import.

    • If the object has never been imported, select Create New.

    • If the object has been previously imported, select one of the following actions:

      • Ignore Duplicate (default): This action does not import the object. Instead, the wizard links the existing object to the task sequence.

      • Overwrite: This action overwrites the existing object with the imported object. For applications, you can add a revision to update the existing application or create a new application.

  6. Complete the wizard.

After you import the task sequence, edit the task sequence to specify any passwords that were in the original task sequence. For security reasons, passwords are not exported.

How to Create Task Sequence Variables for Computers and Collections

You can define custom task sequence variables for computers and collections. Variables that are defined for a computer are referred to as per-computer task sequence variables. Variables defined for a collection are referred to as per-collection task sequence variables. If there is a conflict, per-computer variables take precedence over per-collection variables. This means that task sequence variables that are assigned to a specific computer automatically have a higher priority than variables that are assigned to the collection that contains the computer.

For example, if collection ABC has a variable assigned to it and computer XYZ, which is a member of collection ABC, has a variable with the same name assigned to it, the variable that is assigned to computer XYZ has higher priority than that of the variable that is assigned to collection ABC.

You can hide per-computer and per-collection variables so that they are not visible in logs or in the Configuration Manager console. If you no longer want these variables to be hidden, you must delete them and redefine them without selecting the option to hide them.

You can manage per-computer variables at a primary site or at a central administration site. Configuration Manager does not support more than 1,000 assigned variables for a computer.

WarningWarning
When you use per-collection variables for task sequences, consider the following:

  • Because changes to collections are always replicated throughout the hierarchy, any changes that you make to collection variables will apply to not just members of the current site but to all members of the collection throughout the hierarchy.

  • When you delete a collection, this action also deletes the task sequence variables that are configured for the collection.

Use the following procedures to create task sequence variables for a computer or collection.

To create task sequence variables for a computer
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, expand the collection that contains the computer that you want to add the variable to.

  3. Select the computer and click Properties.

  4. In the Properties dialog box, click the Variables tab.

  5. For each variable that you want to create, click the New icon in the <New> Variable dialog box and specify the name and the value of the task sequence variable. Clear the Do not display this value in the Configuration Manager console check box if you want to hide the variables so that they are not visible in logs or in the Configuration Manager console.

  6. After you have added all the variables to the computer, click OK.

To create task sequence variables for a collection
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, select the collection that you want to add the variable to and click Properties.

  3. In the Properties dialog box, click the Collection Variables tab.

  4. For each variable that you want to create, click the New icon In the <New> Variable dialog box and specify the name and the value of the task sequence variable. Clear the Do not display this value in the Configuration Manager console check box if you want to hide the variables so that they are not visible in logs or in the Configuration Manager console.

  5. Optionally, specify the priority for Configuration Manager to use when the task sequence variables are evaluated.

  6. After you have added all the variables to the collection, click OK.

Additional Actions to Manage Task Sequences

You can manage task sequences by using additional actions when you select the task sequence by using the following procedure.

To select a task sequence to manage
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  2. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  3. In the Task Sequence list, select the task sequence that you want to manage, and then select one of the available options.

Use the following table for more information about some of the additional actions to manage task sequences.

 

Action Description

Copy

Makes a copy of the selected task sequence. You might find this action useful when you want to create a new task sequence that is based on an existing task sequence.

When you make a copy of a task sequence in a folder, the copy is listed in that folder until you refresh the task sequence node. After the refresh, the copy appears in the root folder.

Disable

Disables the task sequence so that it cannot run on computers. Disabled task sequences can be deployed to computers, but computers do not run the task sequence until it is enabled.

Enable

Enables the task sequence so that it can be run. You do not need to redeploy a deployed task sequence after it is enabled.

Create Prestaged Content File

For System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

Starts the Create Prestaged Content File Wizard to prestage the task sequence content. For information about how to create a prestaged content file, see the Prestage Content section in the Operations and Maintenance for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

Move

Moves the selected task sequence to another folder.

Properties

Opens the Properties dialog box for the selected task sequence. Use this dialog box to change the behavior of the task sequence object. However, you cannot change the steps of the task sequence by using this dialog box.

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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