Package References in Task Sequences

MDT Location-based Deployments for Software Installation based on Gateway address is a fantastic way to perform region-specific installs. However, if you need to specify more criteria (for example; architecture for x86/x64 specific applications or machine type such as applications that should only be installed on laptops or desktops) then this is where MDT falls down and you have to build application installs into the OSD task sequences themselves.

This is fine, it’s very easy to add application installs into the task sequence and there’s very powerful logical conditions that can be built to perform all necessary filtering required. The problem is that all packages referenced anywhere in the task sequence need to be available on all Distribution Points for any location that wishes to use OSD.

Even if you have a WMI filter such as: SELECT ClientSiteName FROM Win32_NTDomain WHERE Description = ‘DOMAIN’ AND ClientSiteName LIKE ‘%AD_SITE_NAME%’, as this query is not performed until runtime when directly accessed from the running system, the package is still required on the DP before even being allowed to launch the TS.

It is therefore a necessity to ensure all referenced packages are available on all DPs, and this can be a challenge to keep up to date with, especially if there are frequent updates to packages, or modifications to the task sequence, or new sites being added. The easiest way I’ve found to keep on top of package references on all DPs is to use a query (which could be made into a report) which will show the number of distribution points that contain all referenced packages for a specified task sequence. This is shown below.

SELECT derPackageTbl.ReferencePackageID AS [Package ID], derPackageTbl.Name, COUNT(dbo.PkgStatus.ID) AS [DP Count]
FROM 
  (SELECT DISTINCT TOP (100) PERCENT tsr.ReferencePackageID,
‘[‘ + tsr.[ReferenceName] + ‘] ‘ + tsr.[ReferenceProgramName] +  ‘ [‘ + tsr.[ReferenceVersion] + ‘]’ AS [Name]
FROM dbo.v_TaskSequenceReferencesInfo AS tsr INNER JOIN
dbo.v_TaskSequencePackage AS tsp ON tsr.PackageID = tsp.PackageID
   WHERE (tsp.Name = ‘Task_Sequence_Name’)
   ORDER BY tsr.ReferencePackageID) AS derPackageTbl LEFT OUTER JOIN
dbo.PkgStatus ON derPackageTbl.ReferencePackageID = dbo.PkgStatus.ID
WHERE (dbo.PkgStatus.PkgServer NOT LIKE %display=%)
GROUP BY derPackageTbl.ReferencePackageID, derPackageTbl.Name

This generates output such as the following:

Package Reference Output

It is thereby evident that two packages are missing off one and two distribution points respectively. We would then go into that package and add the missing DPs.

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