Configuration Manager 2012: Offline Servicing for Operating System Images

In previous posts we have discussed changes to PXE and the Distribution Point, as well as new ways to manage and monitor content in your Configuration Manager environment. Now let’s discuss a feature to simply administration and reduce the total deployment time of your operating system images.

In Configuration Manager 2012 there is a new feature for applying updates to operating system images while they are in the Configuration Manager library. This means any operating system image you see in the Operating Systems > Operating Systems Images node from the Software Library wunderbar can be updated with Component Based Servicing (CBS) updates. By updating an image in the Software Library instead of performing a new build and capture of the operating system image you will gain a few distinct advantages. You will be able to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities during operating system deployments and reduce the overall operating system deployment to the end user. You will also reduce the administrative effort to maintain your operating system images.

The feature is applicable for Component Based Servicing (CBS) updates and for the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 and later
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 and later
  • Microsoft Windows 7 RTM
  • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2

*At the launch of ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2 Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 are not supported. They will be supported with Configuration Manager 2012 RTM.

So let’s discuss how the feature works. As mentioned previously, offline servicing is available for CBS updates. This will work in coordination with the Configuration Manager Software Updates Point role.

Here are a couple steps to do before we start.

  1. Configure the Software Update Point
  2. Deploy updates to you Configuration Manager 2012 clients

Once the first two steps are completed, we can service operating system images in your Configuration Manager library.

  1. From the Software Library Wonderbar, select Operating System > Operating System Images

  2. Select an image you would like to update. This needs to meet the supported platforms listed above.

  3. Select an image then click Schedule Updates from the ribbon. The Update Operating System Image wizard will appear. A list of updates will be presented. The list contains updates meeting the following criteria:

    • The updates are CBS updates
    • The updates have been deployed in your Configuration Manager environment. (This helps limit the selection of updates to those that have been deployed/tested in your enterprise).
    • The updates have not successfully been deployed to your image file through the offline servicing feature
  4. These updates are then filtered to match the architecture of the image file.


    (Illustrated above; The schedule updates wizard presenting updates for a .wim file)

  5. Select the updates you would like to apply to the image.

  6. Next set a time for the servicing to occur. Servicing occurs on the site server, so you may want to schedule this off hours.

So now we have set our servicing schedule. Let’s go through the servicing process.

  1. When the schedule time occurs for the updating the .wim file, the site server will wake ups.

  2. The site server copies the .wim file from the package source and the appropriate updates from the content library to a temp folder.

  3. The site server will mount the .wim file in the temp folder.

  4. Through the use of DISM the selected updates are applied to the .wim file. The updates will be applied to all applicable images in the .wim file.

  5. Upon success, the wim is restored to the package source location. The original copy of the .wim file preserved as a backup copy to help you easy revert if an update causes any issues. Configuration Manager only retains one back up copy. So the previous back up copy will be removed if it exists.

  6. After the process is completed, the update status can be viewed from within the console. In the event of a failure, you will see which updates could not be successfully applied to the .wim file. Additionally, a historical view of the updates can be seen from the image property page.


    (Illustrated above; A successful update to a .wim file in the ConfigMgr Software Library. Notice the Update Status tab showing the updates that were processed during the last task.)


    (Illustrated above; properties page of an image in the Software Library. All updates that have been successfully installed can be viewed here.)

  7. After the servicing is complete, you will need to still perform an “Update Distribution Point” action on the image. This will ensure the newly updated image is updated and available on assigned distribution points in your ConfigMgr infrastructure.

Troubleshooting Note: OfflineServicingMgr.log – New log introduced for the offline servicing feature.

That was the overview of our new feature for updating operating system images in the Software Library. We will continue the walk through of Configuration Manager 2012 next week.

John Vintzel
Microsoft Corporation| Sr. Program Manager | System Center Configuration Manager | twitter: jvintzel

The blog is own by some members of the System Center Configuration Manager product team. These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights.

Additional Configuration Manager 2012 Information:

  • Introduction to Configuration Manager 2012 - link
  • What’s New in Configuration Manager 2012 - link
  • Fundamentals of Configuration Manager 2012 - link

EDIT: Updated old references