My embarrassment might save you some time – always check the basics and never assume!

Ok. When I really blow it, I always come clean and share my flub with my audience in the hopes that I might be able to save some of you some time. Today, I made the most rookie of mistakes that made it looks like I’ve been in the IT world for 20 days rather than close to 20 years. Here’s the scenario: I’m working with a client to deploy both System Center Configuration Manager 2012 and Operations Manager 2012 for their 6,000 seat environment.

I’m working on the SCCM part and deploying the client, but a few clients are stubbornly refusing to install. These are all servers — we’re bringing the 250+ server environment into SCCM and SCOM and then moving on to bring desktops into the SCCM environment. But, as I attempted to deploy the SCCM client to just certain Windows Server 2003 servers, the process is failing with multiple errors in the ccm.log file. Ultimately, it boils down to “system error 53” which basically means that the SCCM Windows server simply can’t see the remote machine through NetBIOS, although I can ping the remote machine just fine. The problem seemed to affect just random machines.

I spent quite a lot of time on this issue and read probably a dozen or more postings in various forums. Every one of them mentioned a few basic things that should be looked at, including ensuring the the 2003 servers had file and printer sharing enabled. I made the ultimate rookie mistake and made an assumption that this was enabled.

I was wrong.

On a number of servers, file and printer sharing was disabled, which prevented the SCCM server from connecting to the administrative share and deploying the client. Once I enabled file and printer sharing, the client installed perfectly.

I certainly felt like a fool! I made an assumption that cost a couple hours of time. The lesson: Don’t assume that the basics are covered. Validate the basics before moving on to more advanced troubleshooting.

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