Get the latest* SCEP 2012 R2 client easily without updating SCCM

[Updated 2015-03-03]

If you need to get hold of the latest System Center Endpoint Protection 2012 R2 client installer, normally you’d have to download the original installer from the Volume Licensing Center and install from that, then update using the latest cumulative update for SCCM – on your SCCM server – which is really annoying. However there’s a cheeky back-door method that I’ve found. It’s publicly available and I’ve read nothing that says you shouldn’t do it this way.

If you have SCEP installed already, then as of 3rd Feb 2015 when you do a Microsoft Update it will be updated to version – and luckily the installer will be left behind in your SoftwareDistribution folder. Just go here on your updated PC as soon as it finishes installing: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download\Install and there you should find the scepinstall.exe installer waiting for you.
If for some reason it’s not there all you need to do is look in your C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log file for scepinstall and you’ll find a line in the log where the update system downloaded the install from. It should look like this:

Much easier than it used to be, but still not as easy as it should be.

Here’s the old and much harder way if you’re a bit of a masochist and don’t want the newest version(!):

Basically the answer was to get the March 2014 anti-malware platform update from its KB article and keep extracting its nested contents until you get to the scepinstall.exe file.

Here’s a list of the steps we’ll go through:

  1. Download the ConfigMgrV5 component of KB2952678
  2. Extract the hotfix by double-clicking
  3. Extract the hotfix contents using /extract
  4. Extract the msi using msiexec /a cm12-sp1cu4-qfe-kb2952678-x64-enu.msi TARGETDIR=<path>
  5. Copy and use the scepinstall.exe file

And here’s the detail:

First the latest version of the client as of this post is – and Microsoft are providing an updater for that on Microsoft Update. Unfortunately the updater is purely that, an updater, and does not include all the installation bits we need. However if you go to the KB article for this updater (KB2952678) then we can find a “Hotfix Download Available” button.

Click to get the Hotfix and choose only the item named ConfigMgrV5 with a fix name of ConfigMgr_2012_SP1_CU4_KB2952678_ENU. Do the usual and give it your email address and fill in the captcha. You’ll then get a link to get the update from. To save visitors time the url you’ll get follows:

We now need to extract this 3 times to get to what we want!

Run the .exe file to extract its contents somewhere. You’ll end up with a 26MB file called CM12-SP1CU4-QFE-KB2952678-X64-ENU.exe – we now need to extract this too. Run this in an admin command-prompt using the /extract switch, eg.:

CM12-SP1CU4-QFE-KB2952678-X64-ENU.exe /extract

You’ll be prompted for a place to put it, give the extracter an empty folder somewhere. Now you have a folder with the contents of this supposed ‘hotfix’. The magic we are looking for is buried inside the .msi file that’ll be in the root of the folder… cm12-sp1cu4-qfe-kb2952678-x64-enu.msi

Finally, we have to extract this msi. You might be able to use a universal extract to explode it, but it’s easier to just turn it into an administrative installation point, thusly, from an admin command-prompt:

msiexec /a cm12-sp1cu4-qfe-kb2952678-x64-enu.msi TARGETDIR="<full path to an existing empty folder>"

So, now you have an administrative installation point for the hotfix… and if we have a look inside we see the final target, scepinstall.exe

It’ll have the version we want ( and can be used on 32-bit and 64-bit machine types. Copy that somewhere then tidy up all the bits we had to extract to get to it and you’re done.

Hope that helps.

* Of course this was the latest version available as of the date of this post, so there might be a newer update out there when you read this – it’s up to you to find it and apply this method.

Long startup and logon delays with a shared Windows 7 desktop

I’m writing with reference to a colleague’s blog post where he has found a very useful fix for a very annoying start up and log-on delay issue in Windows 7 SP1. Here’s his post, worth a read:

We were finding that computers in shared areas which had been logged on by many users (i.e. 50+ user profiles) were experiencing massive delays starting up and logging on. Until he found the fix the only solution was to leave the computers on all the time, or get them to start up really early in the morning.

One fix we tried was removing all the user profiles from the computers, and this only worked some of the time. Then my colleague found the right hot-fix and all of a sudden our startup and logon times dropped back to a few minutes. Big relief!

Here’s the relevant hotfix:

See the blog entry (linked above) for a detailed explanation.