Along my years as a consultant. I have made several attempts at tracking changes in ConfigMgr Task Sequences. The obvious one being a note block and pen. Then, OneNote came along… Yes, I was taking notes before OneNote was born, Yes I’m aging. Thank you for that thought.

In the end, there is one method that stuck with me as useful and consistent throughout versions of Configuration Manager. I’ve had my colleagues and customers asking me about it and adopting it in their ways of maintaining Task Sequences. So I wanted to share it with you as well.

I have meant to document this method for a long time. I am now finally getting this done in light of the MMS Tips & Tricks session on October 21st, 2020. Go check out the previous sessions on YouTube! There’s a lot of invaluable time and effort saving tips for all you CM admins out there. This has been the 3rd installment of MMS Tips & Tricks and my second tip submission. You can share a tip as well and be in the running for a very cool prize. Be sure to check it out!

So here’s an example of a simple OSD Task Sequence where we deploy Windows 10 1903 with BitLocker enabled. Not exactly life altering.

So then comes a time where we want to deploy Windows 10 1909 for which we reuse the same Task Sequence. All we change is the OS image and the unattended setup file.

I like to indicate the incremented OS version by a [>] mark. Or any software or script or configuration, for which the version has incremented. Of course, you can do the same to decrement versions, for which I would suggest a [<] mark. I bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Let’s crank it up a notch. What else can change from one Task Sequence version to another? Here’s a list of marks I like to use.
Note: TS is short for Task Sequence

MarkDefinition
+This step or group was added since previous TS version.
This was disabled since last version. (I don’t remove steps until version n+2 for sake of documentation.)
!Needs attention/review.
?Needs discussion.
<Version decrement.
>Version increment.
^Step has been moved up in the sequence.
vStep has been moved down in the sequence. (That’s a ‘v’ as I try not to use special characters in the TS.)
*Something was modified in this step. Read the description for details on what’s changed.

You could add your own or change them to your preference. And you can mix them up and use them like this:

[*>] in this case would indicate that a newer version OS is installed, but there’s also been a change in the settings.

And here’s how all that comes together…

One last advice on this: try not to go nuts on this. That last sample sequence I included is just for the sake of implementing a lot of different marks. I probably wouldn’t want that many changes in one particular version of a sequence.

Whatever you do with it, make sure to document what it all means. You want someone else to still be able to understand what you’ve done. Remember, the whole intent here is to make your sys admin life easier!

I hope you found this useful.
Take care.

Merlijn

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