MEM or SCCM: Create Task Sequence media to run a hidden TS

Decorative title image of Microsoft SCCM logo on laptop with someone hiding behind it

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There are many great blog posts and tutorials that describe creating task sequence boot media to preselect a hidden task sequence or presenting a list of hidden TS when the boot media runs. Those approaches are excellent, but I was looking for something simpler. Additionally, I did not want to use prestart commands or modify my boot image (it is shared across the organization so we try to keep things as standardized and lean as possible).

I did not find much documentation that covers this simple approach, so I will outline below; I am hoping this helps someone in a similar situation (running Microsoft Endpoint Manager or SCCM 2012 R2).

This assumes you have already deployed your task sequence to a collection (I used all devices, including unknown devices) and made it available via Media and PXE as hidden.

Obtain the Deployment ID for your Task Sequence deployment

Like other approaches, this one depends on the Deployment ID of your TS deployment. Find this by selecting your task sequence (Software Library -> Operating Systems -> Task Sequences), clicking the deployments tab, and adding the column “Deployment ID” (right click the column headings and select “Deployment ID”):

Finding and displaying the deployment id for your TS

Take note (copy) the Deployment ID - this is used in the next step.

Add the SMSTSPreferredAdvertID variable during Boot Media creation

Create your task sequence boot media as usual, but on the “Customization” step, add a variable named SMSTSPreferredAdvertID. Use the “Do not display this option in the Configuration Manager console” option and specify the value as the Deployment ID you copied above.

Task Sequence customization step - specify the SMSTSPreferredAdvertID variable

Once done, your boot media will preselect your hidden TS (skipping the select task sequence step).