Test Deployment

Using Remote Installation Services I deployed Windows XP SP2 onto my test machine, Dell Precision 390. Once the image was in place I installed the base load that all Lab computer must have available. This install comprises approximately 30 applications ranging from something as simple as RoboCopy.exe (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9d467a69-57ff-4ae7-96ee-b18c4790cffd&DisplayLang=en), to applications as complex as AutoCAD 2007(http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/home?siteID=123112&id=129446).

After completing the installation of all the software, I proceeded to clean the computer up, Empty Recycle Bin, Clear Document List, Clear Application List and Degragment the hard drive. I connected to the Remote Installation Share and ran the RIPrep.exe (http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/library/a6e23f3c-c982-49b4-940d-bd0fd54cd4201033.mspx?mfr=true), and with the exception of one error everything ran smoothly. I will need to reinstall the Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org/) software through a GPO.

I sucessfully connected two test machines, both Dell Precision 390’s and the imaging appears to be going smoothly, will have to test the images on Monday.

Putting this in to production there will be a few things to consider, first KU uses ANSR (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ansr) for all their DHCP needs. I need to find out if ANSR supports the PXE Extensions (http://www.3com.com/other/pdfs/infra/corpinfo/en_US/pxe.pdf) required for RIS to work properly. KU also uses BIND to handle all name registrations and I need to see if they comply with RFC’s 2052 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2025.txt), 2136 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2136.txt). Might possibly have to use a private network to deploy image to lab computers, perhaps a “mobile deployment station”.

Configuring Live Lab Environment

Live Lab

   1. Imaged Servers
   2. Configured Network Card Drivers
   3. Created soecs.lab domain
   4. Joined RIS to domain
   5. Installed RIS, and configured first Image (Windows XP)
   6. Connected Precision 390 to Lab

The Dell Precision 390 has the same Broadcom 57xx NIC as the OptiPlex 745 that I used for my Live Servers, so I followed the same instructions and added the appropriate files to the appropriate places, and modified all the correct files to make the NIC work. All that information is in the Virtual Lab Blog entry.

I have had little luck in the past getting the Precision 390 to do an unattended install due to the SATA drivers. After some digging online I came across this article (http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=pw_harddrive&message.id=1749&query.id=74107#M1749) , apparently there is a BIOS option for the SATA (http://www.intel.com/technology/serialata/) controller to switch it from AHCI (http://www.intel.com/technology/serialata/ahci.htm) mode to ATA mode. When the SATA controller is in AHCI mode a driver is required, and I have yet to figure out how Dell does that, as none of the available Dell drivers for this computer seem to accommodate an unattended installation. When the controller is in ATA mode no driver is required as ATA is fully supported in XP. In order for this to work properly all Dell Precision 390’s must be switched to ATA mode. I fully expect that when we move to Windows Vista we can switch back to AHCI mode.

The next test is to create the base SOECS image.

Configuring Virtual Lab Environment

Virtual Lab

Using existing Virtual Domain, added two additional VM’s using a custom script I built, one was a Windows Server 2003 VM that would become RIS and the other was a Windows XP VM that would be overwritten with the RIS image.

   1. Added DHCP Service to Domain and Authorized same
   2. Joined RIS server to Domain
   3. Installed RIS and configured first RIS image (Windows XP)
   4. Added second RIS image (Windows Server 2003)
         1. To be used to image the live servers
   5. Authorized RIS Server, rissetup.exe -check (http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/e4e14c1e-2f5e-4b8d-8dbd-7bcce1eecb011033.mspx?mfr=true)
   6. Rebooted RIS Server

The only issue I had was when I attempted to push the Windows XP Image out to the Windows XP VM, the media I chose to create the image was an upgrade, so the XP push failed, but I the client did connect to the RIS Server and pull down the GUI.

That was proof of concept enough for me, I decided to push the Windows Server 2003 Image down to the two Live Servers. We have a number of Dell OptiPlex 745’s in storage so I brought two to my office to be used as my Live Servers. The Live Servers are going to be a Domain Controller, and a RIS Server.

The first problem I came across was the OptiPlex 745 uses a Broadcom 57xx Network Card and the Windows Server 2003 Image didn’t have a suitable driver. So I needed to prepare the Windows Server 2003 Image with the appropriate drivers.

    * Get current driver for Dell OptiPlex 745 (http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/downloads/en/downloads_splash?c=us&l=en&s=gen&~mode=popup&file=175637)
    * Update the RIS Image to use the new driver (http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/4e41cc50-08ec-4f56-b75a-8519da43aeed1033.mspx?mfr=true)

While the drivers were now in the correct places I was still getting the message that there were no drivers suitable in the Image. So a search on the Dell Forums yielded a series of posts (http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=dim_other&message.id=295420&query.id=65493) that seemed to fit my problem. I followed the bold instructions halfway down the page to resolve the driver issue.

After that things seemed to move smoothly until right before the setup started I received a very ominous error message:

    File b57w2k.sys caused an unexpected error (21) at line 3903 in d:srv03rtmbasebootsetupsetup.c

I did a search on the first part of that error message that directed me to a blog post (http://www.markwilson.co.uk/blog/2005/01/problems-with-certain-nics-and-ris.htm) about installing Windows XP via RIS. Placing the Windows 2000 driver in the i386 folder on the RIS server did the trick, the installation went through without a hitch. The last problem I received was after the installation the computer didn’t list a network card, the drivers were apparently never used.

This got me to thinking about the lab computers we have currently, Dell Precision 390’s, I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to install our Windows XP VLK but get stuck when it attempts to detect the hard drive. The problem is the 390’s have a SATA drive, I need to check if there is a Windows 2000 driver for that, which may resolve the issue I was having earlier.