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HII Tools Quick Start

Created: 13 Nov 2007 • Updated: 07 Jul 2009 | 33 comments
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CondorMan's picture
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HII Tools version 3.2.0 makes it easier than ever to start deploying Hardware Independent Images with Deployment Server.

There are 3 simple steps to get started using HII Tools.
(Get all 3 here!)

  1. Collect Target Analyzer (ta.exe and tap.exe)
  2. Create jobs
  3. Capture Drivers, Create HII, and Distribute HII

You can follow the steps in this document on the Deployment Server or on any workstation with the Deployment Console and .Net Framework 2.0 installed.

Step 1: Collect Target Analyzer (ta.exe and tap.exe)

This product from Microsoft analyzes a system to determine what devices are on the target system, as well as what HAL is required. It produces a file that is parsed by the HIITools utility called "DriverPrep" to collect appropriate drivers for the target system. There are actually 2 versions: TA which runs in DOS and TAP which will run under WinPE if your deployment uses that method. The following is one way to collect these files:

  1. Download Windows XP Embedded SP2 Evaluation Edition.
  2. Install Windows XP Embedded Tools. When you launch the file XPEFFI.EXE, you will be prompted with 4 installation options. Select only the first option as indicated (by default, all will be selected, and you should deselect the other 3)

    If desired, change the Download Location, then click Start Download Now to begin the download.

  3. When complete, after a couple more prompts, the installer for Windows XP Embedded will be launched. You should select only the Tools Setup as indicated:
  4. Follow the prompts as usual to install the tools. When prompted for a license file, you should open a file called "Productkey.txt" from C:\Program Files\Windows Embedded\Installer\DISK1 (unless a different install location was chosen). Manually enter the key shown there. A Typical Installation using all defaults is sufficient for this purpose.
  5. Once this is complete, you will find the files TA.EXE and TAP.EXE in the following location: C:\Program Files\Windows Embedded\utilities. This will be different if you chose a different source location for the installation of course. Copy only these files to: <DS Install>\HII

Step 2: Create jobs to Capture Drivers, Create HII, and Distribute HII

Version 3.2.0 of HIITools introduces the HIIJobWizard which makes HII Job creation a breeze. From the Deployment Console, select Tools > HII Tools > HII Job Wizard. Choose the type of job you would like to create, and click Next. Then fill out all the information to customize the job to your needs and click Finish. Run through the wizard for each job you want to create.

Step 3: Capture Drivers, Create HII, and Distribute HII

At this time, all of the preparation is complete and it is time to actually perform the 3 imaging processes.

Capture Drivers:

The first step is to actually capture the drivers for the various hardware types you own. You will need to run this job on one of every model computer you intend on imaging. This step must be run on machines that are a member of the same domain as the DS, or an error will be generated. Each time it is run, drivers will be captured for each device and then sorted for later use.

Create (capture) a base Image:

Once you have collected the various drivers necessary, it's time to actually create an image by assigning the "Create Hardware Independent Image" job to a representative computer. More information on how to create your base image can be found in Best Practices.

For Windows XP and 2003 images, you will need to re-create the image every time you add (or collect) Mass Storage Drivers into your Driver Library in order to support the new drivers. Windows Vista does not have this limitation.

Distribute the Image:

Finally, you are prepared for deployment. All you have to do is configure computers to receive the "Distribute Hardware Independent Image" job. You may want to consider using things like Initial Deployment for this. More information on how to distribute images can be found in Best Practices.

Troubleshooting: Collect Drivers - Flow Diagram

HII Tools has made the process of collecting drivers as simple as possible with one tool (DriverCollect.exe) that runs in two modes: DriverCollect and DriverSort. The default is to use the job in DS to collect drivers from existing systems, but there is a manual method as well. The overall process looks like this:

  1. Automatic Process using the Collect Drivers for Hardware Independent Imaging job.
    1. DriverCollect gathers drivers from the target system into a folder under Temp named the ID of the target system.
    2. DriverSort then move those drivers into their destination folders to be used later by DriverPrep.
  2. If DriverCollect either does not work, or is not a viable option (i.e. new systems with no OS and/or no AClient), the drivers can be added manually.
    1. Download the drivers from vendor sites and extract them to "HII\<OS>\Manual Driver Sort".
      The driver files must be in the root of this directory, no subdirectories.
      Make sure the files you place in this directory are the driver files for the right OS.
    2. DriverSort.bat can then be run to automatically sort the drivers you downloaded into the appropriate folders for use by DriverPrep.

Troubleshooting: Distribute Drivers - Flow Diagram

During the Distribute Disk Image job, to make the image "hardware independent", we run a number of steps AFTER the image is deployed.

  1. Target Analyzer (TA/TAP) is run to determine the hardware required. This creates the PMQ file.
  2. DriverPrep is run against this PMQ file and pulls the necessary files you collected earlier from the folder structure to a temp folder under the computer ID.
  3. FIRM is then used to copy all the necessary drivers to the newly installed image prior to running Windows for the first time.

Glossary of Terms and Products

HIITools - Hardware Independent Imaging Tools. This refers to all tools discussed in this guide.

Sysprep - Microsoft tool for reconfiguring a system for first-time use, or Preparing a System. It clears numerous registry values, prompts a run of the MiniSetup wizard (that is included in all MS OS's) and if given certain files, will auto-configure a system with certain settings including things like Timezone and others.

Sysprep.inf - Configuration file used with Sysprep.

DriverCollect.exe - Tool to collect device drivers from a representative system for later use on new systems. This tool simply collects all drivers from the system and sends them to the Deployment Server into a temporary location in the eXpress share\Temp\DriverCollect\%ID%\. The files only remain in this location long enough for DriverSort to run.

DriverSort.exe - Tool to sort collected device drivers into appropriate locations on the Deployment Server for use in Hardware Independent Imaging. It looks through all the drivers collected by DriverCollect and sorts them into folders based on their specific ID number. Any duplicates are discarded, but different versions of the same driver are kept.

System Restore - This is a function of many of the newer MS OS's to keep snapshots of the OS at certain stages of its progress. It is very useful to be able to roll-back to a previous state, but it takes up a lot of un-necessary disk-space when capturing images. You may want to disable this and delete the snapshots before capturing an image.

TA / TAP - Microsoft tools "Target Analyzer" that capture all the hardware devices and hardware information on a system. The tool creates a file that is sent to the DS in a temporary location which is then parsed by DriverPrep to collect the appropriate device driver files that will be sent down with Sysprep on a newly imaged system. TA is the DOS version, and TAP is the WinPE version of the tool.

DriverPrep - This tool sorts through the PMQ file that Target Analyzer created, and based on the hardware present, collects all necessary drivers and HAL files into a temp folder to be copied to the client system under \Sysprep\Drivers\<OS_Version>\Temp\%ID%.

HAL - Hardware Abstraction Layer. This is the set of files in an OS that "isolates" the hardware from the operating system. It is designed to make all hardware look the same to the core OS files so that changes in the OS do not have to directly understand the individual hardware types. Common portions of this include management of PCI, Drive types (i.e. SCSI vs IDE) and BIOS interaction. If the HAL installed is incorrect, the OS generally will not run.

Comments 33 CommentsJump to latest comment

jrobbins's picture

Where is the download for this particular version of HII Tools?

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CondorMan's picture

You can get the latest version of HII Tools here.

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i2professional@yahoo.com's picture

can you please update the link; it is not working

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CondorMan's picture

If you will be working with Vista, you will need to run through steps 1 and 2 of the article: Install Drivers and Packages to Vista in WinPE during step 2 of this article.

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erikw's picture

Condorman, this is a very great addition to the Juice.
The installation is very easy. Configuration is easy. Only the step to create the sysprep.inf, and the step for hardware driver collect ar not added while they are still mentioned in the discription.
But it works, and that is the best part and should be the goal.
Thanxssss

Regards
Erik
www.svs4u.nl

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

*************************************************************
If your issue has been solved, Please mark it as solved
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BIvey's picture

Well put together article. I cant wait to try.

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Andrew Souter's picture

Are these HII tools 3rd party tools like the Altrinsic products?

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Andrew Souter's picture

For the process of capturing drivers, the documentation states that your client should be a member of the domain. i though it was always best practise to build your clean image on a workgroup before capturing the image??

anyone care to comment?

A

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CondorMan's picture

If you specify a user account without a domain, it will use a local use account. You just need to make sure that local account with the same password exists on all your clients as well as the Deployment Server.

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Andrew Souter's picture

one area to remember when using the HII tool.

When capturing the drivers with the "driver collect" job, make sure that you have dot net 2.0 installed on your client otherwise you will get an error during the script execution.

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whiskyconorujo's picture

Hi,

I'm having problems installing hii tools. When it asks me the installation dir of Windows xp sp2 (the one i want to create the images) i specify the cd, copied the cd to the hd, but it says me --> "Invalid directory specified. "Please choose a valid directory"
Any help will be very useful.

Thanks you.

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farbeyond's picture

Hi,

Thanks for the great tutorial. DrivePrep ran fine but one thing, it created a bunch of folders under here:-

C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\HII\Drivers

-120337876
456511037
etc..

How do I now sort these in to the correct hardware folder?

Cheers.

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namiradaki's picture

Hey Farbeyond,

I'm having the same problem as yourself.
The Drive Prep task runs 100% successfully.

After running one driver capture job on a XP machine I get a directory listing in (C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\HII\Drivers)of 61 folders containing:
-155453326
-168883224
etc....
HAL
MSD

Can anyone shed some light on the matter?

When installing HII, I only selected XP SP2. Could this be the reason that it dumps all drivers in the root of the drivers dir rather than splitting by OS type? If I installed multiple OS support would HII create an OS directory Structure for each OS selected.

Regards
Nick

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farbeyond's picture

Hi Nick,

I'm working on trying to resolve this problem. Or perhaps a better understanding would be a better way to describe it. Perhaps someone could update the documentation that comes with this as it appears to differ from what's actually contained in the HII tools set.

Also, does anyone know if Altiris are working on a V4 of the HII guide? In fact, I can't even find v4 on www.altiris.com anymore. Has it been removed?

Thanks.

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b.m.j.menting's picture

Hi all. I'm getting a faillure on a WinXPSP2 and on the Deployment server when installing the HII Tools. The message is Deployment server 6.8 not found.

We have 3 different servers:
1 server for SQL
1 server fot the DS
1 Filer for the Deployment share

I would like this tool to use but I really don't know where to put the files and register these....

All help is Welcome!

Thx Ben

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LyleS's picture

I am also having the same problem as b.m.j.menting,
We are running DS 6.8SP1 and when i try to install the HII tools for 6.8 I get the same error message.

Using some other tips I found on these forums, I was able to get the HII tools for 6.5 installed but would like to use the more current version.

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CondorMan's picture

The installer checks the registry values "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Altiris\eXpress\Version" and "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Altiris\Altiris eXpress\DataStorePath" to ensure that they are "6.8" and a valid directory. Please verify that these do exist and are correct.

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CondorMan's picture

The image in the quick start guide is from an old version of the HII Tools and is outdated. I will see about updating it. The latest versions of HII Tools store the OS information in the database. In that way, a driver that is compatible with multiple OS will only be referenced in one location on your hard drive saving disk space and making updating drivers easier.

In addition, you can run driver collect against a Windows XP computer and HII Tools is smart enough to know if the drivers you collected are compatible with Windows 2003 and it will use them during Windows 2003 deployment if they are compatible.

There is a problem with the way version 3.2.0 presents the drivers to the destination OS. I have discovered how to modify the DevicePath for Windows before the windows setup runs on the destination computer. This greatly improves the flexibility of the product. I will be posting version 3.2.1 today. Make sure you install that version as soon as possible to avoid any problems deploying your images.

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bmooney2008's picture

do you have an ETA on when the updated version will be on the site?

Thank you.

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rstaats's picture

Can't find it anywhere, and it's not a part of the HII Tools installer from Altiris. *shrug* Help?

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CondorMan's picture

DriverSort.exe does not exist anymore, it has been replaced by DriverCollect.exe. If you use the HII Job Wizard, it will create a collect drivers job for you that calls DriverCollect with all the correct options.

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bmooney2008's picture

When trying to run the job to create a hardware independent image it fails on "Copy File to" It returns the error "The folder has no files in it to copy."

The path of the folder is:
%altiris share%\eXpress\temp\HII\2000757S\Drivers

I am able to collect drivers perfectly. It appears that they are not being sorted correctly?

When collecting the drivers does it put it in the
temp\HII folder or the HII\Drivers folder?

Where does it pull them from after this?

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CondorMan's picture

Here is what happens when collecting drivers:
1. The drivers are gathered from the client computer into the Temp\HII folder.
2. The server then reads the drivers in the Temp\HII folder and sorts them into the HII\Drivers folder using numbered subdirectories to identify the drivers.

Here is what happens when creating the image:
1. The server gathers all the mass storage drivers for the OS you are imaging into Temp\HII\[ComputerID]S\Drivers
2. The files are copied from Temp\HII\[ComputerID]S\Drivers to the computer being imaged.
3. Sysprep is run and an image created.

So, first you will need to make sure that there are drivers in the folder "Temp\HII\[ComputerID]S\Drivers"
Second, make sure that the path of the source folder in the copy task is .\Temp\HII\[ComputerID]S\Drivers

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sfaucher's picture

The "Prepare Storage Drivers" task in the Create HII job does not do what you outlined in this release. It instead has a hardcoded 'ID' (2002084) and the -dst for DriverPrep.exe is .\Temp\HII\2002084S\ not .\Temp\HII\%ID%S\Drivers.

Here's what I believe this task should look like:

REM Prepare Storage Drivers

REM Delete the old Temporary Storage Drivers if they exist
RMDIR /S /Q .\Temp\HII\%ID%S

REM Create temp directories
MKDIR .\Temp\HII\%ID%S\Drivers

REM Create OS Version file
echo.NT%PROCTYPE%.%#*"SELECT SUBSTRING(os, CHARINDEX('.', os) - 1, 3) FROM computer WHERE computer_id = %ID%"%>.\Temp\HII\%ID%.osv
echo.%#*"SELECT 'SP' + SUBSTRING(os, CHARINDEX('Service Pack', os) + 13, 1) FROM computer WHERE computer_id = %ID% AND CHARINDEX('Service Pack', os) > 0"%>>.\Temp\HII\%ID%.osv

REM Prepare Mass Storage Drivers
.\HII\DriverPrep.exe -src:.\HII\Drivers -dst:.\Temp\HII\%ID%S\Drivers -ver:.\Temp\HII\%ID%.osv -msd:C:\Drivers > .\HII\Logs\%ID%S.log

Shawn Faucher | Senior Technology Analyst

Armstrong Teasdale LLP
 

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biosphere's picture

1. Any idea when languages other than English will be supported? I managed to get around this by using the GetHal-util, but would feel more comfortable with the tool if multilanguage was natively supported.

2. After installing HII Tools (and selecting Windows XP SP2 x86 in the setup routine), no operating systems or product keys are available for selection in the HII Job Wizard -> Create a hardware independent image, after entering the path to the disk image.

3. Any idea when a DS 6.9-compatible version will be released?

4. Has anyone tried using DriverPacks from www.driverpacks.net in conjunction with HII Tools?

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acurler's picture

Hi There - I was reading your message regarding the HII Tools and was wondering if you received an answer for your question below. I am having the same issue.

Thanks,
Ann

[quote=biosphere]
2. After installing HII Tools (and selecting Windows XP SP2 x86 in the setup routine), no operating systems or product keys are available for selection in the HII Job Wizard -> Create a hardware independent image, after entering the path to the disk image.[/quote]

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CondorMan's picture

In the Deployment Server Console, go to "Tools>Options>Global>Sysprep Settings" and add them there.

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songs's picture

First, thanks for creating a great tool!

Does anyone know if there are any potential side-affects in copying the captured driver directories (numbered directories) from the source DS server to another DS server?

TIA

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CondorMan's picture

It was designed so that the Driver ID would be identified the same on both servers. That way you could copy the Driver Directories from one server to another and then simply run the "Update Driver Database.bat" file to update the database with the newly added drivers.

However, I have seen the Driver ID identified differently from one server to another if the .net version is slightly different.

Try placing one driver folder in the "Manual Driver Sort" folder of the second DS and run the "Manual Driver Sort.bat" file to add it to the new Driver Library, then compare the ID it was given in the new Driver Library to the old ID. If they are the same, then you will have no problem. If they are different, then you will need to copy all drivers into the "Manual Driver Sort" folder and import them into the new Driver library the slow way.

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songs's picture

After successfully capturing drivers for a specific device, I then ran the distribute HII image job but noticed that the DriverPrep script in the job is not copying any drivers from .\HII\Drivers to .\Temp\HII\%ID%D\Drivers. The HII log show that token replacement for the ID is correct.

As a side note, there is a FIRM deprecation error during a "Copy Drivers and HAL" script that follows the DriverPrep task.

Again, I just captured the drivers for the device but for some reason DriverPrep is not finding / copying the drivers as expected to the temp area. Note that the correct OSV and PMQ files are in .\Temp\HII directory.

Any hints to assist / fix?

Thanks

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CondorMan's picture

Please e-mail the %ID%D.log file to hiitools@gmail.com and I will see if I can find why it is failing to copy the drivers.

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lscott's picture

Did anyone else get the 'Error 1 during script execution' when running the 'Create Hardware Independent Image' job?

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sebastiaan's picture

If these decisions were up to me, i'd put HII in DS by default, fully prepared and Vista capable.

Working around these issues (manual labor) it's a great product, though.

Regards,
Sebastiaan

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