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How to Deploy Ghost Images on Small Branch Offices Without Deployment Site Server Components

Created: 15 Oct 2013 • Updated: 15 Oct 2013 | 2 comments
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Marcello D'Angelone's picture
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In this article I will illustrate the steps to deploy ghost images on small branch offices without implementing Deployment Site Server components.

This "how to" includes 4 steps I recommended in one scenario with the following requirements:

  1. Implement an image deployment job for small branch offices where it is not possible to install and configure Deployment Site Servers. (On DS 7.1 the Deployment Site server components can be installed on Server OS only)
  2. A Deployment Technician is tasked to boot the new machines with a USB disk containing the WinPE Automation Environment.
  3. The new machines must receive an initial Deployment Job.  
  4. The Site Server  for the Branch Office is connected over a WAN link and therefore the image should not be transferrend over that link.
  5. The Ghost image must be downloaded from the Deployment Technician Workstation which is located in the same LAN as the target machines.

Other customers will not necessarily have the same requirements, but of course you can always add your suggestions or improve the steps below depending of your environment.

Here are the steps we implemented given the requirements above:

I Step: Securely map the Deployment Share with DS 7.1

  • From the command prompt go to Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Agents\Deployment\Task Handler\bootwiz\Platforms\Winpe2\x86\Optional\Boot
  • Create your own custom .pwl file using the following command line:

loginw.exe -g UserName:Password -f CustomPWLFileName.pwl

example: loginw.exe -g TechSupp:password -f TechSupp.pwl

  • Go back and execute BootWiz.exe  under C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Agents\Deployment\Task Handler\bootwiz.
  • From the  Boot disk Creator right click your Custom Automation configuration (assuming that you already created one, if not see HOWTO51906 )   
  • Go to Add > File and browse to Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Agents\Deployment\Task Handler\bootwiz\Platforms\Winpe2\x86\Optional\Boot where you should find the TechSupp.pwl file created in the previous step.

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Once the encrypted credentials have been stored in the root folder you can create your Automation folder installer, or a Boot Disk (USB or CD/DVD) depending on your requirements.

II Step: Copy and share the Task Handler folder to the Deployment Technician Workstation

From the Technician Workstation go to the SMP deployment folder and copy the entire Task Handler folder  the C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Agents\Deployment

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On the Technician Workstation Share the deployment folder and give the  permissions to the user you have created the pwl file in the previous steps

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Take a note of the folder name guid where the image you want to deploy is stored, as you will need it to customize your script.

III Step: Create the imaging Job

Open the SMP console Create a new Job , give it a name i.e "Local Deployment Imaging".

Create a VBScript Task to map the Deployment Share in Automation:

  • Go to New > Task and select Run Script. Type a name i.e “Map Drive with VBS in Automation”
  • From the drop down menu “Script Type” select VBscript  
  • Then copy and paste the text below:

Dim objNetwork
Dim objShell
Set objNetwork = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Network")
Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
strLocalDrive = "w:"
strRemoteShare = "\\CL-W7-01\Deployment"
strPer = "FALSE"
objShell.Exec("loginw.exe -f x:\TechSupp.pwl -c CL-W7-01 -d <domain.name> -t 180")
objNetwork.MapNetworkDrive strLocalDrive, strRemoteShare, strPer

In this example CL-W7-01 is the Deployment Analyst machine name and TechSupp.pwl is the pwl file created earlier. Please make sure to supply your domain name after the  -d switch

Click OK

Create a VBScript Task to Deploy a Ghost image:

  • Go to New > Task and select Run Script. Type a name i.e Image Deployment with Ghost
  • From the drop down menu “Script Type” select VBscript  then copy and paste the text below:

'You need to check the path where the Ghost image is stored and use this task along with a "Map drive with VBS in Automation" script.
Dim objShell, oExec
Set objShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
Set oExec = objShell.Exec("""w:\Task Handler\ghost\ghost32.exe"" -clone,MODE=restore,SRC=""w:\Task Handler\image\cf8d9507-4519-4987-98ab-884f943351a4\cl-xp-01.gho,DST=1"" -batch""")

' Wait for the process to finish
Do While oExec.Status = 0
 WScript.Sleep 100
Loop

 
In this example you need to change the image name and path(cf8d9507-4519-4987-98ab-884f943351a4\cl-xp-01.gho

Click OK

 Create a VBScript Task to run DeployAnywhere:
  • Go to New > Task and select Run Script. Type a name i.e "DeployAnywhere - Manual Run task"
  • From the drop down menu “Script Type” select VBscript  then copy and paste the text below:

'This task requires you run the "Map drive with VBS in Automation" script.

Dim objShell, oExec
Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
Set oExec = objShell.Exec("""W:\Task Handler\ghost\DeployAnywhere.exe"" /target=c:\Windows /ddb=""W:\Task Handler\DriversDB""")

' Wait for the process to finish
Do While oExec.Status = 0
 WScript.Sleep 100
Loop

Create a Task to reboot to Production

  • Go to New > Task and select "Reboot To". Type a name i.e "Reboot to Production"
  • On the "Select the Boot environment" radio button select "Production" > click OK

Select Save Changes so your job should look like the screenshot below:

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 IV Step: Configure the initial deployment Job

  • From the SMP console go to  Settings > Deployment > Initial Deployment Job
  • On the Initial Deployment Settings go to "Add"  your "Local Deployment Imaging" Job
  • Boot your new target machine with the bootable media configured in Step I

As soon as the new machines boot with the Automation environment (CD or USB disk) it will pick up the Initial Deployment Job and run the 4 tasks in order.

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michael cole's picture

So this is how to do it properly without a PS/TS! Excellent I have some uses for this.

So I take it we can rename that long guid to "bob"? You just mentioned it because that's what it looks like on a task server?

Also, I wasn't sure what were were doing with the PWL until I had read through the entire document. I suppose for those not wishing to mess around with that you can create an AD password with no permissions except the read/write on that folder. I think we need write permissions just for writing the error log, but I prefer the idea you give for encoding the account with write permissions in order to keep your images safe from technicians.

Great write up, easy to change this from initial deployment job or have other advanced ways of triggering the job like ASDK. Thanks!

Michael Cole

Principal Business Critical Engineer

Business Critical Services

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cbleeson's picture

This looks really helpful.  Thanks for sharing this article!

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