Video Screencast Help
Symantec Appoints Michael A. Brown CEO. Learn more.

ImageInvoker (version 0.2) for Client Initiated Imaging

Created: 14 Jan 2010 • Updated: 23 Jun 2014 | 35 comments
ianatkin's picture
+10 10 Votes
Login to vote
 Please note that this version of ImageInvoker has now been superceeded.  Please take a
look at version 1.0
 to download the latest version 

 

Do you want to see an end to imaging computers by mistake on ad-hoc PC rebuilds? Or Maybe  you'd like to give your IT staff the power to deploy computers, but are fearful of the potential consequences that come with granting them console access? Perhaps even you've just  bought Deployment Solution, but budget cuts mean you can't train all the DS Administrators you need to implement your day-to-day imaging tasks?

If you're thinking 'Yes' to any of the above, then ImageInvoker can help. It allows you to image both new and existing computers without ever having to touch the Deployment Console.

ImageInvoker introduces a client menu system into Linux automation which,

  1. Removes  the need to stage computers for initial deployment
  2. Allows computers to be imaged with either their existing or a new name
  3. Allows either single jobs or entire folders of jobs to be instantly scheduled

This tool extends Deployment Server's imaging capability,  allowing you to  tag day-to-day tasks so that they are presented in a simple menu for easy access. As such you'll be able to initiate desk-side tasks such as  Windows scripted installs, Hardware Independent Imaging deployments, and even a DoD Disk wipes without requiring any intervention from a DS Administrator. This significantly speeds up ad-hoc rebuilds and lowers the TCO of owning Altiris Deployment Server.  

Those intending to upgrade ImageInvoker, please read the super-short upgrade notes towards the end of this article before running the MSI.

Sections in this document are,

If you are interested in my motivations in creating this add-on, take a look at the client side imaging section of the original ImageInvoker download.  

Kind Regards,
Ian./

 

Installing and Configuring ImageInvoker

The MSI for ImageInvoker has been created in WISE Package Studio. ImageInvoker is my first project (and only!) in WISE and I have tried to get it to do as much as is sensible automatically. Many thanks go Darren Collins at Oxford University and members of the Connect whose articles and advice have helped enormously.

Installing ImageInvoker

Let's get down now to the business of installing ImageInvoker. This can be achieved with the following few steps,

  1. Download the ImageInvoker_v0.2.0.0.msi  -the Microsoft Installer file attached to this article
     
  2. Execute the MSI on your Altiris Deployment Server. It may take about 10 seconds for the following screen to appear because of some custom actions and prerequisites which fire off in the background. Be patient.

    II2-Install.JPG

    As with the previous version, I do advise (as with all installs and upgrades on your servers) to do a full backup of your current setup before commencing. If you are using VMWare,  now would be a prudent time to take that snapshot!

    And note I am classifying this software as BETA. I use it my environments, and its even been used to large-scale deployments so I think its fairly safe to make public. Its still possible though that your environment is doing something i haven't catered for, hence the BETA tagging remains.  This software will also self-expire on the 6th of June 2010. This is to ensure that I don't end up spending valuable time supporting multiple versions. On the positive side, this expiry pushes me to get the next version out... ;-) 

    Click Next to proceed

  3. On the next screen you should be presented with the destination folder as being the eXpress share. Click 'Next' to proceed. (If the custom actions have got this all wrong let me know but for now you can click 'Browse' to select the correct location)

    II-Install2.JPG

    Click Next to proceed.

  4. This is the  point where we need the credentials for the ImageInvoker service. These need to be the same as those used for the Deployment Server Services, so the account name is auto-populated for you. Just enter the password you use for the Altiris Services and click Next.

    II-Install3.JPG

    If you implement DS Console security, the service account you use for Deployment Server must be entered in as an account in the console with administrator rights. If you do not, the service won't have the necessary rights within the console to execute tasks selected from the menu.

  5. Now, to the point of no return. If you're happy -click Next to proceed

    II-Install4.JPG

  6. And that should be it -ImageInvoker is now installed. Click Finish to exit.

    II-Install5.JPG
          

  7. Now open up you services control panel to confirm the service is installed and up and running,
    II2-service_check.JPG

Now lets move on to configuring Linux Automation to use the client menu wizard.
 

Configuring Linux Automation

Now that the ImageInvoker service is up and running on the server, lets make sure your Linux Automation environment is configured to load it. This is achieved by regenerating your Linux PXE image,

  1. Open the PXE Configuration Utility
  2. In the Boot Menu tab, locate the Regenerate Boot Images frame. Check the Linux box and click Regenerate

    II2-Configure1.JPG

  3. Once the regeneration is complete, click Save to push the refreshed Linux image(s) to your PXE Server(s). 

Further Info:  Regenerating your images performs a complete image rebuild which combines the most current automation files with your customisations. In our case, the ImageInvoker installation has laid down a new shellscript in the linux folder hierarchy under Bootwiz. Therefore the Linux image regeneration process simply updates the Linux root file system with the file/folders I've added into the Bootwiz folder structure.
 

Setting Up Menu Items

Rather than use a separate utility to configure the client menu, ImageInvoker uses a method which is largely transparent to the Deployment Console. This is so that anyone modifying jobs in the console is instantly aware of any which might be public facing through the menu system. This is done by tagging any jobs (or job folders) destined for the client menu with the string (MI), MI standing for Menu Item.

The figure below shows an example of a job hierachy before and after this menu item tagging process.

II-Configure5.JPG

Here I have, for illustration, targeted three objects for the Image Menu,

  • The job DoD Disk Wipe
  • The folder Deploy Public Access Computer
  • The folder Deploy Staff Computer

To commit these jobs to the menu do the following,

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. For now, just to get the menu up and running click "Re-generate Client Menu"

    II2-ConfigUtil3.JPG

     

  4. A popup box should then appear detailing all the changes which are about to be saved to the menu,
    II2-ConfigUtil2.JPG

    Here we can see our three menu items (corresponding to the job hierachy example above). Two of the menu items are in fact folders of jobs, whilst the Wipe Disk item is a single job. Click 'Yes' to commit the menu.

When you tag folders as menu items, not only all jobs within the folder are processed, but the subfolders are processed too. This means you don't need to change the way you organise your jobs in order to use the menu. Also, the tag (MI) can be anywhere in the folder or job name.

As the Menu Creator tool writes a refreshed menu file for your clients, remember to run this each time you want your job and folder name changes with the (MI) tag to sync down to your clients. Menu Creator also accepts the silent switch (/S) which means that you could even schedule a daily task to automatically re-write the menu for the current job hierarchy if you wished. 
 

ImageInvoker and PXE Booting

Whilst ImageInvoker works best when Linux is your dominant automation environment, it can also work well for you even if you never use Linux for imaging.  In PXE boot environments, Deployment Server will automatically select the PXE boot option depending on the job currently scheduled. So, you can PXE Boot into Linux and just use it as a menu system. Once you've scheduled the job, your computer will automatically reboot, and download the correct automation envionment (i.e. DOS/WinPE) for the jobs being deployed.

In such environments its worth renaming the 'Linux (Managed)' option to 'ImageInvoker' to reflect this automation environment is purely used to schedule the appropriate imaging jobs.

So, as you can see ImageInvoker is the PXE booting environment is very powerful combination.  

Using the ImageInvoker's Client Imaging Wizard

Whilst I initially wanted to drive the imaging menu from something slick on the lines of vesamenu.32 and PXELINUX, I soon realised this would come with a great many complications. In order to keep this project part-time, it was best to work within Deployment Server's own Linux automation environment. The Client Imaging Wizard is therefore a Linux menu system driven by a GNU program called Whiptail. For those more familiar with Linux it's very similar to the dialog program. Let's now take a look at how the Wizard is accessed and used within Deployment Server's Linux automation environment.

Imaging Existing Computers with ImageInvoker

Let's first look at the scenario of imaging existing computers with ImageInvoker.  PXE boot a machine into Linux Automation, and see what happens.

  1. Five Second Countdown

    As you can see from the screen grab below, we have two changes to the normal boot sequence. First, we receive some friendly text letting us know that the Express share has been mapped. This is really to comfort the Helpdesk staff who'd like to see something human readable at this point rather than looking for "Child Returned 0" messages which indicate a successful mapping. The next change is a 5 second countdown. If we press 'i' within these 5 seconds, we will interrupt the normal automation loading sequence and load up the imaging menu.

    II-Use1.JPG

    Press 'i' before the countdown has finished to invoke the ImageInvoker's Client Menu wizard.

  2. Client Menu Wizard

    Now you'll find yourself presented with the first screen of the wizard -"Select Deployment Option". Note that all the menu items have been named as the folder and job names, but excluding the (MI) tags we used to mark them as menu items. I fancy making this computer a public access machine, so i'm going to use the arrow keys to move down to the  "Deploy Public Access Computer" option and click "Enter".

    II-Use2.JPG

  3. Computer Name Override

    This stage of the interface provides the opportunity to change the computer's name. This computer is currently known to Deployment Server as 'VMWARE-564D04FD' -a virtual machine. I'm going to decide now its time for a change, and when this computer is imaged it's going to get a proper name following a particular naming convention. So, I'm going to change this now to something more suitable -'staff-xp-001'. Note that in most cases however you'll want to leave the computer name as it stands in the database, and to do that just hit enter to  to move to the next screen.

    II2-Menu2.JPG
     

  4. When you hit enter here, the jobs will now be scheduled. While the job scheduling is in progress you'll see the screen below,

    II2-Menu3.JPG

  5. After a few moments, if the job scheduling has been successful you'll be presented with the following screen,

    II2-Menu5.JPG

     

  6. If you take a look in the console you'll now find the jobs scheduled just as if you had dragged'n'dropped them on yourself. Well, almost -there is the minor exception that they have been scheduled for the beginning of the day. This scheduling time is the only difference between scheduling jobs with ImageInvoker and performing the scheduling manually by drag'n'drop.
    II-Use6.JPG
     

In order for these scheduled jobs to be instantly scheduled, ImageInvoker will delete any jobs previously scheduled jobs on this computer. This is to allow the current selection to be executed immediately.

Imaging New Computers

This is where ImageInvoker comes into its own. The process is exactly the same as before, but with one difference -when new computers are booted into the client menu wizard you are informed that the computer is unknown to DS. The Computer Name Override screen is slightly different in this scenario,

II2-Menu4.JPG

Here we can clearly see that Deployment Console can't find the computer in the database, so ImageInvoker knows it must create a computer object for it. By default, the name of the computer object will be set to the computer's serial number but you can of course override this.

This is truely fabulous for deploying new machines.

 

ImageInvoker Advanced Topics

If you've got this far and are happy with ImageInvoker, you might want to try out a few of the advanced options below. Tips here include password locking the client menu wizard and overriding the default naming convention for Menu Items.
 

Password Locking the Client Menu Wizard

ImageInvoker now allows the client menu wizard to be password locked.  To enable the password lock do the following,

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. Enable the client menu password by clicking the check-box

    II2-ConfigUtil5.JPG

     

  4. A password dialog box will then appear. Enter in your password and click OK
    II2-password1.JPG
     
  5. Now click Re-generate Client Menu.  The pop-up box similar that below will appear. The important point to note is that the first option should now read "Client Menu password: Enabled (updated)"
    II2-password2.JPG

Once these changes are committed, all clients trying to use the ImageInvoker Client Installation Wizard will be prompted for this password. Three login attempts are permitted before denying access to the wizard.
 

Overriding Menu Item Names for Jobs

Sometimes, you don't want to present the exact job name as the menu item text in the client interface. Perhaps you have a very technical naming convention which you don't want to needlessly expose to your helpdesk staff. ImageInvoker has an menu text override system to cater for this.

If you don't want to use the job name as the menu text for a job, the override is to set a description for the job. Once you've set a description, run the ImageInvoker Menu Creator from the Altiris Tools menu to refresh the client menu file.

II-Job2.JPG

Figure showing how menu item names can be overridden using the job description field

 

Overriding Menu Item Names for Job Folders

As there is no description field which can be added to folders, the mechanism I've gone with for override job folder names is to create a dummy job.

  • Create a job with the name (MI) and place it in the root of the menu item folder
  • Put in the description field your menu item text
  • Add to the currently empty job a single run script task
  • In the Run This Script box, enter in the text REM MenuItem and ensure the job is configured to run in Windows
  • In the Script Run Location inset, configure the script to run on the Deployment Server, and uncheck the box to Run when the Agent is Connected

This job therefore does absolutely nothing, and will not impact on your deployments. Its sole purpose is to provide this mechanism to give you a menu item name. Re-run the ImageInvoker Menu Creator from the Altiris Tools menu to refresh the client menu file.

II-Job3.JPG
 

Using the SearchRoot Option

The Client Menu Wizard has a SearchRoot option which is designed to limit the search scope of the menu item scavenger. Buy design, ImageInvoker will not be able to schedule jobs if a similarly named job exists in a similarly named folder elsewhere. In environments where two job tree branches are maintained (one for production and one for development) this would present a problem. By setting the SearchRoot to "Production", ImageInvoker will limit its queries to the jobs solely within the folder hierarchy under "Production".

To configure a SearchRoot, do the following,

  1. In the Deployment Console, from the menu-bar select Tools -> Altiris Tools
  2. Select  "ImageInvoker: Create Automation Client Menu" from the tools list
     
  3. Enter the folder you wish to limit the search scope to in the "Add Menu Items Only from Specific Folder" text box,
    II2-SearchRoot.JPG
     
  4. Click "Re-Generate Client Menu"
     
  5. Restart the ImageInvoker Service

The only caveat in this is that the SearchRoot folder must be unique, and you will be warned if this is the case.  In the next generation of the Clent-Menu Wizard I hope aim render this service restart unnecessary.
 

Changing the Menu Timeout

The Client Menu Wizard also has a Timeout field which can be changed to suite your envionment. Just enter in a new value in the Timeout text-box and regenerate the menu to apply a new timeout.
 

Silent Installation of ImageInvoker

Silently installing the ImageInvoker MSI is straightforward. All you need to set on the command line is the  Deployment Server service account password as all the rest are discoverable by the installer.

So, the command line is simply,

msiexec /i imageinvoker_v2.0.0.0.msi MYPASSWORD="password" /qn

Or if you want the shell to return once the installation is complete try,

start /wait msiexec /i imageinvoker_v2.0.0.0.msi MYPASSWORD="password" /qn

 

Troubleshooting ImageInvoker

If ImageInvoker is not behaving as expected, try some of the troubleshooting tips below. If these fail, drop me a line on connect and I'll see what I can do.

Checking the Installation

There will always be situations where the Installer hasn't behaved as I anticipated. If you have problems with the install, its likely that ImageInvoker will not have installed properly. The install does the following things,

  1. Locates the express share
  2. Creates the ImageInvoker folder .\express\ImageInvoker
  3. Copies the menu.sh to .\express\Bootwiz\Include\LINUX\SHARED\startup
  4. Installs and starts the ImageInvoker service
  5. Installs 2 custom SQL functions called  dbo.Custom_IsFolderwithinFolder & dbo.Custom_IsEventwithinFolder

Next, So the first port of call is to check all the above is in place, and if it hasn't let me know.
The next part of the install is loading the menu into Linux automation which is performed by the image regeneration step. PXE boot into Linux automation and confirm that the menu file is present by typing the following,

cd /startup
ls

If menu.sh isn't there, try regenerating your linux environment again. If this still doesn't work, edit the boot image and see the creation process through yourself. You should see under the "Linux Additional Files" the menu.sh shellscript as illustrated below,

II2-troubleshoot1.JPG

The Log & Comms Files

For troubleshooting, ImageInvoker logs to three locations:

  1. C:\ImageInvoker.log
    This is for critical service errors such as failure to locate the deployment share
     

  2. .\eXpress\ImageInvoker\Logs
    Here you can find the runtime logs of  the ImageInvoker service and the Menu Configuration Utility. The log files are datestamped.

ImageInvoker Comms are stored under,

  1. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_In
    This is where the client-server comms files are written
     
  2. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_Good
    This is where successfully processed client communications are moved to
  3. .\eXpress\temp\ImageInvoker_In
    This is where client communications which failed to process are moved to
     

If you have problems, and want me to help you troubleshoot send me all the above files.

Uninstalling ImageInvoker

ImageInvoker should uninstall cleanly using Add/Remove program. Uninstalling will remove the service, the files and ImageInvoker menu creation item from the Altiris Tools menu. The only items left on your system will be the logs, and two custom SQL functions in the eXpress database.

 

Version 0.2 Notes

 

Install Requirements

ImageInvoker's only software requirement is that Altiris Deployment Version 6.9 is installed. I've tested ImageInvoker on DS the following 6.9 Service Packs,

  • DS6.9 SP2
  • DS6.9 SP3

I see no reason why you couldn't use ImageInvoker with previous DS6.9 releases, but your mileage will vary. Feel free to respond on this connect thread with success stories for these earlier releases.

The footprint of ImageInvoker on the Deployment Server is designed to be very small,

  • Disk Utiliisation 4MB
  • RAM: 10MB
  • CPU -negligible

              

Enhancement Requests from v0.1

I've received various enhancement requests since releasing the first prototype of ImageInvoker to connect. As the amount of time I could spend enhancing ImageInvoker is limited, I prioritised them as follows,

  1. Password protection of the client menu interface (using MD5 checksums)
  2. Ability to change the menu timeout
  3. Ability to silently install the ImageInvoker MSI
  4. Automate the addition of the menu.sh shell script to Linux Automation
  5. Set log datestamping to ISO format (YYYY-MM-DD)
  6. Ability to narrow down menu-item scavenging to particular folder hierachies
  7. Factoring into ImageInvoker remote console usage
  8. Log-file cleanup options
  9. WinPE Support
  10. DOS support
  11. Auto-generation of unknown computer names
  12. Password protection through Active Directory

This prioritisation was determined by a mix of usefulness and how easy they would be to implement. In order to implement some of the changes above, a significant amount of work had to be dedicated to clean up the engine and  reorganising how the imaging menu is built, parsed and logged. This work will also make easier to addfurther options down the line. As a result, only the first 6 of these requests were actioned for the v0.2 release.

Many of you will probably be pleased to hear that the next big effort for version v0.3 will be the addition of WinPE support. and I hope to have re-written the service code for .NET. This is to make the service more stable, and the code more supportable.

Enhancement Requests from v0.2

  1. Make the menu wizard text configurable

 

Notes for Upgrading to v0.2 from v0.1

If you are upgrading from version 0.1 of ImageInvoker, please first edit your boot images to remove the menu.sh script I asked you to add manually for this version.The latest build will automatically lay down a new menu.sh for you using the more supportable method of applying it through the linux branch of the Bootwiz folder structure.

There should be no need to uninstall the version 0.1 of ImageInvoker however as the MSI should see this as a valid upgrade path. The ImageInvoker service will be restarted at the end of the installation, but you should not be required to reboot.
 

Known Issues

Any issues which emerge for this version from my testing or from other Connect users I'll add here for reference:

13-01-2009
Just found that ImageInvoker_v2.0.0.0.msi has a SearchRoot bug. The Menu's are built taking the new scope into account, but the ImageInvoker ignores this parameter in this build. Unfortunately, I have other projects looming so I have to leave the debug for another day. This fix will probably have to wait for version 0.3.
 

FAQ

Q: I really want WInPE support. Why isn't this supported yet?
A: Two reasons. First I wanted to make sure I had a stable engine before expanding automation OS support. The second reason is time -and Linux automation was the fastest automation OS for me to prototype this idea in.
 
Q: I am worried that this product is free and doesn't have any official support. I don't want to rely on it now, and then find it will no longer be developed.
A: I use this too much myself now not to develop it. ;-)
 
Q: I don't use Linux Automation -Is ImageInvoker any use to me?
A: If you use PXE in your environment the answer is yes. In this scenario you don't even need to ensure you Linux automation has all the normal mass-storage support sorted -it just needs network connectivity to work. See the section ImageInvoker and PXE above where I talk about PXE booting.
 

 

 

 

License:

Altiris EULA
By downloading this software, you agree to the terms and conditions in the Altiris End User License Agreement

 

Support:

 

User-contributed tools on the Connect are not supported by Altiris Technical Support. If you have questions about a tool, please communicate directly with the author by visiting their profile page and clicking the 'contact' tab.

 Please note that this version of ImageInvoker has now been superceeded.  Please take a look at version 0.3 to download the latest version 

 

Comments 35 CommentsJump to latest comment

carlsson's picture

HI  Ian
excellent tool I'm going to have to wait for Ver3 for the winpe
Thanks for taking the time to develop this

C

Hojiblanca

+1
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Remember if you use PXE that you don't have to be imaging in Linux Automation to use ImageInvoker.  You can just boot into Linux, select you menu item and then Deployment Server will automatically reboot you into WinPE for imaging if that's how the job is setup.

In this scenario, you don't even have to worry  about ensuring you've got mass-storage support in Linux as you won't actually be imaging in it

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

+1
Login to vote
dpeluso's picture

Is there a way to force the menu to appear without pressing 'i' ?

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Hi dpeluso,

Interesting you should say that. I was thinking about implementing an option override so that when imaging from removable media (like USB flash drives) you could bypass the timeout code and enter the menu directly.

But, alas, not in this version.

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

Any idea why both buttons, Add Preboot and Create Boot image dont respond to anything now.  I installed the linux boot disk, then installed your setup. When I went to create a new linux boot disk, it wont allow it. I can manually make one through the boot disk wizard but I dont know where to point the manual folder for pxe boot.

Any ideas?

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

No ideas on this one -I don't see this.

So, to diagnose lets look at history. Is this something which worked prior to installing ImageInvoker? If so, have you tried removing ImageInvoker and seeing if the PXE Configuration Utility works as expected? The uninstall should be nice and clean.

Using the Bootdisk creator won't work for PXE boot images -you do need to use the PXE utility for this.

Kind Regards,
Ian./


Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

It was working prior however I am not sure if I could really pinpoint that it was ImageInvoker. However I called Altiris and upgraded to SP3 and that seemed to clear it up.

Second question, so I just set this up and it looks good. Did i read this right, does it delete the prior jobs for current machines? is this using the aexsched.exe to schedule?

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

 Yep -you read right. All current jobs on the targeted computer are removed prior to scheduling the ones selected from the imaging wizard. This is to prevent 'stuck' production jobs getting in the way of the imminent  imaging job.

And yes, to schedule the jobs Aexsched.exe is used. A much under-utilised program in my opinion! 
 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

Agreed, its what im using for all my scripts now. Any way in a new version for an option to erase passed jobs? I understand the reasoning behind but in a small way our past jobs are used for auditing and a smaller sense accountability.

Also great jobs with this, I had been working on something similiar with PE but never devoted the proper time to it.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

I'm afraid the option to delete pending jobs is necessary really -if you are about to schedule an imaging job you don't want a pending job getting in the way. The idea is that the people on the ground can just get on with imaging and not worry about what might be pending. It will only delete jobs that have not already been executed though -so auditing should not be compromised.

The main reason for removing still pending jobs is so that if someone selects the wrong imaging job, they can just schedule the correct one and not have to worry about logging into the console to delete the previously scheduled tasks. My idea after all was to reduce the need for ground staff to be trained in DS when their only day-to-day requirement of DS is to image computers (using jobs created by the core DS administrators).
 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

I see, sorry job that have NOT been run. This makes sense and is fine. When I was playing around with it today I realized that it hadnt deleted prior jobs. Thanks alot.

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

Any possible way to have some more control over menu wording? It would be pretty convienent for me to edit what the computer-rename screen says as we have auto naming and incrementing script that runs for new images that would work perfectly with this.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

The menu wizard screens are hard-coded i'm afraid. I actually  hadn't though about making these programmable, and this would probably be beneficial to users who'd prefer another language in the menu system. I'll add it to my enhancement list.

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
dpeluso's picture

Hi Ian,
Is the option to generate a new Imaging menu accessable from the command line? I would like to create a DS job that updates the menu with the new (MI) options. Let me know if this makes sense.

Thanks,
Dan.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Try this,

ImageMenu_Creator.exe" /s

And confirm that the process has cleanly exited afterwards -you should be able to see this in taskmgr.

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
dpeluso's picture

Hi Ian,
Thanks that works however on my server the process doesn't exit cleanly? Do you have any idea's how that may come about?

Thanks,

Dan

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Yeah -I found a bug in the silent option and fixed it, but couldn't remember whether it was in the package I posted or not. I had meant to check, but got sidetracked and forgot until your post.

Will update the package for you ASAP.

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

Is there a specific reason to trigger the jobs in the beggining of the day? I would think maybe to start the job right away but Its a bit weird when looking through the history.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Scheduling jobs at the beginning of the day (midnight) I found was the best way to ensure that they started immediately. That's because when the adlagent connects it finds its 'missed' the schedule and starts the job instantly.I guess I could amend the code to schedule a minute in the past, but I didn't think the logic was worth the effort! 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
s0n's picture

Does any of this software update or change the MAC address column under nics? I started having an issue lately with machines duplicating and losing macs, just wanted to make sure this wasnt part of it.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

The only time MAC address information is written into the database is when a new computer is imaged. The BIOS UUID, MAC and Serial number is used to create a new computer object in the database.

If you have machines losing and duplicating MAC addresses, I would check that you don't have computers with duplicate or blank BIOS UUIDs in your database. The following query should help you out,

use express;
select UUID, count(*) from computer
group by UUID

If you see any computers with a UUID of {} or you see some counts being 2 (or more!) then this could be the source of your problem. If you really suspect imageinvoker, take a looks at the logs -they are quite detailed and everything the program does is logged in there. Kind Regards,

Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

WinPE interface coming along. Just thought I'd give a few teaser screenshots as with WinPE it looks a bit nicer...

Still a few bugs to work through, but its coming along. With luck, the 0.3 release will only be a fortnight away. I'm not going to make an major changes elsewhere as time is short for me just now, and I don't want to compromise the product by  introducing any bugs ;-)

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

+1
Login to vote
b3tts32's picture

First off I would like to say this is an amazing tool and this has saved us lots of hours! I too was in the boat of wanting a WinPE version of this tool but once I got my Linux Hardware Independent Scripting worked out there was really not point, plus the LinuxPE loads a lot easier on our older machines with minimal ram so this helped us knock out two birds with one stone. 

I noticed that this version is set to expire on June 6th so I was wondering if the new version is ready or what we need to do? We're planning to start doing some mass imaging for the summer and this may be a small hiccup just depending on what we need to do to get updated. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. 

0
Login to vote
billyccfs's picture

Thanks for your hard work on this. The WinPE version will solve alot of Linux driver updating pain.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

The 0.3 package is nearly there. Aim to  release on the 5th, so watch this space.

Sorry for the delay and hence the short overlap -some enhancements haven't gone to plan, and a few things have had to be rolled back.

Kind Regards,
Ian./
 

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

OK -its too damn sunny here and working is impossible. I'm not going to get the MSI out in time for tonight, so i've attached the imaging_menu_1.8.zip to the article which contains the next update to the Linux Imaging Menu.

Unpack this to the ImageInvoker\Linux folder on the express share to replace the existing (and soon to expire version).

This has only small changes, mainly a timeout override, so this should slot in without any need for any other changes.

Kind regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
billyccfs's picture

for the WinPE version.

Thanks Ian!

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

The plan is to start repackaging this on Wednesday. I'm about three weeks behind on all my 'volunteer'  projects as the Altiris day job has presented various challenges of late. Sorry for the hold up.

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
djadsa's picture

Ian,

Im sure there are many eyes watching for your updated posts on this page!!!

Thank you for the work you are doing, we use the current version several times daily, it has been one of the BEST plugins for altiris we have used!

I look forward to the day the PE version is released.

Keep up the GREAT work, and thank you for putting so much time and effort in and making this work for the Altiris Community that use it!!!

Regards,

Adam.

0
Login to vote
dpeluso's picture

Hi All,
Just out of curiosity why do so many people want the WinPE version? Is it to do with network driver support for linux? All my jobs are either WinPE or DOS based but we still use the linux ImageInvoker??

I would have preffered a few other options be focused on: Ie.

  • Deployment Server 7.1
  • Ability to select pre-staged computer names using image invoker
  • A more seamless intergration with linux (remove the requirement to press "i")

However for me all these are fairly trivial (apart from the first point).

Cheers,

Daniel

0
Login to vote
billyccfs's picture

For my part, I've discovered that using different pre-boot options (Linux menu, WinPE imaging, DOS driver copy) extends the process because the machine keeps having to reboot in to different OSes. With a WinPE console, preboot will only have to happen once, the first time as the machine will stay in WinPE unitl its time for sysprep to run the setup.

Secondly, because we are a Dell shop we are noticing that the newer models we are getting are having their hardware geared for Vista and Windows 7. WinPE 2.0 is built on Vista and 3.0 is built on Windows 7. So for those folks looking towards a Win7 migration in their shop (like me), its better (I think) to begin leveraging WinPE now.

Good questions, all.

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Hi Daniel,

Lots of points raised there, so bear with me.

ImageInvoker for WinPE
This is good for environments where

  1. People use automation on removable media. In that scenario, if you image using WinPE, then you really want ImageInvoker working in WinPE too.
  2. Linux expertise is nill.

ImageInvoker for DS 7
For the 7.x branch, the ImageInvoker engine  will require a complete re-write. And I am also unclear about what menu-driven support
Symantec will be adding themselves as they do see the need for simplified access to Deployment Server for tasks like this.

I'll be keeping tabs on 7.x and keeping in contact with the PMs to see what's timetabled.

Ability to Image pre-staged computers
My aim with imageinvoker was actually to remove the need to prestage computers at all. Drop me a PM and let's chat about this one.

More seemless Integration with Linux
That enhancement request has been put in place for the 0.3.0.0 version. ;-)

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

Anyone fancy trying out a the 0.3.0.0 build?

Given that  some of your are fairly keen I thought you'd might fancy giving the alpha a try, and give it a full shakedown with me.

Drop me a PM with your email if you are interested.

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

No show-stoppers encountered as yet from the Alpha testers.  v0.3 will be released on Connect next week!

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote
ianatkin's picture

No show-stoppers encountered as yet from the Alpha testers.  v0.3 will be released on Connect next week!

Kind Regards,
Ian./

Ian Atkin, IT Services, Oxford University, UK

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads

0
Login to vote