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Cannot rename computers after reimaging

Created: 28 Nov 2013 • Updated: 19 Dec 2013 | 7 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

We have Symantec Management Console 7.1 aka altiris installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter.

I'm currently trying to reimage 30 lab computers with Windows 7 Professional 32bit in my school. The capture and deploy tasks are running well with no problem at all, the configuration task is the problem I'm facing.

Every time I run the configuration task alone to rename existing computers and join them to the domain, it works just fine. However, if I include it in the deployment job, the job will fail on the configuration task. The deployment job contains the following tasks: reboot to pxe, deploy image, reboot to production, configuration task, and reboot pc.

I checked the Altiris log on the server, I got an error message saying it could not find the target pc when it tried to run the configuration task.

For example, if I give the prototype image a name as Lab1-01, and I assign the deploy job to Lab1-12, then after the deployment, Lab1-12 will have Lab1-01 as its name as it's the name of the image. After that, Altiris will run the configuration task assigned to Lab1-12. The problem is Lab1-12 doesn't exist any more after the last deploy task. That is how the deploy job failed on the configuration task.

Anyone got any idea what I can do to get those computers renamed? I would appreciate it if any one can give me any clue on it. Thanks.

Operating Systems:

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jbonbright's picture

I don't know if this will completely resolve YOUR issue but I am having a similar problem and found a Symantec article that references "firm.exe." Turns out you need to copy that file from \\<your_site_server>deployment\Task Handler\rdeploy\ to \\<your_site_server>deployment\Task Handler\.

Once I did that, I didn't even have to run the configuration task, the computer was renamed for me! I'm assuming this happened as part of some script buried in the deployment share but I haven't had a chance to dig deeper yet and figure out the add-to-domain part.

kzhang's picture

Hi jbonbright,

Thanks for your reply. This is the first time I heard about "firm.exe" as I'm a new rookie to Altiris.

By the way, did you define the name range of those computers to be renamed? If not, how did "firm.exe" know what name should be assigned to those computers, or it just assigned random names to the computers?

Look forward to your reply.



jbonbright's picture

Hi Kzhang; I didn't define anything and was in fact surprised when the machine had been renamed. The new name matched the old, so it must have retained that info and used it when I deployed the image to the computer via a job (described below) from my 7.1 Console.

BTW, due to PXE issues in our environment, I used Automation Folders instead. I have a simple job that runs three tasks:

  1. Reboot to Automation
  2. Deploy the Ghost image
  3. Reboot to Production

Prior to copying firm.exe to that folder, #3 never happened - it would just sit there in the Automation environment and I had to manually restart it to have it finish up the rest of the imaging process (mini-setup). Now, it will completely finish and leave me at the C+A+D screen.

You'll note that I did not include a configuration task in that job above, so (again) I was surprised when the machine had the correct name already.

Hope this helps...


Thomas Baird's picture

FIRM is not used in the configure computer task, and if you don't have it in the right place, the deploy image task itself will fail.  Since we're talking about imaging and rebooting working, it's NOT a FIRM issue.

However, I need to ask if you've rolled out HF6 or HF7 for DS?

We have a new config service we've added in the hotfix (v4 maybe?) that changes when the agent checks in and attempts to start runnnig tasks.  Prior to that time, the agent would launch during minisetup and start executing tasks while minisetup was still running.  If that happens and you're doing a config task, think about it - what if MiniSetup was renaming the computer at the same time?  What if the system had not yet joined a domain?  What if...?

The point is that this caused several "random" issues with customers who attempted to get 2-3 tasks done and they'd fail somewhere in the middle of the job after reboot.  With the new config service, again, included in HF6/7, those issues have largely stopped.

I believe that will fix your problem, but obviously could not be sure without reading the logs.  You could do a time comparison via log files of 1) when the task fired on the client in the agent logs compared with 2) when the setup.acl or whatever file in the panther folder said that MiniSetup completed.  If before completion, then this is LIKELY your issue.

Thomas Baird
Enthusiast for making things better!

jbonbright's picture

Thomas, that's not what I saw. When I ran my job, BEFORE I copied firm.exe anywhere, the Boot to Automation task worked, the deploy image task worked, but it never booted into production. Perhaps I misinterpreted your comment above.

I have not rolled out HF6 or 7 but will check that out and do so. Once I do that, where would I stick the Configure System task? I'm assuming after the Boot to Production? (Sorry, probably a dumb question.)

So, my new job would be:

  1. Boot to Automation task
  2. Deploy image task
  3. Boot to Production task
  4. Apply System Configuration task to rename computer and add to domain

Can I stick the Agent install as a new #5 task? It is not included in our image.

Thanks! It's nice to hear from a guy who's created a bunch of helpful videos. Hoping to have time to watch the rest of them that I've been meaning to get back to. Unfortunately getting DS working is just one of many projects I have going on concurrently.

kzhang's picture

Hi jbonbright and Thomas,

It's so nice of you guys. I learnt a lot from you.

Yesterday, I managed to get the task included and worked in the deploy job by editing the sysprep answer file. But I only tested it on one computer. I will test the deploy job on more, maybe 5 lab computers to see how it goes.

I will update this post once I finish the test.

Thank you guys again.

By the way, Thomas, thanks for creating and publishing so many helpful videos on this forum. I believe a lot of people have benefited from your videos.