Video Screencast Help

Prepare Symantec Management Agent for Capture (for off site imaging)

Created: 01 Sep 2013 | 5 comments

Hi Everyone,

I'm placing an order with a supplier for some PCs. As part of the deal, they are imaging the machines for us off site with an altiris captured ghost image supplied by us.

Do I just give them a copy of our altiris image that I would normally use for deployment or am I best creating a new image without the Symantec Management Agent installed?

I wasn't sure whether there would be any implications in an image being deployed by an outside company (probably not using altiris) as the Altiris sysprep & imaging process will not be followed ... (will this make a mess of the machine?!)

Do any of you have this kind of arrangement with hardware suppliers? - how do you do it?

We have DS 7.1 if it makes any difference, deploying Windows 7 enterprise with a custom sysprep oobe unattend.xml.

I'm going to have a play tomorrow to see if I can deploy our existing image using ghost via the exe (like restoring a machine backup) without any sysprep/altiris automation and see what happens. I don't know fully what the "prepare image for capture" task does, or what state the image is in after it runs.

Any comments appreciated! I have to take the image to the supplier on Wednesday!!

Operating Systems:

Comments 5 CommentsJump to latest comment

andykn101's picture

Although it's not strictly supported, I just run an aexagentutil.exe /resetguid and immediately stop the Agent just before I sysprep the image to seal it. Then, when the imaged PC starts up it just requests a new GUID.

Otherwise you could stop the Agent and delete the Reg keys with the GUID in, there's a KB article on it:

"How to prepare a workstation for imaging that includes the NS Agent"

There's a few files Symantec recommend you delete too:

Authorised Symantec Consultant (ASC) with Endpoint Management Limited, an Authorised Symantec Delivery Provider based in the UK.

Connect Etiquette: Please "Mark as Solution" posts that fix your problem.

acadmin's picture

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the advice. Normally we do image our own machines at the point of delivery, but the quantity and timescale is too tight on this occasion!

I was wondering what sysprep unattend file is applied to the image at the point of capture.. is it the standard symantec xml?, then the custom file is then applied at the point of deployment?

just trying to get my head around this! I'm used to the standard MS imaging procedure ie sysprep, create image & deploy.  just not 100% how Altiris seems to work differently ie.. Prepare for capture/ standard sysprep, capture, deploy with another sysprep.. confusing!

acadmin's picture

I have a fully working unattended deployment at the moment. Just need to figure out how to "un-altiris" this and go back to the old manual days!

Thomas Baird's picture

The Altiris process is designed to both sysprep an image (to make the OS unique on the network) AND strip the GUID from the agent (to make the agent unique in the console).  It's a combined task and hence called Prepare For Image Capture instead of "run Sysprep" or something.

The sysprep file used in the capture is largely irrelevant if you think about it - the captured system doesn't much matter.

The sysprep file used in the image deploy attempts to make things easy on you.  Anyone who has done it manually knows that you need to walk thorugh the WAIK with MS to configure a custom Unattend file.  K.  With Altiris/SMP, there's no need for a custom unattend file 95% of the time, saving customers time and energy.  Confusing?  Only to those who are accustomed to doing it the hard way.  :D

As for the off-site deployment, that all depends for what you want to do.

1) if the off-site location has NO connectivity to Altiris EVER, then you don't want to distribute an image that will try to connect.  That's a bit like putting in an unattend file to join a domain when there's no AD server to connect to.  makes no sense.

2) if the Off-site location has limited connectivity, then go ahead and deliver the image captured with our product.

Now, if after looking at those questions, you still want to use Altiris to capture the image, you can - uh - sorta do that, but you're not saving much time over doing so manually.  You'd have to essentially build an image without our client in it, sysprep it manually, boot to PE manually (PXE or whatever), and capture the image with Ghost, and distribute that to the remote location to be imaged manually again with Ghost.

Not ideal, but not too far from what you did manually with MS (minus with SCCM, I think).

Sooo, if you have a few more details, we could probably clear that up.   :D

Thomas Baird
Enthusiast for making things better!

ScribbleDC's picture


Can you elaborate a bit as to where the sysprep file that is used when running the "Prepare for Image Capture" task?  I understand the tasks runs sysprep for you and strips the SMA GUID; which is everything I want it to do.

We would like to add a SkipRearm sequence to the unattend.xml file that is being utilized to ensure we don't ever exceed our OS rearm counts on a master image laptop.