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qman_au's picture

I only install winpe2.1 x86 preboot, so only x86 checkbox is ticked.

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scorliss58's picture

I followed the instructions above and successfully created a WinPE 3.1 boot image, but the Altiris Agent fails to communicate with the server.  Has anyone else had this problem and been able to resolve it?

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Maymne's picture

Seems likely that you're having the same problem found here, back in March/April of 2012:
https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/alt...

Also, we've been experiencing the same problem with multiple 6.9 Deployment Servers (Windows 2003 and 2008R2 both) since December 2012. Basically, something broke and it can't generate working WinPE files anymore, whether v2, v3, or v4. Luckily we have multiple servers up and I can run WinPE 4 on one of them, but... no WinPE on what used to be our primary Deployment Server causes some major issues for us.

Oh, and if anyone is experiencing this and turns on logging, basically the issue is that the server fails to realize that it's connecting to itself through the network, so it needs to keep its files in the temporary folder. Since ImageX can't mount through a UNC, it fails to mount the boot.wim and never sees that it should be enabling HTA/Scripting/WMA, so it leaves them off. And when WinPE finishes booting, you end up with no scripting, so it doesn't do its initial login or anything else we need it to.

If you want to check if you have this problem, it's fairly easy:
Process 1) On the Deployment Server, open Bootwiz\BootWiz.exe locally. If you installed to the C: drive on a 64-bit machine, this should be located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Altiris\express\Deployment Server\Bootwiz\BootWiz.exe, but your location may vary. Start to create a WinPE boot file, and look at step 7.
Viewing 1) It should offer you multiple (6, for me, with WinPE 2) modules, and WSH and WMA should be checked. If you're using WinPE 3 or 4, you've probably unchecked Compress boot file, but it's checked by default.
Conclusion 1) This shows that your boot.wim file does have all the modules needed, and your system can successfully mount the file and look inside without any problems. Cancel all the way out, including closing the Boot Disk Creator fully.
Process 2) Still on the Deployment Server, open Bootwiz\BootWiz.exe through the UNC path. If your server is named dserver, this would be found in \\dserver\eXpress\Bootwiz\BootWiz.exe, but vary that to fit your circumstances. Follow the same process, going to step 7.
Viewing 2) If you still see multiple modules, your server is working normally. If you only see the 3 options that were below your modules, you're experiencing this bug.
Conclusion 2) This shows that when we visit Bootwiz through a UNC path, as PXE Configurator does, we have the same failure that it experiences. The WIM fails to mount, we fail to realize we have modules available, and we get a depressing boot. And sadness rules the world.

Symantec has been trying to fix it for my company for almost 4 months and still no solution as yet. Hopefully at some point it will magically disappear or a solution will be found, but... we'll see.

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deemacgee's picture

I'd like to ping Symantec on this, with a friendly reminder that we're now up to WinPE 4.0.

Any time you're ready, guys.

Tick-tock.

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deemacgee's picture

Hey Symantec, a bit of acknowledgement, please? Or an update?

We've found a few devices for which WinPE 2.x (Vista) support/drivers are limited, which is starting to break an otherwise sturdy deployment mechanism.

The new financial year has just started and I know of a few companies trying to choose between SCCM and carrying on with DS 6.9. DS/NS 7.x isn't an option and the deciding factor has become Symantec's intention to release an update to WinPE support. (WinPE 4.x would be especially useful given its ability to run .NET apps.)

So, what do I tell them? Is Symantec ever going to release an updated WinPE platform for DS?

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Network23's picture

Hi deemacgee

Hopefully this answers your question:

http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/winpe-31-bie...

Network23

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burndtjammer's picture

Should this be marked as implemented considering 7.5 has winpe 4.0 installed? 

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setral's picture

No, because we're still waiting on it to be implemented into Deployment Solution 6.9.

It's supposed to be included in Deployment Solution 6.9 SP6 but it hasn't been released yet.

Edit: I've been told it's slated for late November.

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Sliders's picture

I am trying to deploy images to the new Dell 9020 and E6540 but there no drivers for WinPE 2.1. So I upgraded the PE to 3.1, it works that all the hardware drivers install, network drive maps work, dagent starts and says "Client record updated", but the desktop stays dark in the DS console and the image download does not start. Any help would be appreciated.

Symantec refused to help because I upgraded to WinPE 3.1. They told me the same thing that SP6 is scheduled for late November, if you can trust Symantec.

I am running DS 6.9 SP4 (build453).

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BBC's picture

Hi Sliders,

What primary lookup keys are you using? Is it possible that the machine object apepars as new object on the console once booted to PE?

Thanks, -BBC

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BBC's picture

That might not be enough. We use a combo of Asset Tag, UUID and Serial number as the MAC causes trouble with several mobile devices when connecting various adapters. Have you tried a different combo with the lookup key and checked if you encounter the same ?

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Sliders's picture

Thanks BBC, I tried with S/N and MAC, same problem.

I think I know the problem (may be). Some background on how I updated the PE to 3.1. Since it's a production server I can't install WAIK tools on it. So I can't run DISM on the DS server.

I have WAIK tools installed on a windows 7 desktop where I also created a bootable USB from. I copied the winpe.wim file from that hard drive to the PETools folder on the server but that did not do anything. Then I copied the folders from the PETools folder to the PETools folder on the server. When I ran PXE config, the new boot image was WinPE 3.1.

Now I tried the test mentioned above by Maymne by running bootwiz.exe on the server and I don't see any script options.

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Sliders's picture

Update - So my guess was right, I was missing the script packages from PE. I updated the WIM file with the script packages, copied the new winpe.wim file to the server, created the new boot image and it works on Dell 9020. Now to test it on the laptops.

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nande1965's picture

Hello,

I realize that this is an old post, but incredibly this is still a issue .... I guess the problem is that different versions of DS are tied to certain versions of WAIK and WinPe.  This could all be solved forever if the DS had the build in capability to install multiple versions of WinPe at the same time, that way we can choose which version(s) to implement depending on our infrstructure. 

Also, it would be nice to not have to deal with drivers, Vista drivers in DS 6.9, now Windows 8 drivers in DS 7.5, but in both cases I am deploying Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2.  This means that I am always searching for multiple versions of the same driver - one for WinPe and one for the OS.  If you gave me the capability out of the box to simply select which WinPe to implement I'd choose 3.1 for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, and I'd choose WinPe 4.0 for Windows 8 and Server 2012 in the future.  In fact, for every new computer model in my environment I could simply extract the Windows drivers (using something like Double Driver), import them into WinPe and be done with it.   No searching for obscure Vista drivers for RAID controllers or finding NIC drivers by chipset because the vendor no longer supports Vista.

I realize there are thrid party solutions for managing drivers and I am looking at them, but it would be great if DS handled this out of the box.

Cheers.

Alex

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

Just check now for DS 6.9, waiting for SP6... Not yet there ! Hope before the end of November :(

For those with Altiris DS 7.1: It is possible to replace WinPE with version 4, care it is not reversible, and do not cumulate both WinPE... (like can do DS 6.9 !!)

Adding UEFI and WinPE 4.x support to Deployment Solution 7.1
Article:HOWTO85100  |  Created: 2013-09-05  |  Updated: 2013-11-12  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO85100

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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HighTower's picture

In case you didn't hear DS 6.9SP6 was just shipped and it includes WinPE4 support.  There are some gotchas with that, though, as it requires the DS server to be running on Windows 2008 (should go to R2) which then breaks some ASDK functionality.

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gerardsweeney's picture

For those who have used QMAN_AU's method of updating to 3.1, can I just ask a couple of potentially dumb questions? :)

* Package Servers

We have 31 package servers for each of our schools.

Qman_AU's guide says we should create a new boot disk, using PE as the OS. I'm assuming this'll replicate to the Package Servers?

If not, how do I replicate this to the Package servers?

* Drivers

If I need to add more Windows 7 drivers to the PE3.1 after I've created it, can I use the PXE boot disk builder in DS6, or do I have to use DISM?

* Package Servers (again)

Is it feasible for me to create the PE3.1 boot disk outside of the main PXE server, and just copy it to a specific remote PXE/Package server? That way I can dabble with one specific site without disrupting my colleagues on other sites.

That'll do for now.

Gerard

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gerardsweeney's picture

Bah!

I was hoping to get away with not installing WAIK 3.1 on the DS and just replacing the boot.wim file.

When I tried that, and created a new Config (PXE config, boot editor, button marked using Boot disk creator), Bootwiz.exe crashes out with an abnormal termination.

So I guess I'm going to have to edit PE3.1's Boot.wim using GimageX (or similar) to mount it, and do a contrast/compare to see what's added/changed to a PE 2.1 disk and copy them across to my 3.1 and then replace the Boot.wim on the PXE.

I don't suppose any aspiring soul out there has a list? Yeah, I know - got to love a chancer :)

Gerard

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gerardsweeney's picture

What the hell - I'll chance it epic style!

I don't suppose anyone would be willing to upload a copy of their 3.1 Boot.wim somewhere that I can get hold of it? I'm assuming then it'd just be a case of changing a couple of the BAT files with the necessary values for my own DS.

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Sliders's picture

I just sent you an email.

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

see also

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/ds-69-sp6-winpe-40-error

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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gerardsweeney's picture

Sliders - you are (as I believe nobody says) de man!

Thanks to your email (and a bit of pockling), I'm up and running with 3.1 in a test setup. My previously utterly inaccessible laptop is imaging and the much-beloved ImageInvoker is running a treat. To say I'm chuffed is an understatement :)

I can't use DS's own boot editor, but I'll just use DISM to inject additional drivers (the only reason I use the boot editor), and replace the existing boot.wim files on the Package servers and main DS. Looking good so far!

For my real-life scenario, I'll probably cobble some AutoIt together to bulk copy the WIMs.

I'm still a way off going live, as I'll need to test this on all of the models we have out there, but it's looking extremely promising.

MANY thanks to those who replied - tremendously appreciated.

Gerard

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gerardsweeney's picture

In the interests of sharing the knowledge, here's my version on what I did.

I've probably over simplified it, but hopefully you can get the gist :)

I started with 2 disposable PCs.

As above, I installed WAIK 3.0 and updated to 3.1 on the first PC.

I copied the X86 winpe.wim file to a folder on the other PC. (C:\DS\PE31)

On the second PC, I first booted to WinPE and renamed the folders for my McAfee encryption and DLP and also my F-Secure anti-virus.

Before I did this, I could mount WIM files but couldn't view/edit files therein. I did both folder renames at the same time, so my money is on McAfee (ptui!) but your experiences may differ.

I then installed Windows ADK 8.1 on it so I could use GimageX (and copy the files needed for future "standalone" use. I'll probably stick to command line now that I'm happy it actually works :)

I copied the Win PE2.1 boot.wim to a folder on my 2nd PC (C:\DS\PE21).

Using GimageX, I mounted the 2.1 and 3.1 wim files.

MD c:\DS\PE21\Mount

DISM /Mount-Wim /Wimfile:C:\DS\PE21\SOURCES\BOOT.WIM /index:1 “/Mountdir:C:\DS\PE21\mount

MD c:\DS\PE31\Mount

DISM /Mount-Wim /Wimfile:C:\DS\PE31\SOURCES\BOOT.WIM /index:1 “/Mountdir:C:\DS\PE31\mount

I copied the following from the 2.1 mount.

[Root]

(Folders)

DAgent

Reg

Prestart

Startup

If you've added anything else to your PE2.1 (I included some scripting to change the CD drive to Y: and also installing USBDLM to hide or reassign drive letters of card readers)

And then all files from root.

Also:

Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Ink

goes to the same path structure on your 3.1

I also copied across:

Windows\Startnet.cmd

Windows\StartUtl.bat

Windows\WinPE.bmp  (I edited mine to say WinPE3.1 so I knew for sure which one I was looking at heh)

Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\Hosts

Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\LMHosts

If in doubt, do what I'd started on before Sliders sent his email - use WinMerge to do a folder comparison.

Commit changes to the 3.1 WIM

DISM /Unmount-Wim /Mountdir:C:\DS\PE31\mount /Commit

And then copy the boot.wim over to your PXE folder, and cross your fingers and toes :)

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mmengoni's picture

I have upgraded WinPE to version 3.1 on my DS 6.9 SP5 running on W2K3SRV and now I am having the same issue with the DS agent to not being able to communicate with DS server and update the status of the computer object in the console!! :(

After few seconds the agent says "Connection terminated" and the PC suddenly reboots.

When I generated the WinPE PXE using a WinPE image with scripting components I noticed that I got all the three scripting modules checkboxes listed there but when after clicking next/back to review them those checkbox disappeared.

As far from now those checkboxes are no longer listed there.. and I hope to have not ruined my image.

I noticed that if I remove the computer object in the DS console before booting to WinPE a new computer object is created and it is active and then (again) after few seconds the agent says "Connection terminated" and the PC suddenly reboots.

On my first attempt to generate a WinPE PXE I just copied the winpe.wim file from WAIK installation folder without including scripting components and after booting the PXE image the DS agent was not able communicate with the DS server but in this case the PC didn't go for a reboot. This made me aware of the fact that something (aka scripting components) was missing on the wim image.

For the moment I would exclude the upgrade to of DS 6.9 to SP6 as I would not gain any benefit on W2K3SRV as I wouldn't be able to run WinPE 4.0 but..

What about if I had a new server with W2K8SRV / R2?

Can I have 2 DS server pointing to the same eXpress database or do I need to create a new one?

I kindly ask to those are using WinPE 3.1 with DS 6.9 since long time your precious help in order to troubleshoot and fix this annoying issue that is may block my new PC deployment planned very soon.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Marco

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Maymne's picture

So from the sounds of it, you have a few different questions and issues. I'll try to work through in the rough order.

1) When you generate WinPE files manually (and if you're doing that, I HIGHLY suggest going for WinPE 5 rather than 3, since the hardware compatibility is so much better and you don't lose anything that you don't lose by going to WinPE 3 - namely compression of the boot files), you need to include all 3 of the standard/required packages. If memory serves, HTA, WMI, and Scripting. Based on logic, I'd give the following reasons: Scripting lets it move on and not get stuck unable to do anything automated; WMI lets it query your system information and pass that information along; HTA lets it display things in a pretty way if it wants to. All 3 are useful and when I remember to include them all, things just work. It's when I question the locked defaults and try to save a few megs that things go terribly, terribly wrong. So just rebuild your WinPE files and remember that you need all 3, not just the Scripting package.

2) Since your whole problem is with WinPE, updating to a new version of the main DS is unlikely to fix things. You could do it, but...

3) Can you disable the current DS 6.9 SP5, install a new server, and point to the same SQL database? Yes. Can you leave both running and not have things break despite the fact that the DS 6.9 SP5 server will be confused by the fact that the database has been upgraded and is no longer running the same version that it expects? Probably if you want to lose everything, but realistically... No, if you want things to work.

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js2010's picture

I'm using qman_au's solution to have winpe 3.1 in DS 6.9 SP3 in win 2003 server.  It works great so far.  Thanks.  

At first I tried putting my own wim directly in the download area, but I couldn't get the altiris client to connect.  There's a lot of complicated scripts (environment variables?) and wmi to support it apparently.

Lenovo (or Intel) doesn't like providing vista network drivers these days.

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mmengoni's picture

Hi,

I apologize for very late reply but I have been busy all the time recently..

I can confirm that my WinPE 3.1 image was generated by including all the 3 required components using the DISM command line then when I generated a new WinPE 3.1 PXE image using the Altiris PXE Configuration Utility I noticed that the checkboxes for the 3 components where missing at all within the Boot Disk Creator wizard (but anyway my image already had them).

The result is still an inactive computer account in Altiris DS Console and a DAgent that says something like "Connection closed. Session terminated" and then the PC reboots.

I also checked with success what explained by Maymne about the strange different behavior of the Altiris PXE Configuration Utility when launching it locally or from the network share.. but I couldn't know if it is really a sympthon that should be taken in real consideration or it can simply be ignored.

Anyhow my next step was to use the Boot Disk Creator locally as stand-alone utility (not through Altiris PXE Configuration Utility) in order to have the 3 options available (even if my WinPE 3.1 image had the 3 components already embedded on it) and build up an ISO to boot a test VM (so without using the PXE for booting up) but the result was (surprisingly!) to have a pop-up message saying "Please remove boot media" and an active computer account in Altiris DS but as soon as I clicked on the pop-up to confirm the PC rebooted suddenly. :(

After lots of tests and lot of frustation I decided to put back the original WinPE 2.1 winpe.wim file in C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\WAIK\Tools\PETools\x86 in order to rebuild a working PXE environment that I need urgently to deploy images but (surprisingly again!) I got the same result such as the DAgent says something like "Connection closed. Session terminated" and then the PC reboots.

I also tried to reinstall the original WinPE 2.1 WAIK using the Altiris_DS_Preboot_WinPE_2.1_x86.exe installation file but the result does not change.

Last solution would be to ask if any of you can kindly PM me and provide a WinPE 2.1 boot.wim file that I can copy into C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\PXE\Images\MenuOption160\X86PC\sources replacing my fake one in order to have a working PXE environment for going ahead with my work.

Any comment and/or suggestion to help to sort this mess out is very welcome.

Thank you in advance,

Marco

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mmengoni's picture

Hi all,

I would renew to any of you that may be listening my desperate request to PM me a link for both WinPE 2.1 and WinPE 3.1 boot.wim files so I can replace my non-working ones into the PXE folders respectively C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\PXE\Images\MenuOption160\X86PC\sources and C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\PXE\Images\MenuOption131\X86PC\sources.

Unfortunately I do not see any other feasible solution at the moment and would avoid to reapplying the SP4 or even reinstalling the whole Altiris DS.

Please post you comments or better PM me your boot.wim files! crying

Thanks,

Marco

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Maymne's picture

Unfortunately, when your 2.1 files fail like that, it means that your server won't accept/build ANY version of PXE itself. We had that problem for 3-6 months and support was never able to figure out what happened. On a positive side, after months and months of the problem... it suddenly went away. Might have been a MS security update that fixed it or just raw luck, but if you stick with the useless server for long enough, it will probably fix.

Your best solution for the immediate time is to connect to the Bootwiz.exe from a remote computer, build your WinPE version (2, 3, 4, 5, doesn't matter), and then copy your completed .wim files to the \\<server>\express\PXE\MasterImages\MenuOption131\<processor>\sources folder and the \\<server>\express\PXE\Images\MenuOption131\<processor>\sources folder. Folder 131 is the default WinPE installation - if you have made additional entries, you will need to copy your boot.wim file to those folders instead.

But as long as the server doesn't show those 3 options when it builds the .wim file, it won't use them. Even if you put them into the original file. They're not available. They will be ignored. Try again. Just know that you don't actually have to BUILD the .wim file to test if it works... as long as those options don't show, your build won't work. As soon as those options show, you can actually build your .wim file and it should work again.

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mmengoni's picture

Hi Maymne,

First thanks for your reply.

Here is my latest update..

I tried launching the Boot Disk Creator from a remote computer but it says that wmi filter is not installed on the machine or something like that so I decided to not go ahead.

Anyway I couldn't understand why you suggested to do that because based on your instructions also the Altiris DS PXE Configuration Utility usually launch the Boot Disk Creator via the eXpress network share hosted on the DS server so I would probably run into the same issue about not having the 3 options available as it happens on the DS server.

Today I just noticed that after the uninstallation of WAIK 3.1 and reinstallation of WinPE 2.1 from the Altiris_DS_Preboot_WinPE_2.1_x86.exe installation package that I did some days ago as per my previous post now I got the 3 options available in the Boot Disk Creator even while launching it from the network! :)

I completed the wizard to create a new WinPE 2.1 PXE option but again all that I have is an active computer in DS console that suddenly reboots after showing the message "Connection Closed. Session Terminated" but (again there is a 2nd BUT.. and here it comes the best and weird part) if I pick up a new computer that does not exist in DS console and boot it up from the network selecting the new WinPE 2.1 PXE option I can successfully send the job to deploy an image and it is being going on right now! :D

For the moment I am pretty satisfied with this result so I can go ahead with my deployment tasks even if I would really like to understand the causes behind the strange behavior on the existing computer account that in the end no longer stay in idle state and waiting for instructions from the DS server like it used to do in the past.

Regards,

Marco

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mmengoni's picture

Hi guys,

Everything now seems to work fine! ;)

Even if an existing PC in the DS console still reboots if boot it with PXE and there are no active job assigned to it, I successfully downloaded and uploaded images using both WinPE 2.1 and 3.1 without the need to do anything else.

To be more precise after I discovered the 3 famous "scripting options" back in the Boot Disk Creator wizard -  once I reinstalled the WinPE 2.1 using the Altiris_DS_Preboot_WinPE_2.1_x86.exe installation package - I rebuilded the WinPE 2.1.

Regarding the WinPE 3.1 I basically did nothing and reused the one that I previously built before reinstalling the Altiris_DS_Preboot_WinPE_2.1_x86.exe.

Thank everybody for help,

I will keep you posted in case of further issues.

Cheers!

Marco

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