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Deploying Vista to VMware Test box and Dell 755

After we configured MDT for our deployment we were ready to start testing the deployment.  This test was going to to be on the physical hardware that we would later roll Vista out to and also a VMWare ESX test machine.  The VMWare box was to limit the trips over to the hardware while we were ironing out the bumps.  We deployed Vista 32 bit in this scenario.

After you have your deployment setup in MDT you next need to select your boot image in WDS that you just created by updating your MDT Deployment Point. This boot image is located in the Deployment Point Share distributionbootlitetouchPE_x86.wim


Once your boot image is added you are ready to start your client machine and PXE boot the device.  (normally F12).

Once the PXE boot process starts, you will have to hit F12 a second time and then you should see windowsPE start up.  If all is configured correctly you should get the Task Sequence dialog box where you can select your Task Sequence you would like to perform in our case Vista 32 bit install.


Next You will be prompted to choose the applications that you want to install during the OS installation.  The applications are Displayed and Installed in the order in which you added them to MDT.


After you select the applications you want, select next and the process starts… after a few minutes the OS is installed, and you are looking at your desktop of a machined joined to the domain.

Some  “Got-Ya’s” general and Dell 755 specific.

SQL Database
Quite a few blogs indicate that you need to use the SQL Database in conjunction with MDT.  After talking with Tanner at Microsoft this is not needed in an organization with a couple hundred clients being installed from MDT, especially when you are managing just 5-10 flavors of workstations.

When we first booted our Virtual machine the LiteTouch environment started but we were stuck at a command prompt.  This was because of some issues with the database.  Once we removed the dependencies on the database we were able to move forward.

After using ghost for so may years we were thinking of Multi-Cast in the Ghost traditional sense and had enabled Multi-Cast in MDT and WDS.  This is actually not needed since our volume is small enough and WDS Multi-Cast works very differently.  WDS Multicast starts with the first client connection, it doesn’t wait until you tell it to ‘go’ like Ghost, so then when the next client connects it picks up where the first deployment already in progress is and then the third the same… After the first deployment is done number 2 picks up at the start and catches what it ‘missed’ and then the same for number 3.  With scenarios with only a couple hundred clients Muli-Cast isn’t needed.

WindowsPE Boot Error Dell 755 Specific “Got-ya”
During the start up of WinowsPE on the Dell 755 the clients would display a error: “A connection to the deployment share (servernamedistribution$) could not be made.  The deployment will not proceed.  Can not reach DeployRoot. Possible Cause: Network routing error or Network Configuration error.
We found two solutions… one to add more time for the client machine to get an IP address from the server by editing the StartNet.cmd file in the WIM or to connect the Dell755 to a 3com switch rather than thru a linksys switch.  Finding a switch on the network where the install would work from is a much easier solution than rebuilding your WIM file every time you update it.  NOTE: when you update the WIM in MDT it rewrites your boot image and you loose any changes that you have made to the StartNet.cmd.

To update the StartNet.cmd:
Run the following on your server:

Then go to the location that you extracted the files and then go to the WindowsSystem32 and edit the startnet.cmd file to ping the WDS Server x number of times (where x is the amount of time you need to get an IP, in our case it was about one ping to the server 8-12 pings UPDATED 10/8/08).

After you have edited the file run the following on the server:

And don’t forget every time you Update MDT you will have to update your startnet.cmd file.

Errors Installing Applications
When installing applications with LiteTouch we had to play around with the sequence to get it to install without any issues.  There were 4 major bumps we had to figure out to make the Applications deploy without any issues.

  • Don’t include SP1 for Office 2007 as part of the installation.  Office 2007 gives you the ability to ‘package’ updates when you install Office by putting those packages in the Updates folder of your installation source.  The Office 2007 install worked some times, but then would error out causing all the other applications to fail that were later in the sequence.  Once SP1 for Office was removed it worked without an issue.
  • Adobe Reader and Flash would require user intervention stopping the deployment.  Adobe provides a customization tool called Adobe Customization Wizard 9 it is very similar to the Office OCT tool to but it allows you to deploy Acrobat and Reader.  After you customize the deployments you are able to run Acrobat or Reader installs silently.
  • Don’t install flash from MSI, rather use the .exe installer with the /s switch to install silently.  For some reason MDT doesn’t deploy .msi installers well without changing the command line for the installer.  It was easier to not mess with .msi installers and just use the exe installer.  If you do have to install an application from .msi with MDT then you should plan to run the msi with the following:Command Line: msiexec /i “AppInstaller.msi” /qn from the source directory that contains the installer.
  • The last issue is another Dell 755 specific “Got-Ya”.  The applications fail when you are installing them on a Dell 755 because there is no driver loaded by default for the SM Bus Controller.  Even though you add those drivers with the other Dell 755 drivers they didn’t load.  After looking into this with Tanner and Chuck from Microsoft we found that the Chipset driver for this dell is actually an application that extracts and installs the drivers, so the simple downloaded files don’t have the needed .dlls for MDT to pick up the drivers, even after you decompress the R174616.exe file from Dell.  The solution is to run the Intel – Driver (v.,A12) that you download from dell with a couple switches to give you an extracted version of the driver that MDT can import.  Once you download R174616.exe and extracted it (default locati
    on is c:delldriversR174616) run setup.exe -a -a -p c:extractINF to extract the drivers to c:extractinf.  After you have extracted the driver you n
    eed to add this directory to the OOBD list in MDT, then Update your Deployment Point and reboot the client.  Your applications should install as expected.


See other Posts on Vista Deployment with MDT:


So, what do you think ?