Thursday, 27 October 2011

Today's project

Setting up Thin Clients at one of our customers drop in centres....

Not the most glam of jobs but gets me out of my cage for a while...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, 14 October 2011

Lenovo Driver Installs via OS Deployment

Any tech unfortunate enough to have to visit Lenovo's driver page will agree it isn't the friendliest of places.  Kind of like my home town of Preston at about 2am on a Sunday morning; you only go there if you have to and get the hell out of there as quick as you can - and DON'T make eye contact with anyone!

The naming convention in non existent - unlike their competition such as Dell and HP who have meaningful, descriptive file names for their drivers and respective folders.

If you require a solution to deploy Lenovo drivers throughout your estate then don't despair - there is an answer.

In addition to the handy [yeah, don't do us any favors Lenovo] TVT System Updater tool they provide for individual clients they also developed the "Update Retriever" & "ThinInstaller" as part of their Think Vantage Toolkit (TVT) branded client tool solution.

To configure SCCM to deliver driver updates (it's also capable of MS updates but that's another story) there are a couple of solutions out there but this is the one I settled with:

Assumptions :
  • You have a deployment solution in place already with relevant TaskSequence - if not please see the wonderful WindowsNoob tutorials- big shout out to Niall Brady for this site - it's an invaluable resource to any SCCM tech.
  • You are proficient with SCCM
  • You know the machine type of the Lenovo machine you are using

  • Download the above software and install Update Retriever [UR] locally on your machine or the SCCM server.  Set it up and create a folder to act as the repository for the update and driver files and share it out - mines called "Update Retiever".  Tell UR to download to this folder (follow Lenovo's instructions if your struggling but it's straight forward)
  • Create a package in SCCM for ThinInstaller (TI) from the files that are extracted from the crappy compressed .exe you end up with and within the package create a program as below:
  1. Create a batch file and call it something meaningful like "copyfiles.bat"
  2. Within the batch file use the command: xcopy.exe \\SCCMSERVER\DISTRIBUTIONPOINT\PACKAGENAME\*.* c:\lenovo\thininstaller\ /E /D where SCCMSERVER = your servername/IP of server DISTRIBUTIONPOINT = the folder used for your DP packages (i.e. SMSPKGD$) and PACKAGENAME = the name of the package (i.e. LCT000B8).  This will copy the ThinInstaller software locally to the client as it needs to run from a local folder and doesn't extract and "install" as such.
  3. Create an "Install Software" task sequence entry under "State Restore" that calls the batch file "copyfiles.bat"
  • Create a "Run Command Line" task sequence and call it something like "Run ThinInstaller"
  • Use cmd line: cmd.exe /c thininstaller.exe /CM -search A -action INSTALL -repository \\SCCMSERVER\Update_Retriever  -noicon -includerebootpackages 1,2,3,4 -noreboot *don't forget to change this path to suit your config.
  • Start in: c:\lenovo\thininstaller -this is where the files were copied to.
  • Time-out - 120
This should now enable the client to run ThinInstaller locally and pull over all the relevant drivers for that model.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Training Ahoy!

Finally it looks like I will be undergoing some SCCM training.  My employer have agreed to send me on Microsoft's M6451 "Planning, Deploying and Managing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007" at QA in Manchester.

This is what I have wanted to do for a while now - hopefully I can do the 70-401 exam soon enough and get my MSTS!

PXE Boot pulling the wrong Windows PE wim

 If like me you are working with multiple architectures of Microsoft OS there will be occasions where you would like to push out a 64bit OS - more so in recent years due to the increasing popularity of 64bit platforms.

SCCM is my weapon of choice but I have found that sometimes even if a machine is placed in the 64bit deployment collection with the 64bit deployment task sequnce advertsied; it will still throw out the 32bit PE.

This is if a collection has multiple advertisments it will churn out the latest image to be advertised.  To get around this I found a great article on "Network Steve" that I have included below:

I had the exact same problem;
I wanted to be able to boot x86 or x64 Unknown Computers and image them. I have figured a very simple and erffective work around to this problem of the last advertised task winning...
I edited the query in the Unknown Computers collection to add: and Name LIKE "%x86%"
here's the complete query for the "Unknown Computers" collection
select SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name from SMS_R_UnknownSystem where Decommissioned = "0" and Name LIKE "%x86%"
Then I created a new collection called "Unknown Computers x64" and used the following query:
select SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_UNKNOWNSYSTEM.Name from SMS_R_UnknownSystem where Decommissioned = "0" and Name LIKE "%x64%"
Next, Advertise your x86 Task Sequences to the Unknown Computers query and your x64 Task Sequences to the Unknown Computers x64 query.
Now, as long as the computer is not in the SCCM database, when you PXE boot it will get the correct image.
Good LuckDoug

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Configuring Windows 8 Dev on Virtual Box in 10 simple steps...

With the release of Tiny Flaccid's Windows 8 Developer Preview there are tons of geeks and demi geeks out there just bursting to give it a try.  Ironically it will not work with their own flavor of VM so here's another way to try getting your shiny shiny fix for today!


  1. So from VBox we knock out a new VM.
  2. Under Motherboard tab in system tick IO APIC
  3. Under Processor enable PAE/NX
  4. Under Acceleration tick Enable VT-x/AMD-v and also Enable Nested Paging
  5. Under Display Video tick Enable 2D Acceleration
  6. Under Storage click the CD icon under IDE Controller and choose IDE Primary Slave
  7. Click the CD icon to the right of this and choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file - point to your ISO
  8. Click OK
  9. Click Start
  10. Hey Presto - it works!!!
If it doesn't - I don't know!!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

Hello Stranger...

Well hello,

It seems I have neglected you for 6 months.

So where shall I start? I didn't get the job as per my last post. To be honest I'm not to bothered as the guy that got it deserved the recognition.

I'm still at the NHS but trying my best to get out as there are big changes ahoy and I'm not prepared to take the risk of them being for the worse. I've returned to college to complete my Lv5 Management Certificate to put me in good stead for any positions in that area.

Well - Max is now 9 months old and coming on leaps and bounds. Well crawls and rolls. He's been the highlight of our lives day in, day out. It's amazing to look back over the photos of him from this tiny helpless thing that requires our undivided attention. Don't get me wrong, he still does but he's helping himself in all sorts of situations.

On the family front; my dad has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and has been undergoing chemotherapy. This all came as a bit of a shock that something as innocent as a ticklish cough has developed into this. His op is in a week or so and they are hopeful his chemo has helped.

I'll not make any promises as to keeping you up to date but I'll try my best.

Oh and look out at the end of July - another Max style post should appear ;)