Thursday, 30 January 2014

Operating System Deployment with USB Dongles (Lenovo in my case)

With the advances in technology we have seen in recent years, devices have become smaller, thinner and lighter than ever before.

With this we are finding that some devices are loosing functionality - ie. Some devices are having ports omitted to retain their slender profile.

The Lenovo X1 Carbon adopted this approach and required a USB dongle which I posted about the pitfalls of PXE boot here: Lenovo X1 PXE Issues

I've seen an increase in the issues these dongles are causing us deployment techs, one of those being that each of these dongles have their own MAC address.  In true tech style when we see this new wizardry the first thing we say is "MINE"... Well actually the first thing we normally say is "Ooh Shiney" but then there's a Smeagle like "My Precious" when we claim the Shiney as our own.

I did this.  I had my very own dongle.  It worked great.  ONCE!  Every subsequent build failed.  I did a bit of research and found that it had it's own MAC that was registering in SCCM so I had to surrender my Shiney and give it on to the user.

I now use the supplied dongles for each build as it isn't worth the trouble but I have it on good authority that with the latest gen of Lenovo kit they are shipping certain models with on-board NICs (therefore unique MACs) and the dongle is purely a port extender utilising USB to present an Ethernet port.

If you have fallen prey to this (and insist on using one dongle to rule them all) you need to read my earlier post to search SCCM for machines by their MAC address.

Have fun...


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