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Get to Know the Solution Accelerator for BDD Fast - Part 2

Published: February 03, 2006
By Jerry Honeycutt
Jerry Honeycutt

This article is the second installment in a series of articles that help you evaluate and explore the Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) without reading the mountains of documentation it provides. As I said in the first installment, I definitely don't suggest that you use the Solution Accelerator without reading all its documentation. In fact, the documentation it provides is one of its best features.

If you're just trying to evaluate or better understand the solution, however, you don't have to read the documentation. This series of articles is a step-by-step guide for using the solution in a lab setting for evaluation and educational purposes. In the previous installment, I led you through the essential steps for creating a basic disk image that contains no customizations. In this installment, I show you how to save that disk image to an image file, and then deploy it by using the Deployment Interview Wizard and the Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) deployment CD.

Continuing from Part 1

Before moving on, make sure you've read part 1 of this series. In that column, "Getting To Know BDD Fast, Part 1," you achieved the following:

  • You created a mini-lab environment by using either Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 or real hardware. (For more information about the requirements for following this series, see the first installment.) In addition to the server and the lab computer on which you built the image, you also need a computer on which Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP is installed and which is joined to the domain. In my examples, the computer is joined to the DUNDRUM domain.

  • Using the Computer Imaging System, you created a basic build and then installed this build on a lab computer. In the first installment, I installed this build on dundrum-cli-01. You haven't created an image file for this build, however.

Note:  This article uses Symantec Ghost for disk imaging. You must have a license for Ghost and install it on the lab server?dundrum-srv-01?to follow the instructions in this article.

Creating the Image File

The first step is to capture the build you installed in the first installment to an image file. I'm using Symantec Ghost to create and apply disk images. Before proceeding, make sure you've installed the build on a lab computer as described in the first installment of this series. The Computer Imaging System Feature Team Guide documents this process in detail.

To create the image file

  1. Copy Ghost32.exe from the Symantec Ghost installation folder (C:\Program Files\Symantec\Ghost) to the Lite Touch Deploy\Ghost folder. If you've installed the Solution Accelerator for BDD where I suggested in the first installment of this series, the Lite Touch Deploy\Ghost folder is in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\BDD Standard 2.5.

  2. Share the Lite Touch Deploy folder as Deploy, giving the Everyone group Full Control. In a production environment, you would share this folder with read-only access; however, in a lab environment, share this folder with full control to allow you to write disk images.

  3. Start the computer on which you installed the build using the Windows PE lab CD. You created this CD in part 1. If you're using physical computers, you must burn Winpelab.iso to a CD. If you're using virtual machines, you must mount the .iso file to the virtual machine's CD drive.

  4. After Windows PE starts, the Server Connection dialog box appears. Click Cancel to cancel the connection and return to the command prompt. Act fast, because this dialog box closes after about 10 seconds and connects to the build server by default.

  5. At the command prompt, type net use w: \\dundrum-srv-01\deploy. When prompted, type the name and password you want to use for accessing the deployment server. If you named your lab server something other than dundrum-srv-01, use that name, instead.

  6. At the command prompt, type w:\ghost\ghost32.exe -clone,mode=create,src=1,dst=w:\images\wxpsp2.gho -sure. Ghost will capture the build you installed on the lab computer to the image file wxpsp2.gho on the lab server.

Configuring the Servers

Lite Touch deployment in the Solution Accelerator for BDD uses three logical servers:

  • Deployment server. The deployment server is the server containing the disk images and the deployment wizard.

  • Data server. The data server provides storage for user state data and deployment settings obtained by the Deployment Interview Wizard.

  • Application server. The application server contains supplemental applications that you might install during deployment but don't include in the disk images.

The important thing to note here, particularly when working in a lab environment, is that these logical servers don't physically need to be different servers. In fact, think of each logical server as a share, each of which serves a particular purpose.

You've already created the deployment server by sharing the Lite Touch Deploy folder in the previous section. I'm not using the application server in this article (I'll leave that for future articles), so all that remains is to create the data server.

To configure the servers

  1. Create a folder called Data and share it as Data, giving the Everyone group Full Control. I create this folder on the lab server's desktop just for the sake of convenience when testing. In a production environment, you'll want to tighten up security on this folder, allowing users only to write to the folder but giving the Creator Owner group Full Control.

  2. Download the Microsoft Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) 2.6.1 from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads (search for the keyword USMT). Run the file you download (USMT.MSI) to install it in the default installation path, which is C:\USMT. Then, copy C:\USMT\bin\*.* to Lite Touch Deploy\USMT. Doing so places the USMT program files where the solution expects to find them.

Configuring Options in Setup.inf

The solution's Deployment Interview Wizard is the tool that technicians interact with when installing a disk image on users' computers. You can customize the default settings that the wizard uses by editing Setup.inf. This file is in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\BDD Standard 2.5\Lite Touch Deploy\Wizard along with the wizard's script files.

The Setup.inf file looks like any .ini file. Each option is in a section called

[OptionN]
, where N is an option number (0, 1, 2, etc). Each option's section defines the following items.
  • Key. This item defines the option's name.

  • Value. This item is the default value of the option. To change an option's default value, change this item. For example, to change the default name of the domain to join, set

    value=name
    in the
    [Option1]
    section.
  • Choice. Some options define lists of choices, and this item defines the choices available.

  • Display. This item indicates whether the wizard displays the option. You can prevent technicians from changing a value by setting

    Display=No
    .
  • Prompt. This item is the prompt that the wizard displays.

  • Description. This item is a description of the option.

You invariably need to edit the options in Setup.inf. First, the wizard doesn't display all the options, and you edit the file to configure these options. An example is the path to the data server. Second, to make the process more efficient, you want to configure default options based on your own environment. The example in this column is no exception. For that matter, it's not uncommon to create multiple Setup.inf files for a site.

To configure options in Setup.inf

  1. Open Setup.inf in Notepad, and then edit the settings shown in Table 1.

    Table 1. Configuration Panel

    Section

    Item

    Value

    [Option5]

    Domain join account credentials

    DUNDRUM\Administrator

    [Option6]

    Domain join password

    Pa$$w0rd

    [Option11]

    Data server share name

    \\dundrum-srv-01\Data

    [Option12]

    Data server share credentials

    DUNDRUM\Administrator

    [Option13]

    Data server share password

    Pa$$w0rd

    [Option15]

    Windows PE load options

    CD

    [Option17]

    Image name

    wxpsp2.gho

    [Option18]

    Path to USMT

    \\dundrum-srv-01\deploy\usmt

    [Option19]

    Image workstation onto data server

    No

    [Option20]

    Save user data to data server <USMT>

    Yes

  2. From the

    [Setup]
    section, delete the
    GroupToAdd0
    and
    GroupToAdd1
    items.
  3. From the

    [Setup]
    section, delete the following values:
    • App0Name

    • App0

    • App0RB

    • App1Name

    • App1

    • App1RB

  4. Save your changes to Setup.inf.

Prepare a Lab Computer

The deployment server is customized and ready for action. To test, you need a computer that's running Windows 2000 or Windows XP and joined to the lab's test domain. In this case, I installed Windows XP Professional on a third virtual machine, dundrum-cli-02, and joined it to DUNDRUM.

You might also want to configure some user settings to test user state migration. For example, configure Microsoft Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer settings. Then, after deploying the image to the computer, verify that the solution restored these settings using USMT.

Running the Deployment Interview Wizard

Now that you've customized the deployment server and have a computer ready to migrate, it's time to run the Deployment Interview wizard. The wizard is on the deployment server \\dundrum-srv-01\deploy\wizard\bddwizard.bat. Here's what the process looks like from the technician's point of view:

  1. The technician logs on to the target computer as a local administrator.

  2. The technician starts the Deployment Interview Wizard by running bddwizard.bat. In environments with technically savvy users, you can also push this command using Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), Microsoft Active Directory directory service, and so on.

  3. The technician specifies options in the wizard, and then commits his changes.

  4. The technician restarts the computer using the Windows PE deployment CD.

  5. The remainder of the process is fully automated and requires no intervention.

To run the Deployment Interview Wizard

  1. Log on to the target computer (dundrum-cli-02 in this case) as a local administrator.

  2. In the Run dialog box, type \\dundrum-srv-01\deploy\wizard\bddwizard.bat, and then press ENTER to start the Deployment Interview Wizard shown in Figure 1.

    Deployment Interview Wizard

    Figure 1. Deployment Interview Wizard
  3. Click Start to launch the wizard.

  4. On the Deployment Options screen, configure the settings shown in Table 2, and then click Last Page.

    Table 2. Deployment Options

    Field

    Value

    Example

    Target computer name

    Type the computer name you want to give to the computer after deploying the image.

    dundrum-cli-02

    Area Code

    Type the area code you want to configure on the computer after deploying the image.

    972

    Country Code

    Type the country code you want to assign to the computer after deploying the image.

    1

  5. Click Commit Changes to save your options and begin deployment.

  6. Mount the Windows PE deployment CD (winpedeploy.iso) to the virtual machine or write the .iso file to a CD and start the computer (if you're using a physical computer).

  7. Click Exit Interview Wizard.

  8. Restart the computer, and watch the deployment process proceed automatically.

Completing the Process

After the installing the disk image on the target computer, the computer restarts in Windows XP and the solution configures the computer. It's interesting to watch the process unfold. Keep in mind that everything you see happening is driven by scripts, and you can customize all these scripts or even add your own. For more information about adding scripts to the Computer Imaging System, see the Computer Imaging System Feature Team Guide.

Now you've built a disk image and deployed it. In future installments in this series, I'll dive into a little more focused detail. For example, I'll show you how to add core applications to your disk images and customize deployment scripts. Keep an eye out here for more step-by-step tours of the Solution Accelerator for BDD.

For More Information

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About the Author
Jerry Honeycutt is a writer, speaker, and technologist. He has written more than 25 books, including Microsoft Windows Desktop Deployment Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2004). Jerry's consulting practice is in the Dallas, Texas, area, but he travels frequently. For more information about Jerry, click on "About the Author" above, visit http://www.honeycutt.com, or contact him at jerry@honeycutt.com.


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