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BDD 2007 Released

The final version of BDD 2007 has been released. Get it here.

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Fun with Vista Networking

Today I reach a greater level of frustration than I had in a long time. After installing Vista Ultimate, eagerly wanting to try out some new Media Center bits, I found I could not connect to a network share. Simple enough I thought, typing in \\WinXP\c$ yielded a password prompt but after the correct password still didn’t let me in.

 

I jumped to the conclusion that some new fancy Vista security ‘thing’ was stopping my connecting to my XP machine. After wasting almost the entire afternoon and another fews hours in the evening I had nothing. Still Vista would just continue to prompt for a password. I tried separte accounts, enabling netbios, installing updates, anything I could think of even a re-install.

 

After installing the new Network Monitor 3 and doing a capture I found that it was failing NTLM negotiation, then it clicked. Check the time!!! As it turns out I had the right time, just I was 5 days out….grrr.

 

So the moral of the story, Keep it simple and look for the obvious problems.

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BDD 2007 RC1 Release

Microsoft have just released BDD 2007 RC1. BDD 2007 give best practice guidance on how to deploy Windows Vista and Office 2007.

Information about the technologies used in BDD 2007 are at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/deploy/depenhnc.mspx.

Go to https://connect.microsoft.com to download.

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Theme fixed for IE7 – Thanks Kelly Keeton

Kelly keeton was nice enough to fix a bug in my css that cause the Project84Grass theme to look a little weird in IE7. Thanks mate!! I’ll post the update theme as a zip file later today.

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Debugging ZTI

I’ve been doing some work with Zero Touch Installation lately and have certainly come across my fair share of problems. Fortunately you can get a lot of debugging information out of ZTI. THere is a great article OSD and ZTI Troubleshooting Tips that has some excellent tips on debugging.

One thing that I found that caused me grief for at least a few hours was the 80004005 error. According to the article mention above the causes are commonly:
-Wrong PackageID in customsettings.ini
-Failure to resolve MP or DP using FQDN
-Missing NIC drivers in Winpe

I found that I got this error because osd.debug existed on the machine I was testing on. If you’re testing your deployment CD’s make sure you do a diskpart first or at least remove osd.debug.

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Using VBScript to Mount/Dismount SDI File

To mount an SDI file so that you can work with it you usually use the utility called sdiloader.exe that comes with the Windows XP Embedded Tools. Where’s the fun in that I say!!

Create on of these guys:

Set oSDIMount = CreateObject(“SDIAUT.SDIMountedDisks”)

And then you can use:
oSDIMount.Add sTempImage
and
oSDIMount.Remove index1

I’ve provided an example script so you don’t have to do any real coding: MountSDI.vbs (2.22 KB)

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Creating SDI Images using VBScript Part 2

Continuing on from my first post Creating SDI Images using VBScript I am going to look at a more complete example here. I’ve also attached a working script.MakeSDI.vbs (4.76 KB)

Previously we saw that you can create a new SDI image doing the following:
Set oSDIFile = oSDI.CreateImage(sImageSDICREATENEW)
Now this isn’t really all that useful because without a disk blob inside the SDI file you cannot partition and format the SDI file.

Now I’ll leave it to someone more knowledgable than myself to explain exactly what a DISK blog is but you create one by using oSDIFile.Blobs.Allocate DISKnLonHi. The signature for Allocate is:

Sub Allocate(ByVal ldwType As Long, ByVal ldwSizeLowPart As Long, [ByVal ldwSizeHighPart As Long])

Confused?? I was but if you take a look in SDIMgr.swf from the Windows XP Embedded Tools you’ll be able to extract just the bits you need. I’ve provided them below and don’t forget the example script that is attached.

Sub CreateDisk(sSize)
Dim nSize ‘size in MB
Dim sHex ‘size as Hex
   Dim nLo ‘Low DWORD
Dim nHi ‘High DWORD
Dim oBlob ‘DISK Blob

   ’Get the size in MB
nSize = GetSizeInMB(sSize)

   ’Convert to hex
sHex = Right(“00000000″ & Hex(nSize), 8)

   ’Form the Low DWORD
nLo = CLng(“&h” & Right(sHex3) & “00000″)
nHi = CLng(“&h” & Left(sHex5))

   ’Create a DISK Blog
oSDIFile.Blobs.Allocate DISKnLonHi

   Set oBlob = FindBlob(oSDIFile)
   oBlob.Attribute = 0

End Sub

Function GetSizeInMB(sData)
Dim sTemp : sTemp = Trim(sData)
Dim lTemp : lTemp = CLng(sTemp)

   GetSizeInMB = lTemp \ 1048576
End Function

Function FindBlob(oSDIFile)
Dim oBlob
Set FindBlob = Nothing

   For Each oBlob In oSDIFile.Blobs
If oBlob.Type = DISK Then Set FindBlob = oBlob : Exit Function
Next
End Function

Enjoy!

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Finding SDI Disks Using WMI

When you create an SDI image with the view of using it to create a bootable Windows PE or Bart PE disk one of the steps is to use diskpart or Device Manager to partition and format the image. Recently I tried to automate this process to my own demise. In the diskpart script that I used I had the line select disk 1, which was a terrible idea because when I ran it on another machine it formatted the HDD. Oops!

To get around this I thought I’d ask WMI what the index of my SDI Disk is before running diskpart, the result:

strComputer = “.”
Set objWMIService = GetObject(winmgmts:\\” & strComputer & “\root\CIMV2″)
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery( _
“SELECT * FROM Win32_DiskDrive WHERE Caption = ‘SDIDisk’”,,48)

For Each objItem In colItems
   WScript.Echo “———————————–”
   WScript.Echo Win32_DiskDrive instance”
   WScript.Echo “———————————–”
   WScript.Echo “Index: “ & objItem.Index
   WScript.Echo “Name: “ & objItem.Name
   WScript.Echo “Partitions: “ & objItem.Partitions
   WScript.Echo “Size: “ & objItem.Size
Next

Index is the Property that matches up with the Disk# you see in Device Manager. Keep in mind that if you have a couple of SDI images loaded you’ll get them all back. In my script I’ve used the Partition Property to distinguish between an SDI I have just created and one that I left mounted previously.

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Creating SDI Images using VBScript

I have been using SDI Images to make fast-loading Windows PE and BartPE boot disk using a technique I found over here: http://www.myitforum.com/articles/8/view.asp?id=8832

Typically you need to use SDIMgr.wsf and SDILoader.exe that come with Windows XP Embedded to create SDI file and mount them. This however is not the only way. All you need is a file called sdiaut.dll and of course the SDI driver. If you’ve installed the Windows XP Embedded tools as per the article above you’ll have both of these.

sdiaut.dll is the SDI Automation dll and can be instantiated by like so:

Dim oSDI : Set oSDI = CreateObject(“SDIAUT.SDI”)

To Create an SDI Image it is as simple as:

Const SDICREATENEW = 1
Dim oSDI : Set oSDI = CreateObject(“SDIAUT.SDI”)
Dim fs : Set fs = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)

‘Create the SDI File
If fs.FileExists(sImageThen
   WScript.Echo “File Already Exists deleting…”
fs.DeleteFile sImageTrue
End If

Dim oSDIFile : Set oSDIFile = oSDI.CreateImage(sImageSDICREATENEW)


WScript.Echo “BootCodeOffset: “ & oSDIFile.BootCodeOffset
WScript
.Echo “BootCodeSize: “ & oSDIFile.BootCodeSize
WScript
.Echo “DeviceID: “ & oSDIFile.DeviceId
WScript
.Echo “DeviceModel: “ & oSDIFile.DeviceModel
WScript
.Echo “DeviceRole: “ & oSDIFile.DeviceRole
WScript
.Echo “FilePath: “ & oSDIFile.FilePath
WScript
.Echo “MDBType: “ & oSDIFile.MDBType
WScript
.Echo “RuntimeGUID: “ & oSDIFile.RuntimeGUID

Set oSDIFile = Nothing ‘ Close the file

Pretty cool hey!

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ShinyPower

Spotted this little utility the other day called ShinyPower and it is definately a must have for anyone learning PowerShell. It’s over at secretGeek: http://secretgeek.net/shinyPower.asp

From the site: “ShinyPower is a little C# app i wrote to automate browsing PowerShell’s help files.”

 

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