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Additional Regional Setting Support

In SmartDeploy Version 1.1.1980 we have added additional regional setting support to the Language/Culture drop down in the Deploy Wizard, as well as an advanced answer file change for more granular control. Additional Language/Culture Listings: In previous versions of SmartDeploy we only had Language/Culture support for the main language packs and language interface packs offered by Microsoft. This led to some confusion when wanting to use a specific language, say English, with a standard locale, like United Kingdom. In version 1980 you will now see a more comprehensive list of Language/Culture pairings when deploying languages. You can find a full list of Language/Culture pairings here. Custom Language/Culture Support: We have also added a new section to the SmartDeploy answer file that will give you the option to specify a custom set of UI Language, System Locale, User Locale, and Input Locale much like you would see in the unattend.xml that is created from Windows System Image Manager. This obviously requires the use of an answer file during deployment. The additional settings will give users the ability to specify any standard locale code (i.e. en-US, 0409, or English (United States)) for any of the four options above. To use this setting you will need to edit the SmartDeploy.xml answer file that is being used with deployment. Examples below. Standard regional settings in answer file:   <regional_settings> <time_zone>(GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US and Canada)</time_zone> <input_locale>English (United States)</input_locale> </regional_settings>     Extended regional settings in answer file:   <regional_settings> <time_zone>(GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US and Canada)</time_zone> <input_locale> <ui_language>en-US</ui_language> <system_locale>en-US</system_locale> <user_locale>en-US</user_locale> <input_locale>en-US</input_locale> </input_locale> </regional_settings>     As you can see you will need to add nested nodes for each of the four regional settings under the default <input_locale> node. This will cause the Deploy Wizard to use what is entered in the answer file rather than a standard region that is defined in the wizard itself.

Erik

Erik

 

Windows 8 Deployment

With the recent release of Windows 8 we have had a number of inquires about Windows 8 deployment support in SmartDeploy Enterprise. To group some of those questions and corresponding answer together, I wanted to add a brief information entry about SmartDeploy Enterprise and Windows 8. The Windows 8 Deployment Process To jump right in and address the main question, "does SmartDeploy support deploying Windows 8?". I am happy to say that with the release of SmartDeploy Enterprise Version 1.1.1980 we have officially added support for deployment of Windows 8. What this means is you can now deploy Windows 8 following the same process you would with Windows 7 or Windows XP. Create a virtual reference machine with Windows 8 installed.
Shutdown and capture the virtual reference machine using the Capture Wizard.
Build boot/deployment media.
Walkthrough the Deploy Wizard selecting the newly created Windows 8 image.
Gotchas and Other Considerations Although the deployment process for Windows 8 remains the same as previous versions of Windows, there have been quite a few changes to Windows 8 that present some potential considerations. Creating and capturing the virtual reference machine.
Most virtualization software has been updated to support Windows 8 virtual machines, there are however some SmartDeploy supported virutalization platforms that do not support Windows 8, like Windows Virtual PC. Please be sure to create your Windows 8 virtual reference machine on a virtualization platform that supports the operating system.
Currently we have seen some issues with VMware Workstation/Player. When shutting down Windows 8 normally in VMware it seems as though the OS doesn't power off correctly. This causes an error in the Capture Wizard stating "Unable to locate a system volume...". This behavior seems to be related to the new power features, like kernel hibernation, in Windows 8. If you experience this behavior please use the command prompt and "Shutdown.exe -t 0 -s" to power off the machine. At this time we have tested the capture process using virtual machines created from Hyper-V, VirtualBox and VMware Workstation/Player, at this time only VMware Workstation/Player exhibit this behavior. [*]Driver support As of posting this there isn't a lot of Windows 8 driver support provided by the computer manufacturers. This will obviously change in the coming months. As computer manufacturers begin to officially release Windows 8 driver support you will see the SmartDeploy Platform Pack library updated as well. In the mean time you can deploy Windows 8 images without a Platform Pack and update the drivers manually, or extract the Windows 7 drivers from the Platform Pack and re-import them to a Windows 8 node. This will need to be tested to ensure all Windows 7 drivers work with Windows 8 on the particular device.

Erik

Erik

 

SmartDeploy Version 1.1.1950 Now Available

SmartDeploy Version 1.1.1950 is now available for download from SmartDeploy.com. The new release contains some customer bug fixes as well as a new Capture Wizard that is developed in Silverlight. Some notable fixes are listed below: Media Wizard - Update to how USB media is built. As an initial requirement for the Media Wizard we made the product to be nondestructive when using USB media. This was mainly to protect user data in the event that the wrong USB drive was used. This behavior has changed with the new release of SmartDeploy. If the USB device that boot media is being created on is not formatted NTFS the user will be warned that it will be formatted, if they continue it will be formatted as NTFS. Media Wizard will now also check the current state of the USB device to ensure that the partition containing SmartPE is set to active. This will help to resolve issues where USB media will not boot. Capture Wizard - Capturing a virtual hard disk with a Raw volume. Previously if the Capture Wizard detected a Raw volume on the virtual disk it would present an error and exit. The behavior in this release is to grey out the Raw volume allowing the user to capture any properly formatted partitions that may have an operating system install. Deploy Wizard - WDS Multicast Deployment. Previously an attended answer file would not automatically populate the WDS credentials for multicast. This has been changed and the credentials will automatically be filled. Deploy Wizard - Deploying Wipe and Load to a BitLocker encrypted disk. When deploying an image with Wipe and Load to a disk that is encrypted with BitLocker (protection suspended) the deployment would fail with a BCD error. A task is now run after sysprep is kicked off that will update the BCD to work correctly with BitLocker deployments.

Erik

Erik

 

SmartDeploy Enterprise 1940 - Released!

An update to SmartDeploy Enterprise is now available for download! For SmartDeploy Enterprise version 1940 we have release a few new features as well as addressed a few customer bugs. Please see the lists below for further information on both. Features   Build Wizard: The Build Wizard is a new application that is installed with SmartDeploy Enterprise to aid in the creation of a virtual reference machine. Build Wizard can create a VM for VMware Workstation and Player, Windows Virtual PC and Oracle Virtual Box and apply custom settings. The Build Wizard is a Silverlight application that requires a new prerequisite check during SmartDeploy Enterprise installation. We now require that the technician computer have both Silverlight and .Net 4.0 installed prior to installing SmartDeploy Enterprise. If these prerequisites are not met the installer will try to automatically install them. Microsoft does not support .Net 4.0 installation to Windows XP SP2 and below, causing us to adopt this requirement as well. If the system you are installing to does not meet any of these requirements you will be prompted to make the proper changes. Overtime you will see more of SmartDeploy Enterprise transition to using a Silverlight code base making these requirements even more important. Ability to deploy Install.wim from a Windows product DVD (Vista and higher): Previously SmartDeploy Enterprise would not create the BCD when installing images that were missing the store. This has been changed to allow for the deployment of the install.wim to speed up testing and deployment of a vanilla image to computers. Please note that when using the Install.wim from a product DVD you will need to access the Advanced options of Deploy Wizard to enable the Administrator account. Updated SmartDeploy Enterprise boot environment (SmartPE): We have updated SmartPE to Windows PE 3.1 and included hotfix KB982018. This update will allow SmartDeploy Enterprise to make better use of advanced format disks. For more information on this update and the impact of advanced format disks please see the knowledge base article. Added ability to capture VMware ESX virtual hard drives offline: SmartVDK (the virtual disk connection utility used by SmartDeploy Enterprise) has been updated to allow the offline capture of VMware ESX virtual hard drives. The virtual hard drive will need to be exported from the VMware ESX server prior to capture.   Fixes   Updated credential prompts: The credential prompts in SmartPE have been updated to be more straightforward. The prompts went from a 4 line to 2 line entry model.

1930 Credential Prompt

1940 Credential Prompt More informative domain join dialog: We have updated the dialog you see when attempting to join a computer to a domain. The new text boxes contain a title stating to use the FQDN of the domain and distinguished name of the OU. Large Platform Pack causing overflow: Under certain circumstances users would receive an overflow error when attempting to use a large Platform Pack. We have updated the Deploy Wizard to allow for more file entries in the Platform Pack to fix this issue. %SmartDeploy_Media% causing tasks to fail: In version 1930 of SmartDeploy Enterprise a check to ensure the file being called from a pre or post image task exists was implemented. The check was not resolving the %SmartDeploy_Media% variable correctly however, causing a false positive. This has been updated to pre-resolve the variable before enacting the check. Default file name when saving answer file: When exporting an answer file form the Deploy Wizard the name will now be automatically populated with SmartDeploy.xml.  

Erik

Erik

 

Listing Multiple Domains and Organizational Units in the SmartDeploy Answer File

In SmartDeploy version 1920 we have added the feature to list multiple domains and OUs in an answer file. You can then choose from this list during deployment. I am going to take a minute to explain how to set this up with an existing answer file. By default when specifying a domain and exporting the answer file you will get something that looks like this:   <network_identification> <computer_name/> <!-- 0 = Domain, 1 = Workgroup --> <membership>0</membership> <domain>SmartDeploy.Local</domain> <domain_options><option></option></domain_options> <organizational_unit>Cn=test,cn=computers,dc=SmartDeploy,dc=local</organizational_unit> <organizational_unit_options><option></option></organizational_unit_options> <workgroup/> </network_identification>     If you wish to add another domain or OU to this list you can simply add the next entry in the option node. For example:   <network_identification> <computer_name/> <!-- 0 = Domain, 1 = Workgroup --> <membership>0</membership> <domain>SmartDeploy.Local</domain> <domain_options><option>Prowess.Local</option></domain_options> <organizational_unit>cn=test,cn=computers,dc=SmartDeploy,dc=local</organizational_unit> <organizational_unit_options><option>cn=test,cn=computers,dc=Prowess,dc=local</option></organizational_unit_options> <workgroup/> </network_identification>     The resulting options in Deploy Wizard will look like the picture below. If you wish to add more options you simply need to add another <option> set. For example:   <network_identification> <computer_name/> <!-- 0 = Domain, 1 = Workgroup --> <membership>0</membership> <domain>SmartDeploy.Local</domain> <domain_options><option>Prowess.Local</option><option>Test.Local</option></domain_options> <organizational_unit>cn=test,cn=computers,dc=SmartDeploy,dc=local</organizational_unit> <organizational_unit_options><option>cn=test,cn=computers,dc=Prowess,dc=local</option></organizational_unit_options> <workgroup/> </network_identification>    

Erik

Erik

 

SmartDeploy Enterprise 1.1.1910 - Bug Fixes

Now that the latest version of SmartDeploy Enterprise has been release I want to take some time and talk about a few of the bugs that have been addressed in this version. Below you will find a list of bugs, a brief description and the action that was taken. In addition to the bug fixes below version 1910 also underwent a major update from a boot media perspective. Allen talks more about this update in his blog titled SmartDeploy 1.1.1910 Platform Pack Information. Media Wizard Error 76 "Path Not Found": When you create deployment media using Media Wizard from a user account that is 16 or more characters in length you will receive an error stating the path is not found. This was due to path lengths in one of the command calls.
Setting a Static IP from SmartPE: It was found that when entering a number over 232 in the first octet of the Subnet mask you would receive an invalid subnet error. The input restraints for this field have been updated.
"Unable to deploy to the volume containing the virtual reference machine." Error When Deploying from USB HDD: This condition exists when the target device has an unformatted hard drive and the image file being used resides on the volume labeled c:. Essentially a check to ensure an image cannot be applied to the disk in which it resides is unexpectedly triggered. This behavior has been update in 1910.
Error Joining a Domain with Hyphens: When joining a domain that contains a hyphen an error will be returned stating "Please enter a valid domain name". This check has been updated to include a hyphen as a valid domain character.
Joining a Domain from a Client with a Static IP: When specifying a static IP and domain from Deploy Wizard the target will not be joined to the domain during the deployment process. This is due to the domain join process taking place before the static IP has been set. This behavior has been updated in 1910 and the static IP will now fully apply before the domain join process can start.

Erik

Erik

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