Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, 18 November 2007

We've started receiving computers from Dell now with Vista Business edition on them. Fortunately it's only been ten so far and they're all Optiplex 755s, the new ones. Microsoft has a program in place to allow you to buy new machines with Vista Business stickers/COAs on them and then receive a free product code to "downgrade" it to XP, then when your company is ready to roll Vista out, you already have the license and don't have to pay anything to upgrade. Sounds good to me, I have these ten machines XP Product Codes on their way in the mail. In the meantime, I used the Dell VLK I extracted from the OS re-installation disc using Magical Jellybean Keyfinder 2.0. I'm serious, that's the name of the program!

I took one and wiped out the hard drive and re-installed Windows XP SP2 on it (slipstreamed to October of course, using Ross' wicked script in conjunction with wget and then nLite to make it fit on a CD-R). I ran into the first snag right off the bat: Windows Setup couldn't see the hard drive. WTF? Turns out that these new OptiPlex 755s have a new Intel SATA controller that also supports RAID. Even though these machines only have one small HD in them, the driver is newer than my XP SP2 reinstallation disc. In the end, I had to download the RAID driver from Dell's website, put it on a floppy (USB... we stopped ordering floppy drives about a year ago) and then plug the floppy into the new machine and press F6 to load a custom driver in the opening seconds of Windows Setup. After trying that and finding out it worked, I stopped and went back to integrate the driver into the nLite install disc so now I have a Windows XP SP2 boot/installation disc that's slipstreamed up to October. Once I had Windows installed and updated, Office 2007 installed, Adobe Reader, Cute PDF Writer, Symantec Antivirus Client, MS Firewall Client and games, msn, messenger, outlook express and other junk like that removed I then cleaned up, defragged and then ran Sysyprep on the machine to make a fully-automated  Ghost image.

After all that, I could plug in all nine other machines straight out of the boxes, Ghostcast the image to all of them, reboot and wait for it to finish running the Windows mini-setup all on it's own, reboots and comes up to the "Press ctrl-alt-del to begin" screen. All I have to do then is log on as local administrator, change the name of the computer (I use the auto-generated names, it's easier at this point) then reboot and join it to the domain. When the end-user logs in, Active Directory GPOs and ScriptLogic Software Installation scripts install the "custom" apps needed by that person based upon their OU and group membership respectively.

Sunday, 18 November 2007 12:17:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Rants | Tech | Microsoft#
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