Jul 07

WinPE: Restarting DHCP client service

Ingmar VerheijComments Off on WinPE: Restarting DHCP client service

A bare-metal deployment is build using Altiris Deployment Solutions (HP Rapid Deployment Pack, to be precise). When a client boots Windows PE 2.1 to execute a job (installation of operating system) it doesn’t seem to get an IP address from the DHCP server (Restarting DHCP client service: retry x).

Restarting DHCP client service - retry

This is strange since the WinPE 2.1 image is downloaded via a PXE boot which acquired a IP address from the DHCP server without problems, the DHCP mechanism is working.

This caused me some serious headache a few months ago (at another customer). I investigated the problem and found the cause of the problem.

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May 03

Deleting scheduled Altiris tasks from SQL

Remko WeijnenComments Off on Deleting scheduled Altiris tasks from SQL

I needed to delete around 50 scheduled tasks from several machines in Altiris because something went wrong in on of the first jobs.

It would have better if the jobs were configured to fail on error and not continue but they weren’t.

Deleting the jobs from the Altiris console is very, very, slow. First the console asks for confirmation (after showing the hourglass for a long time):


Then the actual delete can take a few minutes and then the next server and so on.

I decided to delete the tasks directly from SQL.

I know this is not preferred but I think in the end it’s safe enough because I found a stored procedure called del_event_schedule which looks like this:

ALTER procedure [dbo].[del_event_schedule]
   @schedule_id         int
   begin transaction

   delete from event_schedule where schedule_id = @schedule_id

   if (@@error != 0)
      rollback transaction
      commit transaction

So al it does is a (transacted) delete from the table.


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Apr 29

Apply IP Configuration from a Database

Remko WeijnenComments Off on Apply IP Configuration from a Database

I am currently deploying 64 Citrix XenApp servers with Altiris. The deployment consists of an OS Image, OS Configuration and finally Citrix XenApp and Applications.

In the OS Configuration part the IP configuration needs to be applied and I decided to do this with a database.

The database consists of 2 tables; one table with the per host settings and one table with the global settings (such as DNS).

In the Altiris job both tables are read from an embedded VBScript and assigned to the NIC.

Database configuration

I created a database (SQL Server) called IPManagement with 2 tables:



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Apr 06

Get Virtual Machine Bios Serial Number

Remko WeijnenComments Off on Get Virtual Machine Bios Serial Number

I am using a PowerCLI script to clone virtual machines from a template and after the clone I need to add the new virtual machines to Altiris for further processing (deploying OS, Citrix XenApp and Applications in my case).
In Altiris I have universal jobs that identify what configuration is applicable, eg a Virtual Machine doesn’t need array configuration but a physical machine does.
I filter the Virtual Machines by using the Serial Number field in Altiris (a VMWare Virtual Machine always starts with the “VMware-“ followed by the VM’s UUID:


But I wanted to deploy the OS right after the clone operation and at this point Altiris has not yet read the serial number so I need to preconfigure this as well.

I wrote a PowerShell function that reads the UUID from a Virtual Machine and converts this to the desired format:

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Mar 22

Tips for using SysPrep with Altiris

Remko WeijnenComments Off on Tips for using SysPrep with Altiris

Altiris has built in support for Sysprep when creating or distributing images.

The documentation doesn’t mention some things that are worth knowing so I will try to address them in this post.

Sysprep support can be added to Altiris during the install where it will ask you for the Sysprep install files (deploy.cab) per selected OS.

If you didn’t add Sysprep during install you can copy deploy.cab to one of subfolders in the Sysprep folder. Eg for 32 bit Windows 2003 deploy.cab goes to Sysprep\DotNet\x86:


As I wrote earlier in this post it’s very important to use the correct Sysprep version as each OS has it’s own version.

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Mar 17

Compiling Drivers for Altiris Linux PXE Image Part 1

Remko WeijnenComments Off on Compiling Drivers for Altiris Linux PXE Image Part 1

First we need to setup a Linux Virtual Machine with a distro of choice (I recommend a 32 bit version). I will be using Ubuntu here and the first step is to download the iso.

At the time of writing Ubuntu 10.10 was the Latest version so I used that one.

Create a new Virtual Machine and use the iso as install media, I am using VMWare Workstation and it recognises Ubuntu and performs an “easy install”:


The install is unattended (when VMWare Tools are installed you need to perform a login) and took only 6 minutes on my laptop!

Now we need to install gcc (the compiler), open the Ubuntu Software Center:



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Mar 15

STOP: 0x0000005D when booting Windows PE

Remko WeijnenComments Off on STOP: 0x0000005D when booting Windows PE

I was booting a new VMWare Virtual Machine with Windows PE through Altiris for initial deployment but Windows PE halted with a BSOD:


0x0000005D means UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR (defined in bugcodes.h) so I expected there was a x86 vs x64 problem.

The VM was configured for a 32 bit OS:


The Altiris Job was configured to use Auto Select:


But instead of the x86 version of Windows PE, Altiris attempts to boot the x64 version and this explains the BSOD: VMWare prevents the CPU from going to x64 mode and thus Windows has no choice but to halt.

Workaround is to change the Automation pre-boot environment in Altiris to x86:


Note that it’s no problem to deploy an x64 OS using the x86 version of Windows PE so I don’t see any real problems with this workaround.

Sep 16

Change driveletter of CD-rom

Ingmar VerheijComments Off on Change driveletter of CD-rom

In a deployment using Altiris (or any other deployment utility) it is common to change driveletters. Especially when servers are reinstalled once in a while, you probably encounter problems doing so using diskpart.
Diskpart is the utility supplied with Windows by Microsoft which enables you to manage you disks, partitions and volumes. One limitation is, however, that you’re unable to select a specific drive using filters. For instance a CD-rom drive.

In an initial deployment you know how many disks there are and how many volumes. Because these are static you can create the diskpart script easily by specifying the disk ID or volume ID, which is numbered in the order of presence.
However, when you redeploy that same server this might be changed. If you’ve added a disk (or formatted it) the order of presence might be changed and the script will fail to execute the way you expected it.
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Feb 19

Altiris upgrade i.c.m. DOS PXE-Boot images

Daniel NikolicComments Off on Altiris upgrade i.c.m. DOS PXE-Boot images

Gisterenavond hebben we een upgrade van Altiris uitgevoerd bij een klant van ons. De upgrade hield in; van Altiris Deployment Solution van 6.8 (SP2) naar 6.9. De upgrade zelf stelt niet zoveel voor, zorg dat er geen Deployment Console geopend is en de upgrade gaat ‘pretty-much’ vanzelf. Maar na het testen van de standaard PXE-Boot opties blijkt dat een server / werkstation niet goed door het proces van het mappen naar de eXpress share komt, dit gebeurd met alle DOS Boot disk opties die er zijn aangemaakt binnen 6.8 of eerder. Foutmeldingen van Access Denied (5) tot Not Found (53) komen langs. Wanneer je dan binnen de Altiris PXE Manager de Boot disk update (je denkt: nieuwe versie, dus misschien is het proces veranderd), kom je iets verder, maar toch niet helemaal. Het lijkt of het Boot image dingen achterhoudt van 6.8.

Onze weg naar Rome: Creëer een nieuw Boot disk image, met de opties die je noodzakelijk acht voor je omgeving. Wanneer je de Boot disk heb gecreëerd wordt een overzicht gegeven van alle bestanden die je op dat moment in de DOS Boot disk hebt.

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Jun 02

Integratie van Virtual Center 2.5 en Altiris 6.8SP2

Former PepperCrewComments Off on Integratie van Virtual Center 2.5 en Altiris 6.8SP2

Altiris ondersteund een integratie met de Virtual Center server van VMware. Hierdoor worden alle ESX servers en Virtuale Machines binnen Altiris zichtbaar. Dit geeft een nog completer beeld van de IT binnen een bedrijf.
Echter wordt er officieel geen ondersteuning geboden door Altiris voor VC 2.5 (VI3). Als je een VC server toevoegt binnen Altiris dan kan je verschillende foutmeldingen krijgen over SOAP objecten of http status 400. Lijkt dus niet goed te gaan.

Gelukkig vond ik ergens in de kelders van het internet een post van iemand die een soortgelijk probleem heeft gehad met VC2 and Altiris 6.8SP1. Na wat puzzelen werkt deze oplossing ook voor de hierboven genoemde versies. Hieronder wordt beschreven wat er gedaan moet worden.

  1. Binnen de VC moeten we “Backwards Compatability” aanzetten. Dit kan tijdens de installatie of achteraf door de volgende reg key string value toe te voegen:
    HKLMSoftwareVMWare, Inc.VMWare VirtualCenterCompatibleWith1xWebService
  2. Geef deze key een waarde 1
  3. Open het bestand C:documents and settingsall usersapplication datavmwarevmware virtualcentervpxd.cfg
  4. Uncomment de regels:
  5. Herstart nu de services “VMware Infrastructure Web Access” en “VMware VirtualCenter Server”
  6. Ga naar de Altiris console, Tools, Options, Virtual Centers en voeg hier de server toe (als die er al niet stond) met poortnummer 443 (ik gebruik de FQDN en een Domain user voor authenticatie).

Het kan even duren voordat de oude foutmelding weg gaan, maar als het goed is zie je onder de VC server nu je ESX servers verschijnen met onder de ESX server de Virtuele Machines!

Have fun!