iPrism & Windows XP & Non-domain Members

This use to work on computers running Windows XP/2003 not connected to a domain, but alas it appears no more.  If you try to access the Internet from a computer running Windows XP/2003, not joined to a domain and you are running iPrism, you will get presented with a lovely web page with a login and password box. Unfortunately, no matter what credentials your enter, it will not work.  Surprisingly, this does work on Windows 7 (here you get the lovely “Microsoft” login and password dialog box and not the dreaded iPrism login page).

The solution?  Head over to the Control Panel and go into the icon Users and Accounts.  Input the user domain credentials for your iPrism host, such as:

iprism.yourcompany.com

login: yourdomainloginname

password: <your password>

Of course, if your password changes, you have to go back and change it here.  This was a really annoying problem when building PCs and servers not joined to the domain.

Thanks to Aaron Bachler for the cross discipline support 🙂

– Soli Deo Gloria

Wondershare Liveboot 2012 (Normally $59.95) for Free

Wondershare Liveboot 2012 normally sells for $59.95. However, between now and August 12, you can download it for free! Instructions for doing so are here:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/get-60-bootable-troubleshooting-tool-free.htm

I downloaded the program and installed it. It contains a flat ISO @
C:Program FilesWondershareLiveBoot 2012Wondershare LiveBoot.iso.
It is Windows 7 based and seems pretty decent. I found that you can reset local account
passwords, find the installed Windows installation key, clone or wipe the hard drive and
even includes the ability to restore a good copy of the system registry by letting you
point to one in one of the system restore point folders. The Microsoft Safety Scanner
does work in this boot CD (unlike WinPE 3.0), so it might be handy to download it just for that.

You will need at least 1GB of memory to use this boot disc.  Although it seems to boot with 512MB, you won’t be able to run any applications without getting weird errors.

Update (10/13/12): Appears you can still download this!  See http://slickdeals.net/f/3181943-FREE-Wondershare-LiveBoot-2012

– Soli Deo Gloria

Web Site Downtime

So at 8:35AM CST this morning, the DNS server in the Texas datacenter that hosts all records
for leinss.com went down. This triggered a cascade effect of telling every other DNS server
that leinss.com didn’t exist and viola, my whole web site and e-mail was shutoff from the
Internet.

In addition, I found out that my DNS Registrar Tuffnames was sold or transferred
to Domains Priced Right without my knowledge. So even though I was entering the correct
customer number and password, it was saying it didn’t exist (eek!). Luckily, I found the
right web site and was able to login to make sure my web site was paid and up-to-date.

– Soli Deo Gloria

Fun with Windows 7, MDT 2010 and HyperV

Recently, we piloted Windows 7 to a few lucky users.  I had to scrub my knowledge of deploying Windows XP, because Windows 7 is so different.  My old approach of just taking a straight up ImageX of the system won’t work anymore.  This is because Windows 7 creates a small partition called “System Reserved” that it uses for WinRE and BitLocker.  Although Windows 7 can work without this partition, it’s a nice thing to have.  The other snafu is the way enumerates drivers.  You need to either add all the drivers to your image by running sysprep to put the system into audit mode or call DISM at deployment time to inject only the drivers you need just in time.  Windows 7, unlike Windows XP, will not look at any drivers you might have sitting in a folder during the minisetup after sysprep.

Bottom line is you are going to want to use MDT 2010 to make your life deploying Windows 7 easier, because it has lots of code to call DISM on its own.  The guide I used to build my own MDT 2010 environment is from Johan Arwidmark from here: http://www.truesec.com/deploymentcd.  Just register to download the CD and enjoy MDT 2010 bliss (don’t worry, it’s free and Johan is wonderful in his demonstrations)!  Another good one is this one from Aidan Finn.

With Windows 7, it was also time to move to using VMs to create images.  Why?  Well, it’s faster for one.  I can take a snapshot and “snap back” if I make a mistake and I get around the 3 sysprep limit for Windows 7.  Before you run sysprep, just take a snapshot and viola, you can sysprep forever since the image remains in a virgin state! (Does not really apply anymore if you have KMS up and running, but it does if you are just using MAKs).  HyperV comes with Windows Server 2008, so I just used an old Dell Precision 390 box and threw in some extra memory.  My XP image came through just fine in HyperV, but when trying to bring in my Windows 7 image from a physical box using Disk2VHD, I got the dreaded STOP 7B error message.  I got around this problem by using a tip from someone on the Microsoft Technet forums by using Citrix’s XenConvert, a free V2V and P2V utility.

HyperV uses something called Integration Services (akin to the VMWare Tools).  This is built into Windows 7/2008, but not XP.  I recommend removing these tools before sysprepping on XP and capturing the image.  While it seemed to work fine on XP x86 without removing the tools before sysprep, the x64 version of XP threw a fit and I had use VGA mode to remove and reinstall the tools before the VM would boot properly.

– Soli Deo Gloria