Using Custom Token Variables to Write DS Scripts

For those of you who are Deployment Server administrators, you will feel my pain, trying to write deployment server scripts without hardcoding the path of a server in the scripts. Why is this a problem, I only have 1 DS? If anyone has more than 1 DS you have probably done an export of a job folder and imported it into another DS for use. Heck Altiris has a DSImport utility on the Notification Server to do this for you if you have Deployment Solution installed, but that is a whole other topic. The idea here is to be able to write script jobs without having to hard code a UNC path in the script so that it can be used on other DS’s without changing the path on import. How to accomplish this became a daunting task until I read the Altiris Document on custom tokens in DS6.8. By creating a custom table on each Deployment Server’s eXpress database, I could hard code the path for each DS within that table. Then I could use the custom token in my scripts and write them all with the same token path so I could use them on each deployment server without having to change the UNC path everytime I had to do a job folder import. You can learn more about DS Scripting here . At our location, we use a robocopy job to replicate software between multiple sites for our DS ADmins to access when provisioning computers. This allows us to write the scripts so that they are non-unique and can easily import a folder of jobs from one DS to another without having to change a bunch of scripts.Continue reading “Using Custom Token Variables to Write DS Scripts”

Want to go Green? Use the Energy Saver Toolkit

Another freebee from Altiris is the Energy Saver toolkit. Yeah, I am sure all of you could figure out how to do this with AD group policy or something, but this is a no brainer easy to configure tool if you are using altiris. Pull it down from the altiris download portal or from your NS console you can grab it under the AZ Solutions called Altiris Energy Saver Toolkit. I pulled down the info from energy star’s website, plunked in the numbers and presented a great way to save the company money just by turning the monitors off after 10 minutes of inactivity. Hey, maybe it will pay for my next trip to Managefusion.

Dell/HP Client Manager

Yes, they are vendor tools, and can help you. Both are a free plugin on Notification Server and will allow you to manage those specific types of vendor hardware. Both allow BIOS configuration changes as well as BIOS update options on a mass scale. Both require a license, but the license is free. HP Client manager registration link is here.Dell Client Manager registration link is here . Additonal features allow you to monitor hardware and get notified before the battery explodes!!!

The Oddities of WinPE

I can’t stress enough how important it is when using new technology in a corporate environment. An example that I want to pass along involves the use of WinPE (Microsoft Windows PE operating system) with Altiris Deployment Server. I have learned the hard way that it is better to research until you die, before implementation of a new technology. When using Windows PE on Altiris Deployment Server, I would recommend using Altiris’ WinPE package and pay the 20$ to get their install of the OS. They have made some modifications to increase the speed of packet traffic when imaging. I would also recommend using the Windows PE 2005 utility CD which contains a VBS script to embed in your WinPE boot image to allow VBScripting to work properly when booting a computer into a WinPE environment that you plan to run a VBScript on. In addition to these options, I would strongly recommend that you add the Mass Storage driver information for any kind of SATA drives you are using in your laptop/desktop hardware. It makes it much easier to do scripted OS installs, let alone image using WinPE if you can see the hard drive you are about to copy files to. Just a few ideas to pass along that I hope you find of interest. Hopefully, it will help from keeping your hair from turning gray or falling out too soon in your life.

Setting Deployment Server Security

For those of you out there that manage the same Altiris Deployment Servers (DS) that you use, disregard this. For those of you out there that have someone else manage your physical servers, this may be of interest to you when it comes to using the Role and Scope security options in DS. There is a DS utility located at C:\Program Files\Altiris\eXpress\Deployment Server\TechSup\Windows\DSDBSecurity.exe. Even if a user is a full dbo of the eXpress database, they are also members of the public role. The default denies in the public role will restrict access to those users. Only System Admins (members of the local administrators group as an example) will cancel out the public deny permissions. The public deny permissions need to be removed on certain stored procedures in order for the Role and Scope security to work properly, hence the use of the DSDBSecurity.exe tool.Continue reading “Setting Deployment Server Security”

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