Tag Archives: dell

Modifying USMT and KACE to capture Firefox settings and other specific programs

It’s that time in the hardware refresh cycle again where you have to replace laptops on mass, well at least it is for me.

Our main challenge was migrating users Firefox bookmarks and also the desire to capture Outlook signatures and auto-complete information without capturing all Office applications information (we wanted to start as fresh as possible).

I’ve never really dug in depth into the USMT and K2000 before now and I’ve found it in needed of a little massaging.


USMT Problem

The USMT definition XML file for applications (MigApp.xml) included with USMT 5.0 does provide support for many non Microsoft productions including Firefox, Chrome and Adobe Acrobat amongst other. The only problem is Microsoft hasn’t had the inclination to keep it up-to-date.

Thanks to some clues from fellow ITNinja Jegolf, I found that the MigApp.xml is hard coded to look for Mozilla Firefox 3 (hello cira 2008).


USMT FIX:
(assuming WAIK 8)

Edit the MigApp.xml files in both the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Assessment and Deployment Kit\User State Migration Tool\amd64” and “C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Assessment and Deployment Kit\User State Migration Tool\x86” folders.

The line to modify:

DEFAULT:
<condition>MigXmlHelper.DoesObjectExist(“Registry”,”%HklmWowSoftware%\Mozilla\Mozilla Firefox 3.*\bin [PathToExe]”)</condition>

MODIFIED:
<condition>MigXmlHelper.DoesObjectExist(“Registry”,”%HklmWowSoftware%\Mozilla\Mozilla Firefox *.*\bin [PathToExe]”)</condition>

After making these modifications, re-upload the USMT tool into the K2000.

Now if you choose the User Data tick box under Documents To Be Scanned in the K2000 USMT Scan Template, any version of Firefox will correctly be migrated.


Firefox specific migration (and other) without migrating ALL User Data

In the K2000 USMT Scan Template, if you tick User Data then it migrates anything in the MigApp.xml template which is anything from Firefox to all Office components to Acrobat etc etc.

This is not particularly helpful if you want to be more granular about what you take to ensure you don’t pass on redundant or out of date settings.

To customize the USMT Scan Template created in the K2000 is not as easy as it could be.

  1. Create a KACE USMT Scan Template and customize it with any visible settings but DO NOT tick User Data.

  2. Export this USMT Scan Template from the Package Management area of the K2000.

  3. Browse to the \restore Samba share and find the exported package.

  4. Extract the package with 7-Zip.

  5. Open the extracted file with notepad and copy the USMT XML component out to a new file.

    This begins with <Configuration> and ends with </Configuration>

    To add Firefox, you must add a new section to the file called Applications and within that section add the Firefox component. You can add this at the top directly below <Configuration>

    Example:
    <Configuration>
    <Applications>
    <component displayname=”Mozilla Firefox” migrate=”yes” ID=”http://www.microsoft.com/migration/1.0/migxmlext/migapp/mozilla firefox/settings”/>
    </Applications>

    You can also specifically add other components by adding them to the applications section so long as they exist in the MigApp.xml.

    For Outlook 2010 this would be:
    <component displayname=”Microsoft Office Outlook 2010″ migrate=”yes” ID=”http://www.microsoft.com/migration/1.0/migxmlext/migapp/microsoft office 2010/container/microsoft office outlook 2010/settings”/>


  6. Save this file with XML file extension.

  7. In the K2000, open your USMT Scan Template and under the Content Configuration tick Specify config file.

  8. Browse and select the XML file you created and then Save the USMT Scan Template.

When you reopen this USMT Scan Template, the K2000 shows it in the Template GUI format but as this GUI is not aware of the Applications section of the config file it won’t be displayed. It does however exist and modifying and saving the USMT Scan Template will not overwrite it (an export of the USMT Scan Template proves this).


So, what have we learned:

a) Microsoft didn’t bother fixing this Firefox version number hard coding in the MmigApp.xml file. This is possibly a problem for Chrome and other applications mentioned in it.

b) KACE USMT Scan Template GUI is not aware of Applications section of config file.

c) KACE USMT Scan Templates are ALL or nothing for applications. Granularity of applications already built into USMT (anything listed in MigApp.xml) would be better.

d) the ‘Specify config file’ option in the KACE USMT Scan Templates is ambiguous as to the required format of the config file. I only got this working when I exported a template from the KACE (thank KACE support as I wasn’t aware you could extract the packages) and copied the XML.
The ability to directly save an example config or the current config out for modification would make it simple to add customisation.

Dell EqualLogic Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) hangs on VASA registration

(I may as well do something useful with this blog like add content Google can index to help people solve the same problems I’ve encountered in my day to day work.)

So we run Dell EqualLogic arrays at work and I’ve had a problem getting the storage provider to register with the VMware VASA service.

The Dell EqualLogic Virtual Storage Manager appliance (4.0.1) would hang with the message:
Waiting for VMware vCenter to register with the VASA Provider

After much troubleshooting with Dell ProSupport we found the issue was related to expired certificates in the Java services used by VMware.

There are two knowledge base articles you should refer to confirm and fix this problem.

DELL: in VSM prior to 4.0.1 there was a certificate distributed as part of the included JDK that expired in 2013.
Dell released a knowledge base article on how to fix this.
VSM fails to register with the VASA service on vCenter

In my case, is was the certificate on the VMware side that was expired. When looking in the VSM logs, the engineer only had the certificate date to go by as the name was not listed.
This matched the expired certificate we found when following the VMware knowledge base article on the issue.
Registering a VASA provider with vCenter Server fails and reports the error: InvalidCertificate (2079087)

Bug: The Dell VSM appliance doesn’t timeout or fail if it can’t register with VASA. It remains stuck in a retry loop. Ctl+C does stop it and show a failed message and point to a log file. However VASA is then reported as SET in the VSM console.
Hopefully this is fixed in future releases

Bug: Expired VMware certificate. I don’t believe I missed anything in the upgrade documentation whilst upgrading vCenter from 5.0 to 5.1 then 5.5 over the last 18 months.
Should VMware have flagged this during these processes or updated this certificate?

Day 4?

Well I think it’s day 4 of laptop rollout.

16 units imaged, configured and ready to start going to staff tomorrow.

Steps so far

1) Pxe boot & image
2) Install Altiris client off USB key
3) Post Image script & Driver install Job. (Altiris)
4) Software install jobs (Altiris)

There are a few other nagging bits and pieces I hope finish scripting.

The corner pile of laptop boxes disappeared but have been replaced with the stands and docks.

My cardboard Fort

Well, he new computers have finally arrived. My office now looks like a child’s cardboard fort creation.

IMG00023-20091023-1948 

This is only half of the boxes. There’s still the docking stations, notebooks stands and external monitors down in the loading dock.

I have managed to create a universal image to deploy to my machines. It’s not perfect, but will work.

Due to Windows 7’s relatively good native hardware support out of the box, so long as your platform stays the same (Intel or AMD) you can use the same image.
I use Altiris Deployment Server to do the actual imaging and then deployment, making use of PXE booting to a WinPE image.
It loads the Altiris client which I then assign the imaging task to. Completes in 5 minutes.

I do then have a USB key which I plug in and run batch script to delete the local user account used for initial image setup and also load the Altiris client (seems to have vanished after Sysprep).
From here on in, it’s all hands off. Every software application and Dell driver package is a scripted task.
I simply grab appropriate software that a staff member needs as well as drivers to suit the model of laptop and assign to be deployed to that unit. (along with joining the domain and naming the computer).

Well, this is all tested with our demo models. Let’s see how it goes in practice from Monday.

Sydney

For the past two days I’ve been working in Sydney.

I shipped the old HP R3000xr UPS from Melbourne and bought 30 new batteries to suit. After reassembling the battery packs and making a quick hack saw assisted modification to some rack rails, it was mounted and running.
(Tip of the day, buy the $30 hack saw, not the $19 hack saw. Grr.)

I now have a fantastic 2 hours of runtime for the lone server, network switch, telephones and alarm system.
A little bit overkill, but good considering there may be bigger plans for Sydney in the future.

Whilst in Sydney I managed to squeeze in two other meetings.
Meeting one was with the Sydney Opera House (SOH).
They have three locations for there IT infrastructure, one of them being the same building we’re in. All linked by fibre and 802.11g (pringles can accross Circular Quay).

We plan to bridge our networks to provide permanent network access for the 7 week periods we call the SOH home twice a year. Benifits will include a faster reliable connection to the office, no ongoing costs and possibly less setup time.

My second meeting was with Chris from Dell.
I’m in the process of deciding on prefered vendor and models of my laptop fleet (about 50 units).
As Dell is based in Sydney, Chris kindly offered to show me around their offices. It was a very worthwhile and interesting tour. They have a staff of about 450 over two floors, all setup in cubicle arrangements (ala Dilbert style). Even the managers I was introduced to were part of the same cubicles.
The most important part of the tour was the ProSupport area. Dell is one of the few global IT companys to have a local support precence in Australia. Their level 1 standard support is still based offshore, but they offer ProSupport which is 2 level direct support which is exactly what I’m after.

Good to see real people in Australia with real experience (min 5 years) all cross trained.

As I said, worthwhile visit.

Now to make a decision of what to buy..