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Network and Classroom Management Thread, New to CC3 site which is going vanilla Newbie Questions in Technical; Hi All just started working at a school and my first problem is understanding Rm CC3 network, I have experience ...
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    mckeland's Avatar
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    New to CC3 site which is going vanilla Newbie Questions

    Hi All just started working at a school and my first problem is understanding Rm CC3 network, I have experience with Vanilla systems but this site has cc3 but to make it harder, they came out of contract with RM 2 1/2 years ago!!. the list of issues seems to be endless. but my immediate problem is to understand how they do Rebuilds, specifically if i wish to rebuild a couple of PC's and introduce some newly purchased Laptops & customise the builds (adding a new NIC driver as an example). As a newbie you can imagine ..i thought i could just make an image of a working PC and sysprep it and Bobs your uncle!!

    I'm just getting to grips with creating a build disk from a USB flash that is recognisable but would hope that someone has a procedure for this as RM will not speak to me as there is no current contract. I need to solve this until the new server arrives . Does the build add the workstation to the domain ? Is there also any thing on migrating from cc3 or is it just a rebuild of all workstations and laptops. (back to friendly tools like Acronis )

    Andrew

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    webman's Avatar
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    Even if you don't have paid support, you should still have basic access to the Knowledge Library on their website.

    The CC3 build process is rather smart. In principal, once started, it: downloads XP setup files to hard disk, installs XP + drivers, joins it to the domain/sets security/policies, then finally installs software packages (all automated and unattended).

    Drivers can be added using the RM Workstation Build Manager. In the tree on the left, go to Drivers > Windows XP and choose the hardware type to add a driver for. Click the Add Driver button, fill in the fields, and browse to the path where the drivers are - the folder containing the .inf. Then click OK or Import.

    What do you mean when you say, "customise the builds", exactly?

    Once workstations are "built" as CC3, it's pretty difficult to go back to a working state just by removing the RM packages. A full re-install of the OS would be required.

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    mckeland (10th June 2010)

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    Thank you very much for that webman, I've now answered my "build" question . I'm currently at the stage of trying to create a USB FDD from the floppy disk created and have just seen a menu that allows selection of machine type, however just for knowledge sake where are these build files located on the server ? and i've noticed that the machines come built only to xp sp2 , can you add service packs to the build process ? . I've tried testing my USB on some old RM machines (they are all in one units with screen and base unit together ) and it seemed to go through the initial process, i then tried the same USB on some newer HP macines (dc5700 i think I'm not on site)

    The error message I get when trying the newer desktops & laptops is;

    Invalid drive specification
    Invalid drive specification
    Bad command or file name
    C:\>


    I think it is to do with the formatting of the USB not sure.....any ideas ?

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    ajs
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    XP SP3 was released as an update for CC3 back in March.

    Even without an RM contract you should be able to register on rm.com and sign up for RM Communities where there are quite a few discussions about integrating SP3 into the RM Build area so that new machines will have it installed automatically.

    What options are you using when trying to rebuild the HP machines? (Entire Workstation? Managed Mode? etc)

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    webman's Avatar
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    Booting from USB is very hit and miss due to differences in USB drives themselves and also the way computer BIOSes see them. I used to use the HP Drive Key Boot Utility which formatted the USB drive properly and copied files to it (from an actually floppy disk, or drive emulated via an image using VFD). Try all the different boot options in the BIOS, too. USB-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP to find the right one.

    If the USB drive is being recognised as a hard disk though (C: drive, as you've shown above) then there isn't much you can do (as far as using USBs are concerned). The build process relies on batch files and DOS applications and will only work from media which it identifies as floppy or a removable device.

    The build files are located in the RMRebuild share of the DC (e.g. \\RMT-SVR-001\RMRebuild). The Build Manager folder is to do with the build disks themselves and the drivers; and the XPBuild folder is the contents of the XP source files.

    If you do do any slipstreaming in to there, that's the folder you will want to ensure you have backed-up in case it goes pear-shaped; as slip-streaming isn't officially supported. This isn't likely to make a difference in your situation, but just as an FYI...

    If you are unable to boot from USB or floppy, there is another method you can use - SmartClient. With this, you: Install the OS yourself using preferred method, run a program from the server, enter network credentials, and then it will be joined to the domain and packages will be installed as per the usual process. Instructions on how to do this are here on my wiki.

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    In principle the RM build is very simple, as people have described above; but RM only guarantee it for RM equipment. Therfore if you have difficulties building Dell/HP machines, RM will not support you, even if you have a contract with them. (Their hotfixes are only for RM machines as well, so don't think it's because these aren't up to date)

    The main problem you will find is that the drivers that you add on via the build manager, are not found during the build, and you will have to manually add them after the intitial build. This is a pain when you're rebuilding a room of machines.

    The problem you are having with the: 'Invalid drive specification.... etc' is due to the way RM handles partitions during the build process, as it swaps/hides partitions many times. When this process goes wrong, as it inevitably does, there is no file reference on the drive it expects. I find that creating a new build disk, formatting the HDD in question, and restarting the build process will normally cure this problem.

    Hope this helps in some respect

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    Guys thank you very much for such quality responses , I've just tried some newly created USB drives, I followed a similar path to your sugestions webman using a tool called RMPrepUSB, i formatted the drive as a USB-FDD using Fat 16 and copied the contents from a newly created Floppy . the app does this automatically........ guess what the HP desktops dc5700's didn't even recognise the drive (F9 boot options --> USB ) I just thought maybe the units need theiir bios upgraded they seem to have been purchased at least 2 years ago.

    Webman I'm going to try out your smartclient suggestion tomorrow. do you know if there is a network build option ? also i've read that there are some recommended USB devices for this purpose (Netac)

    rgds

    A

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    A network build option - do you mean to install the OS over the network? With SmartClient, it is up to you how you install Windows. So you can use CD, Acronis, Ghost, FOG etc. to get it installed and up to the requirements for SmartClienting (local admin account password, empty disk label...).

    Yes, the Netac USB drives are fantastic and are what we have been using for about a year. They are special in that they have a switch on the side of them which alters how the drive is presented to the computer. FDD mode emulates a physical floppy drive + disk, so all computers should be able to boot from it. They also double-up as a regular USB Mass Storage Device when the switch is not in the FDD position. Highly recommended for hassle-free building. So depending on how long you're going to be with CC3 and how many machines won't boot using other USB methods - will determine if it's worth while getting a few Netacs

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