Troubleshooting Drivers and Driver issues in Deployment Solution
You will understand how to do basic troubleshooting, problem isolation, and collecting of information/logs to either 1) find answers online through the KB and Forums or 2) if necessary, escalate to Support and get quick answers from them.
Step 1: Understand what "category" of driver issues you are having
There are 3 categories of Driver issues: Automation Environment, Driver Management, and DeployAnywhere. Let's quickly look at each so you know what category of issue you have.
The following is a list of WinPEs and the OS Build version drivers supported for the NIC cards.
WinPE 3.0 = Win 7.
WinPE 4.0 = Win 8.
WinPE 5.0 = Win 8.1
WinPE 10 = Win 10
WinPE 11 = Win 11
In DS 8.0, support has been added for WinPE 10. DS 8.6 has added support for WinPE 11.
The drivers are imported or added to the system in one of two ways: 1) From the console using Settings | Deployment | Driver Management and the selecting the BootWiz tab, or 2) by running BootWiz directly from the file system (not documented here).
A common symptom of not having drivers is a DHCP Retry message that appears when you boot to WinPE Automation, or an inability to ping or otherwise communicate on the network when there.
Common verbiage may include things like "Automation Environment drivers" or "Drivers for BootWiz" or "BDC Drivers".
Step 2: Problem Isolation and Basic Troubleshooting
As with Step 1, what troubleshooting steps you take depends on which issue you have. Therefore, there are 3 short sections below to relate to each.
First, remember that you need drivers for the automation environment, not production. In DS 8.x that means finding Windows 10 or 11 drivers for WinPE. The drivers that matter are Network and Storage drivers, so you need drivers for any have in any hardware you own, and these need to be imported into BootWiz via the console as outlined above.
Troubleshooting is moderately simple, especially if you use PXE for delivering the Automation environment. Boot a computer into Automation / WinPE, and see if it works. If not, find the drivers for the NIC(s) on that system, import, rebuild the automation environment (under Settings | Deployment | Preboot Environments)(remember to let the drivers replicate to site servers if necessary) and test again.
If you are not using PXE, troubleshooting takes on a new complication of having to re-distribute the automation environment. For instance, if you are using Automation Folders, after the "rebuild" process completes, you then have to follow the KB on making sure your automation folders are upgraded. If you are using a thumb drive or CD, the "Rebuild" process changes into launching BootWiz manually and then rebuilding the CD or Thumb Drive.
If you can not find drivers, or make them work, you should normally contact the system manufacturer first. Symantec does not supply drivers other than the ones that come with the product - which are very generic and relatively limited in support for newer hardware.
One way to verify if the drivers actually imported and are available for use is to check for a folder created in BootWiz. Look on the Notification Server / SMP server under:
Program Files\Altiris\Deployment\BDC\bootwiz\Platforms\WinPE\x86(or X64)\Drivers
There should be a STD folder for the ones we ship with the product, and a CUSTOM folder where your drivers are copied to. You should search for the INF file if you can't find it by folder name and simply verify that the drivers exist. Both folders are compiled into the PE environment on rebuild.
The number of drivers needed to make this work is much bigger than those for the Automation Environment. First, you need drivers for every version of OS you deploy (e.g. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 2012, etc), and second, you need drivers for NIC & Mass Storage at a minimum, as well as for any other hardware you want to support, like Video, Audio, USB, Bluetooth, etc. In fact, some go so far as to download entire driver packs from manufacturers and import them en-masse using the command-line interface of Driver Manager (not documented here).
Troubleshooting is more simple than you might think, because for this section, we really don't care if the drivers actually work in your OS! Granted, you care, but that's for the next section, not this one. All we care about is if the drivers are imported, and if the driver manifest files are created correctly. In short, the import process consists of 3 steps: 1) Copy driver files to the appropriate folder, 2) extract information from the INF file for a driver manifest file and 3) compile the driver manifest data into the master driver manifest file.
The import success and/or failure is seen up-front when you do it. If you get a failure, look first for support-ability (e.g. we don't support CAB or EXE's for import) and then if you're positive the driver is correct, you may need to contact support.
Another way to check is to simply look at the folder structure. The drivers are copied to:
Search for the folder, if you know the name, or the INF file if you do not. If the files are not present, obviously the import did not work.
There should also be a Manifest file in this folder called "drivers.manifest.txt" in this folder. If not, then the import did not complete or run successfully. This manifest file should contain a portion of the top of the INF file formated into valid XML. Garbage characters or invalid data is obviously a bad thing.
Finally, verify the data from this manifest file was added to the master Drivers.Manifest.TXT in the DriversDB folder. If the data is also there, then the process is complete and successful, even if the drivers don't ultimately help you in the long run!
NOTE: It is perfectly safe to delete these manifest files as a part of troubleshooting. Search on the root of DriversDB for Drivers.Manifest, and wipe them all out. Then in the console, launch Driver Manager by selecting Settings | Deployment | Driver management and all the manifest files will be re-created. If you have issues with them, or they do not exist, or whatever, try this step before contacting support.
For this step, we will assume that you have imported drivers into Driver Management already and that this process worked.
Troubleshooting is a bit more difficult for this step, but you should be aware of the following:
Some keys to knowing what is happening:
Step 3: Be prepared to get further help!
The focus of this step is to ensure that if you go to the forums, to a friend, or even need to call support, you have all the files and details you need to get answers fast. Here's what we recommend:
You can do this and get answers fast, if you understand the processes. Be familiar with all 3 tracks above and how they differ and not only will you get faster answers, you'll be able to help others as well!