We want to use PXE for our new systems that come in, but we don't have a way to get them into the console. What we'd like to do is have them boot, using PXE, get a preboot environment, and once checked in, give them the appropriate job. We do NOT want to have to pre-populate the console with these systems, so they'll be new with no inventory at all.
Alternatively, we would like to use the same process for re-imaging systems. If a computer is being re-deployed somewhere else, we'd like to be able to delete it from the console and give it a new image with new settings, but obviously, then it's not in the console.
How can we accomplish this?
- The key to making this scenario work is NOT having an initial deployment option. Initial deployment by default will go to all "unknown" computers, so if you have that configured, this wont work. The problem with Initial deployment is that it can not be "custom configured" on a per-machine basis.
- Another method of managing imaging on a per-machine basis is to pre-populate the console with "Virtual" computers. This can be done one-at-a-time or by importing a CSV file. However, to do this, you need to have information like MAC addresses.
- A third method, the one desired in this question, is to let the "new" system populate the console automatically, and then dropping a job on it once it checks in. To accomplish this using PXE, do the following:
With this configuration, any system set to PXE boot and NOT known by the Deployment Server, will boot to PXE, then run automatically the preboot environment of your choice. At the end of that environment, it will launch the DAgent, check in to the server, and appear in the console under New Computers. Having no work assigned to it, and no initial deployment task, it will then, literally, wait for your instructions.
Most people using this configuration will then identify the system checked in visually, find the appropriate imaging job, and drop it on to the "new" system.
On the client, you'll see it immediately start to run the imaging job.
- A fourth method is to edit the WinPE configuration to force the agent to wait a specific amount of time before closing the connection. In order to do this, follow the instructions bellow:
1) Open the PXE Configuration Utility, select the WinPE configuration and click Edit
2) Select the aclient.inp file and replace the following lines: