I took over administration of our K1 and K2 last year with no experience with imaging and software deployments. Over time, I've moved us from model specific images to a universal Win7 image used in conjunction with the driver feed, and am beginning to leverage managed installations of basic software we want to deploy to all machines. The previous admin never really used managed installations, but I see that as not utilizing the full potential of these appliances.

What I would like to do, and what some Google-fu has indicated is possible, is:

Create and apply either a label or smart label to a freshly imaged computer as a post-installation task. (via scripting? Little knowledge here on scripting)
Use that label to steer managed installations for common software we put on all machines. (Acrobat, Office 2013, etc)



The problem I'm running into is that a lot of articles I've found on ITNinja via Google include links from people who have left comments but....those links don't go anywhere anymore. Some articles have indicated using a timestamp of sorts to apply a label to new machines detected within a specific time frame, and then apply my managed installations to that. This is nice because once a PC falls out of a set time range, Kace won't continue trying to push my common software titles out to it.

I'm wondering if someone can help me out with a workflow for this, or even just steer me towards a tutorial that I can read up on. If I understand a tutorial but it involves scripting, that's fine, as I can work my way through that. I'm just not sure where to start, if, what I want to accomplish is even possible.

Thanks,

-- Ray
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You can create a smart label based on the date the inventory record was created on the K1000. The wizard supports the Created field, I have my New Computers label look for machines where Created is within the last 1 days.

Another method is to have the K2000 create a marker file on the machine when it images it. You can use a post-install batch script that runs date /t > c:\location\imaged.txt and then have the K1000 get the date of that file using a custom inventory rule. That has more moving pieces though so might not be as reliable.

A note about managed installs: Once KACE detects that the software has been installed it should no longer try pushing it to the machine. Except in the case of software upgrades which may be handled outside of KACE, targeting computers with a managed install shouldn't be problematic.


Answered 02/03/2016 by: chucksteel
Red Belt

  • Chuck,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I was just looking at those when your reply came through my email.

    Regarding just using managed installs, we have a very mixed environment and I'm not ready to start pushing out software to computers I don't intend to send them out to yet.

    Ex: All new machines are getting Office 2013, by default. However, I don't want to start deploying Office 2013 to machines that have 2010 installed, as we have not yet discussed a plan to do so. I really just want a process at the moment that targets new machines.

    Do you have a link on using the marker file? Several articles I read had dead links, but I am interested in that. Essentially, from here on out, I want to be able to ensure that if I show a green tech how to boot an machine to Kace and start the image going, the rest of the software I want on that machine will go to that machine with no further action on behalf of my green tech.
    • I don't have a link for the marker file, but here is the batch file I use for the post-install task:
      mkdir c:\dickinson
      date /t > c:\dickinson\imaged.txt

      You probably won't want to use a directory named dickinson, but you get the point.

      In order to make the process easiest for a green tech I would recommend setting up your application installs a post-install tasks and adding them to your standard imaging workflow. I even created a custom KBE that automatically images the machine with the specified workflow so once the tech selects that KBE they can walk away and come back to a fully imaged and prepped machine a little while later. When there's a new version of Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Java, etc. you just need to create an updated post-install task and update your standard image's tasks.

      If you have managed installs on your K1000 you can export them as resources and then import them into the K2000 as post-install tasks, so you don't have to completely recreate those wheels if you already have them.
      • I did not know I could export managed installs to post-install tasks, but that is very useful information.

        I suppose at this point it's preference then - to do common tasks during imaging or as a managed install?

        Any best practice advice on that front?

        I appreciate what you've given me so far!
      • The nice thing about post-install tasks is it is easier to setup pre-requisites and reboots. With managed installs you can't always force a restart when the install is done, and they only run at device check-in. Using the K2000 you can stage the installs in the order you need and if you need to restart after one the computer will pick up where it left off on the next login. That is one caveat, make sure you're autologin account is large enough to handle the number of restarts requires by your post-install tasks.

        In the long run I like having the installations on both platforms. That allows us to deploy to machines as they are imaged, but if something gets missed and it's already in the field you can push it out with the K1000.
      • I applied the label and it worked. Thank you very much. It occurred to me, however, that a client that is disconnected as MIA - when it reconnects, it will pick up the new computer, won't it?
      • Yes, if your appliance is configured to delete MIA devices then their new inventory record might get flagged as new, that's something you should test. We don't delete MIA computers so I'm not sure.
      • Our setup was configured to drop MIA before I took it over.

        Thoughts on pros and cons?
      • We never turned on the removal of MIA systems from the Inventory because we treat it as the system of record for computers on campus. When we make our budget projections for computer replacement we need as accurate a count of systems as possible and the inventory is what we use for that data. We generate monthly reports of machines that haven't checked in for 30 days and each technician is responsible for determining why computers aren't updating their inventory.

        If you don't have good practices in place for removing old computers from the inventory then I can see using MIA removal.
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By default the k2 puts a file on the machine when it images C:\ProgramData\Dell\KACE\k2000_deployment_info.conf you can use that for Chucks answer to check the created date.

Or put a file in your wim image that a JustImaged cir will look for using "if exists".  Then you can have a smart label that looks for when all the software you want pushed is installed it is satisfied.  Have script use the AllSoftwareInstalled smart label to delete that tag file so it will no longer treat the machine as JustImaged
Answered 02/03/2016 by: SMal.tmcc
Red Belt

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