So I updated my test box to version 3.6. I had a couple of questions about the new version. As a disclaimer I would like to say I've been using Kace for years now, and glad to see some of these new features implememted. 

Now here comes my gripe...

1. It appears that .cmd files no longer work. Which is a problem for those of us that use .cmd files primarily. I know this was also an issue with the K1000 which is the main reason I waited for the hotfix for version 5.5.90546. Which repaired that. I see no mention of this in the "Known issues" section of the release notes. I think this should be included since they all worked in 3.5. I'm assuming this has something to do with the new task engine and error level checking? I am one of the fortunate ones that has a test box though, and was able to test my images prior. For those people that do not this could be a problem. Should I be using .bat files in both my K1 and K2 since this seems to be more "supported" with Kace? If so is there any documentation anywhere that says use .bat files because of "X"?

2. I was fortunate enough to attend a few classes on 3.6 in Austin in December. I learned there that this version would no longer be using "start /wait", and the "call" when calling a cmd file within a zipped file. For the users that did not get a chance to go how are they supposed to know this? Page 149 (mentioned twice), page 152, and page 154 of the admin guide still say to use the "call" command to run another batch script.

3. What is the correct syntax for using a powershell script now? What I had in 3.5 worked. I uploaded my .ps1 file and used "powershell.exe -nologo -executionpolicy bypass -noprofile -file <name>.ps1" as my command line.

I know you guys make changes. I would just appreciate a heads up if what I'm currently using will break after a patch. Especially for those that would be scrambling to make these changes in a production environment.

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  • thanks for the heads up, sounds like we will have to relearn a lot of our methods.
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  • Been on 3.6 in production since 1/17 so thought I'd throw in my 2 cents...

    -The task engine works great, you get a progress bar for the image and all your tasks. There is now a reboot option with each task. You're advised to remove start /wait on exe and call on batch so you'll need to tweak your tasks. Even after doing this some tasks that worked prior to 3.6 may no longer work so you'll need lots of testing. At least now you can see when tasks fail. You can also set resume on failure of tasks or prompt on failure and allow or disallow the cancelling of an image deployment.

    -You can now see current image progress under the progress tab, or past images under the Audit Log tab. You can see if the entire image succeeded or failed, as well as each task.

    -There was an extra reboot now in the imaging process, done by the box, so I had to add an extra logon to my autologin in the unattend file. Otherwise I was prompted with a log-in screen before level 3 tasks ran.

    -Seems to be a bug when you capture a new image then add a preinstall task that has a exe file as it's attachment. When I hit save, I was getting page not found and the web link for that image became corrupt/inaccessible. The same task was working fine with old images. Fix was to delete the image, and zip up the exe instead of attaching it directly. This only applies to Pre tasks. Kace is aware of this issue.

    -Haven't actually used multicasting yet, but you set it like a boot action. I asked support and they said it does not work with RSA and Kace is the host of the broadcast so you can only multicast 1 group at once. There is no limit to how many machines you can do at once, but you're limited by your infrastructure. Support also said this is the first installment of multicasting and they hope to have more traditional multicasting down the road. I don't think it can be manually initiated from the destination machine.

    -The driver feed includes more tablet drivers, and WinPE 5.0 support. (although I haven't seen the 5.0 driver bundle from Dell yet) Also 8.1 is officially supported.

    -I've had success zipping up powershell scripts and launching them via batch files using the same command you've mentioned. Haven't tried launching directly as you have.
    • I agree the task agent is very nice. Especially given the amount of machines we are about to start imaging (8,000+). I was hoping to get this update in place by the time we started that in March. My concern now is that I spend time redoing all of my post installs, and then they later release a fix like they did with the K1.

      If there was documentation about .cmd files, and powershell no longer working the way I've been doing it for the past six years it would help. Especially for those that do not have a test system. I couldn't imagine upgrading, and instantly breaking all of my images. It seems that a simple "Known Issue" in the release notes would have helped. Surely someone tested .cmd files?

      As far as the Powershell goes I did test this yesterday afternoon and was able to get it working by zipping it, and running it via a batch. Which seems a little redundant.

      I just want to reiterate this is not a complaint against the patch. I'm liking the new features. I would just appreciate a heads up in the future that "X" no longer works, and you need to do "Y" to fix it.
      • I agree with both of you. I am only using the k2000 and now all of my post install packages are broken. I am waiting on support to call me. My packages that have .exe work fine but my packages that have .vbs or msi do not run.

        Also, I would let your tier1 support know that if they recommend upgrading the applicance they need to let the customer know the disclaimer.
  • make sure when you run msi you do in this fashion msiexec /qn /i name.msi
  • Im getting awful problems with with the k2000 not deploy wim images that are on another server. Was absolutely fine in 3.5. Task fails on the "apply wim image" post install task
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2

So I ended up recreating my post install tasks to .bat. I'm still using .cmd on my K1 though. So hopefully this may be resolved later.

I also added up adding a "taskkill /IM Explorer.exe /F" post install that kills explorer. I noticed that during some of my larger post installs a task bar was displayed. During this time there was full access to the machine. Killing explorer.exe at the beginning prevented this.

All of my Lenovo machines have new paths under drivers_postinstall. It's actually a good change. Instead of the path being 5054CTO it is now ThinkCentre M75e. There is a knowledge base article covering this, but wanted to give you Lenovo people a heads up. I'm not sure if Kace can, or has already posted the "driver_feed_discovery_tool.vbs" somewhere for 3.6? Running this prior to the upgrade can help allieviate a lot of headaches. All of my HPs, and Dells stayed the same.

Answered 01/31/2014 by: dugullett
Red Belt

  • New driver_feed_discovery_tool.vbs can be found here if you're on 3.6: \\kbox\peinst\drivers_postinstall\feed_tools

    (it says Version # 3.6 of driver feed discovery tool in the vbs)
    • Yeah I should probably rephrase that. I have two K2s. One running 3.5 and the other 3.6. 3.5 shows one path, and 3.6 shows another. If the 3.6 vbs was made available prior to upgrade then users could verify the driver path is correct.
      • Good point. There is a KB referring to the new version but there is no download available.
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2

For powershel script I use a batch file as describe here (in french) http://www.leblogosd.fr/wordpress/lancer-un-script-powershell-depuis-un-batch/ :

xcopy “%~dp0*.*” c:\windows\temp\ /s /y /e
powershell -noprofile -command “Set-ExecutionPolicy bypass LocalMachine”
powershell -file C:\windows\temp\myPowershellScript.ps1

Then put the bat file with the ps1 in zip file and upload it in the K2000

 

Answered 01/22/2014 by: gwir
Third Degree Blue Belt

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1

About the start /wait issue, I very much second that. 

I asked a support technician and a sales rep about any issues with the 3.6 and they couldn't think of anything so I upgraded.

What the Kace people don't seem to realize or bother to inform about is that not only is start /wait or call not needed, any task using them will fail.

Looking at the task XML file (new VERY useful feature), you can easily see why. Currently there is some "magic" going on when the K2 detects "call" and "start /wait". So any such task is botched, leaving only call or a botched start /wait command behind. I figure that the idea was that the K2 would detect and automagically remove call and start /wait, but it works backwards, keeping only those commands. J

Some of you are maybe thinking that we messed up, but I don't think so, we had a perfectly working scripted install in 3.5, went to 3.6 and boom... Now the fix is easy, but cumbersome, and should have been documented. (Edit all post install tasks)

As for multicasting only working on the K2, that’s just a drag. I mean, most of the customers really in need of that feature are probably not using the K2 but the RSA:s for the actual deployment… Hope it will be fixed in 3.7 .
It also reminds me on the WoL feature in the K1, that is only supported on the K1 and not on remote agents. Enterprise features implemented in a SMB fasion, easy but not useful…

Best regards

 

Adam

Answered 01/27/2014 by: adam_nerell
Yellow Belt

  • I like most of the new stuff as well (after figuring out the start /wait and call feature). Do you have any more info on the task.xml? Possibly where it is? The docs are a tad lacking... Thanks!!
    • Sure!
      The way I found it was when the post deployment task failed, you enter a failed task mode, automatically, on the client machine, one of the menu options is "View tasks.xml" ore something like that. Then you can easily copy it to a networkshare or whatever, since you should have all drivers installed at that point.
      Best regards
      Adam
      • You must have 'Prompt on errors' enabled for that image to see what Adam is referring to.
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How is the multicast imaging?  The documentation has almost no information about it.  Can it be manually started on the source machine and destination machines?  Or do you have to use Boot Actions and copy the MAC address of the destination machines?

Answered 01/21/2014 by: nheyne
Red Belt

  • I haven't got around to testing this yet. Once I found out I would need to recreate 90% of my post install tasks I have moved this project to the back burner. I did hear though that this is only available from the appliance itself, and not the RSAs. The setup seems pretty straight forward though.

    I was more interested in the task engine. Which when the post installs are setup correctly looks like it works great! It's a lot better than wondering where we are at with the images.
    • Multicasting is not available using RSAs? Wow, that is disappointing.
      • Don't quote me on that. That is what was mentioned at the Software User Forum this year. I only have one RSA on this test box. Our network environment is so locked down I do not plan on using it much anyways.
  • In 3.6, multicast is from the K2000 only and must be assigned via a boot action.
    Corey
    Lead L3 Enterprise Solutions Consultant, K2000
    If my response was helpful, please rate it!
    • I'm sorry to hear that, our on-site technicians can't make use of this feature then. My management won't be very happy to hear that this feature our rep highlighted to us is actually very limited.
  • The post install task information is in our knowledgebase, http://www.kace.com/support/resources/kb/solutiondetail?sol=SOL118913

    If you "need" to use start /wait, you could always call cmd, as in cmd.exe start /wait "file.exe" but the task engine is responsible for tracking the tasks and will wait on its own for a PO to finish.

    Changing the post install tasks don't take that long, but you would want to test after upgrading.

    I don't see why running a cmd file wouldn't work. What is your commandline? It is possible you may need to call the cmd file as in the example above. If you want to email me an example, I'm happy to test things out to get it working.

    Corey
    Lead L3 Enterprise Solutions Consultant, K2000
    If my response was helpful, please rate it!
    • Corey I've tried every possible way I can think of call file.cmd, file.cmd, cmd.exe file.cmd. The only way I can get it working is to unzip my existing, change .cmd to .bat and rezip. Then change the command line to file.bat, and it works.

      I think I'm about to contact support anyways. My images that work on my 3.5 box are not pulling drivers even though the drivers exist in drivers_postinstall and have been recached. I thought I may remedy this by uploading a new sysprepped image. After upload I go into the system image, and a simple create partition and format partion. I then add the Kace agent as a post install. After I click save I can no longer access the image. I get an error when navigating back to it, on every browser I have tried (Unable to load the webpage because the server sent no data.
      Error code: ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE). I am able to navigate to \\k2000\peinst and see the WIM still there. I just cannot access it via the Kbox.

      I hoping theres a "restore factory defaults" patch that I can just revert back to a clean 3.6 state. Loading an iso is not really an option for this box since it's offsite. My plan is to get all of my images fully functional on this test box, update my PROD box, and import the working packages. Since we're a hospital I cannot have any downtime.
      • Dugullett,

        Sounds exactly like the issue I had with the image. Do you have any .exe directly attached to a pretask for the image? If so it needs to be zipped, some kind of bug. Delete the image then reupload it. Before adding any tasks clone the image then you can find which task is causing the problem without reuploading.
      • Wow... I'd say that's a good size bug. I'm using the get/set computer name task. Instead of reuploading the image I deleted the preinstall task. After I deleted it the image was then accessible. I then recreated the task zipped up. It's funny how the same task worked on an image I uploaded from my 3.5 box.

        Well hopefully this fixes my driver issue. I'm not testing that until Monday though. I'm done with this for the week.
      • Same task was also causing problems for me and was working fine on old images. Strange stuff. I haven't had any issues with drivers, the update broke my DISM workaround for our E5430 non-vpro model (wasn't pulling from feed) but now it pulls from the feed properly without the workaround.
      • This is a known bug, if you email support@kace.com and refer to this KB we can resolve the issue for you immediately.
        http://www.kace.com/support/resources/kb/solutiondetail?sol=SOL119181
        Corey
      • I'm not sure if you solved the .cmd issue and I currently have a support case open for the same thing. Until I hear back from support, I've written a vbscript that appears to resolve the issue. It just needs to be set as the first post install task in the K2000 PE.

        Set objXMLDoc = CreateObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM")
        objXMLDoc.async = False
        objXMLDoc.load("X:\KACE\engine\Tasks.xml")

        Set objXMLRoot = objXMLDoc.DocumentElement
        For Each Task In objXMLRoot.SelectNodes("//Task")
        Set CommandLine = Task.SelectSingleNode("./CommandLine")
        If Right(CommandLine.Text, 3) = "cmd" Then
        Set FileType = Task.SelectSingleNode("./FileType")
        FileType.Text = "Batch"
        End If
        Next

        objXMLDoc.save("X:\KACE\engine\Tasks.xml")
      • Thanks. I'll give that a shot. I did end up recreating all of my post installs, but I generally have to create a new one every month for a .msp to this software we use. So I'll be able to test it very soon.
      • dummptyhummpty, thanks for that, going to give it a try now. I've also logged a case with KACE, looking at the Tasks.xml file and your fix, a hotfix to correct this would probably take 2 minutes to do, compare that to the time for all the customers on their kboxes and the calls/emails to support... it should have been released ages ago.

        While I can understand these issues might not be known right away, they should list in the Release Notes a link to an article for these kinds of issues, starting with "non known" and updating it as customers complain, so the beta testers/first adopters try it and we can see these issues.

        The .cmd was an issue on the k1000 as well... KACE... we use .cmd files, remember that! you patched the K1000, now patch the K2000.
        I don't see why the upgrade couldn't have amended our packages to bring them in line or better yet ignore/filter out the "start /wait" or "call " it is certainly worth mentioning in the notes, I read about the Task Engine, no warnings that changes are needed.
    • That kind of change you don't stick in a KB article, you document it under breaking changes in the release notes, since it was best practice up and until 3.5. Seriously.
      Best regards
      Adam
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