We're getting 1,000 new machines for 4 separate locations (schools) for this Summer. The machines are coming straight from Dell, with zero configuration on their end, since we want to do CCTK and configure the BIOS without paying them. The hard drives will also be empty I'd imagine. Dell isn't able to tell me what default boot options are enabled on machines (Optiplex 390), so I'm not sure what the best course of action is here.

We can make an entire subnet (school) upon PXE boot to go into a specific RSA/PXE environment, and then image automatically from what I can see in the K2000 box. It would be any machine in the school, but since it'll be Summer, we aren't worried about people being there with machines causing problems.

My question is - if PXE boot is not enabled by default on the BIOS - there really isn't any way to enable that or force a one time PXE boot on these machines, without having to go into the BIOS on each one manually and enabling PXE boot, is there?

So, the the TLDR type:
-New machines from Dell. They can't tell us default boot options. We need PXE boot to auto-image via K2000. Any way of forcing PXE boot without manually enabling PXE/NIC boot in BIOS one-by-one?
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We don't have Dell configure the BIOS on our machines and we need to go into the BIOS and enable PXE on each one. We then use F12 to one time boot to PXE. Once you setup a few systems you'll know that keystrokes to get through it fast enough.
Answered 04/03/2012 by: chucksteel
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  • We had to do the same thing on Vostro 230s and 260s
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I don't have Dell configure our machines either. I go in and set PXE on each and then set a boot action for the K2000 or use F12 to start the image process. Then CCTK manages the bios after that to turn on Wakeonlan and turn off low power.
Answered 04/03/2012 by: ckubaska
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Thanks - I feared that was the answer, but it'll have to do. Saves us money if we do the BIOS ourselves, so if we just enable PXE then I figured we can set a whole subnet label with a boot action to PXE boot into a certain RSA, then image. So as soon as it does a PXE boot the first time, we shouldn't have to touch the machines again.
Answered 04/03/2012 by: sfigg
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If you're imaging through the K2 you could always upload your image to Dell so that at least the majority of the work is done before you get them. This way you dont need to set anything in the bios and you could make part of your image a cctk task.
Answered 04/03/2012 by: Roonerspism
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You could create a CCTK enabled boot CD, Mount the iso and extract the boot.wim from it.  Mount the boot.wim file and modify the startnet.cmd to issue cctk command lines changes that sets the bios how you want and also sets the boot order as network first. At the end of the startnetcmd run wpeutil /restart if you want the computers to autorestart and start imaging immediatly after running the CD's.  Commit the changes to the wim file, dismount the wim file and replace the one in the boot cd iso file with that one.  make many cd's and boot away.  when you pxeboot have a cctk enables environment and issue a cctk command to change the boot order back to HDD first.

for example:

x:\cctk\x86\cctk.exe bootorder --sequence=hdd.1,hdd.2,embnic,usbdev,cdrom --valsetuppwd=Password if you have one on bios.

 

Answered 05/10/2012 by: SMal.tmcc
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