Friday, 1 April 2011

Monitoring MDT Litetouch task sequence

When using MDT to deploy machines in school, we currently have the system set so that we enter a computer name and pick an image type then everything else is automatic, we have the machines put into the computers container in AD, this is due to the fact that we have not set MDT to automatically name and place machines yet.

If the need to rebuild a machine arises we will start off the process and leave the machine running, the task sequence will lock the workstation wherever necessary due to the system being logged on as an admin account, however the difficulty lies in knowing when the build has completed and being able to move the computer to its correct OU.

If we move the machine too soon then other scripts will run which may affect the task sequence such as the installation of antivirus which may quarantine needed files. If we fail to move the machine then it will be built and on the domain but will have no curriculum software,

MDT has a useful feature which can write log files as each stage of the task sequence is completed, using this you can monitor how far along a machine is.

To set this up:

  1. Create a share on a server, you can use either an open or hidden share.
  2. Edit the Default section in your deployment share customsettings.ini to include the following line.

    EventShare=\\Servername_or_IP\Sharename$

  3. Update your deployment share.

Any new builds you start will write log files to the shared folder, initially the log will have a MININT name but as soon as the computer is given a correct name the logs will use this.


To make it easier to monitor what is going on in these logs the Deployment guys have written a utility to display the current info in an easier to read format, this can be downloaded from the original post.

Essentially the utility is a HTA which will monitor a given folder which you set, the optional refresh period of two minutes will allow you to keep a background eye on the build process.

To use the utility, download and extract the zip file from their page to a relevant location, double click on the DeploymentMonitor.hta file. Enter the path to the share you created and click refresh. The utility will return the contents of the folder, if you wish to have the utility update every two minutes tick the checkbox and then click refresh.


This utility will not clear out the folder so you will need to perform some housekeeping from time to time depending on how many builds you perform as the folder will gradually fill up with old info.


Disclaimer::
As with all of the Deployment/Scripting Guys utils they are provided with no warranties or guarantees of any kind, their use is entirely at your own risk.

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