I'm just wondering how people have dealt with dynamic settings in Provisioning (with LDMS9). I'm particularly thinking "Time Zones" and other such things. In my environment, we name our systems based on the location and then a 4 digit asset number. So like for a system in a Chicago office would be CHI8423. We have close to 20 different locations. The problem is, all of the systems go to our corporate office for imaging prior to being shipped out. It falls to the Technician to determine the final location of a system when it is being built. In the past, we used Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for OS provisioning. With that, we used a "Lite-Touch" install where a menu would come up right after booting into WinPE for the first time. You entered the computer name, time zone, and then had a customizable list of software to install. I'd like to either get back to this, or automate it all.
I have a few more considerations. Systems normally stay at the same location after the initial build, but this is not always the case. Typically systems don't leave the corporate office and then go somewhere else, but often corporate systems are reused in remote locations. Thus even a system that is already in the database may need to change names. While some settings like time zone are site specific, we have a few hundred sales people that report from all over the world. All of their systems have the same designator. While manually prepopulating the MAC address is possibly doable, I feel it wouldn't be received well by our Technicians.
On a side note, how hard is it to enter stuff into the LD Database from say a vbscript file? I'm sure I could connect to the database and add/change the entries, but I'd prefer to not mess with the LD Database directly. Would it be possible to fake a scan file and fake out the core? I'd love to eventually be able to add applications to this list and have it add the system to policies/groups/tasks to perform the needed installs. Any suggestions/ideas on how to best do this?
So how do I do it? Here are my current ideas. I would love to know about any other ideas or current solutions. I think I'm fairly decent with VBScript, and I've used HTA files embedded with VBScript in the past to offer a more GUI front end to my scripts.
Write an HTA file that will prompt the Technician for the computer information prior to deployment. This file would be run from any functioning system. Have the script create database entries for the computer, and then reference those entries using Provisioning. Have the HTA file add the computer to the appropriate task, and thus the system would be automagically deployed when it boots to PXE. Difficulty = 9
Write an HTA file that will prompt for the information as one of the first steps in WinPE during provisioning, and write it to a file, then have an automated vbscript read from said file after the sysprep file has been injected, and have it change the necessary values. Difficulty = 7
Prompt at the end of the install, changing the settings using regular Windows methods. All systems would have a unique generic system name until the script has run. Difficulty = 2