Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cheaply Distribute Large Standalone Media

How big is your image? My Windows 7 is over 50GB between the drivers, applications and the multiple architecture WIMs as I support ALOT of hardware. Both my Workstation and Server TS use an HTA to prompt the tech for various tidbits, however as most of those items are in the TS so they are therefore created for StandAlone Media making it large, very large.

I'll blog about that HTA at a future date once I get an older version to be agnostic. It wasn't built with public consumption in mind as its very custom to my environment.

A problem we have is offline use. Since we deploy several hundred systems globally a WEEK we need a way for our techs to continue functioning during a ConfigMgr outage. I'm always amused when someone contacts my team and says "HELP! OSD is down!". Its like saying "the Internet is down!" Um, no its not (well ok when we upgrade...), but your part of it is. We all can agree that SCCM is temperamental at times locally. A package is missing, out of date, whatever, 2012 is so much better at this. Additionally techs travel to small sites we don't have a local DP at so having offline is

By moving away from the "Total Control" method of driver management towards "Total Chaos" I can bring it down to about 16GB. With hundreds of techs its not feasible to send out USB thumb drives every quarter but DVD-9 is, least until BD-R becomes a standard.

We stumbled on this trick which our techs like, especially as MS doesn't create the media sequentially so you have to "Insert Disk 1", "Insert Disk 2", "Insert Disk 1" several dozen times.

You create CD/DVD StandAlone Media via the Wizard to 8.5GB media (DVD-9) which holds 7.95GiB worth of data that spans two ISOs in my case.  Once complete, create the same Stand Alone Media again with Unlimited as the CD/DVD media size (new in ConfigMgr 2012) or USB, and grab a few files from this second media set to replace matching files in the split StandAlone.

When we mail out the DVDs we also post a 7ZIP with the Unlimited media files for the techs to our Imaging SharePoint site. The techs then have a choice to use the two DVDs, or merge them onto a USB drive for faster no media swap deployment.

The 7ZIP has the following files from the single ISO with paths. In testing we found that only Policy.xml and Variables.dat need to be updated but we do all four to be complete.


The techs then do the following to create single media on USB:
  1. Copy Disc 2 to root of USB (Or sub-folder if they use Grub for multi-boot scenarios)
  2. Copy Disc 1 to the USB, replacing any duplicates
  3. Copy compressed folder contents to the USB, replacing any duplicates

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