Tag Archives: K2000


K2000 Kloser Look: Pre-Installation Task Only Deployment Task Engine

We get asked from time to time how to deliver a deployment that only includes Pre-installation tasks. Perhaps you want to format devices before sending them out for donation/recycling or you want to perform an Offline User State migration without deploying an OS onto the device. Whatever the reason, this can be accomplished in a few quick steps!

  1. First, create a folder on your desktop and name it No Source Media. Within this folder, create a new text document and also name it “No Source Media”.
  2. Next, open up your K2000 Media Manager and enter your Hostname and Samba Share Password. For a name, enter “No Source Media”, select Windows x86 (or x64 if you plan to run 64-bit specific tasks) and browse to the folder you created on your Desktop. This will upload “blank” Source Media to be used with a Scripted Installation.
  3. Now you will need to create a new Scripted Installation, name it appropriately (Wipe Drives – No Source Media, for example) and choose the new No Source Media as your OS media and use the No Answer File option.
  4. You will now have the option to add Tasks to your deployment. Select only Pre-Installation Tasks and click Next and Finish to save your new deployment.

When you boot to your KBE, this “deployment” will be available to execute tasks you have associated. When the deployment reaches the OS installation portion of the deployment, it will fail and you will want to shutdown or restart the computer using the options provided.

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Mile High Backyard Boot Kamp

Oh, how we love Denver! There’s so much to see, so much to do, and so little time. We thought about skipping class and going to explore the city, but we would much rather explore the KACE appliances with you! Registration is open, and we’ve got a few seats remaining for the Denver Backyard Boot Kamp. More details and registration can be found at https://www.regonline.com/KaceDenver14.

We want you to learn all the latest tricks and tips for using your Dell KACE Appliance. We’ll be using K1000 v6.0 and K2000 v3.6 in the classroom, so if you aren’t using them yet, this is the perfect opportunity to get comfortable with them!

You’ll gain step-by-step guidance to help you with initial agent provisioning, software management, patch management, user roles, inventory, scripted installations, native imaging, and much more. Visit the event website for the full list of upcoming events and cities. Remember – seats are extremely limited for these training events, so register now for the city or time frame that best suits your needs!

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K2000 Kloser Look: Disable/Enable UAC

So you have upgraded your K2000 to 3.6 (and if you haven’t, why not?!), initiated a deployment to check out the new Task Engine, and noticed new tasks called “Disable UAC” and “Enable UAC” were added into your installation plan. Perhaps you had wanted UAC disabled in your deployment?  At first glance, these tasks look like they are going to enable UAC. However, the names of these tasks are not giving you the entire story.

First, lets understand why these tasks exist; These tasks were added so that UAC would be disabled when the Task Engine goes to install your Postinstallaion tasks in Windows. This was a common issue when deploying Postinstallation tasks without explicitly disabling UAC, so K2000 v3.6 added it into the deployment process. Since we did not want to disable UAC permanently, the Disable UAC task actually checks the current status of UAC and writes that value to a text file. UAC is then disabled and your Postinstallation tasks are processed.  Once the Postinallation tasks are finished we run the Enable UAC task, which reads the value in the above mentioned file and restores UAC to the previous setting. If UAC was enabled in the deployment, then it will remain enabled. If UAC was disabled in the deployment, it will remain disabled.

Deployments might have UAC enabled by default, such as a basic Scripted Installation. Maybe you want the deployment to have UAC disabled. This can be achieved by directly editing the value contained in the written text file, so when Enable UAC comes back around it will instead leave UAC disabled!  To find out more about the Disable/Enable UAC tasks, check out KB121713.

To find out more about the Task Engine, watch this recent KKE from the archives.

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Best Practices for Migration from Windows XP – Phase IV: Ongoing Maintenance

It has now been over two months since Microsoft ended support for Windows XP.  If you are still running any PCs on Windows XP, you are leaving yourself open to significant security and functionality concerns.   Nonetheless, Windows XP is still the second most popular operating system globally at around 25%[i].  If you have not started your XP migration project, it is urgent that you start now.

Dell Software has established a four-phase process for successful and timely migration, and ongoing maintenance, of your devices from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8, and provides the tools to automate and simplify each step:

Phase I – Planning: Inventory, analysis, and rationalization

This is the fourth and last in a series of four blog posts discussing each of these phases.

Phase IV – Support: Ongoing maintenance

Once you have migrated your PCs off of Windows XP, the next phase you have to worry about is continuing support of these PCs in their new OS.  Support of your new Windows environment begins as soon as the first user’s system is migrated from Windows XP. Even though a modern release of Windows is deployed, these systems still need to be tracked, kept up to date, configured to your corporate standards, and secured.  This is necessary for ongoing health and performance of your systems as well as to make sure you are in compliance with applicable regulations and are getting the most from your IT investment.

For example, a number of industry-specific regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA for healthcare and PCI DSS for retail, mandate organizations to keep up to date inventory of their hardware and software and also require that software be kept current with patches and fixes.  Failed audits can lead to the suspension of certifications, fines, and public notification of non-compliance.  In addition, understanding and rationalizing your existing environment can continue to deliver long-term value by improving decision making – when to upgrade versus refresh hardware, deciding on on-premise versus software as a service in buying new software, renewing software license agreements, etc.

Ideally, you want to prepare for ongoing maintenance and support before migrating your systems to their new environment. You should select tools as part of your migration project that will, not only help you migrate off of Windows XP, but will also enable you to efficiently manage the entire lifecycle of your systems in their new OS – from deployment to inventory and asset management to security and support.  With automated tools that continue to track and manage systems, all of the effort that went into understanding and rationalizing the original environment can continue to deliver value in the new environment.

The Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance can help you greatly with ongoing management and support of your systems in their new OS.  The K1000 makes tracking, updating, securing and managing systems a snap – for Windows, as well as MAC OSX and Linux systems. For IT administrators, the K1000 appliance provides extensive hardware and software inventory, patch management and software distribution, security audit and enforcement, and policy and configuration management functionality.

In addition, K1000 can help you support end users after they migrate.  Users moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8 must learn a new user interface. Participants in a recent Dell survey indicated they underestimated the amount of time needed for end-user training and support after their migrations. To help end users, the K1000 user portal that implements an IT service desk. Users can submit requests through email, through the web portal and on their mobile devices through a free app for iOS and Android devices. In addition, a knowledgebase is also available for self-help.

Complementing the K1000, the K2000 deployment appliance can help you image and deploy new systems and also reimage systems as necessary – change hands due to someone leaving or starting up, fix a problem with the system, etc.

To find out more about how the KACE Appliances can help you with your Windows migration and ongoing maintenance, please see:

A Dell webcast on end of XP support by Microsoft

A joint IDC and Dell KACE webinar on Systems Imaging

A Dell Whitepaper on Windows Migration

[i] www.netmarketshare.com , May 2014 data

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Dell KACE K2000 Series Deployment Appliance Architecture

Organizations, regardless of size or industry, roll out business applications to the workforce. These applications and their supporting operating systems are regularly updated and managed by limited teams of IT professionals. These same limited teams support a wider range of hardware platforms than ever before. In response to these challenges, some organizations turned to traditional, Desktop and Monitorenterprise software IT deployment and management solutions. However, the cost and complexity of deploying and maintaining these solutions often puts them out of reach. Traditional enterprise software solutions require hardware procurement and configuration, as well as software installation, integration and customization. In fact, they are so complex that most traditional software vendors recommend weeks or months of expensive professional services to deploy their solutions. Additionally, hidden software and hardware prerequisites can drive up the true ownership cost of traditional solutions.

Due to this cost and complexity, many organizations turn to point imaging solutions that offer lower price points at the expense of functionality. For instance, they cannot automate the build-out of reference systems (gold masters), nor do they offer remote provisioning. While point disk imaging tools offer improved efficiency, they do not fully automate deployment or save organizations the time and effort that full systems deployment tools can provide.

The Dell™ KACE™ K2000 Deployment Appliance (K2000) breaks down these cost and complexity barriers and brings affordable, end-to-end systems provisioning to organizations of all sizes by utilizing an appliance-based architecture. Appliances deliver a complete, pre-integrated bundle of operating environment and application software via a dedicated server appliance. They can be plugged into an existing network and immediately begin functioning. Appliance-based architectures eliminate many of the complexities and costs of traditional software solutions such as hardware procurement, and software installation and integration. At the same time, systemsappliances provide exceptional performance, reliability, and control through a purpose built solution that is pre-tuned, hardened and self-healing.

This paper describes how the K2000 appliance-based architecture provides a centralized, network-centric deployment solution that is both extremely robust and highly affordable. Download the Dell KACE K2000 Series Deployment Appliance Architecture whitepaper and learn how the K2000 appliance can help you eliminate many of the complexities and costs of traditional enterprise software solutions.

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