Howto: Disable a NIC when running Sysprep

Disabling a network card when running sysprepping a Windows machine is easy.  Two things need to happen: 

1.  Add the following command to the [GuiRunOnce] section of your sysprep.inf file
2.  On the machine you are sysprepping, create a C:\temp\disablenic.cmd file that contains the following:
netsh interface set interface “Local Area Connection 2” DISABLED
Change the name of the interface you want disabled as needed.  To determine the names of all network interfaces on a system, run the following command:
netsh interface show interface
Proceed with syspreping as normal. When the machine boots up, the specified network interface(s) will be disabled.

Howto automatically change the CD-ROM drive letter after running sysprep

I’m finalizing a Windows 2003 R2 build that will become our gold image, which will be the source of all new server deployments within our organization.  One challenge I had to overcome was getting the CD-ROM/DVD drive to be set to drive Z: after the syspreped image is cloned and booted.

Many people are familiar with changing drive letters within the Device Management tool aka devmgmt.msc.  I needed to automate this task so the CD-ROM drive, which shows up as drive D on my image after running sysprep, would be automatically set to drive Z.

To accomplish this, I needed three things:

  1. An entry in the [GuiRunOnce] section of my sysprep.inf file that calls a batch file after booting up the sysprep’ed image for the first time. 
  2. The batch file mentioned in step 1, changeletter.cmd runs diskpart.exe, with the parameters supplied in drives.txt
  3. The drives.txt file, which details the diskpart.exe commands that change the CD-ROM’s drive letter from drive D to drive Z.

The applicable portion on my sysprep.inf file:


My changeletter.cmd file:

diskpart /s c:\drives.txt

My drives.txt file:

select disk 0
select volume d
assign letter z noerr

Put all these pieces together, and your CD/DVD drive should be changed to drive letter Z after booting up the sysprep’ed image.  Note that in the [GuiRunOnce] section of the sysprep.inf file, the part to the left of the equals sign is Command0, as is Command zero.  If you wanted to run additional scripts, the next would be Command1, followed by Command2, etc.

If you’re curious about diskpart.exe, check out the details on syntax in KB300415.

Workaround for Dell OpenManage Server Administrator installation fails prerequisite checks

When trying to install Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) on a PowerEdge R610 server running Windows Server 2003 R2,  I received the following error from the prerequisite checker:

 “This is not a supported server. Server Administrator software can only be installed on supported servers.”

I recevied this error when trying to install OMSA 5.4, 5.5, and 6.0.1. To get around the error you can run the installer with the option to bypass the prerequsite checker. To do so, from command prompt, run the following:

C:\OpenManage\windows\SystemsManagement\msiexec /i SysMgmt.msi SYSTEMCHECK=NO

Dell’s official documentation says version 5.4 and 5.5 of OMSA are not supported on the R610, but it runs great on many systems in my environment.

McAfee consumer products uninstaller tool

McAfee has an uninstaller tool, MCPR.exe, that it recommends running after removing one of their Windows products through Add/Remove programs.  This tool runs on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.  See document 107083 for details.

Affected Suites:

Total Protection
Internet Security Suite
PC Protection Plus
VirusScan Plus
Wireless Protection

Affected Products:

Data Backup
Personal Firewall
Privacy Service
Wireless Protection

Running the McAfee Consumer Product Removal tool (MCPR.exe) removes all 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 versions of McAfee consumer products.

Howto: Uninstall Adobe Flash Player from the command line

It seems like Adobe is releasing new Flash Players on a regular basis to deal with security issues.  It’s important to remove old versions of Flash Player prior to installing the new version.  Otherwise, you’ll keep remnants of the vulnerable versions on your system.

Here’s a very simple way to uninstall your previous version of Flash Player:

1) Download the most recent Flash uninstaller.

2) Close all browsers and applications that may use Flash Player, including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, or other Messengers.

3) Run the uninstaller with the /silent option:

uninstall_flash_player.exe /silent

You can also test to verify Flash Player has been uninstalled.

Note: Internet Explorer users may have to reboot to clear all uninstalled Flash Player ActiveX control files

MSTview.exe – A free, portable .MST viewer

MSTview.exe is a free, portable transform (.mst) viewer that is found in the Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit, as well as the Office XP Resource Kit. Rather than install the entire Resource Kit just to get this one file, try this:

1) Download the Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit (ork.exe) from Microsoft.

2) Browse to the ork.exe file you downloaded, and using your favorite file compression program (I use Universal Extractor, it’s free) and extract the files to your downloaded directory. You should end up with 7 newly extracted files, and the important one is Feel free to delete the other files you extracted.

3) Again using your favorite file compression program, browse to the file, and extract that file. You should end up with about 66 new files. The only one you want is mstview.exe, you can delete the rest.

4) Run mstview.exe, and you’ll be presented a window asking for the path to the .msi file and it’s corresponding .mst. Browse to the location of both files, and your .mst file will open automatically.

Now, if you actually want to edit your .msi/.mst file, try to download Orca, a part of the Windows Server 2003 SDK. It isn’t the easiest program to find, so Aaron Stebner has posted a link to it here. InstallShield also has instructions on how to obtain Orca. KB255905 has details on how to use Orca to edit your Windows Installer .msi/.mst files.

Note that I usually use the following method to extract files from a .msi file, but this Resource Kit gives the following error when I try to do this:

Creation of administrative installation images is not supported for Microsoft Office 2003 Resource Kit.

For what it’s worth, the inspiration for this post was that I was using this method to deploy the updated Groupwise client to a different WAN, and I couldn’t remember if the groupwise.mst file contained any location specific information. My Internet connection was too unreliable to download Orca, so I ran mstview.exe and was quickly able to view the transform file.

Howto: Patch an OES Linux server after a new installation using the Red Carpet (rug) command line

Before you do anything else, if you’re running an OES version prior to SP2, make sure you prepare the OES server for patching. A Cool Tool is available to make this process easier. If you are running OES SP2, read TID3045794 for an overview of the process.

That being said, I have a brand new OES SP2 Linux server, and couldn’t easily figure out how to patch it using Red Carpet’s rug from the console. The documentation made patching sound so easy, but I kept getting activation not found errors.

After doing some searching I came across TID10097537, the OES Red Carpet FAQ that helped me through the activation process, which is a prerequisite for being able to download and install the patches.

The process I followed was:

From the console (as root), I typed

rug set rollback=true

to enable the ability to rollback to a previous patch version. Next, to view my services I typed

rug service-list

The OES service was not listed, so I added it by typing

rug sa


rug service-list

showed me that the OES service was number 1 in the list, so I activated the service by typing

rug act -s service-list-number MyActivationCode MyEmailAddress

The activation code is case sensitive. If you don’t have an activation code, check out the instructions here regarding how to get one.

Once my server was activated, I needed to subscribe to the OES patch channel. I did so by first listing the available channels

rug ch

If the channels still don’t appear after activation, see TID10098375 for the fix.

Both the oes and oes-edir88 channels were available, so I subscribed to them by typing

rug sub oes

rug sub oes-edir88

Now that I was subscribed to my two channels, I listed the available patches by typing

rug pl

437 patches were available, but since I’m on a network that has 5 T-1s with almost no utilization today, I decided to download and install them all by typing

rug pin –entire-channel oes

rug pin –entire-channel oes-edir88

Then I waited for the process to complete, and to avoid unwanted memory consumption after using the Red Carpet client I typed

rug set max-allowed-memory 40

Once you see transaction finished, I like to reboot the server and verify the patches didn’t break anything, but this is not mandatory. To do this quickly from the console, type

shutdown -r now

Also check /var/log/messages and the logs located in /var/log/rcd for any errors.

One quick note: prior to OES SP2, rug should always be used to apply patches rather than the Red Carpet GUI. See the section labeled Should I use rug (command line interface) or Red-Carpet (gui interface) to manage updates?

If you have problems installing OES patches, see TID3739116 for an updated Red Carpet daemon or TID10100002, Troubleshooting the OES SP2 Patch Process. Additional information can also be found at TID3377050, the Guide to Patching Novell Linux Products.