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Multicast Imaging on Zenworks PXE Boot


Apache
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I'm working as a Sys Admin in my university while I do my studies. We've got over 650 computers spread out over 2 miles of campus and it's coming up to the dreaded time of the 6 month re-imaging of all the computers over the christmas break.

We're running Novell Netware 4.91 SP4 and we image using the Zenwork PXE Boot Imaging Client running on Suse Linux.

We've got the multicast automation running fine, as soon as there are 653 computers on the multicast server, it automatically starts sending the image across and it only takes about 40 mins to complete the entire thing including rebooting to the logon screen, however, to be able to get to that stage you have to go round each computer, reset, hold down Ctrl and Alt for an undetermined amount of time for Suse to boot up, otherwise it boots normally through the network boot to windows. This is a built in feature with Zenworks and we can't override it and it means we still have to travel the full curcuit of the campus to grab all the computers.

Is there any way to automate keystrokes on boot up?

Once into Suse it automatically picks up the Multicast Server and initiates ready state and we can issue a mass reboot through VNC, all we need is an automated way to hold down Ctrl and Alt on system startup.

So far we've been able to speed the process up slightly by using the age old "place-something-heavy-on-the-keyboard" trick on a row of 10 PC's as we reboot the next 10.

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With that many computers there must be enough people available to spend a few seconds pressing down a combination of keys,

I'm sure you can get some help..

Although this isn't a direct answer to your question but more of a solution!

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With that many computers there must be enough people available to spend a few seconds pressing down a combination of keys,

I'm sure you can get some help..

Although this isn't a direct answer to your question but more of a solution!

Over the christmas break, due to there being no students in, there's only a bare bones staff, only 5 of us on campus on the IT Staff.

Excuse my ignorance but would it be possible to make a boot script that launches some vbs, that send the CTRL + ALT combination. If not you can duct tape the selected keys down, then you would still have to go around and take them off :/.

We thought about that but you can't get the vb to work at system start.

The one thing I thought to do was boot to a shared network drive instead of the PXE that either mimics the Imaging software or shortcuts to the imaging server.

Have any other sysadmins using a Novell Netware Network had similar problems?

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