Deployment

Clearing Font Caches

Wrote up a handy script to clear all the font caches for the Mac OS, Adobe, MIcrosoft Office and Apple iWorks.

I am using this in Casper, so I have it running as root and having a reboot happen after.  If you are going to run this on your own, you may want to put a root check in there and make sure to reboot after.

#!/bin/bash
## Author: C. Tangora
## Purpose: Remove Font Cache from Adobe, Microsoft, iWork and Mac OS.
## If run outside of Casper, be sure to be root & reboot after.

## Adobe Font Caches are stored in the User's Libraries, and will have "Fnt" in the name and end in ".lst".
echo "Removing Adobe Font Caches (Lists)"
find -x /Users -mindepth 5 -type f -iname *Fnt*.lst -delete
sleep 1

## Next it will remove the font caches from Microsoft Office.
echo "Removing Office Font Caches"
find -x /Users -mindepth 7 -type f -name *Office\ Font\ Cache* -delete
sleep 1

## iWorks is next on the chopping block
echo "Removing iWork Font Caches"
find -x /Users -type f -name com.apple.iwork.fonts -delete
sleep 1

## Next we will restart the Apple Type Server.
# This is the one we want to make sure we reboot (or at least logout) to restart.
echo "Removing OS Font Caches"
atsutil databases -remove
sleep 1

echo "Restarting Apple Type Service Server"
atsutil server -shutdown
atsutil server -ping
sleep 1
echo "Completed Font Clearing."
echo "Please restart ASAP."

exit 0
’till next time
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What version is my Mac OS X installer?

One of the things that I do for Mac imaging is use InstaDMG to make my master image.  Part of the InstaDMG imaging process requires the build version of the installer OS to match a specified key in the catalog.  I figured out where this was, months ago, but as time has passed I forgot it.

Luckily, I didn’t need to use it for a while.  But now I do.  We’re having to go to Lion for a few months to get the Mac Book Airs out the door.  I can’t put an unsupported OS on a production machine.  So, we’ll brave new waters for a few months and try to keep that momentum up for a quick adoption to Mountain Lion.

Anyways!  Back to the point of this post!!!!

To find out what version of Lion your installer is (for use with InstaDMG), simply mount the InstallESD.dmg, and open

MacOSXInstallESD/System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist.

Now look at the value for ProductBuildVersion.  That is your version number.

I’m posting this, so if I ever need it again, I know where to look.  Thanks to Allister on AFP548.com’s InstaDMG forum for pointing this one out!

Till next time.

Extension Attribute Check for Installed Files

Some applications do not have actual .app packages installed when you run the installer.  One example of this is Lab Stats.  The installer will install multiple files and some UNiX applications, so how do you know if the application is on a machine?  Casper offers a few options:

  1. Turn on UNiX application gathering for your inventory collection.
  2. Only install via Casper and look at the application package receipts.
  3. Run a script via an Extension Attribute to check for installed files.

The first two are good options, but some people do not want to turn on the UNiX application list due to the size & time it takes to gather the inventory report.  If you are implementing Casper on a site you will already have some computers with applications installed outside of Casper, so you may not be able to rely on an accurate installer receipt.  The third option will work regardless of which installer was used (as long as they all install the same files), and doesn’t increase the report time drastically.

The first two options are common tasks in Casper, the third is also but requires a bit of your own scripting.  Under Settings -> Inventory Options -> Inventory Collection Preferences -> Extension Attributes you can create a new extension attribute by clicking on “Add Extension Attributes” and change the Input Type to Populated By Script.  The script is simple, in this example I’ll show how to see if a specific file (foo.bar) is in the Shared User’s directory.

#!/bin/bash

if [ -e /Users/Shared/foo.bar ]
then
echo <result>TRUE</result>
else
echo <result>FALSE</result>
fi

The extension attribute will now show TRUE if the file is there and FALSE if it is not.  You can create smart computer groups filtering on this attribute.

If you want to change the type of file it searches for (say you just want to know if a specific directory is in a specific location).  Fire up the terminal and do a ‘man if’ to see all options available.

Till Next Time.

Deploying Windows 7 Printers (really, really easy way) with GPO’s

So we spent days trying to figure out how to get the right printers to the Windows 7 machines.  In XP we utilized a script that ran at login, however that required a window that popped up and stayed up for 30 seconds or so for every user. This script was managed through Ghost, and since we are trying to avoid using Ghost we spent days figuring out how to get GPO’s to do the printer pushes.  Hopefully if you are trying to do the same we can cut down your research time.

We combed the web, we tried multiple approaches, scripts, GPO’s, scripts pushed through GPO’s.  When we tried pushing multiple printers through the Printers option (inside of Both Computer & User Preferences -> Control Panel Settings -> Printers) we had a very strange effect.  Only three printers were being displayed, but if you refreshed the Devices & Printers window a new set of three would show.  We were about to give up when I went back to the GPO’s.

Suffering from slight memory loss I couldn’t remember where the GPO’s we used were.  So I just started from the top and went opened each of the folders to find the “Printers”.  Low and behold I found a different option, “Deployed Printers”.  So I opened it up, thinking that this was the location, but it wasn’t.  So I went and found the original “Printers” and disabled the printers and headed back to my new friend, “Deployed Printers”.

If you have dealt with the “Printers” section of GPO’s, then you know it can be a hassle.  However, the “Deployed Printers” were just the opposite.  You put the server and printer queue name in and whala!  This supports multiple printers, and is super fast.

My coworkers & myself must have seen the “Deployed Printers” under the Comp/User Policies -> Windows Settings at least 100 times, but never realized it’s potential.  We were focusing a bit to much on what Google said rather than just getting down and dirty with the program (Group Policy Management Editor) like we used to before the days of Google.  Being able to get information through Google is essential for IT work, but nothing beats getting your hands dirty.

After creating 30+ new OU’s and GPO’s (which we planned on doing before this) we are now ready to start pushing out the printers from our AD/PaperCut print server to our Windows 7 machines.  The printers come in quicker than they did with any other method we tried, and removal of printers is as easy as removing the printer setting from the GPO.

There is one downside, you can not set the default printer from this window.  However, since the majority of the work is done (getting the printers properly deployed to the workstations), we decided to delay re-visiting the default printers, as it’s priority was lower.

Virtual Box, the easy way with Casper

We’ve been deploying VirtualBox on a one-to-one basis for the past year.  Each time someone requested vBox we would get their machine and install it.  Casper came along, and after some politics, we decided to give it a shot at building a Virtual Box installer with Windows 7 built-in.  While the end result still requires some hands-on to modify some settings (such as computer naming & binding to the AD), it is by far faster and easier to get a Mac to run Windows 7 in Virtual Box now.

The following are some considerations when planning your vBox.

  1. Not all software is legally allowed to be distributed “on image”.  Sometimes you’ll have to create a post-install process to do this (such as a GPO or Kace, BigFix, etc).
  2. Binding requires unique name, so you’ll want to bind after it is deployed.
  3. Do not have multiple partitions on the windows drive, you won’t be able to use the dynamic disk size of Virtual Box if your second partition has space left on it.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you setup the storage area to be in a shared space, so it is accessible by more than just the user who created the package.

These are just some of the warnings, however the pay-off is worth it.  If you have a paid application for virtualization (Parraellels, VMWare) it is far easier than with vBox (in my opinion), but again you can’t beat the price of Virtual Box.  That advantage of Casper is that you can push the user preferences for VirtualBox out as a separate package, available For Exisiting Users, or For User Template.  We’re in the testing stages now, but if all goes as planned, we’ll have a simplified Virtual Box deployment in the near future.

I’ll post updates when complete (maybe even the file paths if I get the time).

Till next time.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, how Microsoft almost got it right.

Anyone who is deploying Windows 7 to the Enterprise should already be familiar with Microsoft’s Deployment Toolkit (MDT).  It is a great tool and so much easier than what used to be around.  There are other alternatives, however if you are already running a Microsoft Server this is a free option.

Coming from a Mac background there is still much to be desired, but Microsoft has done a good job in getting closer to what can work.  Here are a few things that Microsoft could/should change to make using MDT more useful (and things for you to watch out for when using MDT).

  1. Copying workflows, you can’t.
    • The workflows have unique ID’s.  If you copy one you are just making a reference to the original.  Modify one of them and the other gets modified as well.  Create a new workflow and copy the Task Sequence if you want a new workflow to follow the original.
  2. Active Directory binding to OU group naming
    • The AD binding feature of MDT is a great tool.  However, without hacking the MDT you are limited to seeing only the full path of the OU you are putting the computer into.  Make sure the last OU is named something that you can easily identify.
  3. You can’t move the order of your Applications.
    • There are tools to re-organize your application packages once you’ve uploaded them, but nothing native to MDT.  Things change, orders should be able to be changed as well.  This feature makes it seem like the developers never used it to modify complex workflows.
  4. The OS specific options can not be altered without a separate deployment.
    • There are some options that are set for the entire deployment, and some that are set on the individual task sequence.  It would be so useful to be able to alter some of the deployment options based on Task Sequence selected, not the deployment share it resides on.

While these are just some of the annoyances of MDT, it does the job well enough to consider it, especially for it’s price.  It’s driver injection & easily modified application installation scripts make it a useful tool to for your IT toolbox.

Till next time.