Ben Hunter

Architect - Microsoft Enterprise Services - Redmond

BDD 2007 Time saving tips - How to manually use a BDD Task Sequence to test application installation

BDD 2007 Time saving tips - How to manually use a BDD Task Sequence to test application installation

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How often when creating a your perfect image do you find that you run through image build process only to find that one of your applications fails to install?

I find this to be a very commmon occurence. After a cursing about how I have just wasted another hour I ring the wife and tell her I am going to be late home and then start the process over again only to find that I have made another mistake, DAMM!!!

It doesn't have to be this way!

You can create a custom task sequence which includes only the applications you want to test. This can then be launched from within the OS allowing you to quickly test if the application installs correctly.

Here's how its done:

First you need to create a custom task sequence, the following steps detail the creation the task sequence:

1. Create a new build using the BDD workbench (i.e.) ApplicationsOnly

2. Copy TS. XML from your current build under the distribution share on your BDD server - \distribution\control\<Build ID\TS.xml

3. Copy it to the newly created build directory (i.e.) \distribution\control\ApplicationsOnly

4. Delete every task except for the custom tasks that you want to test -

Note: If you leave any folders behind then remember to make sure that you remove any unwanted conditions from the options tab

5. From the client computer launch cscript \\<yourserver>\<distribution share>\scripts\LiteTouch.vbs

6. Watch the task sequencer execute your tasks

7. Make adjustments as necessary

8. Update your build with the tested Tasks.

This process will literally save hours when troubleshooting application installation.  

UPDATE - 14/05/07 

Please see the following blog for further tips on this process.

UPDATE - 26/09/07

To make this process work with Deployment 4 please refer to this post.

UPDATE - 01/09/08

MDT 2008 now includes built in support for custom task sequences and you do not need to use this process.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.

Comments
  • Ben:

    This is a stupendous suggestion.  Unfortunately, I am finding that there is not enough detail here for me to implement it.

    You suggest deleting "every task except for the custom tasks that you want to test"; however, if I do this and then launch "litetouch.vbs" on the testing workstation, I find that litetouch does not run my custom "application" tasks.  After running "LiteTouch", I step through the initial wizards and select my custom build, then the LiteTouch wizard flashes past and completes without running anything.

    Perhaps there are some core task sequence components that need to be preserved?  Any clarification that you could provide would be appreciated.  I am having a heck of a time debugging my application installers in the context costom task sequences (they all work fine when called from ZTIApplications.wsf!)

  • Ben:

    I agree with the 1st post.  When I run LiteTouch.vbs using my newly modified TS.xml, it runs the Task Sequencer and my custom tasks do not run.  I believe I'm taking too much out of the TS.xml.

    I took it a step further and created a new build point and instead of modifying the TS.xml directly, I clicked the "disable task" box on all tasks in the Task Sequencer that I didn't want to run.  I get the same result.  It's as if my custom tasks don't even exist.

    Any additional input would be great.

  • Great tip Ben, like you say will save hours of time thanks very much :)

    I'd like to add that the best way to get this to work is to incorporate your application in the usual way (right click applications, new, follow wizard etc) and then go to the task sequencer and (after following Ben's steps) click new and then choose application...I selected "new task" and have wasted time checking my switches!  (the %deployroot% is put automatically for you in the "start in field")

  • Hi Dsleigher,

    Have you looked at my updated post detailed at the end of this post?

    Thanks,

    Ben

  • I have previously mentioned how to create a custom task sequence to save time when testing application

  • Ben

    I've followed the instructions for the application test task sequenceplease the update post, how ever I still have a problem. when I run the litetouch vb script I get the windows deployment wizard asking for a computer name, then the build type on which i select the Application test build version it then asks me for the network share credentials which I supply and then it displays the Final details(Ready to Begin)dialogue. I click begin and the machine reboots. Any idea what i've done wrong

  • Hi Graham,

    Can you send me a copy of the ts.xml file for you task sequence? My email is ben dot hunter at microsoft dot com.

    Thanks,

    Ben

  • I am often asked how to setup a custom task sequence that will continue after a reboot. If you have created

  • I am often asked how to setup a custom task sequence that will continue after a reboot. If you have created

  • Very informational Ben, thank you.  I have a problem testing my apps and registry fixes.  I also get the Refresh Computer Screen.  I followed all steps that I have read and was wondering how does the Lite Touch.vbs know what ts.xml to use.  I have different builds that I created.  Am I missing a step?  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you.

  • Hi Brian

    If you have a look in the distribution\control folder you will find a sub folder for each build. EAch of those sub folders contains a ts.xml file for the build. It as contains the any other build specific files such as sysprep.inf or unattend.xml.

    You can ignore all of the screens that appear when you run through the wizard. These will be ignored by the custom task sequqnce.

    Thanks,

    Ben

    Thanks,

    Ben

  • Hi Ben,

    This works great, except that I seem to have a problem when I make changes to the TS in workbench. It would appear the client is using a previous version.  Is the xml being cached anywhere?  I fixed a problem with a command line in the TS but when I re-ran the build it gives me the previous error and only a reboot seems to fix.

    I have removed both c:\minint and c:\windows\temp\deploymentlogs folders.

    Thanks

  • Hi Roy,

    Have you removed the C:\_SMSTaskSequence folder? You also need to update the deployment point using the "update files only" option each time you make a change.

    Thanks,

    Ben

  • Hi Ben,

    The _SMSTS folder gets removed as soon as you click finish.  I've also updated the files on the deployment point but it still runs the previous TS. And just as I type that I find the problem.. There is a copy of TS.xml in x:\deploy\tools\x86, if I delete this and run the TS again it is then updated.

  • In this post I am going to talk about a solution I put together for a customer around OSD and application