So I ran into an interesting bug with our DELL Latitude E6500 models and Microsoft’s SCCM 2012.
First off, in our environment we use the BIOS service tag information on all our DELL devices as the computer name in Windows 7. I’m able to get this information during the Task Sequence (TS) by means of using a VB script.
The script I mention above works on all our DELL computer and laptop models, with the exception of the DELL Latitude E6500 laptop models.
On a DELL Latitude E6500, with the BIOS updated to the latest version, it looks like the BIOS asset tag information is somewhat misleading. If you view the information, you’ll see the asset tag information, but what you don’t see are the trailing spaces after the asset tag information. For instance, if the BIOS asset tag information on a laptop reads X1234, there are 5 trailing spaces after it, and these white spaces do not show!
Note: We use a tool called asset.exe, from DELL, to modify the asset information and the owner information in the BIOS. This tool works well on many of DELL computers and laptops.
SCCM 2012 and The Bug
During a SCCM Task Sequence (TS) job, we collect the asset information and we use this information as the Windows 7 computer account. The TS works perfectly until the last step: Setup is applying system settings – at this point, the TS fails with the message: Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]…
The TS fails completely and you’re left with a computer whose OS isn’t working.
SCCM logs give a hint on what went wrong. In case you don’t know, those logs can be retrieved from the broken machine and the logs (setupact.log and setuperr.log) are located at: C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC
In our case, both files showed the following error message:
2013-02-27 15:35:17, Error [Shell Unattend] ComputerName: failed to set the computer name [hr=0x80070057][gle=0x00000057]
2013-02-27 15:42:30, Error [windeploy.exe] Setup.exe failed, returning exit code [0x1f]
2013-02-27 15:42:30, Error [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation. Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x80004005
2013-02-27 15:43:42, Error [windeploy.exe] Setup.exe failed, returning exit code [0x1f]
2013-02-27 15:43:42, Error [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation. Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x80004005
The Workaround (not a fix)
Basically, I used asset.exe and deleted the current asset tag and re-typed it, but this time I added 5 letters to the end. In other words, my command line looked like this:
X1234 is the asset tag information (a.k.a my Windows 7 computer name); however, ABCDE is the workaround to make sure those blank spaces don’t break the TS.
After the TS finished, then I logged on as a local administrator and renamed the computer name to X1234 – life is good again!
Note: During this entire troubleshooting process we updated the laptop BIOS, and this didn’t seem to fix the issue.
I hope this helps someone out there.