Archive for category asset tag

Use the asset tag on a DELL Latitude E6500 as the computer name

Background

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.

The Bug

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


After reviewing this log, this pointed me to the VB script mentioned earlier and to the BIOS asset tag information. I knew the script was working properly, so I turned my attention to the BIOS asset tag information.
After several hours of toying around with asset.exe, I realized that there were blank spaces after the asset tag information – 5 spaces in total!

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:

asset.exe X1234ABCDE

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.

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OS Deployment – Computer Name from Asset Information

In a previous blog post, I modified a script to prompt to a computer’s name during a SCCM 2012 OS Deployment.

This new modified script basically takes the asset information (this isn’t the Asset Tag!) from our DELL computers and uses this information as the new computer name for the device being imaged.


Note: For DELL devices, you need to download DELL’s asset utility to assign an asset number/name to your devices. Sometimes this is automatically done by DELL when companies request it.
Link to updated script is here.


I’m going to over some of the more important details about this script.


Section 1



‘ Win32_SystemEnclosure is the class that contains the SMBIOSAssetTag property
‘ SMBIOSAssetTag property holds the Asset Tag information for the system
Set colSMBIOS = objWMIService.ExecQuery(“Select * from Win32_SystemEnclosure”,,48)


This is the WMI class (Win32_SystemEnclosure) that actually has the information that I’m looking for – the asset information.


Tip: Open a Command Prompt and type wmic then type SystemEnclosure. Now scroll to the right and you’ll see SMBIOSAssetTag column, and below it you should see the asset information assigned to this device. Again, although this labeled as SMBIOSAssetTag, it doesn’t make reference to DELL’s asset tag information, rather to the asset information that you assign using DELL’s utility.


Section 2



‘ Retrieve Asset Tag value from SMBIOSAssetTag
For Each ObjSMBIOS in colSMBIOS
sBiosAssetTag = ObjSMBIOS.SMBIOSAssetTag
Next


The information retrieved is a data collection, so we’re going to use a For..Next loop to retrieve only the data we need, in this case – SMBIOSAssetTag. This information is assigned to our variable sBIOSAssetTag


Section 3


If sBiosAssetTag = “” then
MsgBox “Asset tag has not been set!” & vbCr & “Go back and run DELL’s asset utility.” & vbCR & “Reboot to restart process…”, 0, “Missing Information”

‘ Clean up code to make sure that we log the error message
bExitCode = False
End If


I want to make sure that I, in fact, have assigned an asset information to this device. In the event that I’ve forgotten to run DELL’s asset utility, this section will notify me of such event.


Section 4

‘ We’re converting the name to all uppercase and assign it to OSDComputerName variable
oTaskSequence(“OSDComputerName”) = UCase(sBiosAssetTag)


In my case, I’m converting the value of of sBIOSAssetTag variable (which is a string) to all uppercase, then, this is assigned to our Configuration Manager/TS WMIC variable OSDComputerName.


That’s pretty much it.

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