Get your hardhat … the Rangers VM Factory comes to life

Blue Man Claiming Territory or Capturing the Flag Clipart Illustration As part of the testing of our Rangers VM Starter Factory VPC, which allows you to get your factory up and running within a very short period of time … compared to hours to days in the past … I have stumbled over a few VPC versus Hyper-V issues which I would like to pencil down somewhere.

This post introduces three things:

  • The VPC –> Hyper-V steps I had to follow to make it all work
  • The tweaks I had to do to the image and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) environment
  • The RoboCopy script that Paul created to synchronise the factory with another up-to-date factory with one click.

Using VPC image on hyper-V … a checklist to remember

The Rangers VM Starter Factory is created using Virtual Server and ships as a VPC. If you are running hyper-v, as I am, you can use these steps to get it to live in harmony in your virtualization environment:

  • Prepare
    • Copy the factory virtual hard disk originally created using Virtual Server
    • Create a new virtual machine in Hyper-V specifying the copied virtual hard drive file
    • Ensure that networking is disabled in the initial configuration … I tried it enabled, and had weird behaviours when image started … a number of services not starting.
  • Start virtual machine
    • Uninstall Virtual PC virtual machine additions if installed … check under programs in Control panel
    • Run msconfig, select advanced options from the boot tab and select detect HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer)
  • Re-start virtual machine
    • Install integration components.
  • Stop virtual machine … you can probably do it while running, but stopping seems safer to me
    • Add network connectivity
  • Restart virtual machine
  • All should be A OK now

Doing the last tweaks

  • OS Specific
    • Change the server name to a unique and meaningful name. The naming convention we use internally is VSTSR-MDT-??, where ?? is replaced with the country code, i.e. NL = Netherlands, CA=Canada.
    • Enable Remote Desktop … makes remote administration much easier 🙂
  • MDT Specific
    • Update the Bootstrap.ini file to specify the correct credentials and factory machine name.
    • Update the software and ISOs in the DeploymentShare. Comments are included in each “empty” directory, similar to the DeploymentShare package and associated guidance we ship on Codeplex (

The factory copy script

Once the factory is up and running you can run a synchronization job to get your factory in sync with another factory in your environment. The script below, supplied by our factory master Paul, will get you started. Note that @@SOMETHING@@ are tokens that indicate that you need to replace with values that match your environment.

 1: @echo off
 6: REM =====================================
 7: echo Syncing with %FACTORY% factory
 9: SET EXCLUDEFILES=Bootstrap.ini CustomSettings.ini Settings.xml Audit.log
 10: SET EXCLUDEDIRS=Boot Backup Capture USMT
 12: SET DS=\\VSTSR-MDT-%FACTORY%\DeploymentShare$
 15: echo Mapping deployment share of remote factory to z:
 16: net use z: %DS% %PASSWORD% /user:%FULLUSERNAME%
 18: echo copying files
 19: start /wait ROBOCOPY z:\ c:\DeploymentShare /MIR /XF %EXCLUDEFILES% /XD %EXCLUDEDIRS%
 21: echo Removing mapping
 22: net use Z: /delete

After this, you can use the factory as per the guidance.

Blue Man Jumping on a Trampoline Clipart Illustration

In fact, I am jumping up and down with excitement … it is phenomenal to think what the  factory starter pack can deliver … now to get the factory in South-Africa up and running using this starter factory and a few more internal deployments to mushroom and take advantage of the factory 🙂

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