Tuesday, 8 February 2011

iMac 21.5" - 11, 2 - 10.6.6 - Installation and deployment

Just received 10 new 21.5" iMacs, version "11, 2" ,  with 10.6.6 installed. Very nice, with quad core and 1GB Hard Drives, but having a few different issues has caused me to put them back to 10.5.8 temporarily until the main issues are fixed.

To streamline the operation I decided rather then starting from scratch, I would use Migration Assistant to transfer accounts and applications from the latest MacBook Pro which had everything on. This worked very well, but in heinsight might have caused the issues below. These problems need testing on a fresh install of OS X 10.6.6.

Issues which I encountered:

  • Students on Active Directory require to put details in more then once before they can login, for machines only just switched on!! I think this is to do with how quick the mac boots up, too quick to authenticate itself on active directory?
  • NHR (Network Home Redirector) scripts not running at login or logout.
  • Deploy Studio netboot not working; firstly freezing on the white screen with the grey apple (no spinning wheel, and secondly crashing and rebooting when loading the next screen after the one just mentioned.
With the students active directory issue (not properly tested on staff accounts), there was not much to try as I think it is more of a problem with Active Directory Servers or how OS X 10.6.6 communicates with them, which is too time consuming at present (there is pressure to deploy iMacs within the next 2 days at most). I did some simply exploratory fixes:
  1. take off of active directory and put it back on
  2. make sure everything was up-to-date
  3. refer back to solution 1.
When there is more time I shall need to look into this, but also future releases of the operating system will fix these. One thing I would like to do is try active directory logins on a fresh install of the operating system

With NHR I downloaded the latest, 3.2.6, uninstalled and reinstalled. What might have caused the problems is that I transferred files from a MacBook Pro running 10.5.8, which might have transferred some of NHR Scripts but not all. I also tried the full version which creates more alias's. Unfortunately not much info on NHR website, no-one else seems to be having problems. One thing I would like to do is try the scripts on a fresh copy of 10.6.6.

After these two problems and diminishing time I decided it was best to revert to 10.5.8 until time would allow these problems to be resolved. But, I did not want my efforts to go to waste, so I decided to make a disk image of the machine with its' problems so I can continue later. Little was I to suspect any more issues. I held down 'N' for netboot to DeployStudio and the machine froze on the white screen with the grey apple (no spinning wheel). Doh! The problem was probably because the last deploy studio netboot image was made on a MacBook Pro 15" now 2 years old.

I subsequently made a new netboot image (nbi) from this iMac and tried again, this time to get the spinning wheel but to crash on trying to load the next screen! This was probably due to outdated DeployStudio (currently using RC14 on the server and RC 15 on clients). I updated the client to the latest and the same happened again! So I updated the server, but alas, the installer said the minimum requirements were not met!! Server is running 10.4.11!!! Needs updating!!! So I go traipsing around for the last version to support 10.4.11 server, which was a lot of hassle. I'd like to not that the DeployStudio website (both Wiki and main site) are not good for troubleshooting, with only the latest versions available. I finally found RC20 here. Eventually worked! Yay.

After this I went to make an image of the drive but alas, not enough room on the server. So I used Boot Camp Assistant in OS X 10.6.6, and partitioned the drive - 160GB for OS X and the rest for "Scratch Disk". I then NetBooted again and used Disk Utility to make a compressed Disk Image and put it on the Scratch. Turned out to be 79GB, original was 106GB.

So now to put OS X 10.5.8 on, which will hopefully work on this machine!!

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