Remote Access (VNC) to OSD Build During WinPE

We have been seeing more and more issues with OSD and the latest model Dell computers, i work for an organisation with quite a few small sites and there are not I.T. specialists at each site.

Trying to explain to someone on the phone how to copy files via command line to a USB stick (when the log could be in 1 of about 7 places! – we use MDT) is difficult and time consuming.

We needed a better way….

At first I started looking into a tool I heard about a few years back called DaRT

There was some confusion in my organisation about whether we would / wouldn’t be licensed for the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (which DaRT is part of). It also requires changing the boot image used during OSD, which is not ideal as we use one TS globally and trying to schedule the distribution of a new boot image is difficult.

So i put it on the back-burner, then today we had more issues with OSD and this requirement became more urgent for me. I suddenly realised that VNC server can run in a User Context, so maybe it can be run during WinPE.

A quick google found this excellent article : http://syswow.blogspot.de/2012/05/remote-control-during-sccm-osd-without.html

Within 30 minutes I had VNC server running during our OSD build and I could connect to it successfully. We had already been using BGInfo to stamp the hostname and IP details on the background, so connecting was easy!

Update
I have found some issues with this method, if the hard disk is not formatted when you start the TS then it doesn’t copy the content for VNC from the package and the commandline step fails. I have tried a few things to fix this with no success. Next is to not bother putting the VNC content into a package and copying it directly from a network share.

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