Friday, January 18, 2013

Dell Precision T1650 and Microsoft MDT WDS LTI ZTI

At work we use Microsoft MDT 2010 to install Windows over the network instead of using CD/DVDs. MDT is a collection of tools like LiteTouch (LTI) and Windows Deployment Services (WDS) to deploy preconfigured installations of Windows to different hardware. 

We recently started to plan for desktop PC upgrades using Dell Precision T1650s. During the ordering process for hardware configuration there are two choices for NIC cards. One is integrated and the other is PCIe. We opted for the integrated which is an Intel 82579LM (DEV_1502).

As part of the LTI installation sequence, a NIC driver is needed to communicate with the server that distributes the files to install Windows. Unfortunately none of our prior Intel drivers worked with this device so I need to add them to the LTI boot image for WDS. The next logical step would be to go to Dell's support site and get the drivers. The odd thing is that what's listed in the driver category is an Intel Diagnostic Utility which contains some unknown .INF files that aren't NIC drivers. Thinking that these were the right ones at the time I added them to LTI and couldn't connect to the network shares. 

It turns out that I needed to go to Intel directly and get their generic 825xx PRO1000 driver. Once I removed Dell's diagnostic "drivers" and added these it worked. The tricky part was without diving into looking for the command line options for the self extracting executable (PROWinx64.exe) was that by default it extracts to your user profile's temp directory as so: %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\RarSFX0. Once these are extracted, you can add them to the MDT distributuion driver share using the "PRO1000" folder.

In summary, anyone having trouble with Dell Precision T1650 and WDS or LTI (or even ZTI, possibly even Ghost?) use the Intel generic drivers.