A 12 step program to get you hooked on ASI

Let’s be honest, the learning curve for ASI is a bit steep. ASI has huge value for anyone who has to install on OS more than once per release. It occurred to me that people might need an easy way to setup the server and investigate what it can do without having to invest a lot of time. With that in mind, here are the steps I recommend anyone who finds automated deployment of Windows even remotely interesting follow. This is not, of course, how I’d recommend you deploy ASI. The point here is to allow you to experience the value of ASI. Once you’ve seen it work, I think you’ll be sold and more than willing to invest the time necessary to set it up right, which honestly isn’t that much more.

You’ll need two systems, one to be the server and one to be the client. Obviously these should be test systems, not production systems. The two systems need an Ethernet connection to each other.

  1. Download the Windows Driver Kit.
  2. Download the .NET framework. The download is available here. Install it on both systems.
  3. On the server, browse the WDK CD to the ASI folder and run asiserver.msi. Accept the defaults. From here forward I’ll assume you installed to the c:\ drive. If that is not the case, make the appropriate adjustments to the following instructions.
  4. Here is the first tricky part…from the client, verify you can get to the following shares on the server…\\%servername%\images…and…\\%servername%\asi\client. In most cases you will be able to view the \\%servername%\asi\client share but not the \\%servername%\images share. Usually the easiest way to resolve this is to go to the server and change the sharing permissions on the c:\asi\asiserver\images folder to allow Everyone read permissions. Depending on your particular setup you may need to do something else. We’re just dealing with Windows file sharing here, not ASI, so make whatever changes are necessary for you to be able to see these shares from the client.
  5. On the server, browse to the c:\asi\asiserver\images folder and create a new folder using a name that describes the build of Windows you’re deploying. I’m using Longhorn Beta 1 Professional so I named mine “Longhorn Beta 1 Pro.” Pretty creative huh? Copy the contents of your CD to this new directory.
  6. On the server, open a command windows and browse to c:\asi\asiserver\tools.
  7. From the command windows type the following “findbuild –startpath c:\asi\asiserver\images” and press enter. The output you see is the parameters describing the build which is being added to the server’s database. This will be important later so keep this window open.
  8. On the client, browse to the \\%servername%\asi\client share and run asiclient.msi. You already installed the .NET framework on the client, right? Provide your server name when prompted and accept the defaults.
  9. From the Start menu, launch the ASI GUI client.
  10. Go to the selection tab. Here you will see the ASI defaults. This is the other tricky part. Most likely the defaults don’t match what is on your server. If that is the case you’ll see “build not found” in the status bar at the bottom of the GUI. This is why we kept the command window on the server open. Go through each attribute on the tab and change it to match what is in the command window. When you get it right, you will see the path to you images directory in the status bar at the bottom where you see “Build not found” right now. Note some of these items have mismatched terms. For example, Findbuild adds the following to the database “platform = I386.” In the client GUI you have to set platform = x86.
  11. Go to the Automation tab, click New Item and pick PID, type in your PID and click apply.
  12. Click Install.