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Using SCCM 2012 Stand-alone media, package path

Posted on 2014-04-04
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We have System Center 2012 R2 and are upgrading our remote locations to Windows 7 utilizing it. In the past we have brought a server to the location and have deployed from the server, but we are now investigating how to deploy using stand-alone media -- a USB thumb drive.

It's my understanding that when you build a stand-alone media installation, SCCM copies everything -- task sequences, applications, and packages to the thumb drive, so requirements for a network are limited to none.

I don't foresee any issues with installing applications, but packages are different. With packages we need to reference a path and a program to launch. What's options are there to reference these files when you use OS deployment from a thumb drive using System Center's "Build with Media" option?
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Question by:Firstcom
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by:Mike T
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Hi,

I've done media builds for a large corporation (30,000) who wanted to use media, so we mass duplicated USB sticks. We had a complex build that used a bit of everything - MSI applications, scripts and packages. It all worked without problem. Hardware was the bigger issue but that's a different story.

Can you give an example of the path you are referencing?

The path options are

1) create a package and use that as the package source and then DON'T supply the path. SCCM applies the DOS rule - look in the current working directory first, then traverse the path.
2) use relative paths, such as %deployroot%\customera. Deployroot is a special environment variable from MDT integration.
3) use a full UNC path. As this requires the network it's not an option for "offline media"

The only need for a network is to "join domain" about 20% through the process. You can skip that if it's out of the question too but you'll need to do it at some point regardless of the method.

Note when you generate the build media SCCM will create a full ISO containing complete self-contained copies of all apps and packages that the task-sequence references. One issue you might get is that more software you include the bigger the ISO gets, so the bigger the USB you need. If you want to use optical media that also means you are limited to 8GB dual-layer DVD, unless you like swapping disks. A lot.

Mike
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by:Firstcom
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Hi Mike! Very helpful response - thank you!

The PCs will be on a network and joined to a network, but we wanted to utilize media so that we didn't have to haul a server into the remote location. USB also offers higher (and dedicated) transfer speeds than a traditional 100mbit port.

#1 sounds ideal. When you say to create a package and use that as the "package source" do you mean the option under "Data Source", checkbox "This package contains source files"?
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Mike T earned 500 total points
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Yes I meant exactly that. SCCM will create a directory structure using the package code of that package. I found it handy to keep a list for troubleshooting :).

Mike
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by:Firstcom
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Thanks Mike! I shouldn't have to to reference the directory based off the package code if the "default" directory is the directory specified in the package source option. All of my packages stay in the same directory.
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