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I'm pleased to announce that EOS Systems has joined the ENGL partner family.

Nick Apazidis, CIO of EOS Systems, commented on the partnership:

"As a Novell Platinum and Microsoft Gold partner, we run across many solutions on the market. We look not only for the right solutions for our customers, but for supporting software for these solutions to enhance their functionality.

ENGL Imaging Toolkit for ZENworks is a very powerful enhancement and is a complimentary extension to ZENworks Imaging. The Imaging Toolkit provides a GUI and more granular control when creating images, that makes it ideal for upgrading to Windows 7. It is very simple to understand and very easy to use. It is also very safe, since it does not make live changes to the system, but allows the user to make all changes, test them and then move the image to the appropriate location on the imaging server.

We are very pleased to have become an ENGL partner and are happy to have them as one of our treasure chest of solutions. Once the product was presented to our customers, it sold itself. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with ENGL."

Visit our partner page to find sales and technical resource in your area.

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Some exciting news! I have the pleasure to announce that ENGL has signed up as an exhibitor and will be returning to Las Vegas for MMS in April 2012.

We had a great welcome at MMS 2011 and we're looking forward to returning to demo Driver Manager with SCCM 2012 and MDT 2012 support.

I look forward to meeting friends old and new!

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If you have the Novell client for Windows 7 in your build - you have probably seen some issues with authentication or tree or server not found.

Here are some of the steps you can take to resolve these issues:

Review the Novell Knowlege base. We don't write the Novell Client - we just try to get it installed and up and running as part of the build process. We've probably seen most of the issues but let us know if you find something new.

One pretty useful TID is this one for those using the IR6 or newer client:
Logging in quickly after booting fails with "The tree or server cannot be found", 0xC7FD0028 or 0x800789FC

This details how the client logs in and gives us a registry key to use to configure how long the client waits before attempting to login.

The key to configure is:

"Max Retries Boot Threshold"=dword:00000384

If setting the "Max Retries Boot Threshold" resolves the problem, adjust the value downward to avoid unnecessary delays. A value of 120 seconds (dword:00000078) may be adequate.

More info in the article on how this works.

If you are not using the IR6 (or newer client) then might be worth trying it as things seem to be working a lot better these days.

Other tips can be found in this document in our knowlegebase:
ENGL TID-2010013: Troubleshooting AutoAdminLogon

If you do have issues with the Novell client failing to login during the ENGL build process - please let us know via our support forums or a support incident.

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It's possible to script the multicasting features of ZENworks imaging using Zim.

More information on this can be found in a techbite session from 2010.
This can be found on our Events page

April 21, 2010

Duration: 25 minutes

Using multicasting with Zim and ZCM

This TechBite session will detail how to multicast imaging with Zim and ZCM.

» Playback

» Slides (PDF)

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I was recently interviewed by Rae Clemans, Microsoft System Center Alliance Project Manager, for a Microsoft internal sales podcast. With Rae's permission I'm sharing the transcript (or the bits I can publish!).

RC: “It’s another fine day for a System Center Alliance Filling the Gap: System Center Extensions podcast, and I’m Rae Clemans, SCA Marketing Project Manager. We’ve covered a lot of ground in this series already, but we haven’t talked about how our SCA partner ENGL extends System Center to simplify the management and deployment of Windows drivers with SCCM 2007 and MDT 2010. When your customers are talking about how difficult it would be to deploy the latest version of Windows, this gives you a great opportunity to talk about how they can do it easily with SCCM and ENGL Driver Manager. Your customers would get simplified deployment, higher productivity, less down time and all the benefits that SCCM and the latest edition of Windows can bring to their business.”

“So who is ENGL? ENGL is based in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, AND like Microsoft they are a company with global reach and their product applies to all our System Center customers. ENGL specializes on writing tools and solutions that help administrators deploy Windows. Heath Upton has been with ENGL for almost 12 years, and is the Director of Engineering. Welcome to the podcast Heath, I’ve been looking forward to getting you and the ENGL story online.”

“First and foremost, explain to me just what is ENGL Driver Manager?”

HU: “Driver Manager is an enterprise driver management solution, that reduces the cost and time associated with deploying hardware drivers, as part of an existing Windows OS deployment.”

“It’s REALLY easy to use. Administrators import SCCM hardware inventory for the different machine models into Driver Manager. A search for the latest drivers for a Windows version and platform, for example Windows 7 64-bit, is sent to the ENGL Driver Repository on the web. Driver Manager then receives details of the latest Windows drivers that match the hardware inventory. Drivers are then automatically downloaded from the machine manufacturer and OEM web sites. Each driver is analysed to determine the best installation method, then SCCM driver and software packages are created that automate the driver installation.”

“Behind the scenes, my team is continuously data mining machine manufacturers and OEM’s to find and match the latest Windows drivers. Drivers for new machine models are typically available to Driver Manager within 1-2 weeks. If a customer finds a problem with a driver, for example a broken link or an installation failure, an ENGL support ticket can be raised from within Driver Manager.”

“We recently ran a poll targeting System Center administrators and I’d like to share some of the results with you. Over 60% of organisations have more than 2 machine manufacturers, 75% try to standardise on a single manufacturer to avoid driver deployment issues, 80% find it hard to locate the correct drivers, and 90% use trial and error to automate driver installation. Following those results you won’t be surprised to hear that all administrators polled admitted to spending more than one day PER machine model, PER OS platform, finding and packaging the Windows drivers.”

“So, Driver Manager saves organisations time and money by streamlining the processes around finding, downloading, packaging and installing Windows drivers.”

RC: “I understand that Driver Manager helps organizations to deploy Windows 7, can you describe the experience so the sales force can understand the pain you are answering for customers?”

HU: “Even thou Windows 7 and Windows 7 SP1 were released with updated drivers, there is most likely a need for enterprises to use Windows 7 drivers provided by machine manufacturers.”

“As you’ll recall from the survey, customers find deployment of drivers a major challenge and it’s often the reason why customers haven’t yet migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7.”

“If an organisation is running Windows XP now, using Driver Manager the latest Windows 7 drivers can be download, packaged and tested prior to a full OS rollout.”

RC: “Will it be able to deploy the next version?”

HU: “If you’re referring to Windows 8, then the answer is yes. As soon as the machine manufacturers and OEM’s make Windows 8 drivers available, we’ll begin checking the driver compatibility and adding them to our database.”

“It’s also worth mentioning, that we’re working on a new version of Driver Manager that will be compatible with SCCM 2012 and MDT 2012.”

RC: “I think we get the picture, but can you detail the kind of customer that would most want ENGL Driver Manager?”

HU: “Driver Manager takes away the pain from managing Windows drivers. The more machine manufacturers and models an organisation has, the more help Driver Manager will be. It’s all about time and resourcing. Each time a customer buys a new machine model, it could be a server, desktop, laptop or tablet, how much is it costing to get a consultant or internal resource to package drivers? Wouldn’t it be better for the customer to own a supported solution that enables it to manage drivers internally at an overall lower cost?”