Monthly Archives: April 2015

Install Profiles using Composer

One of my recent projects has been to start utilizing configuration profiles to replace existing MCX settings in the organization. I am also trying to exclusively use these for new settings/requests and a recent one that came across my desk included configuring settings in Safari for an upcoming online exam.

Let me get this out of the way… I don’t fully trust the MDM platform on Mac OS X. Nor do I like the reporting, or lack there of, that comes with it. I publish a configuration and just… wait… and hope that it sticks. Casper has improved the visibility in recent releases but I still don’t get much feedback if/when something goes wrong.

So, the approach I have been taking is to create the configuration profiles and then package them up for distribution. Once they are in a .pkg format, I can deploy them as a Policy on our Casper Server and easily monitor their installation.

This post won’t focus on specifics of creating a configuration profile so, for times sake, I am assuming you have a working (and tested) Configuration Profile that you would like to deploy.

First Step. Move your configuration profile to the path you would like it to be installed on your client. In my organization, I have created a custom folder under /Library/MyOrgName to store all these temporal type items as well as other information (logs, etc) that I want to maintain on each system.

Next, open Composer.

Composer

 

Once Composer has launched, drag your configuration profile into the left-side of the Composer window. This will create a new project that contains your configuration profile(s).

Next, click the arrow next to the profile name to expose the Scripts, Settings and Snapshots Folders.

Ctrl-Click or Right-Click on the Scripts folder and choose Add Shell Script, next select postinstall.

Note: If you would like to know more about the various types of scripts, Rich Trouton has a great writeup and description in the following article: Understanding Payload-Free Packages

ComposerConfig_Scripts
ComposerConfig_SideBar

Now we can add in the logic to install the profiles we have copied over to the client. In this case, I also show you how you can remove a profile then install your newly created configuration profile.

I have added the sleeps in there as I had some older clients that weren’t reliably processing the remove/add without a smidgen of a pause.

Once I’m satisfied with the script, I verify permissions of my packaged content.  In my case, root:wheel ownership.

ComposerConfig_MainWindow

 

When you’re ready to test, build it as a package and test that all settings are getting applied as desired. One note, is on 10.7/10.8 I often need a logout/restart for restrictions to fully apply.

Make Bootable Windows Media in OS X

As an admin with a Windows server infrastructure and a mixed, but majority OS X, client base, I occasionally find myself having to make bootable media for Windows client or server installs.

Previously, I would use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool. Using this tool required that I already had a working Windows install and the image that I needed was accessible to that machine. This was OK until recently some of the newer media would not boot correctly even using the Windows  7 USB tool and I would often discover this while buried in a server room away from the computer I used to create the media.

This led me to researching other ways more-reliably create install media and I remembered that Boot Camp Assistant had switched from DVD to USB several years back, why not give that a shot?

What will you need?

  • Mac OS X With Boot Camp Assistant Installed (I am using 10.10.3)
  • USB Drive in the 8GB range
  • Free-time to watch a progress bar go by

First, I opened Boot Camp Assistant from /Applications/Utilities/Boot Camp Assistant.app (Ok, I just used Spotlight to search for ‘Boot Camp,’ but I digress)

Boot Camp Assistant Icon

The next step is to uncheck the Install Windows 7 or Later Version button since I didn’t actually want to install Windows, all I need is the media.

bc_assistant_step1

Next, insert a USB thumb drive that is large enough to hold the contents of the Windows Install plus around 700MB of Apple’s Boot Camp support files and drivers. Advancing to the next window by clicking Continue we should be able to choose the ISO Image (In this case, Windows 8.1) we want to use as well as the USB drive we will be formatting.

bc_assistant_step3bc_assistant_step2 If all is well, Boot Camp Assistant will begin preparing the USB drive and copying the files. Go grab a coffee, glass of water or watch your favorite show on Netflix.

bc_assistant_step4

That is it! We’re done! (Safely) Eject your USB drive and use it on the needed Windows machine.

bc_assistant_step5