Great post over on The Deployment Guys blog by Daniel Oxley.
When working on a client site, the laboratory where I have the MDT server(s) set up along with the test machines is not always in the same place as where I am. This could be for a variety of reasons, but usually it is that the lab area is either too cold to stay in (aggressive AC being used!) or just too cramped to spend a lot of time in. This can be a bit of a pain where running successive MDT deployment tests as it requires lots of back-and-forth between my location and the lab area; I can usually use RDP to control the MDT server, but not for the computers being deployed because they are usually either in a WinPE phase, or don’t yet have RDP enabled on them.
Because necessity is the mother of invention, I wrote a simple HTA program that I use to keep an eye on the progress of computers being deployed. This solves the problem of going to the laboratory to check on a computer, only to find that it is still being deployed! Basically, the HTA works by keeping an eye on an "eventshare" configured from within MDT and reports the progress back to the HTA window. Whilst this could never be a replacement for a proper monitoring system such as Systems Centre Operations Manager (SCOM) due to scalability and features, it works great for me when working in laboratory conditions; as such, I thought I’d share it here!
The HTA makes use of the little used EventShare property of MDT which allows you to specify a UNC path for the storage of task sequence events. This property is typically used when implementing the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Management Pack for SCOM 2007, but you can use it for other purposes when SCOM isn’t available 🙂 – see the MDT documentation if you want to find out more about this property.