View Full Version : Remote OS X installs?

04-13-2003, 04:33 AM
Anybody notice the update to Apple Remote Desktop? Specifically, the ability to Netboot and update/install OS X remotely?

Quote from http://www.apple.com/remotedesktop/scenarios.html :

"Distributing Software

Apple Remote Desktop lets you push software distributions to client machines. Install the latest operating system update or make your own installer package full of science projects. You can quickly copy and delete files from client machines. And you can use the Set Network Startup Disk feature in conjunction with Mac OS X Server for easy OS distribution to many machines."

Sounds like we can now push out an image from Server to install X remotely? This warrants further investigation!

04-16-2003, 03:01 AM
It appears I am talking to myself here, but just in case anybody else is looking for a solution...at least this shows we are on the right track to a remote install capability! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

from: http://bombich.com/


"Apple Announces Apple Remote Desktop 1.2!

Apple recently announced the release of Apple Remote Desktop 1.2. If you manage a lab of Macs, YOU MUST HAVE THIS!!! Check out these new features:

* Set Network Startup: sets the network startup disk of computers to be your specified NetBoot image and optionally reboots the computers.
* Install Package: copies and then installs .pkg or .mpkg format installer packages. The copy and install occurs behind the scenes on the client - even if the computer is at the login panel.
* ARD Admin application can now scan and offer to upgrade old ARD 1.1 clients and offers to upgrade them en masse.

Imagine this scenario: You've setup a computer with all of your custom software and settings -- its exactly the way you want all of your lab computers to be.

1. You use Carbon Copy Cloner to develop a master disk image, then transfer it to your file server.

2. You use NetRestore Helper to develop a custom NetBoot image

3. You use Apple Remote Desktop to tell your lab full of computers to boot from your custom NetBoot image

4. NetRestore takes over and restores your master disk image to the local hard drive of each machine in the lab

You've been sitting at your desk THE WHOLE TIME! Complete remote deployment of your lab, thanks to CCC, NetRestore, and Apple Remote Desktop."

04-16-2003, 03:30 PM
Yeah, you're talkin' to yourself, but just loud enough to satisfy the eavesdroppers. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


04-25-2003, 07:16 AM
I use that now to copy files and apps to my various Macs from my desk - it's pretty slick. I haven't tried the NetBoot yet - I need to get my lab fully swapped to Macs from the various PC's that are around..


05-06-2003, 02:09 AM
OK, this picks up where http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum23/HTML/000430.html left off. Trying to clone a fully configured OS X imac for deployment far and wide.

Netboot. THANK YOU APPLE! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif

Why did I not try this sooner?! This is good stuff! Had to fight many little demons (most of which are manifistations of my lack of proper training or knowledge regarding networks, subnets, and the like), but this is too easy regarding the config on OS X Server.

Any shop that could justify buying Server should be all over the netboot/netinstall feature. It's been there waiting for me since 10.2.2 but I did not realize it. Coupled with http://www.bombich.com/software/netrestore.html this looks like an incredibly fast and easy way to clone systems.

OK I am gushing a bit here, but I guess I am just surprised that there has not been more interest in this on the web. And it has been about a 15 hour day and counting... http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Although I am netbooting fine (from an image of a 10.2.3 CD), the real test is yet to come: I need to Netinstall or Netrestore a fully configured, cutomized image and test. *If* I get through this and it is solid, I wll be even more suspect of firewire being the culprit of my woes on previous attempts. I only hope the clones are as solid as they are fast....

05-06-2003, 07:32 AM

From another eavesdropper, what I don't understand about X is that there must be some kind of ROM file like Mac OS ROM in OS9. Unless all of the machines you will be cloning to are the same, how would the proper ROM be installed? k

05-06-2003, 08:06 PM
I've heard people say that they were able to move OS X systems from one mac to another w/o trouble. And not all identical, not all even "NewWorld."

Yet, when I try moving a drive from B&W to Beige, no go, but usually okay the other way. Have to test it one more time, I use to "dirty" the system with XPF and other "oldworld" stuff. And yet, the beige does show a firmware revision other than any of the ones we knew as "Rev A-B-C" ROM and which is purported to add slave support even to a real REV A ROM machine. Could it be in a universal kernel?

It would be nice and seems like it must. Unless netboot and remote install was limited to only a NewWorld class machine or something.

- G.

05-07-2003, 02:54 AM
Hi guys -

Don't profess to know. Heck, I was just getting comfortable with OS 8/9!
I am guessing that certain classes of machines allow for a transportable OS image. Here is riddle that I can't expalin:


Had good success last week cloning a totally configured dual 1G running Server 10.2.5 (configed and running Apache for access to a FileMaker DB via FM Unlimited) with CCC to a firewire drive, but with some stangeness (or at least symptoms I am at a loss to explain).

Cloned the dual 1G to FW drive, and booted back from it to verify. No problem. Connected FW drive to G4 450 that was running 9, but had already had the 10 drivers installed (I like to be prepared!), and booted and ran from the FW drive. Booted to second partition on the same FW drive, and cloned the files onto the G4 450, after wiping the drive.

The G4 booted fine, but was not stable. Booted the 400 back to the FW drive, and ran it through it's paces - still stable. Several more attempts to clone to the G4, after all repairing permissions, intializing the drive again, Disc Utility, etc. Still no joy.

Fueled by desperation and curiosity, I pulled the drive from the FW bridge, and installed in the G4. Runs great. Stable over a week, 24/7. No busted aliases, permissions/preferences problems.


As we have all seen and read, FW may be a real problem; but in this case I cloned to FW fine... For a moment I thought, "what if the bridge in the old G4 is substandard/outdated/busted? No, that can't be it; I booted to and ran that same OS config perfectly from the same drive, same bridge, same cable, and same FW ports while in the FW case... So barring an a suspiciously intermittenant hardware problem, it sure seems like the problem in this example *has* to be in the cloning software/procedure.

User error? Certainly possible, but ya gotta admit CCC is pretty straight forward, so I doubt it. Oh, and by the way, I cloned both uncompressed files, and an image from the dual 1G and tried to install both to 400; both booted but were unstable.

Any theories?


Still Netbooting, but now have a problem getting image over from the server to the Netbooted imac. Still working on it. "Stumbling through it"is probably more accurate.

I did find some info that explained the basics here a bit more clearly than the Apple documentation: http://www.macos.utah.edu/Documentation/NetInstall/netinstall.html

Netboot/Netinstall are great for Lans, but what I would love to have is something like the old ASR and some way to span the image and burn to CD. Like Ghost or something...now *that* would make my day. As rough as it has been to get here, and with still some ground to cover just to image on a locaL subnet, I can't fathom doing it on a WAN. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

05-08-2003, 02:10 AM
Well, still no joy.

While trying to get Netinstall or Netrestore to work, I snarfed up my Server Netboot box. No more DHCP. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Yet another dead end? It was a test install, so no big loss. I can duplicate the setup, but still stumped as to where to go next. Not enough time for this project...I hope I can back-burner this mystery and keep on chipping away at it.

Talked to a couple different local consultants, the local University lab guy, and *I* know more about this than them. Yikes! This appears to be very uncharted waters, at least for GUI bums like me.

At this point with 10.2.x, I fear only very savy Unix types are gonna find a way to do this. And that is *if* it is possible to actually "stamp" this OS for preconfigured distribution. Perhaps there is a utility out there I have not run across, or will be in the near future...

Things tried:

1) CCC via FW drive

2) Booting to an OS X cd using this: http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/15196&mode=info

3) Booting via Netboot on Server

4) Create Vise installer to span CDs for multi CD install.

5) Volume back-up/restore with Restrospect

All have failed or appear to be unacceptable for various reasons; of coarse I may very well have been the reason for the failure, but I can say that if I can't get it right, most consumers and power users probably won't crack it. Reviewing what has been tried, there are still lot's of varibles that we have not ruled out, but it feels like a snipe hunt. Not giving up yet, but almost out of time for this intial project.

Now for someone with skills like Jazzbo...well, 5 bucks says this drama would have a happy ending already!

- To be continued -


05-08-2003, 11:18 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> For those who update multiple workstation with .pkg installers I might suggest ARD. With v1.2 you can install packages across the network onto OS X workstations. It's fast and works really well. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You tried ARD. That's what this started with. As for CCC, yes, but we know about the FW "hazards" so I'm not sure. Is everyone connected to the server?

05-08-2003, 05:41 PM
Well G, that is one of those loose ends I need to pursue. Have not really tested ARD regarding Software/Sytem install and updates. My impression was I needed to have Netinstall working first;never got there. Netboot only.

I will go back and review to be sure I did not gloss over the important bits.

05-15-2003, 11:19 PM
Been busy cloning 10.2.3....tomorrow is the first day of the remote rollout; ended up using Retrospect on spanned CDs afterall.

Ain't pretty, but it works (fingers crossed!). Lots of hiccups along the road the last few days, and it works like a Rube Goldburg contraption, but IT WORKS!

Will post back when I have a bit more time with all the gory details.

05-16-2003, 07:01 AM
Remember the "ROM on Disk" thing?

I think that means that the boot track on the disk volume has to match the CPU and probably the MoBo architecturally to work. Unless the hardware code and Rom-on-Disk data collaborate such that the CPU refuses to load it on a mismatch, one could get an extremely flakey booted system if the Rom-on-Disk wasn't tailored to the MoBo and CPU that boots it.

Reading Kaye's comment about ROM files and then yours about the FW drive built on a Dual 1G and booted on a G4 450 brought that to mind.

Hope the deployment goes well!!


05-17-2003, 01:41 PM

Tested CCC, and NetRestore from Bombich.com, Netboot via server, and Retrospect Server 5. also looked at about a half dozen cloning or backup solutions that we passed on, either because they were too new and untested/unknown, or too complex to master in our very tight release window.

With no Unix Gurus (mostly novice to "never seen it"), I am sure there must be a better, faster, more elelgant and reliable process. As our X suppport and growth with continue, the hunt for that better solution will continue as well.

What is working now:

1) Set up the master imac with users and permissons set, and apps isntalled and configed.

2) "Back up" the master imac over IP via Retrospect 5 - latest updates and driver updates installed - to CDs. Our final image came in about 1.7 Gigs, and Retrospect spanned the backup over 3 CDs. Ironically, the Retrospect server is running 9, although I have no reason to doubt it would be fine running 10. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

3) Burn another CD from the reptrospect server that includes the backup catalog and a copy of the Retrospect app.

4) Boot target imac to be cloned from full 10.2.3 installer CD, wipe drive and install 10.

5) Insert CD with Catalag/Retrospect app and copy both to drive.

6) Begin "Full volume restore", and feed in the 3 CDs as Retropect asks for them.


Not very fast....the restore process is almost 2 hours. But easy, right?


Well, not really. Lots of little details have to be just right. Here are the most notable...

The OS on the target must be identical to the OS on the image. So we used a new 10.2.3 full install (no updates for users to perform) for both the master imac and the intial isntall on the targets.

The restore can only be performed on a CD burner. Only a Retrospect approved burner. And they have a mighty short list, that does not include the internal burners on imacs. So we bought and tested and sent burners along with the rerstore disks.

Each catalog from each backup appears to be unique, even if named the same, and the same machine is backed up repeatedly with no modifications, so for each image, we created and then burned a unique catalog. Found this out the hard way; the restore does not proceed without the correct catalog, but there is no error or indication of what is wrong or why it does not start.

Some backups from the master imac report various errors and are not valid. No idea why...most work, but some do not. No changes to the backup server or the master imac. Tried rebooting the master imac between backups, but no apparent difference. The entire backup process is over an hour with verification on.


Had 10 sets of burners and CDs shipped out on Thursday to Offices from San Francisco to New York. Started phone support Friday at 5 AM here in CA, and it was fast and furious until about 2 PM, but we are 10 for 10 for remote installs!! http://www.macgurus.com/images/dance.gif

10 more for Monday, and again on Tues, and again on Wed. Rolling out Termianal services on all 40 cloned imacs on Friday. No pressure. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

So 30 more to go next week, and then about 100 at a more relaxed schedule or our choosing towards the end of summer...sheesh.

The good news is that we can update out image and repeat the process if required, and this system works with USB burners, so we can use it with non-firewire imacs, which is a huge help.

Thanks again to all with ideas and support. I expect that this will whole ordeal will be good for a laugh in a year or so, when there is a nice clean way to do this for regular Mac users... can't come too soon!

05-17-2003, 03:01 PM
Bravo, newbie!!

Don't know if the budget allows, but I wonder what would happen if you ran a single golden master burn from the master iMac, then dupped the CDs through a CD duplicator. It'd be a labor-vs.-hardware expense tradeoff, as with duplicators, you load a spindle of blanks and tell it how many copies, then come back when it's finished. I don't know how expensive duplicators are.

It's also possible to get a checksum from a CD covering its entire contents, which is another way to verify that the copy's perfect. Let me know if you need that, as I should be able to get a one-liner Terminal command for you that'll calculate the checksum.


05-17-2003, 09:30 PM
Hi Jazz -

Wow, it would be nice to dupe. Can't believe I forgot to add the juicy tidbit about not being able to dupe the CDs...

Assumed when we started that if we could get and test a "golden master" set - image plus catalog - that we would just copy those. No dice. Neither Toast nor OS X sees the CD. Pop it in, and it get spit right back out. Not blank, but not readable. Some very propietary format from Retrospect I guess.

One of my more PC centric co-workers said, "no problem, I can copy anything". So he took one set home and attempted to dupe usning Nero, and several other things I am lead to believe should not be discussed in front of the childen and movie studios.... No luck. He did have something "see" the disk, but it could not see end of the file...because it was spanned between multiple disks perhaps?

Anyway, that caused us to have to do 10+ full sets and 10+ catalogs and keeps each set together and test each set.

So, image + catalog + test install = 3-4 hours for each clone on our side before we send it out .

Boy, am I tired! Only 3 more days to go... http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

05-22-2003, 12:08 AM

38 out of 40! Yeah baby, yeah!!!

2 that had issues that could not be resolved remotely; 1 bad CD ROM, and 1 bad USB port. Better than I expected, frankly, considering the problems encoutered setting this up and other variables, like differnt model imacs, firmware updates, users not following instructions, potential for memory/harware issues with X, etc.

Wow [wiping sweat from brow], that was much harder than I ever imagined. Although none of my coworkers (or I) are "gurus" yet, we hold our own in most mac stuff....I suspect that our lack of training and expereince was the single biggest hurdle to clear. With that in mind here are some general notes:

- Retrospect is finicky, tempermental, and complex for the end user to run, and non too speedy. Does seem solid so far, which is of coarse the single most important issue. Can't complain too much - it works!

- Multiple users in Jag is not ready for the show. Giving users admin privs is almost as bad. Just started looking for third party apps to help, but that adds a wild card (what would one do if that app gets wonky or has bugs?), and Panther is right around the corner.

- I went ahead and tweaked permissions manually to kill the most dangerous System Preferences and apps. Pretty slick way to keep the curisous out, but savy users can crack it. *And* some of my "security" is undone (set back to default) during the restore process. Too much manual cleanup. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

- Timbuktu 6.0.3 works great with Jag, set to draw 256 colors without removing the user desktop. Nice surprise. But only with Admin users. Not-at-all-nice surprise.

Installed Orifice X on Golden Master before image, but setup/register after restore process because it seems impossible to update with correct reg number. No problem. Except that Word and Excel had no default "save" location assigned for all of the users except the one 'master" admin that actually installed Them. So what do the apps do when a user pushes the save button?

They save to a invisible private folder - God knows where - that cannot be found or seen by any admin user. You can see your doc in "recent documents', but you don't have permission to open it. Oh, and Powerpoint defaults to the users doc folder as one might expect...go figure.

Nice work, Redmond.

- Cloning nicely with FW now. What is working for us: Clone to a second volume/drive on the Golden Master using CCC, and saving as a ccompressed ASR image. Transfer the image to Jag bootable FW drive, and restore from image using NetRestore. Timed a restore today: about 1.7 Gigs total, preconfiged with apps and users took just under 12 minutes to be ready to reboot. And very solid so far...about 9 for 10, and have not ruled out a hardware issue on the one in question yet.

to be continued....

05-22-2003, 12:05 PM
Hotcha!! http://www.macgurus.com/images/dance.gif

05-27-2003, 12:52 PM
PSU Blast Image Config 1.0.2 that has cloning and other features.

Penn State University's Blast Image Config ("BIC") is an application intended for Macintosh system administrators who want to:

Quickly clone/restore a Mac OS X system disk image to a Macintosh's boot hard disk (via Apple's asr command line tool)
Automatically set the Open Firmware boot security mode and password
Prevent users booting with another volume (CD, DVD, FireWire Hard Disk) without supplying a password
Prevent users from entering "Single User Mode", which gives "root" access to the Mac
Change the network settings on the restored HD, if configured to do so
Set the Open Firmware boot device to the restored disk

This tool is intended to automate the build process as much as possible.

PSU to do the initial install of the base OS and applications on all of our lab and kiosk Macs.

Requirements : Mac OS X 10.1 or later.


06-22-2003, 02:31 PM
CopyCatX 1.0 (http://www.subrosasoft.com/thestore/product_info.php?products_id=413) is a $39.95 utility from SubRosaSoft for duplicating Mac OS X disk volumes, either for backup or for software distribution. The company touts "device copying", a method it says will "retain every detail of the original drive, from bootablity to the icon locations. Device copy is also a lot faster than the traditional file-by-file backup."

06-27-2003, 08:26 AM
Yeah - saw that.

Could be interesting. Sounds like Netrestore, which we have been using on all our imacs, emacs, and ibook with firewire, and has been working great.

Boot to a FW drive with OS X and a ASR disk image made with CCC on it, intialize the drive, run DiskRestore, and within 8 - 12 minutes, we have a configured machine! Very slick, and simple too.

When the summer crunch here (very seasonal work load) calms down a bit, I will have to catch up on these new cloning developments that keep popping up.


Charlie Don't Surf!

06-27-2003, 09:26 AM
More teasers about what is to come....

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Panther Server delivers a number of improvements to the popular desktop management tools that have made Mac OS X Server the easiest way to manage Macs on your network. The new Network Image Utility makes it easier for administrators using NetBoot and Network Install to standardize desktop configurations, streamline software upgrades and simplify system troubleshooting and software restore. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Charlie Don't Surf!