How awesome would it be to have live, graphical, windows based OS that could be used to repair systems? And double the awesome factor if it could be used remotely? Use WinPE and it's variants plus vPro and you can do just that. You see, WinPE is live, graphical, and windows based. And it can booted and used remotely with vPro systems. To aide readers in doing this, I've been working diligently on use case reference designs that step readers through building Enhanced Remote Repair with Microsoft* Windows* PE, WinRE, and Use Intel vPro Technology and MSDaRT to Recover Remote Systems. The instructions include options for adding services like network support, a built in VNC server (for vPro systems that don't support KVM Remote Control), and a communications back channel to integrate with Remote ISO Launcher (RIL)for automation.
Here's a quick overview of the various PEs and related UCRDs:
This is the most basic WinPE OS and is part of Microsoft's Windows Automated Install Kit. When booted, it provides a GUI with a window opened to CMD. At the prompt you can run tools like bcdedit, diskpart, regedit, and many more. It can be booted remotely with IDEr. Using Accelerate the Intel vPro Technology IDER Boot Process, remote boot times can be decreased. With Out-of-Box Configuration for KVM Remote Controlit can be easily accessed remotely. By adding network drivers, WinPE can map a a network share to backup files, or access repair tools, new files, OS images, and more. By adding a VNC server, WinPE can be accessed remotely on vPro systems that do NOT have KVM Remote Control.
This is WinPE with Microsoft's standard Recovery Tools. This is included with Windows 7, which means anyone with Windows 7 can use WinRE. The tools include system startup repair, system rollback, restore from a backup image, and more. When launched, a GUI for the repair tools is opened. From there tools are run, or a CMD prompt may be opened. At the CMD prompt all tools available in WinPE are also available here.
This is WinRE with even more recovery and diagnostic tools from Microsoft. This is included with Microsoft's Desktop Optimization Pack and is also known as ERD Commander. MSDaRT requires volume licensing from Microsoft. It includes everything that WinPE and WinRE does, and more. Extras include a file browser, a system scanner, and a system crash analysis wizard. When booted, all these tools are available from the GUI, and there is the familiar CMD prompt option.
When used with vPro, these WinPE variants greatly improves the ability to solve windows issues remotely. The Use Case Reference Designs are geared towards making it easy for readers to put these tools into practice. So, download the reference designs and give it a try. Then, let me know what you think? Can you any of these WinPEs up and working with vPro? Have you been able to solve any problems remotely? If not, what it missing?
*Note: the WinRE UCRD is in it's final review. I will update this post with links once WinRE is ready.