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Have you ever wanted to fix a drive for a customer and found that you had to ship the machine to the technician center just to slave the drive to diagnose it? There is a tool that is available that will allow you to use SOL and IDE-R technologies from within AMT and tools allowing a drive to be mapped as if the machine’s hard drive is connected to your machine. By allowing a connected drive to connect to a machine, it opens the many possibilities of repairing the machine first without having to rebuild it.
Creating the Bootable Image
Create a bootable image that can be deployed to the machine using SOL and IDE-R. The drive mapping software should allow the client machine to connected and create a mapped physical drive to the client machine. Ensure when using a drive mapping tool Mass Storage Device Drivers and Network Card Drivers will need to be included to make the drive bootable and seen off the network.
Pushing the software through SOL and IDE-R
There are many ways you can do this with various consoles. After the machine has been provisioned, just right click on the system, find your option to redirect the ISO image and point to the ISO image.
Windows Tools to do remote repair after drive is mapped
Scan and Fix Disk
Scanning and fixing the disk will try to alleviate any bad file sectors on the drive. Sometimes if the disk has issues with bad sectors, the scanning and fixing and moving of the sectors will fix the problem. The following instructions are the steps in scanning and fixing the mapped drive using Windows.
- Find the Drive that is mapped by your software.
- Right click the Drive and click properties
- Click on the tools tab
- Under the Error-Checking Section, click on Check Now
- Under the Check disk Options, check off both Automatically fix file system errors AND scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
- Click Start
Note: this process can take a long time depending on how large your hard drive is and if it does need to fix sectors on the drive.
Virus scanning is always important depending on if the issue could be virus related. There have been instances where a virus can be trying to replace files or delete files so that it cannot be turned on. To scan the drive to ensure there are no viruses, use your standard virus scanning tool. In this example the steps will be for mcafee virus scan
- Right click the Drive
- Click on “Scan for Threats”
- Wait for the scanning to complete
- Check the log files to see if any viruses were found
Blue Screen Analysis
Blue Screens are one of the major reasons for rebuilds. You can evaluate why a blue screen occurred on a client machine by using Microsoft’s WinDebug. WinDebug is Microsoft’s tool that analyzes the blue screen mini or full dumps and will tell you close to what the problem is.
- First download the Windebug and copy and install it on your server system (not the client that is having the issue)
- (Optional) Copy the symbol based on your OS files down the same machine
- Configure Windebug to point to the path to the symbol files
- Point to the dump file of the mapped drive (Normally at C:\windows\minidump)
- Once it analyzes the file, look at the problem issue. A lot of times this may show a driver that has had the issue or may show a corrupted file.
Registry checks and changes
At times registries can have a lot of garbage after so many programs have been installed or a virus may have set itself up in the run or runonce key. You can load the registry key hive to check out what the client may have running at bootup for all users, default users, or the logged in owner.
- Open up a command prompt
- Type “Reg Load HKLM\Test x:\documents and settings\idsid\ntuser.dat”
- Note x drive is the mapped drive to the client AND idsid is the client who owns the machine. You want to look at the client first then you can put in default user for idsid, or all users if this is a shared PC.
- Then go under HKLM\Test and a new hive will appear in there with the HKLM hive of the mapped user. Look at the Run or RunOnce Key to see if anything seems to be funny.
- You can also use to RunOnce Key to run a command when the user logs in for the first time. Do this by copying the files over to the mapped drive of an application or hotpatch. Then set the runonce key to have any key and type in the value to the path of the application or hotpatch with the switches.
Event Viewer Log files
Event Viewer is also a great way to check out what could be wrong with the system. The Event Viewer is used to check out system defects, application log errors, or system log errors.
- Right click on My computer on the server or the client (NOT the affected client)
- Click on Manage
- Under the Computer Management (Local) -> System Tools -> Event Viewer
- Right click the Event Viewer
- Click Open Log File
- Point to the path of the mapped drive to the event viewer (you can find the path from search. Extension will be *.evt)
- Edit the Log Type to choose application or system or security log
- And choose display name ie TestAppLog
Replace Files even through NTFS
If a missing file comes up missing on the machine that requires the machine to be updated or added then this tool will allow you to repair the machine without having to touch the system.
- First look for the mapped drive
- Get the error from the customer. For instance: NTLDR or boot.ini
- Go to the mapped drive and find the file from the Windows CD or from another platform, copy the file down to the corrected path
- Reboot the machine and the machine should continue
Defrag the Hard Drive
Sometimes the drive can be well fragmented which could cause bootup issues or problems. If a customer goes to lunch and the drive must be fragemented, by pushing the ISO you would be able to map the drive and defrag the drive from the technician console.
- Look for the mapped drive
- Right click on the drive letter
- click on properties
- click on the tools tab
- Under the defragmentation section, click on defragment now
- click on Defragment
Note: This can take a LONG time depending on how large the drive is. Also based on network latency this can have an issue but at least you can do this setting over night also and let it run while it defrags the drive.
BackUp System Drive
If a client machine needs to be rebuilt due to the client system not being able to be updated, the machine can be backed up since the drive is mapped. These steps will vary based on the difference in software that each company is using.
- Right click on the C drive
- Click on properties
- Click on the Tools Tab
- Under backup click on Backup Now
- Follow the Backup or Restore Wizard