Today we are releasing a new LiteTouch deployment option: the
Instructions for the use of LiteTouch Offline can be found in the
"README" file in the following file server location:
(NOTE: This directory previously was
"\\files.uvm.edu\software\Windows_Deployment_Services". We have
changed the directory name to simplify access from the command
line. The old path will remain available via a directory junction
link, but documentation should be updated to reflect the new path).
In the fine tradition of the Interwebs, I now present the following
LiteTouch Offline FAQ, developed prior to the release of the
product (and thus before any questions have been asked at all, let
Q. What is LiteTouch Offline, and why would I want to use it?
A. LiteTouch Offline is a new method of running LiteTouch operating
system and application deployments from removable USB storage
media. LiteTouch Offline has no dependency on the network during
deployment. This allows LiteTouch to be used in several scenarios
where it was previously impractical to implement. In the past,
off-campus machines, satellite offices, and low-bandwidth networking
segments could not make use of LiteTouch. Now they can.
Q. How can I create LiteTouch Offline Boot Media?
A. You follow the directions in the README file in this directory:
LiteTouch Offline Boot media is created the same way as traditional
LiteTouch USB boot devices, but from a different network path. ISO
files are not provided for LiteTouch Offline (because we have yet to
find an optical drive that will hold 26+ Gb of data). For reasons
that should be obvious, LiteTouch Offline cannot be made
available from the PXE network boot server.
Q. What are the hardware media requirements for LiteTouch Offline?
A. LiteTouch Offline requires a USB storage device with at least
26Gb of available storage space. 32Gb USB Flash Drives are ideal
for this purpose, but USB hard drives also can be used. ETS
recommends that the device support USB 2.0 or 3.0 specifications.
USB 1.0+ will work, but also will run like molasses in a hard
Vermont winter. Deployment from eSATA and Firewire storage devices
is not supported.
Q. Should I throw out my current LiteTouch media and switch to
using LiteTouch Offline?
A. For several reasons, traditional (networked) LiteTouch remains
the preferred deployment method. LiteTouch Offline supports only a
subset of the operating systems and applications available in
traditional LiteTouch system. LiteTouch Offline media becomes
obsolete with each new application update, and thus needs to be
updated with much greater frequency. Some deployment tasks (such as
Windows Update validation, workstation time synchronization, and
domain join operations) require a network connection to complete
successfully, and will be more reliably accomplished from an online
Q. What applications and operating systems are not available in
A. At this time, only deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition
(32 or 64 bit) is available in LiteTouch Offline. Most of the
applications available in LiteTouch Online are available, with the
exception of some volume licensed products that require metering or
access controls for deployment. These applications are Mathematica,
JMP, ArcGIS, and SPSS. Additionally, LiteTouch Offline cannot
install the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE, accessible by
pressing "f8" at boot time) onto your drive along with the operating
Q. This is so incredibly awesome. In what way can we thank you
for making this stunningly amazing service to the University?
A. As reputable salaried employees, we can accept only verbal or
written thanks. Cars, airplanes, and yachts cannot be accepted.
You would be amazed at the number of yachts I have had to return
(None! Can you believe it?!?!??!)
-J. Greg Mackinnon | ETS Systems Architecture and Administration |