Win2000 Deployment - Part II - Inventory Collection

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 21, 2000


by Marcin Policht The best ways of collecting upgrade information (+ a book recommendation)


An important step in preparing for Win2000 upgrade is collecting of information about hardware and software compatibility level. One of the ways of simplifying this process is use of Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer (downloadable and free) which can be used for upgrades from Windows 9x, Windows NT 3.51, and Windows NT 4.0. The tool comes in three different flavors:

- Online version which allows you to collect the information interactively (or it can be run from the logon script - although it requires administrative privileges on NT systems). The tool can be run in quiet mode, by running chkupgrd /Q, and creates the log file %WinDir%\Winnt32.log on NT Systems (%WinDir%\upgrade.txt on Win9x) which can be collected also via logon script (or SMS if you desire) and copied to a central location with a meaningful name (using for example %COMPUTERNAME% environment variable).

- The Disk Image Version, which allows you to perform analysis on stand-alone computers, - requires 2 floppy disks to store the downloaded program and yes, unfortunately, requires sneakernet.

- The version geared towards use with Systems Management Server 2.0 SP1 available from http://www.microsoft.com/smsmgmt/downloads/windows2000readiness.exe. In this case, the tool has undergone several modifications: it allows unattended execution and includes Package Definition File (Windows 2000 Readiness.PDF) which simplifies creation of the package. When coupled with attached W2KMIFG.exe, it produces a MIF file, which as a part of inventory process gets collected and placed in SMS database. And in addition, sample queries and a Crystal Info report help summarizing collected information. 
If you decide to use it, remember that advertisements need to target appropriate collections, since there are two programs within the package, one destined for Win9x and the other for NT systems. 
Also, keep in mind that the package is configured to run the hardware inventory immediately after the advertisement reaches a workstation and the program runs. If you don't want to generate an extra network traffic associated with a delta in the hardware inventory being sent to the SMS CAP, modify "Win2000 Check Upgrade NT.txt" from C:\W2k Readiness Analyzer Tools\Package Source directory by changing the line 
run=w2kmifg -r -i c:\compat.txt     to 
run=w2kmifg -i c:/compat.txt  
prior to creating the package (or update Distribution Points if making the changes afterwards). The collected information can be queried using supplied WQL Queries or using Crystal Info report (after upload). If the level of detail provided by these tools is not sufficient (which depends on the way MIF is generated), W2KMIFG can be run with -f switch, which causes full detail of hardware inventory. Unfortunately, this prevents the queries and Crystal Info report from working properly. Also, c:\compat.txt, which contains detailed information of incompatibility issues, can be collected via SMS

The similar process can be performed using winnt32.exe from Win2000 Professional installation CD. Steps for this process are outlined in the "Deploying Windows 2000 with Support Tools" by Syngress Media Inc. (ISBN 1-928994-12-1) which I wholeheartedly recommend. The book contains very comprehensive and well presented analysis of entire Windows 2000 deployment process with a few gems such as undocumented switches for Windows NT pre-upgrade check and detailed description of unattended collection of upgrade information for Windows 9x systems, using an answer file.

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