Integrating Windows XPe into Active Directory

As the guys over at FreeWyseMonkeys demonstrated with, it ain’t hard to integrate a Windows XP Embedded system into Active Directory.

You basically need this:

  • A system powered by Windows XP Embedded
  • netdom.exe (from any Windows XP – SP2 in your MUI language)
  • some know-how, on how to use netdom to integrate it into your AD

Everything else is already present on the Windows XP Embedded systems I’ve seen. Then let’s get it on !

First, copy over the netdom.exe to your XPe, and then run the following command:

Here as a note:

  • ud and pd is a User/Password inside your Active Directory with the permissions to create new computer accounts
  • uo and po is a User/Password with administrative rights on the Windows XP Embedded device

After that, you just need to reboot, Et Voilà! the system is present in your Active Directory. Just be aware, if you’re using a localized Windows XP Embedded by Wyse, make sure to contact your fellow Wyse Support, as the is a bug with the MUI stuff needed for the domain logon.

Also, as yet-another side note: The default Administator password is mentioned in this Knowledge Base entry.

Customizing Thin Clients

As some of you know, the company I’m currently working for, recently acquired some thin clients to replace our old computers for the students to work on. Those PC’s are like P3 800 MHz with 512MB RAM and sadly don’t run Office 2007 anymore, so we replaced them with thin clients and are streaming those applications from a Windows Terminal Server cluster (created by and with 2X Application LoadBalancer).

So far so good, getting them to display the applications ain’t hard, the real hard part starts when you want additional things from this Windows XPe (Embedded), like lets say getting them to display a German language.

First thing is, the management software for those terminals (Wyse Device Manager or WDM) uses it’s own scripting language (with pseudo abbreviations like DF or MR – Delete File and Merge Registry – get it ?), which control the whole distribution of “packages“.

That ain’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just an additional “language” you need to understand/learn. The initial threshold is rather low (it ain’t no C++ or C#) as it’s just a pseudo language, you just need to make sure you do things in a certain order (like use the auto login registry entry with a new administrator password *after* you changed the administrator password).

We had a lot of work at the beginning of the week (like getting all packages working), and I think we managed finishing all of them (besides some default icon foo, for which is plenty of time when them terminals are already in use).

Thin clients

As some of you people know, we (as in the University) recently purchased some Thin Clients in order to replace some oldish’ computers and solve the software management at the same time.

The Thin Clients ain’t bad, they are Wyse V90L‘s and they (as in Wyse) use their own management software to manage and deploy those thin clients and software. The bad thing about that, is it’s using it’s own “Scripting Language” (if you can call it that way – it’s more pseudo scripting since you can’t do much with it besides some basic actions).

The Wyse Device Manager also introduces it’s own limitations. Up till now our DHCP had server options for thin clients in some other facility and thus was sending those to *all* subnets it’s acting on, thus overwriting (or disabling ?) the DHCP ACK send out by the WDM. But that’s only one.

The second one is that the WDM seems to use (or expect) the American date format internally. But how did I stumble upon that ? As you know, I’m living and working in Germany and we use a different time/date format than the American’s. Now, lets assume you want to deploy packages to you Thin Clients when no one’s using them anymore (like say – around midnight), you drag your package upon the devices and select “Specific Date/Time“. Now if you have the German date/time format, the WDM will simply tell you, “Deployment date can’t be less than the current system time.

Initially I was like *WTF*, didn’t I just enter a time in the future (~15 minutes in the future from where we at right now) ?

First I looked through their Knowledgebase, but as nothing was documented there, I called their Support Hotline, where I briefly told ’em what was going on and he immediately told me, that’d I was hitting that error, since the WDM *is* using _and_ expecting the American time/date format internally. But he told me that they’ll hopefully fix that with the next release since they get asked that quite often.