The SysMan Build Key is designed to eliminate the need for system administrators to create and maintain their own operating system (OS) installation images and serves as an easy point of entry for system administrators to completely automate their workstation build process.
The Build Key has many great built-in features for building/provisioning computers:
- Fast - Answer a few questions and you can walk away while the Build Key does the rest. After the Build Key files are copied to the hard drive (about 5 minutes) and the system reboots, the Key can be removed and used on the next workstation.
- Secure - Sensitive files within the image are protected from from being accessed or tampered with by an unauthorized user, even if the media that contains the image is lost or stolen, since the image and configuration files are encrypted.
- Automated - The process automatically configures network settings, joins the domain, applies Windows Updates, and installs the IBM BigFix client without any user intervention. With the BigFix client installed, you can automate your software installation process, too!
- Easy - For CLM lab computers, a standard computer-naming and -addressing scheme based on Unit/Department, Building, and Room is used to help save time and reduce the number of headaches caused by forgetting the IP settings for large numbers of workstations. Using the Build Key is a perfect task for student and work study employees.
- Repairable - The Build Key creates a special hidden partition that contains imaging files for performing automatic rebuilds remotely without any user intervention.
- No DVD Burner Required - Imaging is done using a bootable USB flash drive, which is faster and more reliable than imaging with DVDs.
Note: The Build Key is available only to Penn State IT staff for Penn State-owned computers.
Imaging on a Diet
In the past, many IT professionals used disk imaging tools, such as Symantec Ghost, to capture and close a system that was preconfigured with all the software installed. Such images were typically 50GB+ in size and, in some cases, could only be used on a specific workstation model. This process is sometimes referred to as fat imaging. The SysMan Build Key is not a fat image. Instead, the Build Key uses a thin imaging technique, whereby the only component included in the image is the operating system itself. All customization, including installing software, is performed after the OS has been configured. In fact, the SysMan Build Key uses the image from Windows and Mac OS installation media. There are several timesaving advantages to this technique:
- The images are much smaller, so they can be applied faster.
- There is no need to maintain multiple images based on the target model, or intended end user
- Since there is no additional software in the image, it does not need to be "unsealed" and "resealed" in order to apply application updates and patches.
- Leaving the image intact promotes better quality control and less risk of unintended or forgotten modifications propagating to end user systems.
Once the OS installation image is applied to the hard drive, the OS's native setup takes over and handles initial configuration. After this has completed, the SysMan build key tools install the BigFix client, which can be used to remotely deploy software packages and system settings with far more flexibility than a fat image could ever do.
After the imaging process is completed, the BigFix client will register with the root server and subscribe to your Division(s). This is where you can customize the build process to automatically deploy a set of applications and settings, much like you would with Group Policy Objects (GPOs), but with far more granularity. You can create and deploy custom software packages using BigFix, or select and deploy pre-existing packages from our extensive Software Sharing library, maintained by the SysMan Team. You can also use BigFix throughout the lifecycle of the system to script system settings, apply OS and application patches, and perform software and hardware inventory.
A Build Key is available for the following operating systems:
- Windows 10 (Education) 32-bit and 64-bit
- Windows 8.1 (Professional, Enterprise) 32-bit and 64-bit
- Windows 7 (Professional, Enterprise) 32-bit and 64-bit
- Mac OS X 10.12 (Sierra)
- Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
For Windows 10, the SysMan Team recommends Windows 10 Education and provides several methods for you to upgrade and/or change your edition of Windows:
- By using our Windows 10 Build Key to build a new Windows 10 system
- By performing an in-place upgrade from older editions of Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8, Window 8.1) or non-Education editions of Windows 10 to Windows 10, remotely, using BigFix
- By changing the SKU from non-Education editions of Windows 10 to Windows 10 Education
For more information about the operating systems we support, or methods for upgrading your operating systems, please contact us.
The SysMan Build Key generally supports all computer models that are part of Penn State's computer Bulk Buy program.
Below is a list of models that are currently supported on our Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 Keys:
|Dell Latitude D620||Yes||No||No|
|Dell Latitude D630||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude D820||Yes||No||Yes|
|Dell Latitude D830||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 2100||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude 2120||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 3330||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 3340||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 3440||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 3540||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 3550||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 6400||Yes||No||No|
|Dell Latitude 6410||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E4300||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E5400||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E5410||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E5430||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E5450||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Latitude E5510||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E5520||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E5530||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6220||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6320||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6330||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6400||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Latitude E6420||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E6430||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6430U||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6440||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E6500||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E6510||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E6520||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E6530||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E6540||Yes||Yes||Yes||Builds may fail when using dock. Recommended workaround is to plug Key directly into laptop.|
|Dell Latitude E7240||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude E7250||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Latitude E7440||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Latitude E7450||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Latitude E7470||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Latitude XT3||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 6430S||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Latitude 6430U||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 210L||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 330||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 360||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 380||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 390||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 580||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 745||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 755||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 760||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 780||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 790||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 960||Yes||Yes||Yes||BIOS A06 or newer required|
|Dell Optiplex 980||Yes||Yes||Yes||BIOS A14 or PS/2 keyboard recommended; use back USB ports|
|Dell Optiplex 990||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 3010||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex 7010||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 7020||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 7040||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Optiplex 7440 AIO||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Optiplex 9010||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 9010 AIO||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 9020||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex 9020 AIO||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Optiplex GX280||Yes||No||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex GX620||Yes||No||Yes|
|Dell Optiplex SX280||Yes||No||Yes|
|Dell Precision 390||Yes||No||No|
|Dell Precision M4800||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Precision M6600||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T1500||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T1600||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T1650||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Precision T1700||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Precision T3500||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T3600||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Precision T5500||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T5600||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dell Precision T7500||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell Precision T7910||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Precision Tower 5810||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included. Complete system driver pack available for deployment via BigFix.|
|Dell Vostro 430||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 460||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 1015||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 1550||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 2420||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 3550||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell Vostro 3550||Yes||Yes||No||Not all drivers included, no drivers available via BigFix. Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Dell XPS 13||Yes||Yes||Yes||Requires wired connection via docking station during build; Not supported in CLM|
|Dell XPS L321X||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell XPS L322X||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell XPS L421X||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dell XPS L521X||Yes||Yes||No|
|HP ProBook 6570b||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lenovo ThinkCentre M52||Yes||No||No|
|Lenovo ThinkCentre MT-M||Yes||No||No|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T530||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon||Yes||Yes||No|
|Sony Vaio VGN-TZ170N||Yes||Yes||Yes||Bluetooth/Chipset drivers available via IBM Endpoint Manager|
|Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Machine||Yes||Yes||Yes||Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Oracle VirtualBox||Yes||Yes||No||Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Parallels Virtual Platform||Yes||Yes||No||Not supported for CLM builds.|
|Xen Hardware Virtual Machine||Yes||Yes||No||Not supported for CLM builds.|
|VMWare Virtual Machine||Yes||Yes||Yes||Not supported for CLM builds.|
*If model is not listed as "Verified" it means that we have added support for it but were not able to formally tested that model ourselves to confirm there are no missing device drivers or other unexpected issues.
If a model is not listed in the above table, please submit a request here.
We can only consider enterprise-class systems for use with the Build Key; however, you can still add these systems to BigFix.
Note: The Build Key currently does not support Microsoft Surface Pro devices. We recommend adding the BigFix client to these systems using another method.
Drivers for common peripherals such as printers, scanners, and webcams are not included on the Build Key itself. Instead, we provide BigFix tasks that can be used with the Build Key (or any other system) to install the drivers that you need.
Pre-built tasks are available for the following peripherals:
|Epson Perfection 1270||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 2400||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 3170||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 3490||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 4180||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 4490||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection 4870||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V200||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V300||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V330||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V500||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V600||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V700||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Perfection V750||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Expression 10000XL||Yes||Yes|
|Epson Expression 11000XL||Yes||Yes|
|Graphtec 600 Pro||Yes||Yes|
|Wacom Pen Display||Yes||Yes|
If you need to install drivers for addition peripherals, we're happy to assist you with creating a BigFix task to deploy them, as long as they are signed Windows 7 drivers for the peripheral device. Please submit a request here.
How to Get Started
If you're interested in using the SysMan Build Key in your environment, please contact us. We can help you get started and give you additional guidance on best practices for designing an efficient build process.
For instructions on how to format and update a Build Key, issue a remote rebuild, and more, please visit our SysMan SharePoint site.
Note: You must be a SysMan user in order to access the SharePoint site.
Last Updated December 6, 2016