Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Using SDI_CHOCO with Windows 10 1709 (and fixing the 'No internet' prompt)

The 1709 version of Windows (as well a many other versions - but not all versions!) seems to have broken internet connectivity during the Specialize pass of an automated install again and also broken something in MSOOBE.exe too!

This means if you are using the SDI_CHOCO feature in E2B to automate a Windows 10 1709 install from an ISO with drivers and Chocolatey applications automatically installed, you will have no internet (or more precisely no DNS access) during the Specialize phase which is when the SDI_CHOCO.cmd file runs (or the equivalent if you are using a different configuration set) and the MySpecialize.cmd file (if you have used one).

What this means is that the SDI_CHOCO.cmd script will display (and speak) a warning that it has no internet access (to bbc.co.uk) and will then prompt you to temporarily run the Microsoft Out of Box Experience application MSOOBE.exe and then cancel it - which usually seems to fix the issue (or allows you to set up WiFi).

Note: it is a strange issue because pinging an IP address works OK. Also no Host Name is displayed when using an ipconfig /all command, but the command hostname displays a host name.

However, the command MSOOBE.exe /x in 1709 does not seem to work any more! So the network setup part of MSOOBE which usually fixes the DNS issue, does not run!

The way to avoid the 'No internet connection' prompt in SDI_CHOCO.cmd is to add a file called NoInternet.tag to the configuration folder (e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS\CONFIGS\SDI_CHOCO\NoInternet.tag). This prevents the code from checking for a working internet (DNS lookup) function and so it will not pause the automated install.

Of course, since DNS is not working, you will not be able to install any Choco applications from the internet in the MySpecialize.cmd script (if you have one). Also, you can now, no longer set up WiFi because MSOOBE /x does not work!

You can however still install choco applications as usual in the MyStartup.cmd script, as the internet and DNS should be working by this later OOBE stage (Setup reboots after the Specialize phase).

So the workaround is to use a NoInternet.tag file and connect an Ethernet cable.

If anyone knows how to fix the DNS issue during the Specialize pass, please let me know!

Of course, you can always use the Offline SDI_CHOCO process to install Chocolatey packages completely offline instead.