Which recovery mode is necessary?

#1

We’re getting ready to rebuild one of our classrooms with the MDS, but our systems have Sierra installed. They’re 27" iMacs with no recovery partition. When we try to boot into recovery mode, it does Internet recovery, with the option to reinstall El Capitan (they’re older macs), and the MDS workflow fails. To get any local recovery mode, we have to install macOS, then reboot into recovery. We tried reinstalling El Capitan, then booting into recovery mode, but the MDS still failed. Do we have to upgrade to Mojave first, then boot into recovery mode, then run the MDS?

#2

I’m hardly an expert but i think the answer is no, as long as you are willing to boot from a USB of some sort. Have a look at my post from a few mins ago on creating a bootable USB with two partitions - one the standard Install OS that you create with the usual command (nice touch twocanoes guys for making that copy/paste in the MDT btw) and the other an MDSAssets volume with any packages, scripts, installers, etc.

hope this helps

#3

I’ve been waiting to reply until I had some more concrete info, but here goes.

Yesterday morning, I booted 9 systems with Mojave install USB sticks, then ran the MDS from there (Utilities, Terminal, then “/Volumes/MDS/run”) with both USB sticks plugged in. It seemed like it’s working, it took the rest of the day, with us checking intermittently, to install the Windows partition. At some point last night, it finished, but hung and didn’t do anything.

This morning, I went in and moved the mouse to wake them up, and most of them said “Restarting”, then they rebooted. Since then, they’ve been at the Apple screen saying “27 of 27 items” then “100% Completed”. Every hour or so, we move the mouse to see what they’re doing. They’ve been running for about 7 hours, but haven’t done anything since. They’re not locked up, so I’m assuming something is still running.

I was able to SSH into them, using the admin credentials I set in the MDS. I checked for all the modified files in the last 2 hours, and got a ton of random files, but nothing that looks useful. It looks like all the apps were installed several hours ago (about 45 minutes after I moved the mouse and caused it to reboot, if I remember correctly). Is there a specific log file I can look at to figure out what the delay is?

#4

I have a few bugs to report with the latest versions…

First, all of my systems hang indefinitely at the “27 of 27”, “100% Completed” screen. I let 4 of them go since Wednesday morning and they still haven’t moved on. Only 2 of the initial 9 got past that screen (one has no internet connection, and the other seemingly just worked).

Second, the newest MDS no longer prompts for a computer name. I had the option set from several prior versions, and the prompt just never appears now. All systems end up named “username’s iMac”.

Finally, when run without the option to install macOS, the preOS package causes the workflow to fail completely. (For instance, load Mojave manually, then run the MDS with a workflow to install 25 packages, one of which includes a Winclone package, and it’ll fail.)

As a feature request, I’d strongly recommend some kind of progress screen for the Winclone package, as right now, it’s very possible to completely lose track of whether it’s working or not, and waste several hours waiting for it to finish, when it’s actually stuck. That’s probably a request for Winclone rather than MDS, since the same “Running package scripts” occurs even when the package is installed outside of MDS.

Right now, as I’m against a deadline, I may have to manually install Mojave, then write a script to set the computer name, and install all the packages. I’m testing that general process now on a couple systems, and they’ve been installing the Winclone package since yesterday afternoon. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to do the entire thing manually, which will make me a very unhappy sysadmin.

#5

I forgot one more feature request.

When running the MDS without the Mojave install option, show the package it’s actively installing, so the user can see that something’s happening. I timed the MDS running this way versus installing all the packages by hand, and the MDS saves about 15 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes versus 1 hour 25 minutes).

#6

There is a way to see the progress of the OS (though package install it doesn’t seem to work, but remote logging does work then). To see the log when macOS is being installed, see this video I did:

As for the progress of Winclone, you usually run that as a preOS install package, and then the log can be shown from external boot / recovery by opening up a new terminal window and typing :

tail -F /var/log/install.log

I probably should stream that contents automatically…I’ll add that to the feature list.

tim

#7

Thanks, I checked out the installer.log via SSH while it was still on the “27 of 27” screen. It didn’t have any entries from the previous 24 hours or so. It looked like it finished everything, but was waiting on something that I couldn’t identify.

I think my current plan, since I have 50+ systems to build in a relatively short window, is to use an older version of the MDS to build it (due to the latest one not prompting for a computer name), then install the Winclone package manually after it boots for the first time. The MDS should put Mojave and all the other apps on, and after it reboots, Jamf will pick it up and join the domain, then I can install the Winclone image manually and set it to be the default. If I have any time, I may be able to put the Winclone image in Jamf and push it down via a policy, but I already have a lot of stuff in there, and it can be complicated to add more steps for stuff like that.

#8

I used MDS 1.6.1 (build 11643), since it still prompts for the computer name, and built 10 USB sticks. I booted one computer using a Mojave installer, then used Disk Utility to erase the internal HD and create a single partition. Then, I opened Terminal and ran the MDS.

In previous tests, the MDS took about 70-75 minutes to complete. On the first system today, it took 70-75 minutes to complete. The remaining 9 haven’t finished yet, after sitting on the “27 of 27” screen for about 2 1/2 hours. Pressing alt-command-control-W does not switch to the graphical installer. It is accessible over the network. The first one we started says the following:

I4-CC-202-M47:~ admin$ date
Tue May 21 10:53:14 PDT 2019
I4-CC-202-M47:~ admin$ tail -f /var/log/install.log 
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/13/38/041-57074/o46jekrijxrkfybffroi02an8yxqr5mbjt/FullBundleUpdate.pkg
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/41/13/041-48573/ms9cv3nxc86hmof2p4kofg9pwipafj16sx/CLTools_Executables.pkg
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: ContentLocator: No modified URL found
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/35/05/041-59062/l0a9hglm2vcwewfkld5832ivg90gh4xtns/XProtectPlistConfigData.pkg
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: ContentLocator: No modified URL found
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/01/50/041-56834/gxlfpqocbqlortm808sfkhernhm6t03ocg/GatekeeperConfigData.pkg
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: ContentLocator: No modified URL found
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/21/42/091-86646/nkbr84bbslxj8pyy2lsaxrveryeevomjcu/GatekeeperConfigData.pkg
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: ContentLocator: No modified URL found
2019-05-21 08:32:45-07 I4-CC-202-M47 softwareupdate_download_service[343]: Creating download task with URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/20/07/041-56550/izclo9aal3a7ucdahigq1idavzy509o2gu/MRTConfigData.pkg

That seems to indicate that it hasn’t been doing anything over the past 2 hours, and is stuck. I haven’t checked the logs on the other 8, but I strongly suspect the same. Any ideas?

#9

It sounds like a package caused the installer to crash. Can you send the full install.log to support@twocanoes.com?

tim