Image multiple computers with same USB Network Dongle



  • We have a group of about 400 new HP laptops that we need to image. They are lacking a physical network adapter and come with a USB-C dongle instead. Realizing that this will be a problem, I am wondering what solutions are already available for this type of situation?

    Couple scenarios:

    1. Image each computer with its own unique USB-C NIC. This doesn’t sound like the greatest idea, but might be the quickest if another solution doesn’t present itself.

    2. Use the same 20 (or so) NICs and before imaging each next group, update the host definitions before each new group via a spreadsheet and bulk host import. Less physical moving of things, but just about as much effort as #1.

    3. Quick image and change hostname later. This could work too, but adds a manual step to the process like the other two by not allowing the FOG client/service to automatically rename and join the domain.

    I feel like this could be an issue that becomes larger in the future for FOG users. One thing that crossed my mind was the ability to link the host definition to another piece of unique information, like the serial number. During registration, the serial number is grabbed, that could also be checked when imaging. I know that the MAC address has always been the more reliable globally unique identifier in the past, but with the trend of ditching the NIC in favor of USB dongle, it isn’t always that way.

    Anyhow, I’d love to hear anyone else’s ideas on this situation, surely someone else has had to deal with this. What are your solutions?



  • @szeraax That is a very good idea, but we have a five digit asset tag number that needs to be part of the name.

    @george1421 I’m not sure I understand about deleting the hosts, so I would delete them sometime before imaging was completed?

    These systems have a feature called Host Based Mac Address so that they can have a unique address, however it requires OS support. So in FOG that would mean Kernel support I believe. I can turn on Host Based Mac Address and get a unique MAC when booted into Windows. Of course since I don’t have support in FOG it registers the dongle address, then during first boot and before rename and domain join it now has a different MAC address. This is causing the computer to (re)register itself with a generic name.

    Anyway. Anybody know if Host Based Mac Address support is planned?

    I also read something about imaging via System UUID, this might be promising, anyone know how that might work?



  • Why not just use a powershell script as a snapin?

    Rename-Computer -NewName (gwmi -Class win32_bios).SerialNumber -Force -Restart

    Then, everytime you image and boot up, after join domain with the default name, the computer will reboot, run the snapin, and rename to serial number.


  • Moderator

    @daniel-dillard If you delete a host and add it back in with the same mac and same host name, as far as FOG is concerned its a new host. It will get a new internal hostID each time you import new hosts.

    Its a bit confusing, the encryption data is between the FOG Service and the fog server and not between the target OS and the fog server. Resetting the encryption data tells the FOG service running on the target computer to reacquire its encryption information. That data is not stored in the database.

    An interesting artifact of what you are doing (assuming you give the target systems their own unique name (not mac address). If the FOG Client is installed it will reach out to the FOG server even if the host has been deleted from the FOG server. The clients will go into the pending pool. Once approved from pending the FOG server will add back the previous image system but using the mac address of what ever connection its using (like wifi). Once approved you should be able to manage these readded clients as a first generation registration. Its hard to explain without experiencing it, but it should work.



  • Thanks for your reply!! I think I have decided to go with option two.

    I will prepare separate host import CSV’s for each group of 20 computers that have unique hostnames but the same 20 MAC addresses. Before uploading each subsequent CSV I will delete the existing hosts.

    I had one extra question that you (or someone else) might be able to help me with. As long as I am deleting the previous host definitions, I shouldn’t need to clear encryption data after importing the next ones, should I? Wouldn’t they just be treated like “new” hosts by FOG?

    Thanks again!


  • Moderator

    @daniel-dillard said in Image multiple computers with same USB Network Dongle:

    One thing that crossed my mind was the ability to link the host definition to another piece of unique information, like the serial number

    This feature IS coming in a future release of FOG. The developers are finding that MAC addresses are not the best ID for uniqueness anymore.

    1. Quick image and change hostname later. This could work too, but adds a manual step to the process like the other two by not allowing the FOG client/service to automatically rename and join the domain.

    There is a modification of this you can do. Use the deploy (quick) image but let the unattend.xml file set the host name and connect to AD. If the names can be calculated even better. In my case we use the unattend.xml file to do just that. We have a complex naming and OU structure that is calculated at the time of imaging, so we use a FOG post install script to update the unatend.xml file just after the image is deployed to the computer (before OOBE boots).


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