Tag Archives: hp

HP Softpaq Download Manager – Great tool, but there is room for improvement

Published / by Rens Hollanders / Leave a Comment

Today I needed to accumulate some hardware drivers for a certain range of models to be supported in my Operating System Deployment environment which is based on MDT 2013.

Large hardware vendors like Hewlett-Packard and DELL have great support for drivers and driver packs suitable for enterprise client distribution methods like System Center Configuration Manager or Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

DELL features a great webpage on their website, from where all hardware drivers for business and enterprise supported hardware can be downloaded.

Dell Driver CAB files for Enterprise Client OS Deployment

Hewlett-Packard features the software download program “HP Softpaq Download Manager”

HP SoftPaq Download Manager

A tool from where all related software, drivers, utilities, BIOS’ and more can be downloaded directly from HP.

figure 1.1: HP Softpaq Download Manager

HP Softpack Interface

Along the way, using this tool I encountered some things that I think would be a great improvement for an upcoming release.

Firstly, the possibility to apply a filter on the categories. So that I can choose to only see “Manageability – Driver Pack”, or Driver’s.

figure 1.2: HP Softpaq Download Manager – Configuration Options

HP Softpack Configuration Options - Columns Filter

so in stead of this, I would like to see the following added to the configuration options:

figure 1.3: Category Filter

HP Softpack Improvement - Filter

which would then have the following options:

figure 1.4: Category Options

HP Softpack Configuration Options - Columns Filter2

Another thing I encountered, is that my machine had already gone into energy save mode and powered off my screen. So upon mouse click, accidentally the download was cancelled, because the mouse cursor had not been moved, since I initiated the download. Resulting in the cancellationĀ of the software I was currently downloading.

Of course it was my mistake to leave the cursor right on top of that button, on the other hand, what’s a little extra wizard pane going to do harm, by asking if I’m really sure I want to cancel the download?

figure 2.1: Cancel button, and Column filter option

HP Softpack Improvement

And last but not least, why not throw in another option, to only download the latest, most recent version of any available software, instead of offering an entire history of versions which can be downloaded for a particular piece of software.

To me it doesn’t makes sense, that when I’m downloading drivers, or BIOS’, the tool presents me all the content there is. Just offer it as an option: Do you want to see the latest available software, or the entire library?

A quick peek in the HP Forums, on this topic, brings under the attention that this functionality is already available, but only, if the HP Softpaq Download Manager is installed on a HP computer.

So please give this blog a boost, to bring this under the attention of HP. Because as I said, it’s a great tool, but there is -always- room for improvement! šŸ˜€

If it’s not to much trouble, please support this cause at the softpaq download manager forum section

Thanks for reading!

Any suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comment section.


MDT 2013 – Deploy HP Elitepad 900 using the HP Expansion Jacket, HP Dockingstation, MDT2013, WinPE 5.0 and ADK 8.1

Published / by Rens Hollanders / 4 Comments on MDT 2013 – Deploy HP Elitepad 900 using the HP Expansion Jacket, HP Dockingstation, MDT2013, WinPE 5.0 and ADK 8.1

Well… that’s a mouth full, but I couldn’t describe it better any other way šŸ™‚Ā Because that’s what I’m doing right now!

In this ‘tutorial’, I will explain the steps I did to achieve a basic MDT LTI deployment based on:

  • MDT Lite Touch Deployment
  • FAT32 Formatted USB Bootable WinPE 5.0 stick
  • Deploy HP ElitePad 900 with all drivers installed working out-of-the-box

For a new project I’m working for a major health care facility which are going to use approx. 800 HP Elitepad 900 tablets, who will be running not the stock Windows 8, but the recently released Windows 8.1.

Currently I’m in testing phase so I’ve got a nice setup at home, running some VM’s, a connection to my deployment share and of course a HP Elitepad 900 tablet, with HP Expansion Jacket and HP Dockingstation

To get things going I first installed a MDT 2013 dedicated machine, with the newly releasedĀ Windows ADK 8.1Ā which brings us support for Windows 8.1 and Server 2012R2.

Then I recovered the HP Elitepad 900 which was already used for some testing, back to factory settings and started the whole operation.

For the following weeks, I will try to keep track of the most important things I encounter and share my experiences with you all.

The first thing I had to do is create a driver folder structure in MDT which makes sense (at least for me it does).

figure 1.1: Deployment Share Driver folder structure


As you can see I created several additional driver folders parenting in the WinPE folder, this is all for driver manageability.

HP offers perfect support when it comes to driver packs for the various WinPE environments, so I have downloaded all available packs and imported them into MDT.

The drivers of the HP ElitePad 900 came from the following sources:

HP Website

Microsoft Windows Update Catalog

Extraction of the following HP executable, which can be downloaded from the HP website listed above: “.\sp64292\x86_Win8.1\Driver – Firmware and Chipset\HP\sp63851

Keep in mind you need to extract the SP64292 file AND the SP63851, when all drivers are extracted, together with all other HP ElitePad 900 drivers, target the “Import Drivers” step toĀ the parenting folder which possesses all drivers.

When all drivers are imported, it should look something like this

figure 1.2: HP ElitePad 900 drivers

ElitePad Drivers List

Because the HP ElitePad 900 also has touchpad (which actually works in WinPE IF you embed this into the boot image) drivers and other specific drivers, I targeted these drivers specifically in a separate folder.

With these folders, I have created selection profiles. These selection profiles target individual (driver) folders and present only the content that is residing in that folder during a certain step in the task sequence. This way I have managed to create a WinPE x64 and x86 folder, and I can target these folders individually when generating the boot images for x64 and x86 deployments.

Figure 1.3: Selection Profile Properties


Makes sense right? Each selection profile targets a different WinPE platform folder

figure 1.4: Overview of Selection Profiles


How this looks on the deployment share properties?

figure 1.5: WinPE x64 Properties


figure 1.6: WinPE x86 Properties


Next we can have a look at targeting the drivers for the HP ElitePad 900 in a decent manner. (Johan Arwidmark has described a new driver management approach for MDT 2013 Lite Touch, read it here).

First I have executed the following ‘query’, on the HP ElitePad 900 in a command prompt:

wmic computersystem get model“, which showed the following result

figure 1.7: Result of query

wmic HP Elitepad 900

Since we have imported the drivers of the HP ElitePad 900 in a earlier stage, the remainder of what we need to do is modify the “Inject Drivers” step in the task sequence to target only the drivers for the HP ElitePad 900. So open up the deployment task sequence, and advance to the step “Preinstall\Inject Drivers”, and select the driver Profile matching the HP ElitePad 900

figure 1.8: Inject Drivers based on Selection Profile


Now to make sure that these drivers are only applied if the model equals the HP ElitePad 900 our little query comes in handy

figure 1.9: WMI Condition on Inject Drivers step


The exact WMI query used is: ”Ā Select * FROM Win32_ComputerSystem WHERE Model like “%HP Elitepad 900%” ” (without the two “” at both ends, that’s just me explaining the query šŸ˜‰ )

The next thing we need to configure is disk partitioning of the HP ElitePad 900, since it’s a UEFI based machine, it uses GPT, so advance to the step: “Preinstall\New Computer Only\Format and Partition Disk” and change the disk type from: Standard (MBR) to GPT

figure 1.10: Format and Partition Disk GPT


Click Apply and OK.

Basically we are ready to perform a deployment test, and that’s what I have done during the writing of this blog, to see the following results:

Figure 1.11: Device Manager OK! (no unknown devices left) and Deployment Finished successfully!

HP Elitepad 900 Device Manager

Also what we can see is that by selecting the GPT Disk type, during deployment the GPT partitions have been created automatically.

figure 1.12: Disk Management GPT Scheme


This concludes my little tutorial of how to deploy Windows 8.1 to the HP ElitePad 900.

In the upcoming period I’m going to:

  • Configure the Default User Profile
  • Configure the start screen with the Start-Layout PowerShell command
  • Configure Bitlocker
  • Configure Direct Access
  • Configure and tweak Windows 8.1 wherever it is needed
  • Configure the LTI deployment furthermore so that it becomes fully automated just like ZTI šŸ™‚
  • Configure RES Automation Manager and RES Workspace Manager for automation and user workspace management

And of course the test environment will be mitigated to a Windows Server 2012R2 with WDS and PXE Boot enabled to deploy these tablets via PXE, and we will see how that goes!

I’ll leave you all with a little package that might become handy when you are going to approach the same challenge. In the attached zip file you will find:

  • BDD.log_properties which are quiteĀ usefulĀ to determine al kinds of conditions, queries and variables
  • A Driver list which is an export of my HP ElitePad 900 driver folder, so you can verify if all drivers are present
  • All screenshots used in this tutorial


Keep on automating my young padawans šŸ˜€

! Any general reconsideration’s to keep in mind are:

  • Format the bootable USB drive with FAT32, NTFS is not read by the HP ElitePad 900
  • When staging a HP ElitePad 900, make sure a USB keyboard is attached if you are performing an LTI deployment, yes touch works, but that doens’t mean you can type in WinPE!!!


HP 6560b and my new SSD, lets make friends!

Published / by Rens Hollanders / Leave a Comment

Alright, so last month I received a new laptop for my work. It’s the fantastic HP ProBookĀ 6560b with it’s slick design and high resolution (ahum 1600*900) panel.

But what’s the use of a new laptop with a i5 cpu and 8 Gb’s ram butĀ a slow harddrive? So I bought a Crucial M4 128 Gb SSD and off course without doing any ‘RTFM’ or digging on the internet about ‘compatiblity issues’ I plugged my SSD right in my notebookĀ to experience that my SSD was not detected <insert sad face>

Out-of-the-box my Probook 6560b has bios revision “F.20” and there was a bios update (F.22)Ā available right from the HP product and support site. After flashing my bios in Windows to the latest revision (on my old hard drive), my SSD got detected right away andĀ all the fun could begin!