Have you ever wanted to configure the Dell BIOS remotely? Sometimes, it would be pretty awesome to just push out a group of BIOS settings and enjoy another cup of coffee! Do I have your attention now? Good! To start off with, you will want to read Part 1 first. You will also need to have the Dell BIOS Update Utility, also known as CCTK installed. If needed, here is the tools link. Finally, you will want to decide the settings that you will want to deploy. As a basic guide, you will probably want to push out these settings:
- A BIOS password
- A configured boot order that removes unneeded devices
- Automatic power on and the power on time
- Remote wake up on LAN
If you will be deploying these settings to laptops, you will probably want to configure two additional settings:
- Disabling the Wireless switch (prevents users from accidently turning off the wireless card)
- Enabling TPM (allows you to use BitLocker)
While it is certainly true that you can use WMI to query the BIOS for certain settings, you won’t be able to write any information. Stick with the Dell’s Client Configuration Toolkit to configure your BIOS settings and you won’t have to deal with the screenshot below.
Today, we will create a GUI BIOS setting package that allows us to configure any and every BIOS setting on a machine. We can even create generic packages that apply across models. In our environment, we manage just a single BIOS package for 16 different models.
In our previous post, we used the command line version of CCTK to edit individual settings. You could even query some settings this way. As a note, you can query any setting with an asterisk (read-only mark) next to it. For some reason, it took me a while to figure that out.
To get started with the GUI version, launch the Client Configuration Toolkit. You know you’ve got the right program when you see the pretty splash screen…
Changing the Settings
On the home screen, select Create Package and then Multi-Platform package. After selecting Next, you should now see every Dell BIOS setting that is available to any model.
Here comes the easy part! Just select the option, configure the value, and check Apply Settings. For example, I can click on BootOrder and then select the View/Change button. When the boot order menu pops up, I can press edit and add in devices to form my company’s BIOS boot order.
Creating the Package
Now that you are done playing with CCTK (and back to reading this article), you’ll need to do two things to save and apply your settings. First, select Export Configuration. This will let you easily import this configuration and will make editing your BIOS package super easy! Second, select Export Configuration .EXE. This will put your settings into an executable than any Dell machine can process. In our environment, we save both files together and store them on our software deployment share. We also name both files so that they are linked together.
So why would you want to use the command line version of CCTK if the GUI version is so easy? The GUI version can’t run in a limited OS. If you want to update or edit the BIOS during the imaging process, you’ll need the command line. The GUI version is also much slower than the command line version. This is especially noticeable when you are only configuring a few settings. Finally, CCTK commands clearly show what they are changing. The EXE created by the GUI version does not show the exact settings. This is why you have to export the configuration file and the EXE.
Are you starting to get excited about managing your BIOS settings on an enterprise scale? Am I the only one? Anyways, part 3 will show how we get our created packages onto our machines by using Group Policy. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments!