Surface Pro USB Adapter and Network Installation of Machines

Surface Pro USB Adapter and Network Installation of Machines

Q: I am deploying many Surface Pro devices and installing them over the network. I have a few USB Ethernet units I will use for all the builds--will this cause a problem since many machines will PXE-boot with the same MAC address as I build batches of machines?

A: The Surface Pro supports booting over the network for installation (PXE Boot), provided you use the Microsoft Surface Pro USB adapter and have the required Surface Pro firmware update applied.

If the scenario is, for example, 10 USB adapters and you are building 10 at a time, then you're using the same adapters to build the next 10, then the next 10. That means the system that is the source of the network installation will see the same 10 MAC addresses repeatedly, which could cause problems identifying unique machines.

Whether or not this will cause a problem depends on the deployment solution you're using.

For example, prior to System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager, earlier Configuration Manager versions did use the MAC address to generate the GUID used to uniquely identify each machine, which means using the same network adapters for different machines would cause an issue.

System Center 2012 SP1 stopped using the MAC address to generate the GUID, so reusing network adapters would no longer cause an issue.

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