Managing the installation options when deploying comuters using MDT 2012

Generally speaking, what are the basic steps for how the deployment process works with MDT? We have multiple Dell computer models and multiple combinations of various applications that get installed onto various computers for various employees in various departments. There is no consistency such as "all laptops for the Finance department get these apps, and all laptops for the Engineering department get these apps, etc."

When building  a new computer or rebuilding an existing computer for an employee, we need to have options for which O/S to install & options for which applications to install. We have 4 O/S's to choose from (WinXPx86, WinXPx64, Win7x86, Win7x64) and about 100 applications to choose from, although there are the usual suspects including Microsoft Office that pretty much everyone gets.

So I'm trying to figure out how I need to organize the various sections in MDT workbench, including the following sections: Deployment Shares, Applications, Operating Systems, Task Sequences, Selection Profiles. I think I'll stop there for now and wait for some input. Thanks!
Who is Participating?
David Johnson, CD, MVPConnect With a Mentor OwnerCommented:
Do you have a base class of programs that are installed on a group of computers? Can you organize things a little better.

Do all computers have office installed? A particular anti-virus? Adobe Reader/Acrobat?
I'd start by looking at this list of 100 programs and start winnowing down the applications desired by the users.   Is there a valid business reason why this application is installed?
Or is it just a user preference? Would it be more economical to use remote-app instead using terminal services?

I'm pretty sure that you can winnow down this list of additional programs down a lot. Perhaps by grouping them into program functions?  for instance, some user prefers notepad++, others programmers notepad.. and some are just as happy with notepad.

Otherwise you will need to make a first-run or post-install application that has a list of the various programs that can be selected and then installed. mdt can only take you so far and you have to add the additional items.
WineGeekAuthor Commented:
To help clarify my questions:

1) Do I need multiple Task Sequences or multiple Selection Profiles or....?

2) How do I need to organize the Deployment Shares, Applications, Operating Systems, Task Sequences, Selection Profiles, etc. so that the technician can simply PXE boot a computer on the network and receive some sort of menu that allows him to select which O/S to install and which applications (from a list of 100) to install?

WineGeekAuthor Commented:
It's sounding like you're saying I basically have to be a programmer in order to create this deployment solution I want??? All the complexity of MDT & WDS and these tools won't even build a computer from the ground up to 100% complete? Wow.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
That is because computers are only good at doing a bunch of repetitive tasks well.. Computers are actually really stupid... they have to be told exactly what to do and in what sequence. One bit out of place and they produce erroneous results if they work at all.

You have to program what you want things to do.. MDT/WDS are for creating multiple STANDARD installations.. since you have a non-standard environment then you have to add your own solution on top of what they provide for you.

Your environment is a maintenance and support nightmare. Some management has to be put in place.  You can give the users a standard machine and the installation media/tools to add what they desire but the onus will be upon them once the machine is placed in their hands.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.