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How to deploy captured Windows 7 image to a group of 35 computers using WDS-MDT server

Posted on 2014-04-13
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Last Modified: 2014-05-22
Hi

This is the first time I have installed WDS and MDT 2013 on a windows 2012 server .I have built a windows  7 image customised with all application and have captured the image to this new deployment server successfully.

Now as I completed capturing the image. I am not sure as how to deploy this image back to a group of 35 computers over the network. I don't have any experience with WDS -MDT server.
All the PC have PXE enabled.

Please if some one could post me tutorials step by step as how to deploy the captured images to a batch of 35 computers , that will be really helpful for my XP to Windows 7 migration.  I have to achieve this by end of next week reimagining 250 PCs

Any help will be really greatfull.
Thanks in advance.
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Question by:lianne143
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by:Mike T
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Hi,

That's a tall order deploying 250 machines in a week when you've no experience.

On the face of it PXE builds are easy enough to setup, but it can be troublesome.

PXE overview steps

1) Import the boot.Wim (from your deployment share\boot) to WDS boot images
2) Set DHCP boot options are follows
066 Boot Server Host Name set to IP Address of server (or you can use the FQDN name)
 On all dhcp subnets
067 Bootfile Name  set to Boot\x86\wdsnbp.com
3) on any networking switches between the server and the target machines you might have to enable IP-Helper, so be nice to the networking guy.
4) Enable PXE to respond if you did not select it when installed the WDS role
5) boot a machine and press F12. It will boot from the MDT image and start the build.

You probably need to read my previous answer EE with some MDT links:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_28171771.html.

On a side note I have some questions you probably need to consider:

Q1: Did you use a physical machine to create the image or a VM
Q2: How are you handling the drivers?
Q3: Is there only one model of machine in the whole company that you are targeting?
Q4: What apps are in the image? AV, java, Acrobat and Flash are not good
Q5: Are you applying updates during the build or is the image already patched?
Q6: If yes, are you using a WSUS store. MDT defaults to point to windowsupdate.com which is a bad idea.
Q7: have you deployed the image to a test machine and tested not just the build finishing but all the apps too. I've seen Word unable to print over 20 pages and other weird issues.
Q8: if no to 7 are you using WADK or WAIK. WADK uses WinPE4 which has a bug where it hangs at boot if the BIOS does not meet requirements! Meaning bios upgrades for those machines.

I know I've asked some potentially worrying questions there, but there's more to OS deployment than just banging an image out. If you've already done testing, have one model and it needs minimal drivers then you're ready for PXE.

If not, I would suggest you study the links and then meet with management that they need to rethink their timescales. A week is un-realistic in my opinion, and unfair on you.
The sky is not going to fall in if they stay on XP just a little longer.

I hope I'm not teaching you to suck eggs here. I am just trying to point you (and other EEs) in the right direction.


Mike
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by:lianne143
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Hi Mike

Please see below the answers.

Q1: Did you use a physical machine to create the image or a VM
       I used Physical machine to create the image.
Q2: How are you handling the drivers?
       I have installed all the drivers on the PC, where the master image was captured for  
       the particular model PC
Q3: Is there only one model of machine in the whole company that you are targeting?
       There 4 different models and a Particular ASUS model PC I have  is 150 No's
Q4: What apps are in the image? AV, java, Acrobat and Flash are not good
       The applications are, MS office, Acrobat reader, Photoshop, VLC media player and  
       Educational related programs, like scratch, game maker etc...
       The image which I captured have, Flash, Java installed (No Antivirus- I will push the  
       antivirus from the AV server console after joining the PCs to the domain.

Q5: Are you applying updates during the build or is the image already patched?
       I have completed all the MS updates  during the build from windowsupdate.com

Q6: If yes, are you using a WSUS store. MDT defaults to point to windowsupdate.com which is a bad idea.
We do have a WSUS store, but during building the master image I updated the image for MS updates from Microsoft .com

Q7: have you deployed the image to a test machine and tested not just the build finishing
but all the apps too. I've seen Word unable to print over 20 pages and other weird issues.
I have not deployed the captured image to a PC still because I was not sure do this, but as you have posted some instructions; I will try and will post you the results.

Q8: if no to 7 are you using WADK or WAIK. WADK uses WinPE4 which has a bug where it hangs at boot if the BIOS does not meet requirements! Meaning bios upgrades for those machines.
I am not familiar with WADK /WAIK , your suggestions much appreciated.

Thanks
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Mike T earned 500 total points
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Q1:       I used Physical machine to create the image.
It is much better to create your reference image on a VM. It will be quicker, more reliable and no issues with drivers (because you don't need any). If you imaged a HP and deploy to an ASUS none of the drivers will work and you're in a world of pain.

Q2/3: The image you have is only good to deploy to the same model i.e. 1 of the 4 you have. MDT is designed to be hardware agnostic - you deploy an image (your reference one) and MDT will inject drivers for each model in real-time. It let's normal Windows plug and play install the right ones.
This means you have some work to do downloading drivers for each model. Organise them neatly by model\category then import the whom model into MDT.



Q4: What apps are in the image? AV, java, Acrobat and Flash are not good
       The applications ... (No Antivirus- I will push the  
       antivirus from the AV server console after joining the PCs to the domain.
Great for no AV. Java will bite you later. Why? Next month they release another version so when you deploy your image the first thing it will do is the Java shuffle - uninstall the one in the image, reinstall the new one. I know this is a one hit "get rid of XP" project but when machines break you will rebuild it with your image which is out of date. Much easier to yank Java and Acrobat out and let AD deploy them instead.


Q5/6: Are you applying updates during the build or is the image already patched?
       I have completed all the MS updates  during the build from windowsupdate.com
OK. As long as you are happy the list is good, i.e. there are no bad patches the crept in.


MDT defaults to point to windowsupdate.com which is a bad idea... because the patches they put there are for consumer use and subject to change on a whim. If you build another reference image today, you could well get a different bunch of patches. That is bad. You will now have two different flavours of build.

To avoid this you need to point MDT to your internal and approved WSUS box. It's easy enough. Just edit the Rules in MDT which will open a text file called customsettings.ini. In there add the line

WSUSServer=http://yourWSUSServer:8530

That's it. Background reading on using updates in MDT is here:
http://scriptimus.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/mdt-2012-automating-updates-in-lite-touch-deployments/
From Andrew Barnes's blog.


Q7: testing...I have not deployed the captured image to a PC still because I was not sure do this, but as you have posted some instructions; I will try and will post you the results.
OK. I generally prefer to create an offline media build first before going PXE. PXE is the very last step when you are completely happen with the image.
Again, it's simple enough. Go to the "media" node and complete the wizard. At the end you will have a bootable ISO and a content folder. You can boot a VM with the ISO, or better for hardware testing, copy the contents of the content folder to a bootable USB. (it's better to create a bootable USB first, but you can do it after without losing the files).


Q8: ..I am not familiar with WADK /WAIK , your suggestions much appreciated.
When you installed MDT you must have installed either the WAIK or the newer WADK. WADK is meant for Windows 8 but can deploy W7 too. Or Vista...
So, if you installed the WAIK you're good to go.
If you installed WADK, this is where the USB stick comes in - get one of each model type and boot from the stick. If it gets to the MDT menu it's a pass. If it steps before and hangs you have two options - upgrade the BIOS on x many machines OR
create a WinPE 3 boot image instead.


Finally, (you'll be glad, I'm almost done) dealing with drivers is an art. The way I do it is
1) get one model and build it with an original OS DVD.
2) When done look in device manager and see what is missing.
3) write down the missing devices in a journal noting the hardware ID
4) check windowscatalog for each driver to download them
5) download from OEM or failing that the chipset vendor if 4) was no good
6) when you have ALL drivers installed, import that model into MDT - it will dive into sub-folders for you

Repeat for the other models in the business. This takes me half a day, so that's two days of your week gone already. Then you "Update the deployment share", wait for your image to complete, copy to USB and test the model. That's the other half day, meaning 4 days gone. It's going to be tight, hence my previous comment.

I think I need to sit down and blog all this once and for all as I imagine this will be a common theme! I've yet to find a site that covers the whole process beginning to end which is frustrating.

Hope all that helps. It's an essay I know.

Mike
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by:lianne143
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Hi Mike

Many thanks for your time  and your post
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by:Mike T
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You're welcome. Hope it made enough sense. I can go on sometimes...
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by:lianne143
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Sorrt Mike

Completely forgot to give points .Here we go!!
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by:Mike T
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No problem. thanks for the points. They all count :).
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