Windows deployment service?

Posted on 2014-04-17
Last Modified: 2014-04-22
I've been asked to look into windows deployment service to see if it will speed up out PC deployment process. Right now we have images for each position but I was wondering if I could use WDS for this? What I want to be able to do is have one boot to the network anc copy over an image that already has the Applications loaded etc. I've been looking at the steps for WDS and there is plenty on adding the role to the server and creating a boot file off an OS CD. Is it capable of doing what I have in mind or is it just bcapable of doing the OS install?
Question by:Axis52401
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Expert Comment

by:Mike T
ID: 40007820

WDS is merely a network mechanism to deliver a pre-made build. It's great for PXE and multicast but nothing else. Don't even think of trying to use the driver part. It's terrible.

To "speed up" PC deployment you need to develop a reference image using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit - MDT - and then create a production image (yes, just one) using the reference image as a base.

MDT can:

Inject drivers per model
Apply all windows updates on the fly, using WSUS
Install apps, dynamically
Automate naming machines
Automate moving machines to the correct OU

More detail is here:

When you say you have "images for each position" do you mean a business role?


Author Comment

ID: 40007832
Yes business role for example out accountants have certain apps the Project managers others so I was hoping to use this to create an image for each that way when we get a new PC or user I can create a process where the desktop guy gets the PC, boots to this, selects the corresponding image and it loads to that PC and saves time installing all the specific apps. I'll check out the link you posted and the videos in it. Basically what I can't find is how to create an image of a current PC to load to the server that can be imaged to new PC's

Author Comment

ID: 40007849
You said I need to develop a reference image using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit - MDT - and then create a production image (yes, just one) Does that mean I can have just one image on the server I can use for deployments? I was hoping to create ones for example Accountimage, PM image etc
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Mike T
ID: 40007962

Yes, just one.

I will elaborate a bit:

1) create an image in a virtual machine of just the OS, Visual C++ and .Net 3.5 and nothing else. This is your reference image - think of it as a base. Automate everything in the OS wizard, like language keyboard etc. Capture it. The standard task-sequence offers this.

2) In MDT import the reference image into a new deployment share, as if it's the original DVD image
3) Discover drivers for each model
4) Import to MDT
5) Create driver profiles,
6) Create roles for accounting, PM, etc
7) Create application packages for Office etc. (but NEVER AV!)
8) Create a boot WIM and then add JUST that to WDS
9) Enable PXE on WDS
10) Boot a machine and build it from a menu
11) Have a cup of tea for 30 mins

I have simplified it but that's roughly it.

Things you can do but DON'T
You can't clone machines like cloning people in the movies. (It will be too identical and confuse the server).
Add an OS image to WDS - it's too crude and inflexible

The answer to creating an image is images or DISM it's successor. They are both command tools that come with Microsoft's WAIK (WADK for W8). MDT + WAIK + WDS go together. You need all three to do the job. Why MS does not combine the toolset I don't know but there you go.

As for the roles you want, that's easy enough but you will need SQL to use the MDT database. Don't worry - SQL Express is fine, so the whole thing is free, except your time :).

Check out this video for imaging - ignore it being W8, it's the same whatever OS you deploy:


Author Comment

ID: 40008682
Hmm, not sure this will work for us then. We have some users using Windows 7 and other s on 8. What I wanted to be able to do is have several deploy able.
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Accepted Solution

Mike T earned 500 total points
ID: 40008995

Yes, it will still work fine. Let me clarify - the "one image" just means one image per OS.
You just need two reference images, one W7, one W8 and then two task-sequences respectively.

You will need to repeat steps 1-5 for each OS.

When you boot a workstation you will get a wizard giving you a list, with each "task-sequence" (=build) you want to deploy.

A subtle point is that you deploy a task-sequence that dynamically installs, tweaks, configures a workstation and the end result being a fully built, configured machine.

What you describe you want is what is known as a "fat/thick image". The advantage is raw speed because you have already installed everything.
The down-side is it is frozen in time. I.e it only contains what you need today. Next week your boss might ask to put Visio, the new Java and some more hotfixes. That will take you all day per OS.
Using the task-sequence, just add an install Visio step, edit Java step which will take about 10 minutes and you can deploy machines.

PS: I you want to deploy W8 you need to use MDT 2013 + WADK. This will deploy W7,W8 etc.

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