What is the most sufficient way IT independent contractors deliver computers to their clients?

I am a IT and provide computers to my clients when needed. Every new computer I buy just to set up the basic
1.      Bring windows up to date installing all updates which is usably over 200
2.      Customize time and langue
3.      Install adobe reader
4.      Install google chrome
5.      Set remote access for me when needed
6.      Install drop box
7.      Install anti-virus
Is wasting a lot of my time. (And most of the time the client will want office and QB.)
The most sufficient way I think, creating vmware machines fully configured. And install VM player on client’s computer then just copy of a reconfigured virtual computer into VM player. But this means paying for a operating system for each machine as Microsoft does not allow using the key of the window os pre-configured on the system. I am not the first independent IT and wondering if someone came up with a better solution?
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Abraham DeutschIT professionalAsked:
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Benjamin VoglarIT ProCommented:
Sorry, this way will not work.

You need to have the environment where you can deploy images and have offline patching.

Like SCCM or MDT.
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
If you are just doing one or three machines at a time, with differing hardware and software, then there is not much you can do.  The following might be worth looking  at:

1. Imaging. You can set machines up to PXE boot, then have an image pushed down to them. The image can include whatever software you want. It takes days to get this all correct, and the image needs to be periodically rebuild, however if you have hundreds of identical machines it might be worth it.

2. WSUS. A WSUS server on the client site will automatically keep track of and push and Microsoft updates. Most sites I have set up with a dozen or more users I have managed with WSUS.

3. Set up install via AD. http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles-tutorials/netgeneral/Group-Policy-Deploy-Applications.html  Again, it takes ages to get it right, but makes sense if you have dozens.


Large enterprises usually leverage some of these techniques, once everything is set up, it is pretty quick and easy to deploy a few dozen PCs,
nobusCommented:
why not use a batch file to automate the installs?
see here (it even has a batch file eample :  http://windowsitpro.com/windows/use-batch-files-automate-application-installation
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
You can download the Windows updates and save on CD or USB for a later update.

See https://www.raymond.cc/blog/offline-windows-update/ for examples.  I use Portable Update (second page of the link to the left).  This saves a lot of time as you can be elsewhere while the patching is occurring.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Microsoft Deploymet Toolkit. - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dn475741.aspx

It will take some development.

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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
It's unclear to me how, as a contractor, it's "wasting time" to prepare a computer for a customer on request.  Surely you get paid to do this and the preparation does have value.

Even so, it's a good objective to improve the efficiency of doing it.

You might find Ninite a useful tool form many of the app installs.
Once you set up a file, it just runs on demand and installs its full set of app's.
That's pretty efficient!

I don't know if the computers are the same or not but I can imagine that they are not in that they are spread out in time.  So this limits what you might do with imaging.  But you might also consider Paragon Drive Copy for this purpose as it is intended to migrate to new hardware.
You would still have the licensing issues to deal with.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, it does not matter what hardware you deploy to, once single deployment you create can be deployed to many different types of hardware, once you have Imported the Out of Box Drivers into MDT.

You can also create a Task Sequence which selects various additional apps, e.g. Chrome, Adobe Reader, and then Applies Windows Updates to the Deployed Computer Automatically, assigns user-ids and passwords, and then shuts down the computer ready for delivery to customer.
nobusCommented:
Abraham, what do you think?  give us some feedback plse
Bryant SchaperCommented:
I will add my two cents.

first I suggest you standardize on a model, say HP desktop for example.  Now if we are talking about a computer here and there, you can use sysprep and clone the system, or a better tool like acronis or Symantec  Ghost.  It is possible to use RIS or WDS and just add the drivers.

I lean towards acronis or ghost, and you can still add drivers, build a base image and install the basic software.  I am going to assume you order the occasional computer, but at the same time you probably wind up ordering the same generation of hardware several times.

lastly you can talk to HP/Dell/Lenovo, they also can deploy custom images for you on their hardware.  In the larger organizations I have worked we had HP deploy our image to 100's of machines prior to shipping then we just join to the domain and do our last minute configs.
Abraham DeutschIT professionalAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew
Is this program you are referring to?
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, well MDT 2013 Update 1 is available now. But yes.

Windows 10 can now be deployed by MDT 2013 Update 1.
Abraham DeutschIT professionalAuthor Commented:
Hi dbrunton.
Based on what I have read on the link you provided AutoPatcher could be the best choice as it the only one that will not only install windows updates but also extras such as the Office, Adobe Flash and Reader, and any other program. Although I am concerned, it should install only one program at a time, and restart the computer after each installation without doing this, it will cussed problems. But it does not yet support any version above win 7. Also in my experience with window updates, although there is available few hundred updates, at the first check it will only show hundreds, after installing reasserting and doing an update check the next hundred will show and so on. Meaning it can only apply certain updates after the previous are installed, how does this program get them all? Apply them in order? Knows with which batch to start?
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit I believe will address all the above concerns, but it gives me the impressions as much difficult to use. Please advice.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Microsoft Deloyment Toolkit, is very easy, get up to speed, using the free Online Labs.

You do not have to use all the features.

and what you start to develop on, will work with next generation Windows Operating Systems.....
Abraham DeutschIT professionalAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew
When I click on the link Download the toolkit Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 It directs me to a page saying.
We are sorry, the page you requested cannot be found
.

I would greatly appreciate if you have a look on my replay to dbrunton and give me your opinion.

Downloading Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 “Update 1” downloads the entire program or only the update?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I did read the reply, and then I made my statement. Autopatcher, does not work with Windows 8, Windows 10 - MDT does!

Nothing is difficult in IT, and today it's easier than ever, with the free training, MVA, YouTube, Google, and EE!

MDT can be completely customised.....Yes it requires some development time....add it on your bill to your Clients, or give them the box as it comes from the Vendor!

I don't work for Microsoft, and cannot be held responsible for faulty website, of they are about to update the pages.

Try again, another day!
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
I use Portable Update http://www.portableupdate.com/ rather than Autopatcher.  Portable Update does support Windows 10.

Both Portable Update and Autopatcher work by checking with Microsoft as to what patches are required and get everything rather than just the first 100 or so as you noted.  They download the files into local storage (USB stick for example) and are thus portable from machine to machine.  The first time you run them on a newly installed system they get all the files required and you can then take the USB stick from machine to machine.
nobusCommented:
Abraham, any comment on my post??
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