Automating WIM Image Creation

One of the biggest problems with the use of “fat” Windows Images is accidental contamination of a production Image.  A seemingly minor update can have unexpected consequences when background processes also make unnoticed changes.  The only way of being certain of how a WIM Image has been created is to fully automate the process with Task Sequences so accidents can’t happen & an audit trail is left behind.

USMT – Configuring Custom XML files

User State Migration (USMT) is a flexible framework for controlling how user data is managed during machine rebuilds.  It uses XML for declaring rules over data is backed up and restored. 

Every “component” has a unique display name and when being custom developed by administrators, they will generally consist of “documents” as a data type (just as the following role is likely to be “data” manipulation too.

SCCM Computer Import CSV & VB Script

SCCM 2012 allows for the bulk import of Machine accounts through the right click options of “Devices” within the SCCM console.

How to detect Lenovo models and drivers with Task Sequences

Generally, using WMI to query a mainboard and determine driver sets is quite a straightforward exercise.  We can easily run up a tool like MSInfo32.exe to determine the Manufacturer and Model of a machine and these same BIOS files can be used in a Task Sequence to allow a driver set to be used.  The Image above shows a series of models that are available for the Manufacturer “Dell Inc.

MDT Factory Loading of Windows SOE Images

Recently I was forced to look at how Microsoft’s approach to factory pre-loading Windows has evolved.  After coming to terms with the earlier (and legacy) “breadcrumbs” approach, I was surprised as the polished simplicity of the Deployment Toolkit’s “LiteTouch OEM” sequence and even more impressed with the approach from SCCM 2012.  

Launcher Updated for Windows 8 & 8.1

I know how incredibly important it is to develop a standardised interface for running all applications.  For over a decade I've worked in blue chip organisations that have tried to maintain control over complex software environments.  The industry is far worse now than ever before in maintaining an understanding of what constitutes a "package" and what "packages" exist.

Programmatically Adding Windows Start Tiles

Windows 8.1 (like Windows 8) uses the Metro styled Start Screen.  Programmatically adding to the screen has proved to be a real problem for organisations that have adopted for an early move to the new operating systems.

Managing Group Policies during OS construction

As workstations are built in controlled environments, Group Policy restrictions will tend to prevent elements of an Operating System build from occuring as expected.

SCCM 2012 Applications - Speeding up slow deployments

A common problem with SCCM can be the long delays after OS deployment for a full compliment of applications to be installed.  

MDT Backups with Virtual (VHD) Disk format

Full Disk Backup – MDT 2012

Microsoft’s Deployment Toolkit continues to surprise me with what a flexible product it is.  One area that can be enhanced is with a full machine backup. 


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