Month: June 2014

OSDWeek with Johan Arwidmark and Dave Kawula

There are two main technical factors with implementing a new Operating System across your enterprise: Ensuring you have an infrastructure that can support the migration process, and acquiring the expertise to upgrade your end user workstations with minimal effort. Of course, this transitions into the ever-present “build or buy” question. Regardless of the path an organization chooses to take when initiating an SOE upgrade, it is critical that internal resources be fully trained on the solution. In the past, it was simple enough to send the team on a Microsoft course or bring a trainer in to go through the product. Today however, organizations are reaping the benefits of third party solutions for core products, and have heavily customized environments. Learning the “textbook” method of a product like Configuration Manager does little more than form a baseline from which to start. By incorporating some quality tools, you see a reduction in server, operating, and support costs, while providing a familiar self-service portal to your end users…not just for software requests, but to schedule their OS upgrade as well. Unfortunately, the only third party training typically offered to a team is during product implementation. When the time comes to plan the next SOE upgrade, technology has changed and possibly staff as well. During OSDWeek, Johan teaches you how to optimize your infrastructure to support the migration to Windows 7/8.1. He...

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Deploying Windows 8.1 to SMBs using Nomad Branch Step by Step

In the first post in this series, we created an OSD Task Sequence that is ideal for the SMB market. We touched on some of the automation options available with MDT, and were ultimately able to deploy operating systems to machines at the main office. Our next step is to make this Task Sequence deployable to branch workstations so they don’t need a nearby Distribution Point, PXE Service Point, or State Migration Point. To do that, we’ll update a copy of the Task Sequence with some integrations that come with 1E Nomad. But first, let’s right click on our Task Sequence from the first post and choose Copy. We’ll append -Nomad to the task sequence name, so it looks like this: Once we have our copy, we’ll go in and edit the new sequence. However, before we start adding the Nomad injections, we need to fix a problem that Nomad will have with Bare Metal Deployments. When a brand new computer begins Task Sequence Execution, it will first partition and format the drive. The Task Sequence will perform some actions, and then ultimately format the drive again. This is a problem, as we’ve already started caching packages and created references to files that will be force-removed. Therefore, we need to get all the format stuff taken care of at the beginning. To do that, we’ll simply move the Format...

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Deploying Windows 8.1 to SMBs using Configuration Manager 2012 R2

This is the first post of a series that will walk you through the process to create a Task Sequence in Configuration Manager 2012 R2 that can be deployed for all scenarios (Bare Metal, Refresh, Replace). It uses MDT 2013 to augment the sequence and provide some location-based automation rules. To provide full OSD functionality to branch locations without the need for servers, in the next post we will go through the process to create a second Task Sequence specifically for Nomad-enabled sites. The third post goes over how to configure Automatic Deployment Rules to maximize workstation patching with minimal effort. Though not specifically related to OSD, a solid patching design will eliminate the need to perform Software Updates during a Task Sequence, further reducing execution time. There are a few prerequisites and assumptions that must be in place before we get started with our Task Sequence creation and tuning. The Configuration Manager environment must be healthy, and MDT 2013 installed and integrated with CM12. We also need to have an image to deploy with our new Task Sequence, along with Drivers and Packages. For most small organizations, it’s pretty common to see included in the gold image all the corporate used free apps, like PowerPoint Viewer, and software that has been purchased for the entire company, such as Microsoft Office. Usually the image is created using MDT, as...

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