Got a good e-mail from a reader asking a bunch of questions about moving from Clonezilla to MDT.
First, just focus on getting MDT up and running. WDS can always come later. To be honest WDS isn’t even all that necessary, most people don’t know that you can actually image as a “refresh” by kicking off litetouch.vbs from \\Server\Share$\Scripts. PXE booting is really only necessary when doing “bare-metal” and even then, 1GB USB drives are a dime a dozen these days. WDS is cute, but by no means a deal breaker.
The other thing is that you should use MDT to build the images for you. I use two shares, a build share, and a production share. The build share is designed to build an image using a standard client tasksequence, and the production share is for imaging desktops. The build TS has a step called LTISuspend that pauses, so you can do customizations. The Production share will have copy profile enabled so that your tweaks to the build image get copied to all users.
Obviously the build share won’t have any drivers, but the production share will. Just use the DriverGroup001 variable and use a OS\Architecture\Make\Model Hirearchy and the driver injection is automatic. (Assuming you have driverpacks to play with). If you don’t have driver packs, then you get to play guess and check which is time consuming, tedious, and just plain sucks-ass.
Most programs can be silently installed with a /q or a /s. Little bit of googling can go a long way on that one, usually the words “silent install” or “unattended install” will do the trick when combined with the name and lots and lots of trial and error. Remember, if it’s an MSI it’s all but guaranteed that you can do a silent install, installseheild is 50/50 and with random .exe files, sometimes you can use a /? or a /h to get it to tell you what to type to get it to run silently.
If you have a copy of Win-8.1 or Win10 Pro or above you can install Hyper-V. I don’t recommend doing this on less than 8GM of RAM, but Hyper-V is free on Pro or Enterprise. I build all my images in Hyper-V and it makes my life so much easier. A truly “hardware independent” image will always be built in a VM on a build share and then imported into a production share.