Updated MDT customsettings.ini post

I went and added a few new tips and tricks as well as cleaned up some formatting on my most popular post, MDT customsettings.ini tips&tricks. Specifically I added some info on skipping timezones, skipping apps, setting apps, and a generic set of settings that should enable basic user state migrations using hardlinks.

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Ask MDT Guy: Thin Images with MDT

Today I got a fantastic question from a reader, Scott: “Why is it better to let a task sequence install software instead of including it on the image to start with?” See my answer here on the Ask MDT Guy page.

MDT 2013 Troubleshooting Guide

Like many of you I was underwhelmed by the lack of new features in MDT 2013. In many regards, the biggest change is not what it adds in functionality, but more of what’s been removed. MDT 2013 has no support for the legacy WAIK tools and hence, no more support for Vista and XP. I was however then pleasantly surprised to find then that the optional MDT Documentation contained a much needed Troubleshooting Reference complete with LTI and ZTI flowcharts which can be downloaded here…

MDT-Troubleshooting

http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/F/5/BF5DF779-ED74-4BEC-A07E-9EB25694C6BB/MDT%202013%20Documentation.zip

Topics Include:

  • Log Files
  • Error Codes
  • Advanced Troubleshooting

Make sure to sit down and spend some time trying to understanding this material. Its one of the best things to come out with MDT 2013. Note it also has some pretty awesome flowcharts as well, I do love me some flowcharts…

Enabling WMI firewall exceptions in your Windows 7 / 8 task sequence

In a perfect world you wouldn’t really need to do this, but sometimes changes to the Windows firwall need to be made before applications can be installed correctly, and if you’re forced to move the domain join to very end of your task sequence for whatever reason and/or you’re not joining these systems to a domain or whatever, you have no choice. Luckily the WMI exception can be configured via command line.

WMIFirewall

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”windows management instrumentation (wmi)” new enable=yes

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”remote desktop” new enable=Yes

How To: Create a MDT 2013 Deployment Share in Windows 8.1

Last week I did a quick and dirty guide on how to install MDT 2013 Preview in Windows 8.1. Today’s a quick guide on creating a Deployment Share in MDT 2013.

Just like in previous releases, creating a share is easy. Right Click Deployment Shares and select New Deployment Share. The New Deployment Share Wizard will start.

NewShare01

NewShare02

NewShare03

NewShare04

NewShare05

Once you’ve created a share, populate it with an OS then create a task sequence. Add apps, drivers, and  then update your share.

Don’t forget: MDT 2013 Preview and ADK 8.1 Preview do NOT support XP or Vista. If you’re still trying to deploy these OSs, you need to use MDT 2012.

Download MDT 2013 Preview

If you’re like me, you like to live on the bleeding edge of technology, and you’re one of those people who absolutely has to be testing the latest and greatest. So here is the link to download MDT 2013 Preview. Remember, this is the first version of MDT that DOES not support WAIK or WinXP. If you’re in a hurry to test Win8.1 deployment, this release of MDT and ADK just is for you.

https://connect.microsoft.com

MDT 2013 provides a common console with comprehensive tools and guidance for every organizational role-making it the recommended process and toolset to automate large-scale desktop and server deployments.

Enhancements:
•Support for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 Preview •Deploy Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 families

•Support for deployment of Windows 8.1 Preview and Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview
•Support for zero-touch integration (ZTI) with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Preview

And of course, I do have to remind you this pre-release software, NOT intended for production, so use at your own risk.

Make it easy: Use VMs for testing MDT application deployments

Easily one of my favorite features of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is installing applications dynamically AFTER the system’s been imaged. Now, if you’re lucky, most of your apps are in MSI format, and installing them is relatively easy. However, us normal IT guys have lots of .exe setup files for more advanced applications that will most likely take some trial and error to nail down that unattended command line magic.

When testing application deployment in any version of MDT, make it easy on yourself, do it in a virtual environment. Use the LTISuspend script in the state restore phase of your task sequence, just before application installs to pause the deployment, so you can take a snapshot of the VM and then test the command line syntax for your application. In fact, one’s better off just throwing in as many apps as you want to test, selecting them in the lite touch wizard, and testing lots of apps at once.

This way you can tweak your unattended command line syntax, and just restore your VM, and save hours upon hours of time.

Of course, don’t forget to configure dynamic logging in your share, and keep an eye on those log files with Trace32. But of course, if you want to make your life painful and tedious you can do what I did for longer than I like to admit, test this on physical hardware and waste lots of time.