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Tips and Tricks, guidance and real world deployment configurations
By Arwidmark on 9/9/2014 12:15 AM
Earlier this morning I got an email with some questions on how to deploy Windows using MDT 2013 Lite Touch. The questions were the basic deployment questions I hear over and over again so I thought it was about time to write a list of valuable deployment resources.

The questions How do I capture a Windows setup to a WIM Image, and do I need to sysprep the image? Once captured, How can I import the WIM image back into MDT again? How do I create and edit production task sequences? What about multiple partitions? How about creating an offline media? The Resources The following resources provide you with answers to the preceding questions, and much, much more. The resources are for Windows 8.1 but are valid for Windows 7 as well. I’ve organized the resources into the following sections:

Step-by-Step guides (free) Virtual Labs (free) Videos (free) Commercial Videos (e.g. not free) Books (not free either, but available on Kindle if your budget is limited). Step-by-Step...
By Arwidmark on 8/26/2014 4:08 AM
Between October 28 – 31 (27 for preconferences) Microsoft is running TechEd in Barcelona, don’t miss this!

20130627_TechEd2013_0210 From TechEd 2013 in Madrid, handing out a book in reward for a good question…

  My sessions list for TechEd Europe 2014 Here is the my list of sessions at TechEd Europe 2014 in Barcelona… I would love to see you there, and don’t hesitate to say hi!

PRC08 Using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration...
By Arwidmark on 8/19/2014 12:54 AM
If you are using MDT 2013 Lite Touch for offline media deployment, the feature to set a static IP during deployment doesn’t work. MDT will set the IP address in WinPE, but not in full Windows.

This is because of a bug in the Litetouch.wsf script, and the bug is for offline media only (not for normal network deployment, where the feature work as expected). You find more details in this post: MDT 2012 Static IP for Offline Install

One workaround is obviously to edit the Litetouch.wsf script per the article, but the problem can also be solved by adding an extra Apply Network Settings action to your task sequence. Works perfect as long as you add it directly after the Gather local only action in the State Restore phase (see screenshots below)

By Arwidmark on 8/15/2014 5:34 AM
Don’t miss chance of getting the latest tips and tricks for building and managing a Microsoft infrastructure, delivered by computer industry experts like Mark Minasi, Johan Arwidmark and Mikael Nystrom.  This is full-day, technical event, held in five cities in Sweden and Norway in September 2014. The five sessions are:

Keynote - Get a grip on your Infrastructure Windows Clusters for Beginners: From Highly Fearful to Highly Reliable in 75 Minutes! Windows Deployment Done Right! Modern Apps for IT Pros Next generation user roaming Check out the event web site (in Swedish): The Ultimate Event

By Arwidmark on 8/12/2014 6:12 AM
Yesterday I got a question in my twitter feed (@jarwidmark) about how to create a custom variable in MDT 2013 using a script. The answer is, yes you can do that, but you rarely have to, because you can create them directly in CustomSettings.ini to begin with. Anyway, some times it does makes sense to dynamically create custom variables in a script. In this post I demonstrate a few different methods for creating a custom variable.

Going back to the source First, built-in variables are documented in the MDT 2013 help file, found via the Deployment Workbench “Help” menu, or in the file system: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit\Bin\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library.chm (default location).

By Arwidmark on 8/5/2014 12:30 AM
Todays post is contributed by Bill Burnley, a fellow deployment specialist in the Washington D.C. Metro Area.

  Solution to get System Properties Performance to work stick in our image In our VDI environment, which is currently hosted built on VMware vSphere environment using linked clones, I had a problem getting performance settings to stick in our image. After a good few hours of research, I came up with a working solution.

  The background First, I had already built a fully customized windows 7 x64 and x86 image using Johan's books, online deployment guides and information as well as leaning on our Image Subject Matter Expert Rob Moore. I was then directed to check out the VMware optimization guide for Windows 7 and Windows 8 located here: (  There is even an task sequence attached in which VMware provides several important...
By Arwidmark on 7/24/2014 1:47 AM
Of course you should not be deploying applications, but rather packages in your ConfigMgr 2012 (SCCM) task sequences. But if you do, you can use this little PowerShell script to list applications that have the AutoInstall property set to True, meaning being configured for task sequence deployment.

The Script $AppList = Get-CMApplication foreach ($App in $AppList) { if ($App.SDMPackageXML -like '*true*') { Write-Output $App.LocalizedDisplayName } } Note #1: If you want to list applications not configured for AutoInstall, just change the operator to –notlike.

Note #2: If you have many applications (like hundreds), the Get-CMApplication cmdlet is quite slow. To get some speedy result, you can also query the fn_ListLatestApplicationCIs(1033) SQL function directly in the ConfigMgr database. Fellow MVP Torsten Meringer have a nice post (in German) here:

By Arwidmark on 7/21/2014 1:06 AM
Last week I got an email from a fellow deployment geek wanting to generate computer names based on what files that were in a folder… Every time they deployed a machined they had a script that saved the machine name to a folder, and he wanted a routine that figured out the next available name. Well, here it is…

Update 2014-08-26: Added info about how to create the text file in the end of the deployment.

Preparing For this to work you need to have a folder in your deployment share, named computers, with a similar content. As you can can see the folder holds names from computers already deployed, and the next available computer name should be MYPC0006, right?

By Arwidmark on 7/11/2014 7:52 PM
If you are using ConfigMgr 2012 R2 for OS deployment and have not completed this TechNet Virtual Lab you might be doing it wrong…

This lab will take you through all needed steps to get a rock solid OSD configuration, including all needed tweaks to the default task sequence templates.

Deploying Windows 8.1 with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and MDT 2013 (Zero Touch)

  The Hands-on-Lab consists of the following modules Exercise 1: Prepare for OS Deployment in ConfigMgr 2012 R2 Exercise 2: Create a WinPE 5.0 boot image Exercise 3: Add operating system images Exercise 4: Create an Application in ConfigMgr 2012 R2 Exercise 5: Add Drivers Exercise 6: Create Task Sequences Exercise 7: Finalizing the OSD configuration Exercise 8: Deploy Windows 8.1 using PXE In addition to the above section you also learn about new tips and tricks for adding hotfixes, branding,...
By Arwidmark on 7/4/2014 8:48 PM
The last two weeks I’ve been working on a ConfigMgr 2012 R2 project in the US, that also involved OS Deployment. During the project all but one computer model deployed nicely, and the failing machine was the HP ProBook 640 G1 laptop. Even though all drivers installed fine, once the machine was put to standby/hibernate, it never woke up again.

After some troubleshooting (which included testing various BIOS versions) we realized it was the graphics driver causing the resume issue. Once we added the latest driver from AMD (and not the driver from HP), resume started to work again.

Now came the second problem: When deploying the new catalyst driver with ConfigMgr 2012, even though adding it as a driver package, it never completed the driver setup during the task sequence, but first after a login, and a final reboot.

The solution: First, credits goes to Henrik Ericsson, a fellow ConfigMgr guru working on this project with me.

Step 1 – Create a driver package

Download the all the...