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General Windows 8.1 / MDT questions about images

    Question

  • I could use a hand understanding the 8.1 update and how it affects MDT...

    We've got a series of laptops with touch screens so we decided to use Windows 8 as our standard for them.  I built one "golden image" with all our customization using Windows 8.  We're customizing quite a bit, which get's carried over using CopyProfile on the installs.  Our roll-out process was delayed a bit, so we've now decided to use 8.1 instead of 8. 

    I can't "patch" our install process, as 8.1 isn't an "update" or service pack.  I tried upgrading my Windows 8 golden image and recapturing that, but it fails miserably in numerous spectacular ways.  BTW... we're using the current 8.1 ADK and MDT 2013.

    Am I correct in assuming that I'm going to have rebuild and recapture my source image from scratch using 8.1?


    --smthng

    Monday, November 11, 2013 1:51 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    As regarding to your question, whether it is possible to upgrade W8 to W8.1 and recapture it, for my own gut-feeling I would like to start from scratch with a new Windows 8.1 installation.

    Not only (in some cases) it is required that you completely re-install Windows 8.1 (for example when using Enterprise, MSDN media) but this also avoids complications that might occur in the near future.

    Hopefully you have build your 'golden image' also with MDT in a so called 'Build' task sequence, so it is only necessary to replace the operating system image, test the build, test the deployment and you are good to go.

    I know it is not desirable, but it is not MDT to blame, Microsoft has decided that certain versions of Windows 8 require re-installations, and like I said, I wouldn't feel comfortable using an upgraded Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 'golden image', would you?

    It may take some time to rebuild, but I think it will save you allot of time that you don't need resolving issues related to this upgrade path!

    Good luck and keep us posted!


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards


    Monday, November 11, 2013 3:22 PM
  • Unfortunately, your reply is pretty much what I expected.  We use Windows 8 Enterprise, so we're hosed.

    While I do use a build task to deploy a reference OS, that doesn't really buy me a whole lot.  We have a ton of interface customization to get Windows 8/8.1 as close to what my users are accustomed to seeing on Windows XP/7.  Colors, backgrounds, file views in explorer, which control panels are visible, etc.  Almost none of which can be scripted in any way.  We can use GPOs, but due to compliance issues with our line of business, it's really only practical to use GPOs for security settings, not "preferences". 

    Unfortunately, I've spent months convincing management to do imaging "the right way" with MDT, all based on the time savings we'll eventually get in the long run and the flexibility of handling multiple OS's and configurations.  Microsoft just completely flushed that down the tubes. Either I get to rebuild all my source images or double the deploy time by forcing me to "re-install" 8.1 on top of the systems after I use my existing images...  and by ignoring the existing WSUS patching process I've also spent months on getting people used to, which is how I should be able to roll-out what is essentially just a service pack.

    Happy Monday!


    --smthng

    Monday, November 11, 2013 4:01 PM
  • I feel sorry for you, and it is not your fault obviously. Convincing management is a hard case to crack sometimes, and now this stuff happens, I understand is far from desirable.

    To ease the pain at least since you have sorted it out a previous time (when wanting to deploy Windows 8) things like wallpapers, colors, backgrounds, file views and control panel objects should be easy to export.

    How many images are we talking about? I hope you have not built 1 image per hardware model.. because then I understand what took you so long.

    Looking forward to Tuesday! :)


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards

    Monday, November 11, 2013 4:14 PM
  • To ease the pain at least since you have sorted it out a previous time (when wanting to deploy Windows 8) things like wallpapers, colors, backgrounds, file views and control panel objects should be easy to export.

    How would you recommend exporting those settings, other than exporting a user hive from the registry? 

    --smthng

    Monday, November 11, 2013 5:19 PM
  • Yes I attempted to upgrade Win 8 to 8.1 and re-sysprep, no go, not allowed. Thanks MS!

    Also agree that customizing a metro desktop or creating a logical path to migrate corporate users to a similar desktop experience from Win 7 is a complete nightmare. And then they seem surprised that enterprises are saying no thanks to the new OS.

    I do have to ask the same question as above though, how many images do you have?

    Monday, November 11, 2013 5:32 PM
  • I do have to ask the same question as above though, how many images do you have?

    About five or six...  We don't do images based on hardware configurations, but we do have different images for different "work" configurations.  Architects have a much bigger drive so they get different partitions, developers get a bunch of the .net and IIS stuff added, admins get all the hidden files turned on and the admin tools added, etc.  We might be able to knock some of them out but I don't really think it's worth the effort.

    --smthng

    Monday, November 11, 2013 7:48 PM
  • If I may try to uncomplicate things, you can perfectly install, configure and manage these modifications /adjustments by using task sequence variables and conditions.

    Imagine a step in your task sequence where Architects (who have for example CAD applications, and real workstation, a HP Z400 Workstation for example) you can easily create a second "Format & Partition disk"step, then you put a condition on this step that "This step may run only if the following condition is met" :  "Select * From Win32_ComputerSystem where MODEL like "%Z400%"" ,  and on the other machines you do the opposite. Then the Z400 will receive a different partition scheme then other workstations.

    It is also perfectly possible to specify these settings in a MDT integrated database, this way you can use 1 task sequence, 1 image which makes your work a lot easier.

    Take this into consideration if you are going to recreate your Windows 8.1 image.

    Can you break it down, by using certain conditions? Anything that is unique and can be useful to determine which group, machine, user, needs to receive a certain setting, format and partition, application, roles installed. You can put a condition on it as long as it can be queried via WMI Query, Task Sequence Variable, Installed Software, Registry Entry, a file or folder exists etc., mac-address attached to a hostname in an MDT integrated database, then you'll be able to build this with a single task sequence and a single image, which should really decrease the time that you are busy managing this stuff.

    A small example can be read here: http://scriptimus.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/mdt-2010-using-wmi-queries-with-task-sequence-step-conditions/


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards


    Monday, November 11, 2013 8:10 PM
  • Rens, I completely understand what you're saying and I know that everything you specified to do is possible.  I'd even love to be able to take the time to do it!  Unfortunately, we don't work that way.  Our receiving dude shows up and dumps 4 or 5 systems on one of our techs.  I call a manager and convince him to figure out which machines he requested for which users.  We look up the users and figure out what they do.  We then pick what kind of install packages they get and which image based on that.  The process sucks, but I can't change culture here that fast. 

    The handful of images I have to maintain aren't a big deal.  What is a HUGE deal is the amount of user customization I have to layer on top of each of them to keep our users happy.  If they don't have a black background, they'll call help desk.  If they don't see snipping tool on the task bar, they'll call.  If the trashcan isn't "right there", they're going to call.  It's a huge pain, but it's the way we roll.  I need to know how to copy all of that mess so that it will eventually end up as part of the CopyProfile admin settings on my next images.  That's kind of what I was asking when you confirmed my suspicions about rebuilding the images.  Image configurations are easy...  windows settings are the evil part for me.


    --smthng

    Monday, November 11, 2013 8:28 PM
  • I understand you too.

    There are two ways of approaching this. Either you choose to postpone your Build task sequence with adding an "LTISuspend" just before the capture which enables you to do the customization manually, and creating a default user profile for situations like these, or you spend some more time in figuring this all out, create some custom scripts that do it for you.

    Unfortunately there is no easy way out here. I wish I'd could help you, tell you there is a easy way in extracting personalized settings, but especially with Windows 8.1 the only thing I can point out to you is this great blog about configuring the Windows 8.1 Start Screen, and export an XML file which will configure it automatically for you in the future (but I'm guessing, your users don't use the start screen)

    http://stealthpuppy.com/customizing-the-windows-8-1-start-screen-dont-follow-microsofts-guidance/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tR7gdBRxp8

    http://www.syswow64.co.uk/2013/11/customize-windows-81-start-screen.html

    all the other stuff you need to do by hand. GPO's they can be reusable of course, but the wallpaper stuff and other, that's something you need to do.

    Good luck, and I appreciate a vote or mark for answer!


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards

    Monday, November 11, 2013 9:20 PM