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Process for MDT Reference Images RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm new to MDT and have had a hard time finding resources to walk me all the way through the process.

    From what I've read so far, what I should do is create a reference image with latest updates preinstalled.  I also need to pre-install some of our software which is older software that works with a non-stop system and isn't easy to automate the installation.

    Once I have the reference image, my understanding is that I would occasionally update it with any changes that need to be made into a golden image to deploy.  So just starting from the top then - process is: Deploy OS, customize, capture WIM -> as needed deploy captured WIM, update, capture again?

    I apologize for my lack of understanding of the process, I feel like if I could get the process sorted out right I'd be in much better shape.

    Friday, December 27, 2013 9:55 PM

Answers

  • We all have to start somewhere so - Hi and welcome to MDT deployments

    Your close - here are the steps:

    1) Deploy OS image using Win 8.1 DVD (add full set of source files - when you import into MDT). Add applications that can be deployed via MDT (this will create your reference image)

    2) Manually install your apps and custom desktop settings.

    3) Capture a .Wim image using MDT Sysprep and capture task sequence, generating a master image to be deployed. The reason you want a master image is because it is very fast and has all your apps already installed.

    4) Import the new custom .Wim image into MDT OS.

    5) Create a new task sequence that deploys your custom .Wim image (to maintain your custom desktop settings ensure your WSIM (unattend.xml) script has the CopyProfile set to True).

    When you want to update your master image (which most organizations do about 4 times a year) - always start with the reference image (the one that uses the OS from the DVD - not your custom image). The reson I recommend this is because with Win 7 there was a limit to the number of times an image can be sysprepped so if you were sysprepping that custom .wim image at some point it would stop allowing sysprep to run. I do not know if that is still the case with Win 8.1 - I havent looked into it - But this is how I do it.

    I hope this helps


    Rhonda J. Layfield

    Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:33 AM

All replies

  • We all have to start somewhere so - Hi and welcome to MDT deployments

    Your close - here are the steps:

    1) Deploy OS image using Win 8.1 DVD (add full set of source files - when you import into MDT). Add applications that can be deployed via MDT (this will create your reference image)

    2) Manually install your apps and custom desktop settings.

    3) Capture a .Wim image using MDT Sysprep and capture task sequence, generating a master image to be deployed. The reason you want a master image is because it is very fast and has all your apps already installed.

    4) Import the new custom .Wim image into MDT OS.

    5) Create a new task sequence that deploys your custom .Wim image (to maintain your custom desktop settings ensure your WSIM (unattend.xml) script has the CopyProfile set to True).

    When you want to update your master image (which most organizations do about 4 times a year) - always start with the reference image (the one that uses the OS from the DVD - not your custom image). The reson I recommend this is because with Win 7 there was a limit to the number of times an image can be sysprepped so if you were sysprepping that custom .wim image at some point it would stop allowing sysprep to run. I do not know if that is still the case with Win 8.1 - I havent looked into it - But this is how I do it.

    I hope this helps


    Rhonda J. Layfield

    Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:33 AM
  • Rhonda!

    Funny enough, one of your videos is one that I watched to get a start on all this.

    So here's my question.  As mentioned, I have some applications that simply do not install well automatically, as I'm sure all people do.  Since you recommend always starting from the reference image, that starts with the OS from the DVD, it sounds like any time I update my master image, I'm going to have to manually reinstall and customize?

    (By the way, currently I am just doing Win 7 deployments, though that will obviously change in the future).

    Saturday, December 28, 2013 4:27 PM
  • Generally most MDT administrators attempt to automate as much as possible to ease the process.  Note that MDT has a built in "pause the task sequence" step you can add to run though a manual process at the necessary time. However, generally I will scoff at any manual steps. :^p Check out http://itninja.com for assistance on most common public installation packages.


    Keith Garner - keithga.wordpress.com

    Monday, December 30, 2013 3:31 AM
  • Keith,

    To some extent I realized I should automate as much as possible, but some of the software we use is not in common use (software that connects internal applications to an HP non-stop system, for example).  My understanding was incorrect that you could essentially do "cumulative reference images", which I guess I was wrong about.  I guess I will go back to the drawing board on automating what I was unable to automate before.

    One thing I hadn't read much on that may end up helping me out a lot in this process is the ability to run powershell scripts during a reference deployment.  I assume this is possible (to copy some files over, etc).  Could you recommend a resource on this?

    Monday, December 30, 2013 3:29 PM
  • If you can manually install those apps - there must be a way to automate them - even if it is a .bat or .cmd that copies all files locally and then runs the installer cmd /c setup.exe. What is the exact reason they cannot be automated? Is there information you need to populate based on user or something else. Maybe we can help you automate those.

    Rhonda J. Layfield

    Monday, December 30, 2013 6:01 PM
  • Well the program I'm working with at present is an msi file that installs a connector from PC to HP nonstop.  Manually running the msi file gives you options for a configuration wizard, which is usually run and set up.  I think that this can be safely skipped (It also starts some services, but again, I'm assuming I can start those later on).  In addition, the path for the install has to be added to the path on the computer (And I'm sure that is easily possible to do in MDT deployment, just don't how to do it yet). 

    But my biggest issue right now is that trying to deploy the msi with a /qn command results in a 1602 error.  I know troubleshooting msi errors would be outside the scope of the thread here but it is what I'm dealing with in the automation process.

    Monday, December 30, 2013 6:23 PM
  • What is the application's name? 

    Rhonda J. Layfield

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:42 AM
  • What is the application's name? 

    Rhonda J. Layfield

    It's called RSC (or I believe remote service call).  The MSI I am installing it from is RPSETUP.MSI.  It appears to be dying on a customAction.  My knowledge of mucking around in MSI's with ORCA is limited and so I'm still trying to figure out a way around it, since running the install manually works.

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1:39 PM