I've had my head buried in answer files for days now and have gotten quite comfortable setting them up, test, etc...

I use a handful of Components to help my migrations, for my unattend.xml I like:

  • Windows-International-Core-WinPE --> this is good for setting Locales the preboot environment (en-us for us english US speakers). Keeps me from having to set these on the initial image boot.

  • Windows-Setup_neutral --> I like the WindowsDeploymentServices -> ImageSelection, especially if I'm only pushing a single image. This keeps me from having to select it each time.

My OOBE_Unattend.xml is really useful and I barely have to touch anything during this part of the installation:

  • Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral --> This lets me put a ProductKey in for my MAK volume license (very useful and time saving). I can also set the TimeZone for the installation.

  • Windows UnattendedJoin_neutral --> I couldn't live without this component. It joins the machine on my domain before logging in as a domain administrator. I would hate to not have this ability.

  • Windows-International-Core --> Again this component really speeds up the OOBE process. I configure my locals and time zone so I don't have to do it by hand when the machine enters OOBE.

  • Windows-Shell-Setup --> Allows you to configure an autologon when the new machine is finished. I like to logon as a domain admin automatically for customizing and troubleshooting the new machine immediately after it is imaged. Also the OOBE component under here lets me skip the EULA, Hide Wireless Setup, and set my default NetworkLocation. All of this makes the entire OOBE totally automated.

What are some other good components I am missing as far as helping me get these images pushed and configured as quickly as possible?

1 Answer 1

  • Add Device Drivers by Using Windows Setup Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsWinPE (If you need drivers for Windows PE to see the local hard disk drive or network)
  • Enable Remote Desktop

    1. Add the following settings to your answer file in the listed configuration pass: Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-LocalSessionManager (4 specialize) Networking-MPSSVC-Svc\FirewallGroup (4 specialize)
    2. In the Answer File pane, right-click FirewallGroups and select Insert new Firewall Group. Configure the following settings in the Answer File pane. Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-LocalSessionManager (Value: fDenyTSConnections=false) Networking-MPSSVC-Svc\FirewallGroups\FirewallGroup (Values:Active=true ; Group=Remote Desktop; Profile=all)
  • Add a Custom Command to an Answer File On the Insert menu, point to Synchronous Command. Click a configuration pass from the submenu. The Create Synchronous Command dialog box opens. In the Enter command line text box, enter the command, with parameters. In the Order box select the order of the commands to run, and click OK. The command is added to the answer file in the selected configuration pass: Commands added to the 1 windowsPE configuration pass appear in the setting: Microsoft-Windows-Setup\RunSynchronous. Commands added to the 4 specialize or 6 auditUser passes configuration pass appear in the setting: Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\RunSynchronous. Commands added to the 7 oobeSystem pass appear in the setting: Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\FirstLogonCommands. See also:WDS: Phase 3: Preparing and Customizing Your Windows Image

But you also use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, which works better that WAIK. The latest version of the MDT 2010, also supports Office 2010. To simplify desktop deployment, Microsoft first created Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD), an integrated toolset together with comprehensive guidance for deploying Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. BDD went through several versions including:

  • BDD 2.0 and 2.5 – Used for deploying Windows XP that was released in two editions: Standard edition for smaller midmarket customers, and Enterprise edition for larger organizations that had an Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 infrastructure deployed.
  • BDD 2007 – Used for deploying Windows XP, Windows Vista, and the 2007 Office System and released in a single edition for both midmarket and enterprise customers.

BDD has now morphed into Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 (MDT 2008) which lets you deploy the following versions of Microsoft Windows:

  Windows Vista
  Windows XP Professional
  Windows Server 2008
  Windows Server 2003

In addition, you can use MDT 2008 to deploy the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Office 2003 to your desktop computers.

MDT 2008 simplifies the task of deploying Windows Vista by providing the following benefits:

  • Provides an integrated workspace from which you can perform hardware/software inventories, mitigate application compatibility issues, migrate user profiles, package and deploy applications, create and manage distribution shares and deployment points, and to build, service and deploy your images.
  • Supports integration with Windows DS for centralized server-based deployments. Supports integration with your existing systems management infrastructures that use SMS 2003 and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM 2007).
  • Allows you to customize various aspects of the deployment process to suit the needs of your organization.

A newer version of that is the MDT 2010, which supports: PowerShell Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (R2) Finally, there are a number of other enhancements in MDT 2010 relating to security, stability and performance. For example, you can now refresh a computer that has a volume protected by Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption without having to decrypt and re-encrypt the protected volume. This makes this particular refresh scenario more secure and much faster than before.

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