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Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2003 Notes

Notes From The Microsoft Management Summit 2003

SMS Workstation Image Deployment

During the keynote presentation at the Microsoft Management Summit (Mar 18-21, 2003) in Las Vegas an upcoming feature pack was announced that will allow for the deployment of images, similar to how packages are deployed today. The SMS Feature Pack, "OS Provisioning" will provide support for the DABS (or Drizzle) distribution of images, which are then applied by rebooting into the Windows PE operating system to actually apply the image to the workstation. PowerQuest DeployCenter (Drive Image) and Symantec Ghost support is already confirmed and other vendors may be included before its release. In an effort to establish a standard for providing image configuration information (product ID, computer name, etc.), Microsoft is developing a new Image Definition File format is being worked on with other key vendors. The process will also allow for the migration of user data and settings by leveraging Microsoft's User State Migration tools. Integrated as a new folder in the SMS Management Console, the "Images" area will allow for targeted distribution and package definition file (PDF) support. Like any other package, the deployment may be configured to copy itself to client systems where the action of imaging may be triggered through its full Add/Remove Program (ARP) support. This is a very impressive capability that is sure to make a lot of people happy. 


Bob Kelly

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Creating a Windows 7 sysprep image without having to install any drivers with post install tasks

With a windows 7 syspreped image I can found a method that has not failed yet.  I have only 2 admin images, one 32bit and one 64bit and one base 32bit academic image.  I discovered by placing any missing drivers I have to install post sysprep back on my master machine in the windows\inf structure that model computer will then find the driver by itself next time.

Under windows\inf I created on subdirectory called tmccdrivers and then created subdirectories for each model.  I put only the drivers I had post install in here to keep it's size down.  Under most of the models I have audio, video.  then some I need mei heci tpm.  I even have 10 models of laptops this works for.   currently my images suppport 18 pc/laptop models from gateway, dell, hp and lenovo.

When we get a new model staff deploy's a image to it.  They find the missing drivers and place them on a share named imagedrivers by model\type directories.  I have a midlevel task that copies this directory structure to c:\windows\inf\tmccdrivers.  They deploy the image again to that model and the drivers are found without me having to create a new master immediatly.  When I update the master (usually monthly) I move the drivers from the share to the master to save copy time during imaging.

Once I did have to copy the drivers for a video card from the temp folder vs the install folder, something to do with compressed files if I remember.

Because our master is hardware independant I now base all my images on software/licensing and they work in any classroom even if all the machines are not the same model.

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Prompt user for WIM image name

In our imaging environment, we have 80+ RSAs deployed.  We needed to provide enough imaging options for each location to accommodate multiple imaging projects, but also make the options conform to the same naming standard so that syncing isn't a nightmare.  But as a result, one of our complaints is that they have to keep track of which generic image option corresponds to which image deployment.  For instance, we have "Lab-1" up to "Lab-10" but some technicians would prefer to name them according to room number or computer model.  However, it would be impossible for me to single-handedly manage unique system images for 80+ locations, since I build all the options and sync them out individually.

I have come up with a solution that will allow each technician to name the image however they'd like, or simply cut down on the number of image options I have to maintain (since besides the name, they are all identical).  I have modified the apply-wim.vbs script to prompt for the name of the image to download rather than depend on the predefined script argument to supply the name.

Change this part of the script:

To this (edit quoted text as desired):

Now the "imgName" variable called later in the script is defined by the text entered in the InputBox, not the script argument.  The remaining arguments are also reordered, and your postinstall task that calls the apply-wim.vbs script will drop the name argument (i.e. "apply-wim.vbs 1 C", rather than "apply-wim.vbs Master 1 C").

Technicians can upload an image with whatever name they choose now, and I don't have to build a new system image option to accommodate it.

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TechEd 2013: Tuning Windows 8 (Management and Deployment)

Speaker: Olav Tvedt - Microsoft MVP
www.microsoft.com/springboard - videos and whitepapers on deploying Win8
Desktop Optimization pack for Software Assurance 2013 (MDOP)
Devices that need to be managed but not in domain or mobile need to use Intune via SCCM2012. More Windows 8.1 BYOD solutions will be integrated.

The Mission of configuration and tuning: happiness! Happy users, happy IT staff.

The Challenges:

   * Change of Responsibility

      * Traditional clients, tablets, and mobile devices

Deployment Phase
Serious discussion needs to happen before deployment. Three main points:

  1. Master Image - never should be the DVD/ISO. Deploy, update, capture. CopyProfile=true mechanism for custom start menu will change in 8.1. This will now be configurable via XML and deployed via Powershell to push custom shortcuts for "start menu" across the enterprise

  2. WinRE - Recovery environment. Configurable to boot to specific DART (Diagnostic and Recovery Toolkit) environment image instead of local WinRE. reagentc.exe /info
  3. Refresh Image - Best practice is to update and recapture master every 3 months due to updates. recimg /createimage C:\Refresh

How to configure a WIM to use a specific DART image:
reagentc.exe /info
reagentc.exe /disable
reagentc.exe /setreimage /path C:\MyDARTFile
reagentc.exe /enable

DART features
Windows hotfix uninstall tool. Yay!
Remote Assistance tool for RDP
A few other cool tools like Disk Commander

Refresh Image commands
Recimg /showcurrent - if ran from a system that was deployed via WIM you can set a refresh image
recimg /setcurrent C:\MyRefreshImage

DaRT Recovery Image Wizard
Can be automated to run through this wizard via Powershell
Configure what Tools are enabled in the image
Add drivers for network and storage controllers
Add WinPE add-ons
Crash Analyzer for BSOD
Enable and update Windows Defender (this is a good reason to refresh the image every quarter so the definitions are updated and the image is scanned for viruses)
Create Image > Advanced editing = inject custom files

reagentc /boottore - force a recovery environment boot for testing

Online vs Offline

   * Easy
   * DISM
   * SCCM integrated
   * No service packs possible


   * All updates including most current
   * Service Packs will be included
   * Reboots to see broken patches

Patching a WIM via offline:
Put update packages in C:\Updates
dism /Get-Wiminfo /WimFile:C:\folder\image.wim
dism /Mount-Wim /wimfile:C:\folder\image.wim /MountDir:C:\mount
dism /image:C:\mount /add-package /Packagepath C:\Updates

MDT task sequence enable Windows Update to make sure (Pre and Post Application). State Restore and Customizations pass


Making the user experience as smooth as possible using Group Policy.
OU Structure - add it to the right place in AD
Group membership
Loopback Processing
WMI filtering - GPO specific to images
AGPM - Advanced Group Policy Management

   * Change Control folder in Group Policy Management. Client can checkout/checkin GPO and submit for approval by admin.
   * History of policies, changes, and versions..
   * Report on policies in XML or HTML format

Win8 Performance Changes and Tuning
Reduced install and boot times. This is due to services now starting automatically via triggers based on demand.
Service configurations for optimal performance - http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/
Page file needs only to be small and fixed so defragmentation can occur. Same with hibernation file.
Visual Effects - adjust for best performance and then edit from there. Controllable via WIM GPO for specific hardware limitations
GPO Preferences - Use them!

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How to upgrade MacBook Pro hard drive with Solid State Drive?

Solid state hard drives are flash based memory storage devices that are free from mechanical components such as spinning disk and read/write heads. They are faster, shock resistant and consume less power compared to traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD). Solid State Drive, also produces less heat due to the absence of mechanical parts and have lower power consumption. Though SSDs are more expensive than traditional HDDs, they do offer a reliable and robust storage. New SSDs can be bought from manufacturers like OWC, Samsung and Transcend, which are easily available, online. Apart from being expensive, one more downside to SSDs is being susceptible to data loss. It is wise to think of using SSDs for processing tasks and using HDDs for storing all data and file that are infrequently used.

Latest MacBook Pro models are already available with a flash storage. Previous models having HDDs can be upgraded to SSDs which will offer good enough speed for various operations. 

Considerations before buying a new SSD

Since you have decided to upgrade the MacBook Pro, it is worth spending some time thinking on following points before finalising the purchase.

  1. Since SSDs are quite expensive, decide on how much extra storage space is required compared to the current capacity. If the primary preference is to speed up the system and store most frequently used apps on the primary disk, you may buy an SSD with a smaller storage capacity (ex. 128GB) and use the old HDD as the secondary storage. On the contrary, if a lot of photos and video editing is done on the system or data heavy tasks are performed on the system, an SSD with more storage capacity is preferable. This will boost the working speed on the Mac system. 
  2. Check for the SSD support on MacBook Pro. New MacBook Pro with retina display comes with SSD already present on them and a PCIe interface, which will not be compatible with currently available SSDs. Also, new models with SSDs do not allow upgrading except few of them. MacBook bought prior to 2012 can be upgraded using available SSDs.
The Process of Upgrading

Upgrading the MacBook Pro is quite straightforward and can be easily accomplished. A reliable Mac hard drive cloning software will be required in this process and its use will be discussed later in this article.

  • To start the process, connect the new SSD to the MacBook and launch the disk utility application from Applications > Disk Utility. From the menu displayed on the left, select the SSD drive connected and Erase the disk keeping the format as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

  • Next, the existing data and settings need to be copied (cloned) on the new SSD. For this purpose, Stellar Drive Clone software can be used since it provides the facility to copy exactly what is stored on the old HDD to the new SSD. Also, it creates an image which acts as a data backup. Creating a clone is a time-consuming process and may last for few hours or more depending on the amount of data stored on the MacBook hard drive. 

  • After cloning is complete, shutdown the system and replace the HDD with the SSD. There are also many videos available online regarding the same. Now it is all set to boot up from the new SSD. Initially, while booting up the system may take some time to adjust with the new Solid State Drive, but, it will boost the system speed later. The removed HDD can be used an external storage device to store less important data and files.
More On Stellar Clone Drive

Stellar Clone Drive is utility software that replicates the existing volumes on the drive to the new SSD. Apart from that, it can also create an image of the contents residing on existing drive which will serve as a backup in case a loss of data occurs. 

Precautions to take while upgrading the MacBook Pro

  • Replacing an HDD with an SSD is an easy to accomplish process but, following precautions needs to be taken to ensure a successful upgrade and proper functioning of the system.

  • While cloning process is running, ensure that power supply is constant. If the cloning is interrupted, the SSD may not function as desired and this may also damage the SSD.

  • In the course of replacing the HDD with SSD, take great care not to damage the SATA cable connected to the HDD. Also, try not to touch the end of the cable that connects the drive as this may damage the cable. The damage to SATA cable can become a costly affair since it may damage the whole system altogether.

Always be aware of and take precautions against the static charge that may accumulate on the components of the system. 
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