Deployment

Techdays 2017

I have the great honor of presenting at TechDays sweden this year. I will be doing a pre conf together with Jörgen Nilsson about Client management. We will show of tips and trix, give some insight on how to surive the Windows As A Service change and talk about the future of client management.

Make sure to reserve your seat now and we will see you there. For more information check out the preconf site for TechDays here http://tdswe.se/events/windows-10-client-management-now-and-in-the-future-level-300/

Hope to see you there!

/Peter

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Windows 10 Notes From The Field – Q&A

Last week @jarwidmark and myself held a live session about windows 10 deployment notes from the field and we had ALOT of good questions.

Here are the questions and answers from the session

Q: How well does the performance of an NVMe drive compare to an M2 SSD?
A: There are both M2 NVMe and M2 SSD drives available at the current time. However, the NVMe drives are a different type of drives even if they are connected using the slot type. NVMe will always be faster but depending on what you need to do it might not be economical.

Q: Can Secure Boot be disabled and enabled after Windows 10 installation?
A: Yes, Secure Boot can be disabled/enabled after Windows installation. Note that turning UEFI on/off is not the same thing!

Q: Is peercache similar to a product such as 1E Nomad?
A: Yes, peerchache is very similar to those types of products. What you need to remember is that peercache has now been around for all of 2 months while products similar third party products have been out for a couple of years. There is a good write up about this topic made by 2Pint Software found here https://2pintsoftware.com/peer-cache-in-configmgr-current-branch-first-impressions/

Q: What’s the best way to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 1607 in place?
A: As of right now the best way is using the Replace scenario so backup the current computer and redeploy it as a new computer while restoring the settings and documents. This will enable you to turn on UEFI+SecureBoot and any other new features you desire.

If you do a normal in-place upgrade there is currently no way of switching from Legacy BIOS to UEFI and thus you will not be able to use all the new cool features of Windows 10.

Q: how do you prevent Windows 10 from automatically uninstalling software it deems “not compatible” when doing Windows update? Example: Cisco VPN client app, when updating versions (i.e. 1507->1511)
A: Don’t use Windows Update, use sequencing instead. Either with MDT or SCCM. That way you can control before, during and after. Giving you the tools you need to get the job done. In this case making sure the software is reinstalled or upgrade as part of the in-place upgrade.

A good starting point can be found here http://deploymentresearch.com/Research/Post/533/Improving-the-ConfigMgr-Inplace-Upgrade-Task-Sequence

Q: For the in-place upgrade Task Sequence, is it possible to add Cumulative Update to the image rather than adding the CU to the TS? Running a Cumulative Update during the TS adds a lot of time to the deployment.
A: Yes, you can add both CUs and Security fixes to a install.wim file. That is fully supported. However, as it will use offline servicing to do so the patches won’t be installed until the machine is booted up and during the initial boot they will install. This will take the same amount of time as adding them as applications during the TS.

Q: Which OSs are supported by MDT 8443?
A: Windows 7 and forward. Note that MDT 8443 requires ADK1607 and that ADK has issues with Windows 7 and driver injection when running on SSD drives.

Q: Is the best way to customize default pinned apps in the Win 10 task bar still via a run-once logon script?
A: No, use the start and taskbar layout xml file instead. More info on that can be found here https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/windows-10-start-layout-options-and-policies

Note that taskbar pinning using xml requires Windows 10 1607.

Q: Have you seen any new hardware components with no Win7 drivers?
A: Yes, not all new models support Windows 7. This is due to instruction sets in some of the Skylake CPUs by Intel. Most vendors have a number of models/configurations that do support Windows 7 still. Expect this to diminish now that Kaby Lake is out and going forward with new CPUs.

Q: With Win 7/8.1 we would use Copyprofile, configure items in the captured image, and that worked great. Since Copyprofile is a no-go with Win10 it seems, what is the best approach going forward? WICD? Don’t configure in captured image, but apply during deployment TS?
A: Microsoft is moving towards less IT configuration and more personal configuration by end-users. This makes it less worthwhile doing customizations but when you need to do them you have a couple of options. Do the in the deployment TS or use GPOs. Since in-place upgrade is going to be the way between versions and you can’t customize the install.wim file moving them elsewhere will be needed.

Q: Is it better to remove Appx packages from win 10 via a powershell script during OS deployment, or via applocker (so that they never get installed for the users) anyone have experience/comparison to both
A: Removing Appx packages can only be done with PowerShell. Applocker will not remove them only block them from being used. If you want to scale down on the apps make sure to remove AppX packages and the AppX provisioned packages.

Q: Why don’t use ConfigMgr for reference images?
A: Until very recently that was not an option due to the fact that ConfigMgr will install the client as part of deployment and we want to avoid that. We still prefer MDT due to the fact its smaller, needs to infrastructure to work, its much faster and you also get a profile that can be customized to some extent.

Q: In your experience, has anyone needed hardware upgrades to go from win7 to win10? Or are real-world HW requirements the same?
A: This is a split question. If a model is supported no they won’t need an upgrade x64 requirements for Windows 7 and 10 are the same. Windows 10 will even be kinder to your hardware giving you more bang for your buck.

The thing to lock out for is of course that old models might not be vendor supported for Windows 10 and a lot of older models does not support full UEFI. Thus, for those models you won’t be able to turn on features like, Device guard and Credential guard.

Q: Would MDT Version: 6.2.5019.0 work with Win 1607, if I was to start testing deployment?
A: No, you will need a newer ADK and that is not supported with the old versions of MDT. The newer version of MDT also contains a massive amount of bugfixes so make sure to upgrade MDT instead.

Q: Does CM1610 with MDT 8443 support ADK 1511? I ask because we have to use 802.1x port authentication in our boot images and that is broken in ADK 1607.
A: Kind of, 1606 does support ADK1511 and I have not seen statements that 1610 requires ADK1607 to work. Its more a question on which OS you want to deploy. Check the link for support statement on ADK and ConfigMgr from the Microsoft Team.
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2016/09/09/configuration-manager-and-the-windows-adk-for-windows-10-version-1607/

Q: What was the package to add for Win 10 v1607 in MDT to fix WU issue?
A: Make sure to add the latest CU for November that is KB 3200970 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=3200970 together with servicing stack update KB3199986 https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3199986

Q: Adding the CU via a Package, but it still appears to download it from WU. Also, tried to add it the image via DISM, but same result. Any suggestions on how to prevent it from downloading?
A: This is a known issue that can be read from the KB article. To avoid it install them as applications before the first Windows Update step runs.

Q: KB3197954 is superseded so just add in the next Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607? do the next one have a working WU agent or do a first need to install this one?
A: No, all CUs contains all the previous month’s patches so the latest one will cover everything you need.

Q: What could we expect roadmap wise, with MDT and SCCM, compared to roadmap of Win 10? Will MDT / SCCM keep up?
A: Both ConfigMgr and MDT is dedicated to staying current with Windows 10. This means that MDT will be updates when needed for deployment and ConfigMgr will get continues releases to add features and fix bugs. Just this year we have seen 3 production releases of ConfigMgr (1602, 1606 and 1610)

Q: What’s the top benefits using MDT+ConfigMgr together?
A: MDT adds about 280 built-in features through scripts. You may of course build that yourself using native ConfigMgr but I have more fun things to do with my time. And if you build them yourself you will have to support them. MDT on the other hand is supported by Microsoft.

Q: Do you recommend custom Windows10 images and what is your go to image creation tool?
A: Always use MDT for reference image creation. I recommend using custom images for bare metal deployment so you can add in things your end users will need, like Visual C++ runtimes and .Net Framework. For upgrades, custom images are not supported so you will need both.

Q: When creating a W10 ref image, would you recommend applying the latest CU offline or online?
A: Both work but if you want to save time do them online otherwise it will redownload the patch to apply certain things again.

Q: Deploying with 1607 ADK working with win 7 deployment?
A: There is one big issue using the ADK 1607. Driver injection on Windows 7 with ADK1607 will fail when running on SSD drives. Using a ADK1511 boot image will solve that issue.

 

Hope this has helped you out with your deployments

/Peter

ConfigMgr–Disk Space Compliance

One of the least utilized features in ConfigMgr is compliance items and baselines. For some reason most of my customers tend to forget that a small part of monitoring on the client side will go a long way towards reducing the amount of tickets to your helpdesk.

One of things you might wish to measure is free space left of on the OS drive. This is easily done with a small compliance item. This post will show you how and you can then expand this to do self cleaning and other features as well if you so wish.

Start with creating a Compliance Item by going to the Asset and Compliance Node, Compliance Settings and Configuration Items. Right click, Create Configuration Item and give it a suitable name. Click Next when ready.

Create

Select the Operating systems that this can run on. Make sure to deselect the older OSes which do not support PowerShell and click next when done.

OS

In the settings pane click new to create a new setting to monitor. Give it a name I use FreeSpace and then set Setting type to Script and Data type to Integer.

Setting

Click Add Script and add the script to get the frees pace percentage of the C drive. Click OK and next to get to the Compliance Rules pane.

Script

The Script

$FreeSpace = (Get-Volume -DriveLetter C).SizeRemaining/(Get-Volume -DriveLetter C).size
[int]$Size = [math]::Round($FreeSpace,2)*100
return $Size

Click New to add a new rule, give the Rule a name and select the setting you just created. For rule type set it to Value and set the following values:
The value returned by the script: Less than
The following values: <percent you wish to monitor> (I use 80)
Noncompliance severity for reports: Warning

Compliance

Now the Configuration Item is done, just click next twice to save everything and create the CI.

For this to actually work a Baseline needs to be created. So head over to the Asset and Compliance workspace and the Compliance settings node and find Compliance Baselines. Right click and create a new baseline.

Give the baseline a name, click Add and select Configuration Item.

Baseline

You get a list of all your CIs and just select the one you just created and click Add and OK.

CIs

Now you have a baseline you can deploy to a collection.

This can of course be expanded with things like non compliant collections, reports, remediation scripts and so on. You can also add other checks and verifications to the same baseline and monitor things like BitLocker encryption status.

WS2016 Beyond Unsupported

Update 2016-10-01: Currently MAK keys won’t work with activation. Expect Microsoft to release a new Eval media to correct this.

Update 2016-10-09: I previously had mentioned you can upgrade index 1 and 3 using the methods described below but Core editions cannot be modified this way and I have update the post to reflect that.

Windows Server 2016 Eval media has been released and while we wait for VL media there is a small cheat you can use if you want to play around with the licensing modes. Please do note that this is not in any way a supported way to do it and far from recommended.

Method 1 – An already running server with WS 2016 installed

This is the easier way and can be done on any running Windows Server 2016 except for domain controllers.

First you need to get the KMS keys from Microsoft TechNet KMS key appendix A found here https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867(v=ws.11).aspx. There are different keys for both Standard and Datacenter so make sure pick the correct one.

Next start an elevated command prompt and run one of the following commands depending on if you upgrading to Standard or Datacenter

For Standard:
Dism /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /Productkey:<key for Standard from appendix A> /AcceptEULA /Norestart

SrvStd

For Datacenter:
Dism /online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /Productkey:<key for Datacenter from appendix A> /AcceptEULA /Norestart

SrvDC

Wait while it completes and then reboot the server and your done. When the server is done rebooting you will have either a Standard edition or Datacenter Edition server.

Method 2 – Changing the media and enable in-place upgrade

This is a bit more complex and requires some installation steps before it works. The first thing needed is the newest Dism tools 10.0.14939 found in the ADK for Windows 10 1607. That can be found here https://developer.microsoft.com/sv-se/windows/hardware/windows-assessment-deployment-kit

Download the setup for ADK and run the installation. The only component needed for this is the Deployment Tools. Wait for the installation to finish and then reboot the machine to make sure all dlls are registered.

adk

Download the Eval media from the TechNet Evaluation Center https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2016

Copy the contents of the ISO to a folder on your management machine in this example I will use C:\ISO but you can use any folder, just make sure to correct all paths in each command.

Iso

Create a folder for mounting the wim file (C:\Mount) and start an elevated command prompt.

Change the directory to your newly installed dism tools usually here C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\amd64\DISM then run the following commands and press enter after each (there will be some wait in between each)

dism.exe /Mount-Wim /WimFile:C:\ISO\Sources\Install.wim /index:2 /MountDir:C:\Mount

dism.exe /Image:C:\Mount /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:WC2BQ-8NRM3-FDDYY-2BFGV-KHKQY /AcceptEula /Norestart

dism.exe /UnMount-image /MountDir:C:\Mount /Commit

dism.exe /Mount-Wim /WimFile:C:\ISO\Sources\Install.wim /index:4 /MountDir:C:\Mount

dism.exe /Image:C:\Mount /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey:CB7KF-BWN84-R7R2Y-793K2-8XDDG /AcceptEula /Norestart

dism.exe /UnMount-image /MountDir:C:\Mount /Commit

If you look closely you will notice I change the index number and the product key to update all 4 scenarios, Server Standard Core, Server Standard GUI, Datacenter Core and Datacenter GUI

Now the last step is the one you have to solve yourself and that is to create a bootable ISO from these files.

 

As a last note: DO NOT under any circumstances use this in production. I highly doubt this is a supported or even recommended way from Microsoft but can help you in your testing with licenses.

Happy deploying!

/Peter

Windows Server 2016 Ref Image

Update 2016-10-20: VL media has been release and should be used for production environments. I have also added the servicing update for 2016 that is needed to get a more complete image.

During Ignite Windows Server 2016 was released as an Eval product. This means you can now download and start testing the RTM version of 2016 and prepare for when the volume license bits arrive sometime later this fall.

As with previous version of Windows Server it makes sense to create a reference image to include needed zero day patches and Visual C++ runtimes for any applications you might need to run.

To create a reference image we use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and guidance on how to set that up can be found on TechNet here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/deploy/create-a-windows-10-reference-image The same principals for Windows 10 applies to Windows Server 2016 with a few differences.

So lets start with importing the operating system this is the same as on the client side, just keep in mind to keep the folder name short to avoid issues with filenames in subfolder getting to long.

ImportOS

Next we create the a Package folder and import the zero day patch with fixes for Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). The patch is at current writing missing a knowledge article but can be found in the update catalog. Search for KB3192366 or use this link http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=3192366

As KB3192366 is an update rollup you will also need the matching service stack update. For 2016 and Windows 10 that is KB3176936 found here http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=3176936

When the folder has been created and the patch imported it should look something like this

Package

Continue with creating a Selection Profile to make sure that when the image is deployed only the relevant patches for WS2016 is imported. Expand the Advanced Configuration in MDT, select the node called Selection Profiles. Create a new profile and select the folder created in the step above.

SelectionProfile

We also need an application to install the Visual C++ runtimes to make it as easy as possible use the following from the friendly bunny https://deploymentbunny.com/2014/09/25/nice-to-havevb-script-wrapper-for-all-vc-installers-to-be-used-in-mdt/

VisualC

Next you need to create the task sequence by following the short wizard. When the sequence is created there are a couple of things to sort out.

First off we need to use the selection profile we created earlier. To do that open up the sequence and in the Preinstall section find the step called Apply Patches. To the right you will find a dropdown that is preset to All Packages, this needs to be changed to the Selection Profile created.

TSSelectionProfile

The second item to change is to turn on Windows Update in the sequence which is disabled by default. The two Windows Update steps can be found in the State Restore phase. Make sure to untick the Disable this step check box for each of them.

WindowsUpdate

Add the C++ runtimes application to your sequence just above the first Windows Update step to make sure that any patches available for them will be applied as well.

VisualCTaskSequence

The last thing is to change the default behavior of Windows Update. To to that we need to change a value in the unattend.xml file used by this sequence. Browse to your deployment share and to the Control folder. In here there will be a folder with the same name as the ID of your newly created sequence. Inside of that folder you will find the unattend.xml file, edit the file with Notepad or any other xml compatible editor.

Find the OOBE Section and the value called ProtectYourPC. Change the value from 1 to 3. This will disable Windows Update until MDT is ready to use it and MDT will the turn the feature back on.

unattend

That’s it your all set. This can now be run as part of your image factory setup, as a stand alone sequence with either VmWare or Hyper-V as the virtual machine platform.

If you want more information on the Image Factory check Mikes blog here https://deploymentbunny.com/2014/01/06/powershell-is-king-building-a-reference-image-factory/

And if you want more detailed information on the setup and how to skip wizard panes during your reference image creation check Johan’s blog here http://deploymentresearch.com/Research/Post/521/Back-to-Basics-Building-a-Windows-7-SP1-Reference-Image-using-MDT-2013-Update-2

Happy deploying!

/Peter

Windows 10 – anniversary update

The new version of Windows 10 has been released. Since the build was completed during the month of July it has been named 1607 and has a build version number of 14393. The new version can be deployed using the current version of MDT but needs an upgraded ADK to fully work. The new ADK can be downloaded from here http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/A/E/9AE69DD5-BA93-44E0-864E-180F5E700AB4/adk/adksetup.exe

Don’t forget to rebuild your reference images to include C++ runtimes and other needed application frameworks for your organization.

If you want to know more about what’s new in ADK check you Johan Arwidmarks blog about that here http://deploymentresearch.com/Research/Post/539/Inside-Windows-ADK-10-v1607

I have not found any new releases of the ADMX templates but the current ones can be used from and installed OS with 1607. You will find them under C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions.

Happy deploying!

/Peter