With Windows 8 Microsoft has finally made it possible to install the OS onto a USB stick. And it is pretty easy to get it going. Before you begin you will need the following
The first thing you need to do is install the Windows 7 AIK. This is pretty straight forward but it should be noted that if you are doing this on a Windows 8 PC you will need to install the .NET 3.5 Framework which is included with the WAIK. Once that is complete you will need to format the USB device properly. Insert the USB device and follow these steps
Launch CMD.exe as Administrator
Determine which the disk number for your USB
Continue reading Windows 8 To Go
While at TechDays in Toronto, Richard talks to Rodney Buike about virtualizing desktops. Rodney digs into how Citrix’s XenDesktop can let you use Windows 7 applications on your iPad! The conversation also explores the use of application virtualization to minimize storage use and simplify software updates, as well as an approach to using desktop virtualization to keep older workstations up and running for longer. VDI is coming of age, and Rodney digs into how to get things done.
Listen to the 30 minute podcast here…
I’ve been helping out a few companies with their Windows 7 deployments and a common question that comes up is around branding. Branding is simply customizing the logon background, user account picture and in rare cases even the wallpaper and theme. So I thought I’d share the two more obscure tasks, the logon background image and the user account picture.
User account picture
It is quite easy to force a specific user account picture. There are two default BMP files, user.bmp and guest.bmp, located in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures (you have to enable Show Hidden Files and Folders). Simply create two new BMP files that are 128×128 pixels in size and replace user.bmp and guest.bmp with these files (the names have to be user and guest and it has to be a BMP file).
Then in AD you can set a policy to enable “Apply the default user logon picture to all users” which
Continue reading Branding Your Windows 7 Install
During a deployment with MDT you can add additional applications that will be installed during the OS deployment. This is the ideal time to install web plugins such as Flash and Silverlight or any other component that gets updated frequently. It is much easier to package an application and edit a task sequence than it is to rebuild an image. To start the process open up your Deployment Share, right-click on Applications and select New Application. Specify whether the application has source files or not, in this case we are using Silverlight which does have source files.
Fill in the Details page with the application details. This will help you identify the application version in the deployment wizard as well as the list of applications.
Browse to the directory where the source files are located and select Next.
The friendly name of the application
Continue reading Package Web Plugins with MDT 2010
The otherday I wrote about how you can do a system requirements validation in MDT 2010 Update 1 to ensure the hardware meets the requirements of the OS being deployed. One thing I discovered in lab testing is that Virtual PC7 reports the CPU back to MDT as a 1MHz CPU. Naturally this will cause issues when you try and do a test deployment to a Virtual PC7 VM.
The workaround is simple, just remove the processor speed check in the New Computer – Validate section of the Task Sequence.
Hope that helps!
Microsoft has a set of minimum and recommended hardware requirements for Windows 7. There are some great, free, tools available to asses your current environment and there is functionality built into MDT 2010 Update 1 to verify that the hardware you are deploying too meets these requirements. Most importantly Update 1 added a processor speed check to ensure you are not deploying to machines with CPUs that are too slow. There are two places in the task sequence that will validate the system requirements.
You can edit these to match the requirements you have put in place based on your organizations needs.
MDT 2010 is a great tool you can use to deploy Windows 7 in your environment. I allows you to use what is known as LTI or Lite Touch Installation to install Windows. It is called LTI because someone needs to touch the machine in the form of booting it up selecting a task sequence and answering a few questions in the LiteTouch Wizard. You can reduce the amount of prompts and make it “lighter” with some tweaking of MDT.
When you kick off the MDT LiteTouch Wizard the first thing it asks you for is the credentials of an account that has permissions to access the deployment share. This can be a domain account or a local account on the MDT server. You can provide this to the deployment technicians or include it in the bootstrap.ini. To include it in the bootstrap.ini right-click on the deployment share and select Properties.
Continue reading Customizing MDT 2010 Wizards
Desktop wallpapers. I swear this is the number one complaint when a user gets their new Windows 7 desktop. Losing a users desktop wallpaper is guaranteed to lead to a call to the help desk as soon as they login. USMT does transfer the wallpaper settings however there are cases when even if the image is transferred it doesn’t get applied, or worse it doesn’t get transferred. In an offline migration, one done within WindowsPE say as part of a MDT/SCCM Task Sequence, the wallpaper settings won’t be transferred by default. You can ensure these files and settings are captured by adding the following to a custom XML file for USMT. Simply copy and past this into your custom XML file and you’ll have less calls to the help desk and happier users.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!– This component migrates wallpaper settings
Continue reading Migrating Wallpapers with USMT
During a migration from Windows XP/Vista to Windows 7 you will probably use the User State Migration Toolkit to migrate user profile data from one OS to another. USMT is a powerful tool that eases the migration of user data and can be further customized to include data outside of the user profile. This data can include:
- Specific files not stored in default user profile areas
- Specific folders not stored in default user profile areas
- Specific file types and move them into a specific folder
- Registry keys
- Custom applications
We’ll start with a simple example, capturing a folder:
<component type="Documents" context="System">
<displayName>Component to migrate all Engineering Drafts Documents without subfolders</displayName>
Continue reading Including Additional Data in USMT Migrations
Yesterday I posted a how to on building a custom WinPE disk with ImageX. There is another tool you can use that was released with Windows 7 called DISM that you can use as well. Let’s take a look at that tool as well as some additional options you can use. There are a few components you need before you get started:
Once you have installed the Windows AIK launch Windows PE Tools Command Prompt, located under Start –> Program Files –> Windows AIK, with Administrative credentials. From there we need to run a few commands to copy and mount the WIM image before we can edit it.
The first command copies the WIM image to the working directory:
copype.cmd x86 c:\Winpe_x86
This will copy the x86 WIM file and create the necessary working directories. To create a 64bit WinPE environment just substitute “x86” with
Continue reading Create a Custom WinPE Disk with DISM