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  1.    22 Feb 2017 #1
    Join Date : Feb 2017
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10 Pro

    Customised Windows 10 deployment on multiple desktops and laptops.


    Hey guys,

    As mentioned in my introduction I have questions, so here it goes.

    Firstly I'll describe my scenario and what I intend to do.
    I work for a small organisation (50 employees) which in the near future will extend to nearly 75. In this process we will change our office and get brand new desktops, laptops and some servers (used for various applications). We are due to receive around 25 new devices (laptops and desktops) on which I'll need to install Windows 10 plus the software we use.

    While browsing the forum I bumped into Kari's (I bow before you good sir) tutorial which might do the trick.
    So the plan is:
    • start the installation on a reference computer.
    • lunch audit mode and install all software, updates (will this create any issues ? 1607 in particularly)
    • answer file and sysprep (all machines will be joined to a domain, can I do this here ? I guess there is no point in creating a custom default profile since people will be logging in via the domain account)
    • find a way to image this build.


    More questions:

    Now, we do have a copy of Windows 10 Pro which has the install.esd file. Will this create any issues along the way ? I know you can convert it into a wim file, but after I created the answer file I need to convert it back into a esd ?
    I my mind I see this image created, then stored on a shared storage and once I have all devices ready to install I just boot with WinPE and start the install from the image.
    I did had problems finding a WinPE with Macrium Reflect on it (the one I found I couldn't boot from it due to secure boot in UEFI and after disabling it was prompted with wrong windows error or something of this kind (maybe I've downloaded some crap).
    The work laptop I'm using is a Lenovo Yoga 12 so I don't know if that would be powerful enough to use virtual machines, but I do have a spare Lenovo E530 I5 and a E330 that I can practice on.
    I aim on creating this customised image as it will help me save some time in the future when we aim to bring all the devices in our organisation to Win10.

    Hope that covers everything that I intend to do and hopefully you understand something in this madness.
    Am I on the right course ?
    Do you think I should do it differently ?
    I know there is a way to deploy all this via a server, but I don't know Server 2016 yet so I'll give that a miss I guess.
    I apologise as it doesn't have a good structure, I'm rushing to close my shift.

    Many thanks for your time in reading this "thing".

    Cheers,
    Sico
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    22 Feb 2017 #2
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,993
    Windows10

    The install.esd file is only use to install windows, and is deleted afterwards.

    I do not know why you have issues with Macrium. You just install and create a usb rescue drive.

    Kari's tutorial is what you need.

    If it was me (you will need to be running pro), I would make sure pc has all the programs you need, then create a Macrium Reflect image backup. Also create a Macrium boot entry.

    Then install Macrium viboot and use it to create a Hyper-v vm, boot from it and use sysprep etc to generalise the installation, and then shutdown windows on vm.

    Then boot into Macrium on the vm, and make an image backup of the vm (copy it to a physical drive outside hyper-v)

    You can then take that image and simply restore it to your pcs.

    Note: you should buy an appropriate licence as the free and home versions are not licensed for commercial use.

    In fact if you buy a suitable licence, you do not even have to mess around with sysprep, as you can use Macrium Deploy ie you simply take an image backup, restore it to pc, then boot from macrium winpe boot drive and run deploy, and it removes drivers not appropriate to new pc, and then windows searches for correct drivers (Windows 10 is really good at this). In essence it is sort of sysprepping on new pc without hassle of audit mode etc.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    22 Feb 2017 #3
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,979
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by cereberus View Post
    The install.esd file is only use to install windows, and is deleted afterwards.
    Not in this case; OP clearly tells having a Windows 10 PRO install media with install.esd instead of install.wim file like for instance in Windows 10 ISO image created with Media Creation Tool. This ESD file should not be mixed up with an ESD file downloaded as part of Windows upgrade through Windows Update.

    Anyway, in this case this is irrelevant because installing Windows 10 on technician machine to customize deployment image can be done using both ESD ISO and WIM ISO, as any normal Windows installation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sico View Post
    As mentioned in my introduction I have questions, so here it goes.
    First something important: forget Macrium! That being said I can almost feel it how some senior geeks are now thinking "What on Earth is he talking about? Forget Macrium?"

    Let me explain: I am a huge Macrium fan and wholeheartedly recommend their products, using them myself (Reflect, viBoot, CMC). In the tutorial you are referring to I explain how to use Macrium Reflect to capture and deploy Windows image. However, you have to remember the tutorial is written to private users with one or at most a few machines to deploy an image using Macrium Reflect Free. Using the free and even commercial Home edition on corporate network is not allowed.

    Cost of Macrium Reflect Technician license is at the moment €413 but using this license deployment would be quite slow as the license can be used (according to EULA) on unlimited workstations but on one machine at a time.

    To speed deployment up using Macrium you would need Workstation licenses which cost at the moment €548 for 10 workstations, €2,430 for 50 workstations or €4,556 for 100.

    This quote is from a recent reply of mine to another member in the image customizing tutorial thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    When install image has been prepared and sysprepped, capture the image and deploy it. In this tutorial I use somewhat unorthodox deployment method, capturing the image as a Macrium system image then deploying it by using Macrium image restore function. Reason this tutorial tells about the Macrium method is that I tried to keep this somewhat complicated process as simple as possible to suit needs of private users.

    For more professional approach, to capture and deploy the image on corporate / organisational networks you can and should of course use more professional tools and methods, like for instance capturing image with DISM and deploying with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.
    Don't get me wrong: Regardless what I told above I recommend Macrium as your backup solution. If your organisation has or will aquire a workstation license per computer, deployment using Macrium Reflect will be a valid alternative.

    I have a few questions to you before going to details:

    1. Are the 25 new machines all same make and model (same hardware)?
    2. Are the old 50 machines same make and model?
    3. If answer to 1 and 2 is Yes, are the old ones same make and model than the new ones?
    4. What is the operating system currently installed on old existing machines?
    5. What will be the factory pre-installed operating system on new machines, or will they be delivered without OS?
    6. How will OS and software be licensed (I assume volume licensing)?
    7. What software will be pre-installed?
    8. How familiar you personally are with Windows deployment?
    9. What is the time frame (when do you receive the new machines, when should they be ready and deployed)?

    While you are thinking your answers to above questions, I just want to tell you that it will be a piece of cake, no worries. You need a bit time and patience but deploying Windows is both logical and relatively easy.

    Kari
    Last edited by Kari; 22 Feb 2017 at 20:46.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    22 Feb 2017 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 920
    Windows 10 Pro

    Yeah, using MDT is going to be the preferred way to do it. Of course, nothing will stop you from using Macrium to take the image and deploy it if that is what you want. It's not appropriate by the EULA standards, but I am willing to bet quite a few people use this type of software in a business environment.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    22 Feb 2017 #5
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,979
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    Yeah, using MDT is going to be the preferred way to do it. Of course, nothing will stop you from using Macrium to take the image and deploy it if that is what you want. It's not appropriate by the EULA standards, but I am willing to bet quite a few people use this type of software in a business environment.
    Referring to the highlighted sentence in above quote, that's why I thought it to be important to post what I posted, to tell about the business license requirements.

    As OP's network is relatively small and deployment done in two batches making it not so hectic (new machines first, old ones later), one viable solution would be to use DISM (boot to PE, use DISM to apply image), or even ISO method (capture install.wim, create ISO, deploy).

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    23 Feb 2017 #6
    Join Date : Feb 2017
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Such detailed replies, many thanks guys.
    Those prices definitely won't enter in our budget, so most likely we'll give a miss to Macrium and try DSIM.
    As for answering to your questions Kari, check below:


    1. Are the 25 new machines all same make and model (same hardware)? We will get desktops and laptops, but most likely each category will be the same.
    2. Are the old 50 machines same make and model? No, different models of laptops and desktops.
    3. If answer to 1 and 2 is Yes, are the old ones same make and model than the new ones? No.
    4. What is the operating system currently installed on old existing machines? Windows 7
    5. What will be the factory pre-installed operating system on new machines, or will they be delivered without OS? Windows 10 Pro
    6. How will OS and software be licensed (I assume volume licensing)? So far we used volume license.
    7. What software will be pre-installed? Chrome, Office 2016 (we use Office365, so each instance of Office2016 will be activate via each account), Picasa, VLC, Adobe reader and some antivirus (we use Eset at the moment but we may change to something else, don't know yet to what).
    8. How familiar you personally are with Windows deployment? I never used it, but as long as I have a guide/tutorial I think I'll manage to use it.
    9. What is the time frame (when do you receive the new machines, when should they be ready and deployed)? I have a three weeks time frame. The problem is that at the moment I don't know how the this kit will be delivered, we are expecting all desktop/laptops to arrive at one stage and the new server to be delivered at a later time or vice-versa.


    I hope that covers everything, if there are any other questions that need answering fire away.

    Once again I thank you all for all your time put in replying to my questions.
    Sico
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    23 Feb 2017 #7
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,979
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Sico View Post
    I hope that covers everything, if there are any other questions that need answering fire away.
    Thanks for your answers. This seems pretty straight forward. If it's OK to you I can outline something, kind of chronological workflow suggestion. It might require some time but I promise I will post something latest by Monday (your scenario interests me due several personal reasons, I'm in fact quite keen to present you a plan taking this as an exercise ).

    In the mean time let's hope other members have some ideas to post for you to consider.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    23 Feb 2017 #8
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,833
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    I note some small but important points regarding the older machines, not covered in the questions or Sico's responses.
    Are all the machines of sufficient specification to run Windows 10?
    Will Windows 10 run on them in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions?
    The following link will allow each Windows 7 PC to be tested for compatibility for Windows 8.1 (whose requirements are identical to Windows 10).

    Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant - Microsoft

    There may be occasional machines that give false positives - I e the result is "not compatible", but there is no apparent reason why this result occurs!
    Obviously, incompatible hardware may not be included in the upgrade.
    If you have a mixture of 32-bit and 64-bit compatible machines, you will need to upgrade them accordingly.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  9.    27 Feb 2017 #9
    Join Date : Feb 2017
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Hi guys,
    I'm so sorry for my late reply, I've had a really busy week and been most of the time out of the office.
    @Kari - That would be great, more than I would ever expected and I'm looking forward to see what you come up with. Thank you so much.
    @Fafhrd - In this case "old" is equal to 3, 4 years of service. All run on an I3, I5 proc with 8 Gigs of Ram. Checked the manufacturer and they are compatible, so no problems encountered there.

    Once again thank you guys for the support shown,

    Sico
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    28 Feb 2017 #10
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,979
    Windows 10 Pro

    OK, after giving this a thought and thinking how I would do it, here's my suggestion. Please notice that, as I said, this is how I would do it. Other geeks might disagree with parts or all of it.

    I tested this scenario using one Hyper-V VM as technician machine (the one to build image) and three virtual machines to test simultaneous deployment in two scenarios:
    • Capturing install.wim from technician machine and using DISM to apply / deploy image from a network share
    • Capturing install.wim from technician machine, making ISO from it, deploying by clean installing from ISO burned to Flash drive

    Based on the fact that ISO method is clearly faster and simpler, it is what I suggest to you. I estimate you would need an hour and half to two hours to customize install image, capture it and make an ISO, then assuming you would make 5 Flash drives for install / deployment you would need about half an hour per five machines, in other words you would deploy to those 25 new machines in less than three hours, almost a full working day to deploy those 50 existing ones.

    Two working days, day 1 to make the image and deploy to new machines, day 2 to deploy to old ones.

    Chronological workflow based on my suggestion:

    Phase 1, Image customization tutorial, parts One through Six:
    • Install Windows 10 on a technician machine (I recommend Hyper-V VM but any capable PC is OK)
    • Boot to Audit Mode
    • Update Windows, install software, customize & personalize Windows
    • Sysprep

    Phase 2:
    • Capture the install.wim from technician machine as told in this tutorial, Part Four steps 4.1 through 4.5 (physical PC as technician machine) or Part Four steps 4.6 through 4.13 (Hyper-V VM as technician machine)
    • Create ISO as told in same tutorial, Part Five
    • Burn / write ISO to as many Flash drives as you want to / need to for simultaneous installs
    • Boot production machines from Flash drive, install Windows 10

    The above is how I would do this. If you choose the DISM method instead, applying install.wim from a network share, see this Microsoft support article: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/.../hh824910.aspx

    For more advanced deployment using MDT see this article: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/.../dn475741.aspx

    Kari
    Last edited by Kari; 28 Feb 2017 at 11:08. Reason: Lots of typos!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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