Deploying Windows 7 - Part 5: MDT 2010 Enhancements

by [Published on 6 Aug. 2009 / Last Updated on 6 Aug. 2009]

This series of articles on Windows 7 deployment continues by examining the enhancements made in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010.

If you would like to read previous articles in this series, please go to:

Introduction

My previous series of articles titled Deploying Vista described how to deploy Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise edition using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2008 Update 1 together with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) version 1.1. This present series of articles about deploying Windows 7 will now continue by focusing on how to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise edition using MDT 2010 and the Windows AIK 2.0. Later on we will also examine how to bring Windows Deployment Services in Windows Server 2008 R2 into the mix of things, and afterwards we will look at how to use MDT 2010 together with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2. But first let us get the basics of using MDT 2010 under our belt.

In article 24 of my previous series Deploying Vista you learned about:

  • The history of Microsoft deployment solution accelerators
  • The difference between Light-Touch Installation (LTI) and Zero-Touch Installation (ZTI) deployments
  • Four possible deployment scenarios: new computer, refresh computer, replace computer, and upgrade computer
  • How to install MDT 2008
  • The Deployment Workbench

If you have forgotten any of this, you may want to review the earlier article before proceeding further.

MDT 2010 Enhancements

MDT 2010 is the next version of MDT and has a lot of changes over the previous version MDT 2008 Update 1. Let us examine some of these changes now.

First of all, you can now deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The previous version of MDT (MDT 2008 Update 1) cannot deploy Windows 7—you must use MDT 2010 to do this. Specifically, you can use MDT 2010 to deploy the following Windows operating systems:

  • Client OSes: Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1+ and Windows XP SP3.
  • Server OSes: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 R2.

In MDT 2008 Update 1 you had to create and configure distribution shares and deployment points. You may recall that a distribution share was the folder that contained the source files for an operating system such as Windows Vista that you planned on deploying using MDT 2008 Update 1. The distribution share also contained any packages, drivers, or applications you wanted to include in your install. A deployment point on the other hand was a folder that contained all the files needed to deploy your Vista image together with any drivers, packages and applications needed for the install. A big change in MDT 2010 is that these two things (distribution shares and deployment points) are now combined into a single thing called a deployment share. This change simplifies the process of preparing and using your MDT-based deployment infrastructure.

Here are some additional enhancements concerning deployment shares:

  • Deployment shares can be hosted on local drives, network shares, or in a standalone DFS namespace
  • Multiple deployment shares can be opened at the same time in the Deployment Workbench
  • Deployment shares can be managed from any machine where the Deployment Workbench is installed—provided the NTFS and shared folder permissions are appropriate on the share
  • Deployment shares can be linked so that when the content of one share is updated the content in the other share is also updated

Another big change in this version of MDT is that the underlying scripting logic has been migrated from VBScript to Windows PowerShell. In other words, most of the tasks you perform using the Deployment Workbench are actually accomplished using Windows PowerShell commands. In addition, you can use Windows PowerShell commands directly to perform various MDT configuration and management tasks and automate them, something that was difficult to do in previous versions of MDT as it required editing complex scripts. In other words, anything you can do using the Deployment Workbench can now also be done using Windows PowerShell commands and scripts. See this post on Michael Niehaus's blog for a quick look at some of the powerful new capabilities added to MDT 2010 using Windows PowerShell.

The Deployment Workbench, which is the integrated workspace from which you can perform all of your deployment-related tasks, has also been enhanced in MDT 2010. For example, you can now create a hierarchical tree of folders in each deployment share in order to help you organize items such as operating systems, device drivers, and task sequences for that share. Plus you can cut/copy/paste and drag/drop items within these folder trees. And you can use selection profiles to manage groups of similar items (such as device drivers for a specific type of machine) as a single item. These changes all make it easier than ever to manage your deployment resources and tasks.

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. There's lots more added in MDT 2010—see Michael Niehaus's blog for a series of articles examining in detail some of the exciting new features found in this new version of MDT.

Installing MDT 2010

You can install MDT 2010 on x86 or x64 systems running the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7 or Windows Vista SP1
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2 (requires .NET Framework 2.0 and MSXML 6.0)

Before you install MDT 2010 make sure you have installed the Windows AIK 2.0 on your technician computer. You can download both the Windows AIK 2.0 and MDT 2010 from the Microsoft Download Center. MDT 2010 is available in two forms:

  • MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit_x64.msi
  • MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit_x86.msi

I recommend you install the 64-bit version of MDT 2010 on a 64-bit system such as an x64 version of Windows Server 2008 R2. Double-clicking on the Windows installer package launches the setup process (Figure 1):


Figure 1: Installing MDT 2010 on a technician computer

You should generally perform a complete install (Figure 2):


Figure 2: Installing all components of MDT 2010

Examining the Deployment Workbench

Once you have installed MDT 2010 you can launch the Deployment Workbench (Figure 3):


Figure 3: The re-vamped Deployment Workbench in MDT 2010

If you compare Figure 3 above with Figure 3 from article 24 of my Deploying Vista series, you can see some obvious differences. Specifically, the old Deployment Workbench had four main subnodes on the left:

  • Information Center
  • Distribution Share
  • Task Sequences
  • Deploy

The new one still has the Information Center node, but the other three have now been combined into a single Deployment Shares node. We will learn how to create a deployment share in the next article of this series.

Upgrading to MDT 2010

You can also upgrade to MDT 2010 from the following earlier Microsoft deployment solution accelerators:

  • MDT 2008 Update 1
  • BDD 2007 Update 2

For information on upgrading to MDT 2010, see the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library, a Windows Help (.chm) file installed when you install MDT 2010 on a system.

Conclusion

In this article we have examined the new features of MDT 2010 and how to install MDT 2010 on a technician computer. In the next article of this series we will examine how to prepare MDT 2010 for deploying Windows 7 Enterprise edition using LTI.

If you would like to read previous articles in this series, please go to:

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