Deploying Vista – Part 24: Understanding Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

by [Published on 24 Feb. 2009 / Last Updated on 24 Feb. 2009]

Windows Vista deployment continues by introducing Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

Readers interested in understanding how to perform image-based unattended installs of Windows Vista using Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) tools such as Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE), the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) and ImageX are referred to articles 1 through 13 of my Deploying Vista series here on WindowsNetworking.com.

Readers interested in understanding how to use Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS) for server-based unattended installs of Windows Vista are referred to articles 14 through 23 of my Deploying Vista series.

For more information on using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for deploying Windows Vista, see the following articles in this series:

      Introducing Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

      The Windows AIK provides a collection of tools and documentation for performing unattended installs of Windows Vista, but these tools are not integrated with one another. For instance, you must use one tool (Windows SIM) to create your answer file, another tool (ImageX) to capture an image of your sysprepped reference computer, yet another tool (Package Manager) to service your images, another tool (WinPE) to boot your bare-metal destination computers, and so on. By adding Windows DS to the mix, you can centralize the management and deployment of your images, but you still have to work with a collection of disparate tools to perform your deployment.

      To simplify desktop deployment, Microsoft first created Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD), an integrated toolset together with comprehensive guidance for deploying Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. BDD went through several versions including:

      • BDD 2.0 and 2.5 – Used for deploying Windows XP that was released in two editions: Standard edition for smaller midmarket customers, and Enterprise edition for larger organizations that had an Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 infrastructure deployed.
      • BDD 2007 – Used for deploying Windows XP, Windows Vista, and the 2007 Office System and released in a single edition for both midmarket and enterprise customers.

      BDD has now morphed into Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 (MDT 2008) which lets you deploy the following versions of Microsoft Windows:

      • Windows Vista
      • Windows XP Professional
      • Windows Server 2008
      • Windows Server 2003

      In addition, you can use MDT 2008 to deploy the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Office 2003 to your desktop computers.

      MDT 2008 simplifies the task of deploying Windows Vista (the focus of this present series of articles) by providing the following benefits:

      • Provides an integrated workspace from which you can perform hardware/software inventories, mitigate application compatibility issues, migrate user profiles, package and deploy applications, create and manage distribution shares and deployment points, and to build, service and deploy your images.
      • Supports integration with Windows DS for centralized server-based deployments.
      • Supports integration with your existing systems management infrastructures that use SMS 2003 and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM 2007).
      • Allows you to customize various aspects of the deployment process to suit the needs of your organization.

      Understanding LTI vs. ZTI

      Depending on your infrastructure, MDT 2008 enables you to perform two basic types of deployments:

      • Light Touch Installation (LTI) – Lets you deploy Vista without having any systems management infrastructure in place in your organization. LTI is an ideal solution for small to medium-sized organizations who need to deploy Vista to dozens or even hundreds of systems at a site or in a department. LTI deployments can be performed manually, partially unattended, or almost fully unattended as desired. In its simplest form, LTI can even be used to deploy Vista in a workgroup scenario from a single computer running Windows XP. For greater scalability, you can integrated MDT with Windows DS to perform centralized, server-based LTI deployments.
      • Zero Touch Installation (ZTI) – Lets you deploy Vista by leveraging the capabilities of your existing SMS 2003 or SCCM 2007 infrastructure. ZTI deployments are usually completely automated in nature and are also usually integrated with Windows DS.

      Note: This present series of articles will focus on LTI deployments of Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise Edition.

      Types of Deployment Scenarios

      MDT 2008 supports a variety of different deployment scenarios:

      • New Computer Scenario – Deploy Vista onto a bare-metal system that has no operating system for a user who does not have an existing computer or user profile on your network. Use this scenario when deploying systems for new employees.
      • Upgrade Computer Scenario – Upgrade a system running Windows XP to Windows Vista and retain the user's existing profile settings. Use this scenario when you have existing systems whose hardware will support running Vista.
      • Refresh Computer Scenario – Re-image an existing system that is already running Vista in order to resolve problems the user is experiencing with her computer.
      • Replace Computer Scenario – Deploy Vista onto a bare-metal system for a user who has an existing computer running Windows XP. During the deployment process, the user's existing profile settings and data are migrated from her old XP computer to her new Vista computer.

      Note:
      This present series of articles will focus mainly on demonstrating the New Computer deployment scenario.

      Installing MDT 2008

      You can install MDT 2008 on x86 or x64 systems running the following operating systems:

      • Windows Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise edition
      • Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later Standard or Enterprise edition
      • Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate edition
      • Windows XP Professional SP2 or later

      Depending on the platform you choose to install upon, you may also need to download and install the .NET Framework 2.0, MMC 3.0, and various updates.

      It's also a good idea to have a second hard disk drive in the computer you are installing MDT on so that you can use this drive to host MDT's distribution share and (depending on your setup) deployment point. This will be explained in more detail in the next article of this series.

      Be sure you begin by downloading the latest version of MDT 2008, which at the time of writing is MDT 2008 Update 1. For the scenario used in this series of articles, we're going to install MDT on a server named SEA-MDT that is running Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 and which belongs to the contoso.com domain. This means that the only additional software we need to preinstall on the system is the .NET Framework 2.0, which can be obtained from Microsoft Download Center.

      Begin by downloading MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit_x86.msi or MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit_x64.msi as needed from here, and double-click on the Windows Installer package to launch the setup process (Figure 1):


      Figure 1: Installing MDT 2008 Update 1

      A complete install of both tools and documentation is selected by default (Figure 2):


      Figure 2: Select installation options

      Once you have finished installing MDT, launch the Deployment Workbench by clicking Start, All Programs, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Deployment Workbench (Figure 3):


      Figure 3: The MDT Deployment Workbench

      The Workbench is the integrated workspace from which you can perform all of your deployment-related tasks. As you can see from the above figure, the Workbench has four main areas:

      • Information Center – Provides access to the Getting Started guide and other MDT documentation, news updates concerning MDT, and the latest version of MDT components (see Figure 5 below):
      • Distribution Share – This is where you bring together your operating system installation files and package files, your application installation files, and any out-of-box device drivers you will need to perform your deployment.
      • Task Sequences – This is where you define the steps that will take place during your deployment (essentially configuring your answer file).
      • Deploy – this is where you create your deployment points (the actual sets of OS, app and driver files needed for performing your deployments) and the MDT database (stores configuration information used for customizing your deployments).


      Figure 4: The Components node of the Workbench

      Conclusion

      In the next article of this series, we will prepare MDT for deploying Vista by adding some necessary components, creating the distribution share and adding Vista installation files to the share, creating a task sequence for a basic install of Vista, and creating a deployment point for our install.

      Readers interested in understanding how to perform image-based unattended installs of Windows Vista using Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) tools such as Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE), the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) and ImageX are referred to articles 1 through 13 of my Deploying Vista series here on WindowsNetworking.com.

      Readers interested in understanding how to use Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS) for server-based unattended installs of Windows Vista are referred to articles 14 through 23 of my Deploying Vista series.

      For more information on using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for deploying Windows Vista, see the following articles in this series:

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