Deploying Vista – Part 25: Preparing Microsoft Deployment Toolkit for Deploying Vista

by [Published on 10 March 2009 / Last Updated on 10 March 2009]

How to prepare Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to perform a basic installation of Windows Vista.

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:

Introduction

In the previous article we installed Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 (MDT 2008) and provided a brief overview of the Deployment Workbench, an integrated user interface from which you can perform deployment-related tasks. In this article we'll prepare MDT so we can use it to perform a basic deployment of Windows Vista Enterprise. As we prepare MDT, we'll learn about some of the basic tasks you will perform using the Workbench including:

  • Adding components to MDT
  • Creating the distribution share
  • Populating the distribution share
  • Creating a task sequence
  • Creating a deployment point

In future articles of this series, we'll be examining these tasks in greater depth.

Adding Components to MDT

As Figure 1 below shows, the Components node under Information Center is where you can add additional components to your Workbench. Two such components are required:

  • MSXML 6.0 – The Microsoft XML parser
  • Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) – Described earlier in article 1 of this series.

If required for your environment, you can also add other components to the Workbench including:

  • User State Migration Tool (USMT) – Used to migrate user profile settings and data during desktop migration
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) – Used to verify whether your applications will be compatible with the latest version of Windows
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) – Used to inventory your computers to determine whether you can successfully upgrade or migrate to the latest version of Windows.
  • Various other tools for managing volume licensing and planning migration to the latest version of Microsoft Office.


Figure 1: The Components node under Information Center.

Tip:
Before you download any components, right-click on the Components node at the left and select Check For Updates to make sure the list of available components displayed in your Workbench is up to date. If newer versions of components are available, these can be either downloaded from the Internet or from a shared folder that you've previously populated on your network.

Begin by selecting MSXML 6.0 and Windows Automated Installation Kit 1.1 (for x86 or x64 as needed) and click Download to download these two components to your technician computer (the computer on which you have MDT installed). Once downloaded, these components will be displayed in the Downloaded section as shown in Figure 2 (note that downloading the Windows AIK may take some time):


Figure 2: MSXML 6.0 and Windows AIK 1.1 have been downloaded.

With MSXML 6.0 selected, click Browse to open an Explorer window showing the downloaded components as in Figure 3:


Figure 3: The downloaded components.

Double-click on msxml6.msi to install the MSXML parser, and when this is done return to the Workbench, select the Windows AIK, and click Install (Figure 4):


Figure 4: Installing the Windows AIK.

Once this is finished, you should see both components under Installed as shown in Figure 5:


Figure 5: Required components have been installed.

Creating the Distribution Share

Now you are ready to create your distribution share, which is the folder that will contain the source files for Windows Vista plus any packages, drivers, or applications you want to include in your install. Begin by right-clicking on the Distribution Share node and select Create Distribution Share Directory as shown in Figure 6:


Figure 6: Creating the distribution share.

In the Create Distribution Share Wizard, type or browse to the path of a folder on your local file system. By default, MDT suggests creating the folder C:\Distribution, but for this example we will create this folder on a separate volume named M: drive (see Figure 7).

Note:
The volume your distribution share is located on must have sufficient free space for your Vista source files and any application files, packages, and drivers you need to perform your deployments.


Figure 7: Specifying the distribution share.

Figure 8 shows the directory structure under your distribution share:


Figure 8: Structure of distribution share.

Populating the Distribution Share

Your next step is to populate your distribution share by adding operating system installation files, packages, drivers, and application files. Since we're only doing a basic Vista install, we'll just add Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise installation files to the share. Right-click on the Operating Systems node under Distribution Share and select New to launch the New OS Wizard as shown in Figure 9:


Figure 9: The New OS Wizard.

Insert your Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise CD into the CD-ROM drive of your technician computer, click Next, and specify the drive letter for your CD-ROM drive as shown in Figure 10:


Figure 10: Specify the location of the Vista source files.

Click Next and type a name for the directory that will contain the source files you are adding to the share (Figure 11):


Figure 11: Where Vista source files will be stored.

Once the wizard is finished, the source files will be displayed as available as shown in Figure 12:


Figure 12: Vista source files have been added to the distribution share.

If you right-click on the source files you added to your share and click Properties, you can display detailed information concerning the added files (Figure 13):


Figure 13: Properties of added source files.

In our example, the Vista source files will have been copied from the product CD to the following directory:

M:\Distribution Share\Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise

Creating a Task Sequence

Your next step is to create a task sequence, which is a sequence of scripted steps that MDT will perform during your deployment. Begin by right-clicking on the Task Sequences node in your Workbench and select New as shown in Figure 14:


Figure 14: Creating a new task sequence.

For Light Touch Installation (LTI) deployments, creating a task sequence is similar to configuring an unattend.xml answer file (and in fact leverages such an answer file under the hood). On the General Settings page of the New Task Sequence Wizard, type an ID (no spaces) for your new task sequence and also a name and description (Figure 15):


Figure 15: Naming the task sequence.

On the Select Template page, select Standard Client Task Sequence (Figure 16):


Figure 16: Selecting a template for your task sequence.

On the Select OS page, select the only operating system (Windows Vista SP1 Enterprise) that is currently available to install (Figure 17):


Figure 17: Select an OS to install.

Do not specify a product key since we'll assume you're using Key Management Service (KMS) hosts on your network to activate your volume-licensed Vista Enterprise computers (Figure 18):


Figure 18: Leave the product key unspecified.

On the OS Settings page, specify the name and organization of the user who will be using the computer (Figure 19):


Figure 19: Specifying OS settings.

On the Admin Password page, type the password for the local Administrator account that will be created on the computer (Figure 20):


Figure 20: Specify password for local Administrator account.

Once the wizard is finished, the task sequence will be displayed in your Workbench as shown in Figure 21:


Figure 21: Task sequence for a basic Vista Enterprise deployment.

You can display the properties of the task sequence by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties. We will examine how to configure task sequences in more detail in a future article in this series.

Creating a Deployment Point

You're almost done preparing your technical computer for deploying Vista. You just need to create a deployment point, which is a folder that contains all the files needed to deploy your Vista image (plus drivers, packages and applications if needed) onto a bare-metal system. Begin by right-clicking on the Deployment Points node under Deploy, and select New (Figure 22):


Figure 22: Creating a new deployment point.

On the Choose Type page of the New Deployment Point Wizard, select Lab Or Single-Server Deployment as shown in Figure 23. (We will examine the different types of deployment points in a future article)


Figure 23: Creating a lab deployment point.

Type LAB as the name of your new deployment point (Figure 24):


Figure 24: Naming the deployment point.

Continue through the next few pages of the wizard leaving the defaults specified until you get to the Network Share page (Figure 25). Note that the wizard will create a hidden share named Distribution for your distribution share M:\Distribution.


Figure 25: The deployment point is a hidden share on your server.

On the Configure User State page, select Do Not Save Data And Settings since this is a New Computer Scenario where the user did not previously have a computer (Figure 26):


Figure 26: No user data or settings for the New Computer Scenario.

Once the wizard is finished, you must update the new deployment point in order to actually create it. To do this, right-click on the new LAB deployment point and select Update (Figure 27):


Figure 27: Updating the deploying point.

An Update Deploy Point dialog box will display the progress (Figure 28):


Figure 28: The deployment point is being updated.

Updating the deployment point creates three new subdirectories under your M:\Distribution directory:

  • Boot
  • Captures
  • Servicing

The Boot directory (Figure 29) contains Windows PE for your LTI deployment in two forms:

  • An .iso image you can burn onto a CD or DVD to manually launch the install process on a bare-metal system.
  • A .wim image you can add to the Boot Images folder in the image repository on a Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS) server (if you have one) so that you can automatically launch the install process on a PXE-enabled bare-metal system. 


Figure 29: Updating the deployment point creates WinPE images you can use for LTI deployments.

Your technician computer is now ready to deploy Vista Enterprise using LTI deployment.

Conclusion

In this article we prepared MDT for deploying Vista by adding 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. In the next article of this series, we will use MDT to deploy Vista onto a bare-metal destination computer using LTI.

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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