Deploying Vista – Part 26: Deploying Vista Using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

by [Published on 19 March 2009 / Last Updated on 19 March 2009]

How to perform a basic install of Windows Vista using 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:

In the previous article I have shown you how to prepare Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 (MDT 2008), in order to use it to perform a basic deployment of Windows Vista Enterprise for the New Computer scenario. This article builds on the previous one by showing how to use MDT to actually perform the install using two approaches:

  • Using MDT together with a Light Touch Windows PE CD.
  • Using MDT together with a Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS) server.

Note:
The LTI deployments covered in this article are not fully automated. A future article in this series will show how to completely automate LTI deployments.  

Installing Vista Using a Light Touch WinPE CD

In the previous article we created a LAB deployment point for LTI installs of Vista. When we updated our deployment point, it created a Boot folder within our distribution share. This Boot folder contains Windows PE images in two forms that we can use for performing our LTI deployments (see Figure 1):

  • An .iso image we can burn onto a CD or DVD to manually launch the install process on a bare-metal system.
  • A .wim image we 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 1: Windows PE images you can use for LTI deployments

To install Windows Vista on a bare-metal destination computer using a Light Touch WinPE CD, begin by burning the LiteTouchPE_x86.iso file (or x64 file if you created that one instead) onto CD media. Then turn on your destination computer, insert the LTI WinPE CD, and press any key to boot from CD when prompted. At that point, Windows PE will load and initialize on the machine, after which, the Welcome Windows Deployment screen will be displayed as shown in Figure 2:


Figure 2: LTI deployment starts on the destination computer

Click on Run The Deployment Wizards To Install a New Operating System and then click Next. This launches the Deployment Wizard and displays the User Credentials screen where you specify domain user credentials (here CONTOSO\jchen) that can access the deployment point on your technician computer (Figure 3):


Figure 3: Specifying credentials that can access the deployment point on the computer that has MDT installed on it

Click OK. Then on the first screen of the Windows Deployment Wizard, select the task sequence you wish to use to govern the install. Since we only created one task sequence in the previous article, this is the only one displayed here in Figure 4:


Figure 4: Choose a task sequence to run on the destination computer

Click Next and specify a name for your new computer (see Figure 5). We will choose JCHEN-PC as the name of John Chen's new computer:


Figure 5: Specifying a name for the new computer

Click Next and select Join A Domain, then type CONTOSO (or something else depending on your environment) for the name of the domain the new computer will join (Figure 6):


Figure 6: Select the option to join a domain after installation is complete

Click Next and make sure Do Not Restore User Data And Settings is selected on the next page of the wizard (see Figure 7). We select this option because there are no user data or settings for John Chen because we are using the New Computer scenario (John has just joined the company and this will be his computer).


Figure 7: Select the option not to restore user data and settings

Click Next and specify the locale and keyboard layout for John's computer (Figure 8):


Figure 8: Specify locale and keyboard layout

Click Next and specify the timezone for John's machine (Figure 9):


Figure 9: Specifying the time zone

Click Next and select Do Not Enable BitLocker For This Computer since John's PC is a desktop computer not a laptop (Figure 10):


Figure 10: Configuring BitLocker settings

Click Next, click Details, and review the settings to be used for the installation. When ready to begin the install, click Begin (Figure 11):


Figure 11: Review installation settings

At this point an Installation Progress dialog box will display the progress of the installation. The first action performed will be to partition and format the disk (Figure 12):


Figure 12: The hard disk is being partitioned and formatted

After that, Windows Setup will proceed in the usual way by copying the Windows image file to the destination computer, installing the image, and performing the remaining installation steps (Figure 13):


Figure 13: The Windows image is being applied

Once the installation process is finished (there may be several reboots) the user will automatically be logged onto his computer using the built-in local Administrator account on the computer (the password for this account was specified when the task sequence was created—see the previous article in this series for details). Once the user's desktop appears, a Deployment Summary screen will be displayed (Figure 14):


Figure 14: The installation is finished

If you click Start, right-click on Computer, and select Properties, you can verify from the Full Computer Name displayed that computer JCHEN-PC is joined to the contoso.com domain as intended (Figure 15):


Figure 15: The computer is domain-joined as intended

Installing Vista Using Windows DS

Another way to perform an LTI deployment is to boot your destination computers using a boot image on a Windows DS server. To do this, you need to make sure that your destination computers have network cards that are PXE-enabled and that their BIOS has been configured to boot from the network first. Once you've ensured this is the case, you then must add the Light Touch boot image (.wim file) to the Boot Images folder on your Windows DS server. To do this, open the Windows DS console, expand the server node, right-click on the Boot Images folder and select Add Boot Image (Figure 16):


Figure 16: Adding the LTI boot image to your Windows DS server

In the Add Image Wizard, type \\technician_computer\distribution_share\Boot\LiteTouchPE_x86.wim to connect to the Boot folder in the distribution share on your technician computer. In this example, the technician computer is named SEA-MDT while Distribution$ is the name of the hidden distribution share on the computer (Figure 17):


Figure 17: Specify the path to the LTI boot image on the technician computer

Type a name and description for the boot image or accept the defaults (Figure 18):


Figure 18: Specify a name and description for the LTI boot image

Click Next and review the Summary page of the wizard (Figure 19):


Figure 19: Summary page of wizard

Click Next and the LTI boot image is added to the image repository on your Windows DS server (Figure 20):


Figure 20: Boot image is being added to the repository

The LTI boot image should now be visible in the Boot Images folder of your Windows DS server (Figure 21):


Figure 21: LTI boot image is ready for use for deploying Vista

Now, go to your destination computer and turn it on. When the computer acquires an IP address you will be prompted to press F12, after which you will be presented with a menu of boot images you can boot from. Select the Light Touch boot image, and after the image is downloaded and WinPE initializes you will be presented with the Welcome to Deployment screen shown earlier in Figure 2. From that point on the install continues in the same way as before when you booted your destination computer from the LTI WinPE CD earlier in this article.

Conclusion

In this article and the previous one we have seen how to manually perform a Light Touch Installation (LTI) of Windows Vista onto bare-metal hardware using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008. In the next article of this series we will see how to completely automate 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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