Deploying Vista - Part 30: Configuring Deployment Points

by [Published on 30 April 2009 / Last Updated on 30 April 2009]

How to configure deployment points for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008.

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:

The previous two articles examined how to create a distribution share in MDT 2008 and how to add operating system installation files, device drivers, packages and applications to it. This article examines the different types of deployment points you can create for MDT and how to configure them.

Types of Deployment Points

Once you have created your distribution share using the Deployment Workbench, you can create your deployment points. The difference between them is that your distribution share contains everything needed for all your deployments—operating system images, device drivers, packages, and applications—while deployment points may contain only a subset of those files, depending on the type of deployment point. And while you can only create one distribution share in MDT, you can create more than one deployment point, depending on the needs of your environment.

MDT 2008 allows you to create four different types of deployment points:

  • Lab or single-server deployment (Lab) – This is the simplest type of deployment point and basically just shares out your entire distribution share folder as a hidden share. For example, if your distribution share folder is the default (C:\Distribution) then your Lab deployment point is simply the \\technician_computer\Distribution$ share. You must create a Lab deployment point before you create any other type of deployment point, and you can only create one Lab deployment point for your environment. You will typically have more than one environment of course—one for testing, one for piloting, one for production—so each environment you have will need its own technician computer and its own Lab deployment point. Another reason that the Lab deployment point is important is because you can use it to create bootable Windows PE media that you can use to boot destination computers to begin the installation process on them.
  • Separate deployment share (Network) – This type of deployment point is a shared folder either on your technician computer or (more usefully) on a network file server. You typically create one or more of this type of deployment point to add redundancy to your deployment environment or to improve performance by load-balancing multiple deployment shares in larger environments. Separate deployment shares only contain a subset of the files contained in your Lab or single-server deployment point.
  • Removable media (Media) – This type of deployment point can be used for performing deployment when the destination computers are not on a network. You can copy your deployment files to a USB storage device such as a flash drive, or you can burn it to a DVD and use it to deploy Windows onto the destination computers.
  • SMS 2003 OSD – Unlike the previous three kinds of deployment points which are all used for Light Touch Installation (LTI) deployments, this fourth type of deployment point is used for Zero Touch Installation (ZTI) deployments that use Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 together with the SMS 2003 Operating System Deployment (OSD) Feature Pack. Note that you must still create a Lab deployment point before you can create your SMS 2003 OSD deployment point.

Note:
This present series of articles focuses on LTI deployments of Windows Vista—in a future series of articles I'll examine deploying Windows 7 using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007.

Creating a Lab Deployment Point

Creating a Lab deployment point on your technician computer is straightforward. Open the Deployment Workbench, right-click on the Deployment Points node under Deploy, and select New to launch the New Deployment Point Wizard. Select Lab or Single-Server Deployment as shown in Figure 1:


Figure 1: Creating a Lab deployment point

Next give your deployment point a descriptive name (Figure 2):


Figure 2: Give the deployment point a descriptive name

The next page of the wizard lets you configure whether users will be allowed to install additional applications during an upgrade computer scenario. If you select the checkbox shown in Figure 3 below, the Windows Deployment Wizard running on the destination computer will display a page that prompts the user to select additional applications to install. Leaving the checkbox cleared will suppress this wizard page:


Figure 3: Allow users to select additional applications on upgrade

If you select the checkbox on the next page shown in Figure 4 below, the Windows Deployment Wizard running on the destination computer will display a page that lets you choose whether to capture an image of the destination computer after the operating system has been deployed onto the system:


Figure 4: Allow image capture

If the checkbox is selected on the next page (Figure 5) the Windows Deployment Wizard running on the destination computer will display a page that prompts the user to specify the password for the local Administrator account for the destination computer:


Figure 5: Specify the local Administrator password

If the checkbox is selected on the next page (Figure 6) the Windows Deployment Wizard running on the destination computer will display a page that prompts the user to specify the product key for the destination computer:


Figure 6: Specify the product key

The next page of the New Deployment Point Wizard is called Network Share, but for a Lab deployment point what you're really specifying here is the share name for the distribution share folder (see Figure 7). By default, the C:\Distribution folder is shared as a hidden share named Distribution$:


Figure 7: Network share page

The next page shown in Figure 8 specifies how user state information should be migrated during an Upgrade Computer scenario or Replace Computer scenario deployment. We will examine user state migration in more detail in a future article.


Figure 8: Configure user state migration

When you finish the wizard, your new Lab deployment point is displayed in the Deployment Workbench (Figure 9):


Figure 9: The Lab deployment point has been created

Double-clicking on the deployment point displays its properties. The General tab (Figure 10) displays descriptive information and lets you choose which platforms are supported for the deployment point. For a Lab or Network deployment point, you can also enable multicast deployment if you are using MDT together with Windows Deployment Services:


Figure 10: General tab of deployment point properties

Tip:
Run the Deployment Workbench on an x86 computer if you need to install both x86 and x64 versions of Windows Vista SP1.

The Rules tab (Figure 11) shows the contents of the CustomSettings.ini file, which is used to configure the various pages of the Windows Deployment Wizard as it runs on the destination computers. You can also click the button at the bottom right of this tab to view or edit the Bootstrap.ini file. We briefly examined how to modify the CustomSettings.ini file in Part 27 of this series and will revisit this topic again in a future article.


Figure 11: Rules tab of deployment point properties

The Windows PE tab (Figure 12) lets you specify which types of images will be created when the deployment point is updated (discussed later below). This tab is also where you select which driver group contains the device drivers needed for this deployment group (driver groups were discussed in Part 28 of this series) and lets you perform other customizations of your Windows PE images such as adding a background bitmap image or additional folders containing files or tools you may need.


Figure 12: Windows PE tab of deployment point properties

Creating a Network Deployment Point

Creating a separate deployment share or Network deployment point is similar to creating a Lab deployment point as shown above. The main differences are that the default name given to the deployment point is Network, and you have to fill in the name of the local or remote computer and the share name (see Figure 13). The underlying folder for the share will be created on the specified computer when you update the deployment point (discussed later below).


Figure 13: Configuring a Network deployment point

Creating a Removable Media Deployment Point

Creating a removable media deployment point is similar to creating a Network deployment point. The differences this time are that the default name given to the deployment point is Media, and you have to fill in the name of the local or remote computer and the share name (see Figure 14). The underlying folder for the share will be created on the specified computer when you update the deployment point (discussed next below).


Figure 14: Creating a removable media deployment point

Updating a Deployment Point

After you create a deployment point, you must update it. Updating a deployment point is when the deployment point is actually created on the file system of the local or remote computer. To update a deployment point, right-click on it and select one of the following two options (see Figure 15 below):

  • Update – Creates the folder structure for the deployment point (if needed), copies various MDT scripts and tools to the deployment point, and creates Windows PE .iso and .wim images for deploying Windows manually or deployment Windows using Windows DS. You generally use this option when first updating a deployment point or when you need to generate new Windows PE images for the deployment point.
  • Update (files only) – Does everything the first option does except that it doesn’t create the Windows PE images. You generally use this option when you have made changes to your CustomSettings.ini or Bootstrap.ini files but don't need to generate new Windows PE images.


Figure 15: Updating a deployment point

Conclusion

In this article and the previous ones we have looked at how to configure distribution shares and deployment points in MDT 2008. The next article of this series will examine how to configure Task Sequences.

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:

Advertisement

Featured Links