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With the imminent public release of Windows 10 I have been readying my test environments to be able to deploy and test Windows 10. This is a quick overview of the main deployment scenarios supported and some links to the software you will need. Also I’ve included some links to a selection of videos from the MS Ignite conference that I found the most useful for someone new to Windows 10 deployment.

Deployment Scenarios

The main deployment scenarios are:

  • Wipe and Load
  • In-place Upgrade
  • Provisioning

Wipe and Load

This is the traditional process and follows these general stages:

  • Wipe device
  • Deploy customised OS image
  • Inject drivers
  • Install applications

Optionally this can include steps to capture and restore user data and/or settings if present on the device (usually laptops). Wipe and Load can be done with both MDT and ConfigMgr.
Pros

  • Device will be in a known new state
  • Removes any remnants of old installations, updates and obsolete applications. Over months and years performance and disk space can be adversely affected
  • Can use a custom image that could be pre-updated, or contain applications that rarely change – this can drastically improve deployment times

Cons

  • Can have a longer deployment time due to re-installation of all applications post-deployment
  • Must have driver packages available for all machine variants
  • Creating scripts to capture and restore user data can be time-consuming

In-place Upgrade

This is a newer scenario available for clients running Windows 7/8/8.1. Windows setup does most of the work for you:

  • Save existing user data, settings, applications and drivers
  • Deploy original Windows 10 image
  • Restore everything

This is a new scenario introduced with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and it will be interesting to see how it works in anger. In the Microsoft presentations I’ve seen this is being advertised as the preferred method for upgrading from Windows 7 and 8. I personally prefer a wipe-and-load so that I know everything is clean. Also, new OS deployment is often used as an good opportunity to upgrade major software like Microsoft Office which makes some of the in-place upgrade benefits redundant.
One scenario I think may benefit is the ability to get a Windows client from an OEM and easily upgrade it to Windows 10 while keeping all the drivers it has. Getting the driver packages for new machines was a burden for some smaller companies.
Pros

  • Preserves all data: user data, setting, applications and drivers and therefore is potentially less risky
  • Don’t always require new drivers if existing drivers are compatible
  • Often a shorter deployment time
  • Requires less preparation

Cons

  • Cannot use a customised image, the original Windows 10 media must be used
  • If a machine had obsolete installations and settings these will remain

Provisioning

This is another new Enterprise-focused scenario designed to help with the situations where a company wants to ship a new Windows 10 machine directly from the OEM to a user and then have enterprise software and policies applied to that machine to bring it into compliance.
This is controlled by a provisioning package (.ppkg) that is obtained and executed on the target machine and can perform the following operations:

  • Change Windows 10 version from Pro to Enterprise and add in Enterprise features, updates and language packs
  • Retains drivers and applications
  • Install or remove Modern UI applications
  • Enrol into a domain or management solution

Provisioning packages are created with the new Windows Image and Configuration Designer (Windows ICD) tool.
Pros

  • Can change Windows from Pro to Enterprise – this previously required a wipe-and-load
  • Enables Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios

Cons

  • The available policies are a small – but useful – subset of those available in Group Policy
  • Yet another tool to go into the toolkit along with WinPE, WIMs, MDT, ConfigMgr. Many organisations already struggle with the best way to deploy and now we have a choice of bespoke vs MDT vs ConfigMgr vs MDM vs Windows ICD
  • For remote installations, you need a delivery mechanism and the .ppkg files involved may be large
  • The only applications that can be installed are Modern UI applications. PowerShell scripts and Win32 applications are in the long-term plan.

Deployment Tools and Kits

Here are links to the toolkits you need for MDT and ConfigMgr to deploy Windows 10.

Videos

Here are a selection of videos from the MS Ignite conference in May 2015 that I found the most useful:

Discussion Forum

I’ve setup new discussion forums for OS Deployment, ConfigMgr and MDT. Check them out here.

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