Book Image

Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

By : Jeff Stokes, Manuel Singer
Book Image

Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

By: Jeff Stokes, Manuel Singer

Overview of this book

Topic The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) provides a comprehensive collection of tools, processes, and guidance for automating desktop and server deployments. It considerably reduces deployment time and standardizes desktop and server images. Moreover, MDT offers improved security and ongoing configuration management. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is the official supported method of creating and customizing Windows images for deployment. Description: Starting from scratch, this book walks you through the MDT setup, task sequence creation, and image deployment steps in detail. Breaking down the various MDT concepts, this book will give you a thorough understanding of the deployment process. Beginning with imaging concepts and theory, you will go on to build a Microsoft Deployment Toolkit environment. You will understand the intricacies of customizing the default user profile in different versions of Windows. Driver handling can be a challenge for larger organizations; we’ll cover various driver concepts including mandatory driver profiles. ]Other important topics like the User State Migration Tool (USMT), configuration of XML files, and how to troubleshoot the USMT are also discussed in the book. We will cover the verifier and Windows Performance Toolkit for image validation scenarios. Furthermore, you will learn about MDT web frontend implementation as well as how to utilize the database capabilities of MDT for deeper deployment options. We’ll wrap it all up with some links to resources for more information, blogs to watch, and useful Twitter handles.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
About the Authors
About the Reviewers

Imaging tools

The following tools are used for imaging:

  • MDT: The toolset covered in this book. MDT is a collection of visual basic and PowerShell scripts used for different deployment tasks all wrapped together in a management console UI and sequencing engine used to call the scripts in stages for deploying Windows or performing other tasks related to Windows imaging (such as patching or servicing a current installation, capturing an image for later deployment, or modifying the image in some manner).

  • Task Sequence: A task sequence is a series of commands executed by MDT's task sequencer. This is the heart of MDT, where the administrator can configure deployment steps, capturing the user state for later migration, servicing, and patching and other tasks.

  • Task Sequencer: The name of the process MDT uses to manage its tasks. This is almost analogous to a computer virus in that the task sequencer, depending on the commands being performed, can modify the boot environment, boot over a network, collect additional task sequence commands from a central remote share, and boot off of media. It keeps track of a task's progress in a central store known as variables.dat and logs to a set of log files for troubleshooting and audit purposes.

  • variables.dat: A flat file db format used to store data for an executing task sequence. It will contain metadata such as the chassis type of the machine the task is executing, how much RAM is installed, and many other variables that are queried to the hardware, PnP bus, and BIOS/firmware.