Using MDT 2010 to deploy Windows 7

When I first started looking into using Microsoft’s own deployment tools to deploy Windows 7 I have to admit that it was a bit intimidating.  There were all these tools, xml answer files, individual programs, deployment shares, .wim’s, it just got insane.

I was used to the good ol’ Ghost tools that I’ve been familiar with for all these years.  However, I was well aware that the limitations of Ghost in the area of storage space (regarding the individual images that needed to be stored for each type of machine that you were imaging) and the fact that updates couldn’t be added to the images after they had been created (well, easily anyway), so I set out to look into the MS tools that they were boasting about.

It was then, when I realized I might have bit off more than I can chew.  Luckily though, I found MDT2010.  They call it a “solution accelerator”.  Probably because it would take about a month or more of digging through white pages and technical documents to figure out what the hell all the tools were and how to make them all work together without it.

Anyway, if you are starting to look for cheap / free easy ways to deploy a bunch of Windows 7 machines with applications and updates already included, and want all of your machines to be exactly the same, take a look at MDT 2010.

There’s a good how-to guide setup here:

and another here:

Have fun!

Windows 7 Deployment tools

Silverlight videos from Microsoft Technet that help describe the Imaging process for Windows 7 Clients.  Videos are also available in WMV format on the bottom of the page.


Step-by-Step Deployment with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK)

Or, just visit this page for all of the walkthroughs for Windows 7:

Add drivers to Windows 7 image Offline:

Step-by-Step: Basic Windows Deployment for IT Professionals:

Comparing Windows XP and Windows Vista Deployment Technologies:

Interesting Windows 7 Black Screen Problem

I’ve read many things about the “Windows 7 Black Screen of Death” or “KSOD” before, but out of everything I’ve read, I’ve never seen this.

Today, I was setting up one of numerous Dell Vostro 1520 Laptops with Windows 7 Professional Pre-Installed.

First of all, just by turning the thing on and installing a few windows updates caused BSOD’s and keyboard and touchpad problems. Rebooting (or sometimes hard rebooting) fixes those.

However, after installing Office, Avast A/V (Netclients), and Migrating user data, I started getting those stupid black screens.

After searching for what seemed like forever trying to figure out the problem, I finally figured it out.

If you look on google for the Windows 7 black screen, they’ll give you fixes by prevx, suggestions to remove sticks of RAM, checking for viruses, and numerous other dumb things.  I say dumb, because new computers shouldn’t have these problems.

My fix was rather simple. I install computers on a domain. The domain I have setup has several login scripts that do many things, such as map network drives, install printers, put shortcuts on the desktop, etc.

I found that the computer wouldn’t show the user’s desktop after logging in without disabling all network cards beforehand. However, once I was in, all I had to do was enable the network cards (or plug the cable back in) and install the printers that were trying to be installed by the script!

Yep, that was it.

So, if you’re having this problem as well, look at your printer installation login script, find the printers that are supposed to be installed for whatever user, and install them after you disable the network, re-enable it once logged in, and you’ll be fine.

It’s a lot of work, but at least it WORKS!

Oh, and I also found out that you won’t get the black screen the first time that you log in as the user, so apparently it waits to install printers and anything else via a script after the first time the user’s profile is created.  So, as soon as you login as the user, add the printers at this time as well.  That way, you won’t have to disable network connections or fight with it so much.