It just seems like yesterday that we released MDT 2012 and now we have turned around and released MDT 2012 Update 1 available for download here. Compared with MDT 2012 the journey to releasing Update 1 has been a much shorter. Regardless of this short time period some powerful features and enhancements have been added to the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

Enhancements and New Feature Details

  • Support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
  • Support for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 CTP: Added support in MDT for deploying Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 with Configuration Manager SP1 CTP, while supporting all new Configuration Manager functionality (offline BitLocker, UEFI, and Assessment and Deployment Kit).
  • Support for the DaRT 8 Beta: Updated MDT to support DaRT 8 for Windows 8 deployments, while continuing to support DaRT 7 for Windows 7 deployments. Added DaRT support for Configuration Manager scenarios.
  • New “Build Your Own Pages” User-Driven Installation (UDI) feature: Enhanced the UDI wizard and designer to enable IT pros to design their own wizard pages with little effort.
  • Other improvements: Added support for Windows PowerShell 3.0, reworked Roles and Features installation logic for Windows 8, improved “boot from VHD” deployment scenarios, and added support for Configuration Manager monitoring.
  • And More... 

UDI Specific Features and Enhancements 

Now let's get into the details of the UDI enhancements a bit more. There is a lot to talk about here so I will just give a high-level overview and save the details for additional blog posts.

Windows 8 and  2012

With Windows 8 and 2012 releasing to PC OEM and manufacturing partners, more information for which can be found here for Win8 and here for Server 2012, we are excited to be able to support deployments of these operating systems as well as provide support for some of the key new features they provide. Of course UDI allows for backing up and restoring data using the newest version of USMT, but how about Windows 8 apps?

 

If you are using the Application Catalog and are using Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack 1 (the SP1 is required for deploying Windows 8 apps from ConfigMgr) then you can take advantage of allowing users to select Windows 8 app package (.appx) as part of their OS deployments from the software page of the UDI wizard. Some of you may ask, but how is that going to work as the selected apps and packages will install as part of the task sequence which doesn't support installing Windows 8 apps as they need to install as a user. However, UDI tags these apps differently and doesn't attempt to install these types of apps as part of the task sequence. Instead it uses a tool called AppInstall.exe which interfaces with Configuration manager's app catalog in order to trigger an install for app model apps, including Windows app packages (.appx), after the user logs in. To hear more about how to setup applications as well as leverage AppDiscovery to detect applications for reinstall I have put together a video covering this topic here.

To find out more information about how to prepair for deploying these type of apps check out this blog post which talks about everything from how to sign the apps to the group policy needed in your environment for deploying these type of apps. 

Build Your Own Pages (BYOP)

Although I will talk in detail about BYOP in future blog posts and videos, the BYOP feature will allow you build pages by simply dragging a set of controls onto a page and setting the appropriate information around those controls such as which task sequence variable should be set or the default for the control. Controls which you can drag onto a BYOP page include CheckBoxes, ComboBoxes, Lines (used to section a page out), labels, radio buttons, Bitmaps, and textboxes.

Although there are any number of pages which you could build using BYOP you can also use this powerful feature with your Windows 8 deployments. As an example the simple page in the screenshot above is an example of how you could allow a user to select whether to enable pushbutton reset as part of their Windows 8 deployment which would allow them to rollback to a fresh version of their operating system if enabled. To see more information on push button reset see the following TechNet article here.

Start Using MDT 2012 Update 1 UDI Today

Put your users or deployment techs in the driver's seat by downloading MDT 2012 Update 1 and starting your deployments with UDI today.