Michael Niehaus' Windows and Office deployment ramblings
In case you’ve missed all the other blog entries about it, Microsoft Press has made available the full text of the Windows Vista Resource Kit boot, downloadable as a PDF file. See http://csna01.libredigital.com/?urws8un4p7 for the details.
Chapter 12 in this book is all about deploying with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008, and if you search through the text for my name you’ll see a few quotes from me. Don’t think I wrote these specifically for the book – they were extracted from e-mail threads. I guess it pays sometimes to be particularly long-winded in e-mails.
There are plenty of familiar names in the acknowledgements section, including a few names (Jerry Honeycutt, Tony Northup, Doug Steen, Dave Field) that have worked with the MDT team over the years on the MDT documentation.
A lot of fuss has been made about the number of available Windows 7 SKUs. Read the full breakdown at http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/02/04/a-closer-look-at-the-windows-7-skus.aspx. Fortunately for enterprises, you really just need to be concerned with two:
You might think that Windows 7 Ultimate should be included in that list, but for enterprises it doesn’t really add anything over the Enterprise version – except for headaches, as the Ultimate version does not come in a volume license version so you need to use individual retail license keys if you deploy it to many machines.
See http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/business/archive/2009/02/11/windows-7-enterprise-edition-customer-benefits.aspx for the details of what is included in Windows 7 Enterprise. Notice that Media Center and and the DVD playback codec are now available in Windows 7 Enterprise (so Ultimate isn’t required for either of those now, nor is the separately-priced DVD codec add-on for Windows Vista Enterprise). And look at the list of new and improved Windows 7 Enterprise features. I’ve already been leveraging a few of these features:
Windows 7 Enterprise, like Windows Vista Enterprise, is available only through Software Assurance. Fortunately, that also gives you access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/products/mdop.aspx, which is also expanding. New is the Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) product, which enables you to run seamless VMs on a host – yet another tool in the growing list of ways to deal with application compatibility issues.
From a deployment perspective, MDT 2010 will support deploying all three of the SKUs mentioned above, although we don’t expect many people to be using Windows 7 Ultimate. We will also cover all the supported upgrade paths:
Historically though we haven’t seen too many enterprises actually do in-place upgrades, just wipe-and-load refreshes. Maybe that will change for those looking to move from Windows Vista to Windows 7.
As was disclosed earlier, there is no “in place upgrade” for those going from Windows XP to Windows 7, so you have to do a wipe-and-load refresh deployment in that case. (See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd446674.aspx for a description of the process, although for those of you who have been using SMS, ConfigMgr, or MDT to do this you’ll recognize that you’ve already been doing the same thing – except not manually.) That’s not a bad thing though, as it gives you the opportunity to wipe out the “garbage” that has collected over the years.
There have been a few drivers recently that people have been unable to import into ConfigMgr. To work around this, you could “hack” the INF file for the driver to change references to “ntx184.108.40.206” to instead just say “ntx86.6.0” and then it would import, but I’m sure the vendors of those drivers would prefer that you didn’t do that. Fortunately, you can now do that. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961105 for a hotfix that will enable ConfigMgr to properly handle these drivers.