Michael Niehaus' Windows and Office deployment ramblings

  • Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer

    With the release of Windows 8.1 Update, enterprises have a new tool at their disposal for addressing issues with older web sites. This new feature, called Enterprise Mode IE, effectively enables IE 11 to run web pages that otherwise would only work in...
  • Useful deployment links

    As we were going through our TechEd North America deployment pre-conference today, we showed a lot of links for pages of interest. Here is a list of those (at least the ones I remembered): Windows 8.1 deployment all-up http://technet.microsoft.com/en...
  • Experimenting with WIMBoot using MDT 2013

    With the release of the Windows 8.1 Update, there is a new mechanism available for running Windows called Windows Image Boot, or WIMBoot for short. For details about what this is and how it works, see the Springboard blog . Although MDT 2013 doesn’t...
  • Another Windows 8.1 Update tip

    With the Windows 8.1 Update’s release to MSDN yesterday, people are discovering the various improvements in the new release. Here’s one that I noticed in PC Settings: See the new “Manage known connections” link? Click it and now you can remove existing...
  • Ten years and counting

    It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working for Microsoft for that long already – time flies. During that time, I’ve had a few different jobs and titles: consultant, systems design engineer, software development engineer, program manager, product marketing...
  • Configuring file associations in Windows 8.1

    When you are using Windows 8.1 (or Windows 8, which behaves the same way), you may notice that some file types (mapped by file extension) are opened by modern apps while others may be opened by desktop apps. If you are a tablet user, you may not want...
  • Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 using MDT 2013

    Most people using MDT at this point have made the migration to Windows 7 and are looking at MDT 2013 to help with getting to Windows 8.1. But there are a number of stragglers who are looking to go directly from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 (and hopefully...
  • Download some free books…

    Many of you will be traveling or taking vacations over the holiday season and might be looking for some content to fill up your e-readers or tablets.  Microsoft Press has released quite a few e-books in the past several months that should keep you...
  • Have you submitted your MDT feedback?

    Several people have asked me recently about desired features in MDT, which is great – but it would be even better to see this information submitted through the Connect website.  To do this, please follow these steps: Go to http://connect.microsoft...
  • The ADK for Windows 8.1 has been updated

    With the general availability of Windows 8.1, a new update to the Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1 has been posted to the Microsoft Download Center.  See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/hh825613.aspx for more...
  • MDT 2013: What’s changed?

    I did a session at TechEd New Zealand a few weeks ago talking about what’s changed in MDT 2013.  As part of that session, I put together a list of all the changes in the MDT 2013 release, comparing all the scripts and configuration files, looking...
  • Ensuring custom GPO packs are copied to linked deployment shares

    It’s been a surprisingly common question in the past few weeks – how come MDT doesn’t copy custom GPO packs to linked deployment shares?  Well, it’s been like that since support for GPO packs was added to MDT 2012 Update 1. The simple scenario: ...
  • Grabbing out-of-box drivers from a Windows 8 system

    It seems like a common request: I’ve got a brand new system, right out of the box from the OEM. It has all the drivers on it that are needed. So rather than find and download those same drivers from the OEM’s website, why can’t I just...
  • Sometimes it’s the little things…

    I’ve been building SMS and ConfigMgr environments for over 17 years now.  You would think that in that amount of time I would be able to do this without pulling my hair out.  Most of the time that is the case, but not always.  Today, I...
  • User groups in the Seattle area

    You would expect that having Microsoft in the Seattle area would result in having a plethora of Microsoft-related users groups around.  But over the years, I’ve found that these are somewhat hard to find.  So here’s my compilation: Seattle IT...
  • Using boot from VHD and differencing disks

    MDT 2012 includes a task sequence for deploying an operating system into a VHD, setting up the computer for booting from that VHD. See my previous blog posting about Deploy to VHD for more details on that. As I mentioned in that blog, setting up a differencing...
  • More experimenting with RAMdisks: Using a VM completely in RAM

    In my previous post , I talked about using a small RAMdisk to speed up the process of generating MDT boot images.  But the trial version only supports RAMdisks up to 4GB in size and only on client OSes.  One comment posted to that blog pointed...
  • Experimenting with a RAMdisk

    One of the slow operations in the MDT Deployment Workbench is the initial “Update deployment share” process that has to completely generate new Lite Touch boot images.  I always assumed that this was slow due to the amount of I/O being generated...
  • MDT 2012 Update 1: Deploy to VHD

    I was working on a separate blog posting (to be posted soon) that referenced the “Deploy to VHD” support that was present in MDT 2012 and improved in MDT 2012 Update 1 and wanted to include a link to that previous blog.  Except there was no previous...
  • MDT 2012 Update 1: Roles and Features improvements

    Apparently I was so wrapped up in the MDT 2012 Update 1 development process that I forgot to talk about one of the areas that consumed weeks of my time before the MDT 2012 Update 1 release: improvements to the “Roles and Features” logic. In MDT 2010 and...
  • MDT 2012 Update 1 has been updated

    For those of you using ConfigMgr 2012, you may be interested in this.  When ConfigMgr 2012 Cumulative Update 1 was released, it was discovered that you could no longer create a new task sequence using MDT 2012 Update 1 and the “Create MDT Task Sequence...
  • Using the Windows Performance Toolkit

    Inside the new Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) that was released back in August is a component called the Windows Performance Toolkit.  I’ve talked about this at various events over the past few months, noting that you can use this kit...
  • Troubleshooting Windows Deployments, take #2

    Traveling from New Zealand to Australia for the TechEd Australia conference, I had some additional time to work on the troubleshooting guide, which is now starting to feel more like a book. I added two sections to this document, one reviewing all the...
  • Database changes in MDT 2012 and MDT 2012 Update 1

    A few people have asked about the changes made in MDT 2012 and MDT 2012 Update 1 in regards to the MDT database.  There aren’t that many changes, but here they are: MDT 2012 RTW Removed obsolete properties for Lite Touch: SkipAppsOnUpgrade. Added...
  • Troubleshooting Windows Deployments

    I’ve been doing a session at various events over the years called “Troubleshooting Windows Deployments” or something similar to that. Today is the latest, presenting the session at TechEd New Zealand in Auckland. It’s been tweaked...