imageAre you looking to deploy Windows more effectively and efficiently, but not sure how?  You most likely have several questions:

  • How do I plan?
  • What hardware do I need?
  • What about compatibility?
  • How do I handle migration?
  • How do I create standards?
  • Is there any guidance?

Chances are if you ever deployed applications or operating systems you have asked these questions.  Where do you look for help and guidance.  In this post I just wanted to make you aware of many of the free tools available to help you with your deployments.  The following tools not only provide much needed guidance but also these tools offer you a more efficient toolset.  More importantly these tools do not get you bogged down in technical details, and will help you step through the process to make sure your deployment project is successful.   When you put these tools in conjunction you have a powerful and extremely useful deployment environment!

WAIK – The Windows Automated Installation Kit is a set of tools and documentation that support the configuration and deployment of Windows operating systems. By using Windows AIK, you can automate Windows installations, capture Windows images with ImageX, configure and modify images using Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management (DISM), create Windows PE images, and migrate user profiles and data with the User State Migration Tool (USMT). Windows AIK also includes the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK).  You can learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c7d4bc6d-15f3-4284-9123-679830d629f2&DisplayLang=en 

imageMDT  - Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 provides a common console with the comprehensive tools and guidance needed to efficiently manage deployment of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 is the recommended process and toolset to automate desktop and server deployment. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 provides detailed guidance and job aids for every organizational role involved with large-scale deployment projects.  You can learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3BD8561F-77AC-4400-A0C1-FE871C461A89&displaylang=en 

ACT - The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit helps you to understand your application compatibility situation by identifying which applications are compatible with the Windows 7 and Windows Vista® operating systems and which require further testing. ACT helps customers lower their costs for application compatibility testing, prioritize their applications, and deploy Windows more quickly.   You can learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=24da89e9-b581-47b0-b45e-492dd6da2971&displaylang=en

WAPT - The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is an agentless toolkit that finds computers on a network and performs a detailed inventory of the computers using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and the Remote Registry Service. The data and analysis provided by this toolkit can significantly simplify the planning process for migrating to Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Microsoft Office 2007, Windows Server® 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, Microsoft Application Virtualization, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Forefront® Client Security and Network Access Protection. Assessments for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Vista include device driver availability as well as recommendations for hardware upgrades. You can learn more here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd537566.aspx 

WDS - Windows Deployment Services is the updated and redesigned version of Remote Installation Services (RIS). Windows Deployment Services enables you to deploy Windows operating systems over the network, which means that you do not have to install each operating system directly from a CD or DVD. You can learn more here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766320(WS.10).aspx 

As you can see there is a lot of tools to help you be more efficient, and did I mention they are all FREE!  One last tool worth mention is SCCM- System Center Configuration Manager.  If you have a larger deployment need (generally 500 or more PC’s) or if you want to have a zero-touch installation environment, System Center is for you!   SCCM provides a comprehensive solution for change and configuration management for the Microsoft platform. Configuration Manager 2007 allows you to perform tasks such as deploying operating systems, deploying software applications, deploying software updates, metering software usage, assessing variation from desired configurations, taking hardware and software inventory and remotely administering computers.  You can learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/configurationmanager/en/us/default.aspx

If you want to come out and see all of these pieces of a puzzle put together, check out www.technetevents.com for a listing or our current event schedule.