Deploying the Reference Windows 10 Image using SCCM 2012 R2 (SP1)

This is the final part of a three-part series on Windows 10 OSD using MDT and SCCM 2012 R2.

Recap: In the first post we built our reference image using MDT and customized our default profile. In the second post we created our unattended answer file and captured our reference image.

Here, we’ll start off with importing our reference image into SCCM and then creating our task sequence to deploy the image. We’ll then create a package for our unattend.xml answer file to be used in our task sequence.

I’m going to assume you already have SCCM up and running and have access to your SCCM software repository.

Step 1) Import the Windows 10 Reference Image into SCCM

1.1) Copy the Reference Image to the SCCM Software Repository

We left the previous post after having captured the image using MDT, which saved the image into the “Captures” folder inside the MDT deployment share root.

Before importing the image into SCCM we have to copy/move the image to the SCCM software repository.

In my case I have a folder called “Sources” where I store all my software, packages, and images relating to SCCM. I suggest organizing the software repository with a clear folder structure. My folder structure for storing OS images looks like this:

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You may have a different folder structure – what matters is that it should be organized so you it’s easier to locate everything.

1.2) Import the Image into SCCM

Your Software Library workspace should equally be organized with a clear folder structure.

a) Open the SCCM console and click on the Software Library workspace. Expand the “Operating Systems” folder and then expand “Operating System Images”.

b) Right-click on the “Operating System Images” node and select Folder > Create Folder. Name the folder “Production Images”.

c) Then create a subfolder called “Windows 10 ENT x64” or something similar according to your own naming conventions.

d) Right-click on the “Windows 10 ENT x64” folder you just created and select “Add Operating System Image”

e) Enter the full UNC path to the reference image which you copied into your software repository in step 1.1 above.

f) Click on Next and give your reference image a name. I suggest the name should clearly identify the operating system, the edition and architecture. It’s also a good idea to append the name with a build number for your images. Personally my build number is the date the image was built, in the format of 050216.

g) Click on Next twice and complete the wizard.

1.3) Distribute the image to the Distribution Points

a) Right-click on the image you just imported and select Distribute Content

b) Click on Next. Click on Add > Distribution Point. Put a check next to the Distribution Point you want to distribute the image to.

c) Click on Next > Summary and complete the wizard.

d) Select the reference image and you should notice a yellow circle under “Content Status”. Give it a few minutes and this should turn GREEN as shown below:

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Step 2) Add the Unattend.xml Answer File to SCCM

2.1 Copy the Answer File to the SCCM Software Repository

Similar to step 1.1 above we have to copy the unattend.xml answer file into the SCCM software repository. This is where I’ve stored my answer file for Windows 10:

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2.2 Create a Package for the Answer File

a) In the Software Library workspace, expand the “Application Management” folder and then expand the “Packages” node.

b) Create a folder called “Answer Files”. Then create a subfolder called “Windows 10 ENT x64” or similar to suit your naming convention.

c) Right-click on the subfolder you just created and select “Create Package”

d) Give your package a name. Mine is a pretty generic answer file which sets the locale, language, copyprofile, etc so I’m calling it “Unattend XML – Windows 10 ENT x64”. Also give a description – maybe just jot down what this answer file is specifically being used for.

e) Put a check next to “This package contains source files”

f) Click on the Browse button. Enter the full UNC path to the answer file located in your software repository, which you copied over in step 2.1 above

g) Click on Next. Click on “Do not create a program” and complete the wizard.

2.3 Distribute the Answer File Package to Distribution Points

a) Right-click on the answer file package you just create and select Distribute Content

b) Click on Next. Click on Add > Distribution Point. Put a check next to the Distribution Point you want to distribute the image to.

c) Click on Next > Summary and complete the wizard.

d) Select the answer file package and you should notice a yellow circle under “Content Status which should then turn GREEN

 

Step 3) Create the Task Sequence to Install the Reference Image

Here we’ll be creating a standard task sequence to install our reference image and apply the answer file while doing so.

(If you have MDT integrated with SCCM then you can create a MDT task sequence. This adds several additional steps to the task sequence and does have a number of advantages which will be the subject of a future post.)

3.1 Create the Task Sequence

a) Expand the “Operating Systems” folder, then expand “Task Sequences”.

b) I suggest you create separate subfolders to organize your task sequences for each operating system. Create a folder called “Windows 10 ENT x64” or similar.

c) Right-click on the folder and select “Create Task Sequence”

d) Give your task sequence a name, such as “Install Windows 10 ENT x64 (Current Branch)”

e) Click on Browse and select a Boot Image. Click on Next

f) Click on Browse and select the reference image you imported in step 1.2

g) Enter your Windows 10 product key and licensing mode

h) Select “Enable the account and specify the local administrator password” and enter a password for the local admin account. Click on Next.

i) Click on “Join a Domain” and choose the domain this task sequence is to join computers to. Also provide the OU to store the computer account in the domain.

j) Click on “Set” and enter the details of an account with permission to join your domain. ideally this should be a service account.

k) Click on Next. A configuration manager client should already be selected. Double check this and change it if necessary.

l) Click on Next. Uncheck all three check boxes here (using these settings is beyond the scope of this post)

m) Click on Next. Select what software updates to install, if any.

n) Click on Next. If you want to install any applications as part of the task sequence click on the yellow star button and choose an application (and repeat if necessary). Complete the rest of the wizard.

3.2 Edit the Task Sequence

a) Right-click on the task sequence you just created and select Edit.

b) Select the “Pre-provision BitLocker” step and the click on Add > General > Set Task Sequence Variable

c) Name the variable “Set OSDPreserveDriveLetter”

d) Type “OSDPreserveDriveLetter” in the Task Sequence Variable field

e) Type “false” in the value field

3.2.1 Apply the Answer File to the Task Sequence

a) Select the Apply Operating System step

b) Put a check next to “Use an unattended or Sysprep answer file for a custom installation”

c) Click on Browse and select the answer file package you created in step 2.2

d) In the File name field type in the name of the answer file. Double-check the name in the physical location of the answer file to make sure you got it right. Mine is simply called Unattend.xml (don’t forget the .xml extension)

e) Your task sequence should look something like this:

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Step 4) Deploy the Task Sequence

Now that our task sequence has been create we need to deploy it to our target computers. Ideally you will have organized your computers into collections.

a) Right-click on the task sequence and select Deploy

b) Click on Browse next to Collection and select a collection to deploy your task sequence to. If this is to be deployed to computers that are unknown to SCCM (like brand new or bare metal computers) then choose the “All Unknown Computers” collection.

c) Go through the rest of the wizard and choose the following options:

  • Purpose: Available
  • Make available to the following: Only media and PXE
  • Schedule when this deployment will become available: If you want this task sequence to be available to install on the device collection immediately then schedule the deployment 23 hours in the past (this one’s a well-documented bug with SCCM). Otherwise choose a date/time to your liking
  • Complete the rest of the wizard with the default values

Step 5) Install the Windows 10 Reference Image on Target Computer

a) Finally, we’ve now come to the stage of actually running the task sequence on a target computer to install our reference Windows 10 image.

b) PXE-boot a computer which belongs to the collection to which you’ve deployed the task sequence in step 4 above

c) Enter the password (if any) to authenticate into the SCCM Task Sequence Wizard

d) Select the task sequence you created and deployed to your collection and click on Next

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e) Your task sequence should start running, which will install your Windows 10 reference image and apply the unattend.xml answer file

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After the task sequence finished I checked my installation to make sure all was well. As you can see my desktop icons are exactly where I had them in my reference image

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Even my Start menu layout has been preserved, all thanks to the CopyProfile setting in the answer file (covered in step 2.4 c in the previous post)

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This concludes our series on Windows 10 OSD. I’ll be coming up with further posts to enhance our OSD process with custom steps in the task sequence, applying group policy to our Windows 10 machines, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Deploying the Reference Windows 10 Image using SCCM 2012 R2 (SP1)

  1. I have a legacy WDS server used for deploying Windows 7. I am just testing Windows 10 deployments so I don’t have PXE enabled on my SCCM server. Can I choose Make available to the following and choose Only Configuration Manager Clients? It should only pop up on the clients in that collection correct? I definitely don’t want it to go to all clients, but I don’t think PXE will work if I already have an old WDS still up and running.

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