Windows 10 “Creators Update”

As a true fan of Windows 10 and an avid Windows Insider watching the Windows 10 Event was super exciting for me – as an enthusiast I hugely enjoy watching new technology and hardware being unveiled live. Microsoft announced some great things in the event but my focus was all on the Windows 10 Creators Update and I definitely liked what I saw was coming. You can watch the event on demand right here.

Watch the video below titled “Introducing the Windows 10 Creators Update” and keep a close watch for some of the features coming in the update, due in early 2017:

Here’s a look at some of my favourite among the many features coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Paint 3D

We’ve been wondering all these years what Paint is STILL doing in Windows but now Microsoft decided to rewrite the app from the ground app. I first heard of this form Paul Thurrott on his website, but the video above shows what an awesome job Microsoft has done with Paint 3D.

Microsoft has made this as simple as taking a photograph, take a look at this GIF from the event below:

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You can see an actual sand castle is being scanned using a smart phone which is then instantly converted into a full 3D model.  Continue reading

Windows 10, Delivery Optimisation and BranchCache

Delivery Optimisation is a Windows 10 feature which, when enabled, essentially creates a peer-to-peer ‘network’ of sorts where each peer can cache downloaded Windows 10 updates locally on their hard drive. The idea is to conserve bandwidth by allowing Windows 10 devices to send and receive updates from one another on the same network without having to download it from WSUS or Windows Update. This, of course, is especially useful in slow network or metered environments.

The introduction of this feature doesn’t affect you if you’re using SCCM Software Update Point (SUP) for patch management and Windows 10 servicing. Delivery Optimisation only kicks in when the Windows Update agent contacts Windows Update (via Internet) or WSUS. By contrast, with SUP the updates are downloaded to the SUP server and then delivered to the PC which is where the Windows Update agent installs them from.

Delivery Optimisation is enabled by default on 1511 and 1607 though it’s configured differently depending on the Windows 10 edition. Enterprise, Enterprise LTSB and Education editions are configured to only use PCs on the corporate network as peers (LAN mode). Pro and Home editions default to using peers from the Internet (Internet mode).

There’s a Group Policy setting called “Download Mode” (in Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Delivery Optimization) which you use to configure Delivery Optimisation “modes” (referred to in the above paragraph). Here is a table showing you what download modes are available to you and the functionality it provides when set:  Continue reading

SCCM: Preparing for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

You’ll find there’s a little bit of pre-preparation work that needs to be done to get SCCM Current Branch ready for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I spent the weekend doing this myself on my SCCM 1602 lab and thought somebody might find it helpful to have it documented here.

To be clear, this isn’t a how-to post but more of an informational one. What follows is a set of tasks that need to be carried out on SCCM 1602 along with links to downloads and further information for each task.

1) First things first, upgrade SCCM CB to 1606. (Upgrading from 1511 to 1606 pretty much works exactly the same as upgrading from 1602 as described by Prajwal Desai in his blog).

2) After upgrading you need to install hotfix KB3184153 from the Updates and Servicing node to fix an issue with compliance policy rules in version 1606. If you switched to the fast ring to upgrade to 1606 you’ll also have KB3180992 to install.

3) Install KB3159706 on your SCCM 1606 SUP Servers to “enable the provisioning of decryption keys in WSUS for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. This update is necessary for WSUS to be able to natively decrypt the encrypted Windows 10 Anniversary Update packages, and any subsequent Windows 10 feature upgrades”. Don’t forget to carry out the manual steps described on the support page.

Continue reading

Disabling the Windows 10 First Log-in Animation using Group Policy

If you’re not a fan of the first log-in animation on Windows 10 computers then you can disable this very easily using Group Policy. I decided to test this in my lab as I was curious to see what the first log-in experience would be like after having the animation disabled.

Here’s a quick rundown on how to do this:

  • Create/Open your GPO and browse to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Logon
  • Double-click on Show first sign-in animation and select “Disabled”

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If, like me, you’re curious what the first-login experience is like after disabling the animation then I’ve got a before and an after video below for you to check out. Continue reading

Installing the Windows 10 1511 Group Policy Administrative Templates

The administrative templates for Windows 10 15111 were released by Microsoft a couple of months ago but I only just got round to installing it on my lab domain. Here’s the procedure how to do this, if anybody wants to know.

1) To begin with, download the Windows 10 1511 administrative templates from Microsoft and run the installer on your domain controller

2) Make a note of the folder it’s being installed on. By default this is set to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Group Policy\Windows 10 Version 1511\

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3) Browse to the folder you just installed the administrative templates on. Open the “Policy Definitions” folder.

4) Open a new Explorer window and browse to your domain’s Group Policy Central Store. You can do this from a Run command window – type in the path to your central store in the format of \\Domain.com\SYSVOL\Domain.com\Policies\PolicyDefinitions

5) Copy everything from the “Policy Definitions” folder you opened in step 4 and paste it into your Group Policy central store which you opened in step 5. If you have the Windows 10 RTM admin templates in the central store make sure you replace the files in the destination.

The updated admin templates also include the following brand new templates:

  • AppPrivacy.admx
  • CloudContent.admx
  • FeedbackNotifications.admx
  • WindowsStore.admx
  • WinMaps.admx

The FeedbackNotifications.admx template, for example, provides the following setting:

Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Data Collection and Preview Builds > Do not show feedback notifications

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Open a GPO and browse to the above setting to verify the new administrative templates have been installed successfully.

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. Continue reading

Windows 10 OSD Error: Windows Could Not Finish Configuring The System

I’ve been racking my brains over this one for the past couple of days so I thought I’d chalk up my findings here in the hope of saving the headache for somebody else.

I came across this very unexpected error message when my VM rebooted right after the Apply Operating System action while running a task sequence to install a custom Windows 10 image with an answer file:

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(I was too busy troubleshooting the problem and didn’t think of taking a screenshot until it was too late. I had to Google the error message to find this image for the purposes of this post.)

Long story short, the clue to resolving this lies in the setuperr.log file in the C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC directory. Continue reading