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Author: Jase T. Wolfe

Can SCCM Configuration Baselines Replace GPOs?

Upfront I’ll state that Active Directory (AD) Group Policy Objects (GPO) are great for what they were originally designed to do: manage foundational settings on a large number of users/computers. Since their original release, there have been some great advancements, such as Group Policy Preferences (GPP), WMI Filtering, and the ability to easily extend with ADMX files. There are also some fe...

Bringing Back the DIP Switch: Saving Those Like-Settings as a Single (Bitwise) Value – Made Easy

Remember the DIP switch? One usually has to be "of a certain age" to vividly remember using those physically manipulated computer components that were there solely to configure Boolean settings for different hardware components. They usually came with 4 or 8 individual switches, but anywhere from 2 to 12 was not unheard of. A quick flick of one or more switch saved settings that configur...

Fully Automate Your Quarterly Build & Capture Process

Best practices has your desktop deployment not installing Windows via the setup.exe each and every time, but rather deploying a captured Windows image and building off of that. You choice of a thin or fat image is up to you and your environmental needs, but periodically executing a Build & Capture (B&C) routine that installs Windows and all the latest service packs and hotfixes is the best...

A Look At The ZTIGather Flow and The CustomSettings.INI File

"I don't understand the CustomSettings.ini file."  I hear this from a high percentage of clients who use MDT in their environment. If they started with an MDT-only deployment position, I will often see a rules file that was primarily configured by MDT and then some light additions, but they often do not have a clear understanding of how the processing works or what each section...

A QuickStart Guide to Using Web Services in MDT / SCCM

A baker doesn’t have the same job as an accountant who doesn’t have the same job as a painter: different tools, different working environment, different products. Whereas you wouldn’t dream of developing a working environment for one of those users and forcing the other two to use it, this often is the base premise for corporate desktops; a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn&#...

Corporate Identity / OEM Branding in Windows 8

I’ve deployed corporate desktops since Windows 95 and I can’t recall a single client that wanted us to build desktops with the default Microsoft-provided images.  As Microsoft released new versions of Windows, they introduced new components that clients wanted customized as well; first the lock screen when the NT line rolled out, then Help & Support page when 2000 became popular, a...

Creating And Managing Shadow Groups

I've always thought of the Active Directory (AD DS) as a box of Legos: give any two kids an identical set and they will come up with something completely different.  Good from a design and flexibility standpoint, but challenging if you implement a design and later the requirements change and/or new features are added to AD DS; a design overhaul could be costly. Take into consideration th...

Pre-Caching Domain Profiles in Windows

Often in desktop deployment, many environmental conditions are assumed and taken for granted.  This can result in a great deal of head scratching when those elements are suddenly taken away.  One of the biggest assumed conditions is the presence of your network when building the desktop.  Although for most large companies the always-connected environment is a given and the idea of b...