Author: Maik Koster

MDT Wizard Studio beta released

The MDT Wizard Editor is probably one of the most useful tool if it comes to editing the Lite Touch Wizard files. It especially simplifies the pretty tedious part of editing the xml files and the embedded HTML content of each wizard pane. However the current version of it dates back to October 2009 and with this didn’t support any of the changes, that came with MDT 2012 and MDT 2012 Update 1. One ...

Compare Active Directory computer accounts with Configuration Manager resources

Despite all discovery methods, Health scripts and other cleanup efforts it might be helpful from time to time to simply compare all the computer account objects that we have in Active Directory with our resources in ConfigMgr. There are a couple posts available, that demonstrate how to integrate information from Active Directory into SQL reports. See e.g. “How to add AD data to ConfigMgr reporting...

MDT Database version history

As you might know, there is a whole bunch of settings/properties in MDT that drive the processing of MDT. And with every new version of MDT, the amount of settings typically just grows, but sometimes, they also drop the usage of some of them. Most of these settings are also available in the Database, that comes with MDT, and most of the new settings will also be published to the database, as soon ...

MDT Monitoring Deep Dive IV – Sending more information

In my post MDT Monitoring Deep Dive II – Consuming the data yourself, I showed you how you can write your own web service, that consumes the MDT monitoring information. The next thing we will cover is, how we can send even more information from MDT and also make use of a pretty hidden feature in this monitoring option I blogged about in the last post. Send additional information As we have seen in...

MDT Monitoring Deep Dive III – Returning settings to a Computer

If you enable the MDT Monitoring, you also enable kind of a “hidden” feature, that will give you just another way of setting properties on computers that are being deployed. One of the most important tasks in MDT is the gather process. It collects information locally on the client computer like hardware info etc. It evaluates the rules configured in the customsettings.ini and can also query databa...

MDT Deployment Wizard goes JQuery – Combining VBScript and JavaScript

As you are well aware, JavaScript is, what drives our current online world, make it more dynamic then ever. In opposite to this, VBScript is, what drives almost everything in MDT, giving us full flexibility in our deployments, no matter which version of Windows we are using it on. But what most aren’t aware of is, that those languages easily talk to each other. “Why would I care?” you might ask. W...

MDT Monitoring – Deep Dive II – Consuming the data yourself

As mentioned in my last post, MDT 2012 comes with an interesting monitoring option. It installs a web service, where events are being posted to and which the workbench queries to get the current status of all running and recently finished deployments. But as we also got aware, it’s posting a lot more information as visible in the workbench. So if you would like to see all the stuff that’s going on...

MDT Monitoring – Deep Dive I

The new monitoring feature is probably one of the most interesting and underestimated features of MDT 2012. In this version, its just some “initial” implementation, but it has great potential and in contrast to other custom extensions that have been available before, it’s tightly integrated and working out-of-the-box with support from Microsoft. What I won’t cover in this post is how to set it up ...

New features in MDT 2012 – Download files from the internet

Sometimes it would be nice to be able to download some files from the internet or intranet during deployments. Maybe to get some updated tools like bginfo.exe or store some configuration or wizard files outside of your boot image etc. This is quite easy to achieve for files that are located on a network share, as MDT has some built-in support for this since quite some time already and I’ve recentl...

Handling lists in MDT web service calls – Adding Computers / Users to Active Directory groups

A common question if it comes to deployments is, how to add a computer (or user) to one or several Active Directory groups. As you probably know, I generally prefer using web services for any Active Directory related task, as this avoids a lot of typical issues like permission problems, adding ADSI to the WinPE etc. Luckily the Deployment Web Service, which is freely available on CodePlex, has som...

Offline Domain Join with MDT

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 come with a new feature called “Offline Domain Join”. With this, you get the possibility to join a computer or member server to the domain, even if that computer/server currently isn’t connected to the domain. Why would I need that, you might ask. Well, think about remote workers or remote technicians, that might only have a VPN connection to your network. Or y...

Extending the MDT Documentation – Some goodies from ZTIUtility.vbs – String and File handling

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit comes with a pretty extensive and almost complete documentation, which is even more remarkable, as it’s a free tool. But even this almost complete documentation, it’s lacking some information that might be helpful for some of you. I’ll start with two things that are available in the ZTIGather.vbs. Why should you care? Well, ZTIGather.vbs is more or less THE core sc...

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