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How to Deploy Operating Systems in Configuration Manager

Updated: February 1, 2012

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Use the procedures and information in this topic to help you deploy operating systems in your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment.

To deploy an operating system, you must build a reference computer and add computers to the Configuration Manager database. You can then deploy the operating system, and optionally, perform a side-by-side deployment. Use the following sections for more information:

You can configure the reference computer manually, or you can build the reference computer and capture the operating system image by using a build and capture task sequence.

noteNote
If you build the reference computer manually, you can capture the operating system image by using capture media. For more information about capture media, see the How to Create Capture Media section in the How to Deploy Operating Systems by Using Media in Configuration Manager topic.

  1. Identify the computer to use as the reference computer.

  2. Configure the reference computer with the appropriate operating system and any other software that is required to create the operating system image that you want to deploy.

    WarningWarning
    At a minimum, install the appropriate operating system and service pack, support drivers, any required software updates, and the appropriate version of Sysprep.

  3. Configure the reference computer to be a member of a workgroup.

  4. Reset the local Administrator password on the reference computer so that the password value is blank.

  5. For computers that run Windows XP, copy the appropriate Sysprep files (sysprep.exe and setupcl.exe) to the C:\Sysprep folder on the reference computer. This step is not required for computers that run an operating system version that is at least Windows Vista SP2.

  6. Run Sysprep by using the command: sysprep /quiet /generalize /reboot

  1. Identify the computer to use as the reference computer.

  2. In the Configuration Manager console, click Software Library.

  3. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and then click Task Sequences.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Task Sequence to start the Create Task Sequence Wizard.

  5. On the Create a New Task Sequence page, select Build and capture a reference operating system image and complete the wizard. For more information about the settings on each page of this wizard, see the How to Create Task Sequences section of the How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager topic.

  6. To add additional steps to the task sequence, select the task sequence that you created and click Edit. For information about how to edit a task sequence, see the How to Edit a Task Sequence section of the How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager topic.

  7. If the reference computer is a Configuration Manager client, deploy the build and capture task sequence to the collection that contains the reference computer. For information about how to deploy the operating system image, see How to Deploy Operating System Images to a Computer.

    noteNote
    If the task sequence has a disk partitioning task sequence step, do not select the Download Program option when you deploy the task sequence.

  8. If the reference computer is not a Configuration Manager client, run the Create Task Sequence Media Wizard to create bootable media that can install the image on the reference computer. For information about how to create bootable media, see the How to Create Bootable Media section of the How to Deploy Operating Systems by Using Media in Configuration Manager.

  9. Alternatively, you can create bootable media such as CD , DVD, or USB Flash drive to manually run the task sequence on the reference computer.

To deploy an operating system to a new computer that is not currently managed by Configuration Manager without using stand-alone media, the new computer must be added to the Configuration Manager database before you deploy the operating system. Although Configuration Manager can automatically discover computers on your network that have a Windows operating system installed, if the computer has no operating system installed, you must import the new computer information by using the Import Computer Information Wizard. This wizard supports importing information about a single computer, or importing information about one or more computers from an external .csv file.

Consider the following factors when you add computers to the Configuration Manager database:

  • If the computer that you import is already in the Configuration Manager database, the computer information that you import overwrites the existing computer information.

  • When you add computers by using a file or when you add a single computer, do not specify data in raw byte format. If the computer information is entered by using raw byte format, the computer import will fail.

  • If you add computers by using a computer information file, you must create the file before you run the Import Computer Information Wizard.

    Create the file by using the comma separated values (CSV) format. Use the following format when you enter the computer information, with each property value in a separate column.

    NEWCOMP1,55555555-5555-5555-5555-555555555555,05:06:07:08:09:0A

  • If you import a computer and then provision the operating system of the computer manually, Configuration Manager considers the computer to be a new client and not the imported computer.

  • If you import a computer to override an existing client and then re-image the operating system for the client by using Configuration Manager, Configuration Manager considers the computer to be a new client.

  • If you import a computer and then provision it by using a PXE-initiated deployment, Configuration Manager matches the computer to the imported computer.

Use the following procedures to import multiple computers by using a computer information file or to import a single computer.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, expand Overview, and then click Devices.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Import Computer information to start the Import Computer Information Wizard.

  4. On the Select Source page, select Import computers using a file, and then click Next.

  5. On the Choose Mapping page, specify the following options, and then click Next.

    • In the Import file box, specify the .csv file that contains the computer information.

    • If the file contains column headings, select the This file has column headings check box. When this check box is selected, the first line of the file is ignored.

    • To change a property that is associated with a column of the file, select the column number and then use Assign as to reassign the property that is associated with the column.

      noteNote
      You can use each Configuration Manager property only once. The Name field must be assigned to one column, and you must also specify a Computer Name, SMBIOS GUID, or MAC Address column. Although both values might be used, each property must be assigned to only one column. You can optionally specify the source computer that is assigned to one column. You can import only one MAC address per computer.

      The Ignore and Variable options can be assigned to multiple columns. Ignore is the default option. If you assign a column as a Variable, you must also enter the variable to be used.

  6. On the Data Preview page, review the computer information provided by the file. If the file does not contain valid data for the properties that you specified, you must exit the wizard and correct the information in the file or select a file that has valid data.

    ImportantImportant
    If the computer information file contains duplicate MAC addresses, the wizard will succeed, but Configuration Manager adds only the last computer with the duplicate MAC address to the Configuration Manager database.

  7. On the Choose Target Collection page, specify the collections to add the computers to. By default, the computers are assigned to the All Systems collection. To add the computers to a specific collection, click Browse. The imported computers are statically added to the specified collection. If you do not want to add the computers to any additional collections, select Do not add computers to a collection.

  8. Complete the wizard.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, expand Overview, and then click Devices.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Import Computer information to start the Import Computer information Wizard.

  4. On the Select Source page, select Import single computer, and then click Next.

  5. On the Single Computer page, specify the following settings, and then click Next.

    • Computer Name: Specify the name of the computer.

    • Specify either the MAC address (12 hex characters) or the SMBIOS GUID (32 hex characters) of the computer, or both the MAC address and SMBIOS GUID of the computer.

      Specify the SMBIOS GUID of the computer in UUID format.

      WarningWarning
      If the SMBIOS GUID is specified, do not enter the GUID in raw byte format.

    • Source computer: Optionally, specify a reference computer to obtain the user state and the settings to migrate to the new computer. If you specify a reference computer, you must specify the user accounts to migrate to the new computer when you create an association between the computer to add and the reference computer.

      noteNote
      For more information about how to create the association, see the To Create a Computer Association procedure in the How to Perform a Side-by-Side Operating System Deployment section of this topic.

  6. On the Data Preview page, review the data that is mapped to a Configuration Manager property, and then click Next.

  7. On the Choose Target Collection page, specify whether you want to add the computer to the All Systems collection or to a specific collection, and then click Next.

  8. Complete the wizard.

You use task sequences to deploy operating system images to destination computers. This means that you must create a task sequence that references the boot image used to boot the destination computer, the operating system image that you want to install on the destination computer, and any other additional content, such as other applications, that you want installed. Then you must deploy the task sequence to the collection that contains the destination computer.

For information about creating and deploying task sequences, see the How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager topic.

You can use Configuration Manager to perform a side-by-side computer deployment. Side-by-side computer deployments are useful for computer upgrade scenarios when you want to move the user state and files from an existing computer to a destination computer that has an updated operating system.

  1. Import the new destination computer into the Configuration Manager database. See, How to Add a Computer to the Configuration Manager Database

  2. Create a computer association between the existing computer and the destination computer. See the How to Create a Computer Association for Side-by-Side Deployment section in the How to Manage the User State in Configuration Manager topic.

  3. Capture the user state from the existing computer. See the How to Capture and Restore User State Data When You Use a State Migration Point section in the How to Manage the User State in Configuration Manager topic.

  4. Create a task sequence to deploy the operating system to the destination computer. How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager

  5. Restore the user state on the destination computer. See the How to Capture and Restore User State Data When You Use a State Migration Point section in the How to Manage the User State in Configuration Manager topic.

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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