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Deploy Windows 8.1 with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Published: May 9, 2014

Applies To: Windows 8.1

If you have Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager in your environment, you will most likely want to use it to deploy Windows 8.1. This topic will show you how to set up System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager for operating system deployment and how to integrate Configuration Manager with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) or, more specifically, MDT 2013.

For the purposes of this topic, we will use four machines: DC01, CM01, PC0003, and PC0004. DC01 is a domain controller and CM01 is a machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. PC0003 and PC0004 are machines with Windows 7 SP1, on which Windows 8.1 will be deployed via both refresh and replace scenarios. In addition to these four ready-made machines, you could also include a few blank virtual machines to be used for bare-metal deployments. DC01, CM01, PC003, and PC0004 are all members of the domain contoso.com for the fictitious Contoso Corporation. For more details on the setup for this topic, please see Proof-Of-Concept Environment.

Figure 1

Figure 1. The machines used in this topic.

Operating system deployment with Configuration Manager is part of the normal software distribution infrastructure, but there are additional components. For example, operating system deployment in Configuration Manager may use the State Migration Point role, which is not used by normal application deployment in Configuration Manager. This section describes the Configuration Manager components involved with the deployment of an operating system, such as Windows 8.1.

  • State migration point (SMP). The state migration point is used to store user state migration data during computer replace scenarios.

  • Distribution point (DP). The distribution point is used to store all packages in Configuration Manager, including the operating system deployment-related packages.

  • Software update point (SUP). The software update point, which is normally used to deploy updates to existing machines, also can be used to update an operating system as part of the deployment process. You also can use offline servicing to update the image directly on the Configuration Manager server.

  • Reporting services point. The reporting services point can be used to monitor the operating system deployment process.

  • Boot images. Boot images are the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 5.0 images Configuration Manager uses to start the deployment.

  • Operating system images. The operating system image package contains only one file, the custom .wim image. This is typically the production deployment image.

  • Operating system installers. The operating system installers were originally added to create reference images using Configuration Manager. Instead, we recommend that you use MDT 2013 Lite Touch to create your reference images. For more information on how to create a reference image, see Create a Windows 8.1 Reference Image.

  • Drivers. Like MDT 2013 Lite Touch, Configuration Manager also provides a repository (catalog) of managed device drivers.

  • Task sequences. The task sequences in Configuration Manager look and feel pretty much like the sequences in MDT 2013 Lite Touch, and they are used for the same purpose. However, in Configuration Manager the task sequence is delivered to the clients as a policy via the Management Point (MP). MDT 2013 provides additional task sequence templates to Configuration Manager.

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