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Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010

Updated: September 22, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7

Not only does Ben want to reset users’ profile folders when they finish their session, he also wants to reset shared computers so that they discard any system changes that Windows made as part of normal activity. Microsoft does not offer a tool similar to Windows Disk Protection that supports Windows 7. However, Ben can reinstall Windows 7 on shared computers each night—resetting them daily.

Windows 7 and the Windows AIK provide flexible and robust tools for automating the Windows 7 installation. On their own, however, these tools can be difficult to automate and use for shared-computer scenarios.

Ben needs a simple solution that fully automates the Windows 7 deployment tools so that he can schedule it to reset. The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 provides such a solution, and it is a free download at the Microsoft Download Center. MDT 2010 provides a framework for using the Windows 7 deployment tools, and Ben can customize MDT 2010 for the shared-computer scenario. To learn more about MDT 2010, see Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

To use MDT 2010 to automatically rebuild shared computers each night, Ben must do the following:

  1. Create a deployment shared resource and stock it with Windows 7 source files, applications, device drivers, and package files.

  2. Create a task sequence based on the Standard Client Task Sequence that MDT 2010 provides to install Windows 7 on shared computers.

  3. Configure properties in CustomSettings.ini or the MDT 2010 database to fully automate installation of the task sequence. The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Sample Guide, part of the MDT 2010 documentation set, contains numerous examples that show how to fully automate installation.

  4. Make the deployment shared resource accessible to the shared computers. Because Ben’s shared computers are domain-joined and have network access, Ben is hosting the deployment shared resource on a file server. This simplifies maintenance for Ben when he must update the applications, device drivers, and packages on the deployment shared resource. However, you can also copy the deployment shared resource to a local hard disk drive and install Windows 7 from there.

  5. Schedule a task on the shared computers to automatically start installation each night, making sure to include the credentials of a local administrator account that has access to the deployment shared resource. Because each new installation will not have the scheduled task, Ben will use Group Policy preferences to automatically schedule the installation task. Alternatively, you can write a script to schedule the installation task.

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