Refresh a Windows 7 SP1 Client with Windows 8.1 Using Configuration Manager

Published: May 9, 2014

Applies To: Windows 8.1

This topic will show you how to use a previously created task sequence to refresh a Windows 7 SP1 client with Windows 8.1 using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013. When refreshing a machine to a later version, it appears as an upgrade to the end user, but technically it’s not an in-place upgrade. A computer refresh also involves taking care of user data and settings from the old installation and making sure to restore those at the end of the installation. For more information, see Refresh a Windows 7 Computer with Windows 8.1.

A computer refresh with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager works the same as it does with MDT 2013 Lite Touch installation. Configuration Manager also uses the User State Migration Tool (USMT) 6.3 from the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) 8.1 in the background. A computer refresh with Configuration Manager involves the following steps:

  1. Data and settings are backed up locally in a backup folder.

  2. The partition is wiped, except for the backup folder.

  3. The new operating system image is applied.

  4. Other applications are installed.

  5. Data and settings are restored.

For the purposes of this topic, we will use three machines: DC01, CM01, and PC0003. DC01 is a domain controller and CM01 is a machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. PC0003 is a machine with Windows 7 SP1, on which Windows 8.1 will be deployed. DC01, CM01, and PC003 are all members of the domain for the fictitious Contoso Corporation. For more details on the setup for this topic, please see Proof-Of-Concept Environment.

In this topic, we assume that you have a Windows 7 SP1 client named PC0003 with the Configuration Manager client installed.

  1. On CM01, using the Configuration Manager console, in the Asset and Compliance workspace, right-click Device Collections, and then select Create Device Collection. Use the following settings:

    1. General

    2. Name: Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64

    3. Limited Collection: All Systems

    4. Membership rules:

    5. Direct rule

    6. Resource Class: System Resource

    7. Attribute Name: Name

    8. Value: PC0003

    9. Select Resources

    10. Select PC0003

  2. Review the Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 collection. Don’t continue until you see the PC0003 machine in the collection.

It may take a short while for the collection to refresh; you can view progress via the Colleval.log file. If you want to speed up the process, you can manually update membership on the Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 collection by right-clicking the collection and selecting Update Membership.

Using the Configuration Manager console, in the Software Library workspace, select Task Sequences, right-click Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 RTM, and then select Deploy. Use the following settings:

  • General

    • Collection: Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64

  • Deployment Settings

    • Purpose: Available

    • Make available to the following: Configuration Manager clients, media and PXE

    It’s not necessary to make the deployment available to media and Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) for a computer refresh, but you will use the same deployment for bare-metal deployments later on and you will need it at that point.

  • Scheduling

    • <default>

  • User Experience

    • <default>

  • Alerts

    • <default>

  • Distribution Points

    • <default>

Now you can start the computer refresh on PC0003.

  1. Using the Configuration Manager console, in the Asset and Compliance workspace, in the Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 collection, right-click PC0003 and select Client Notification / Download Computer Policy. Click OK.

    The Client Notification feature is new in Configuration Manager.

  2. On PC0003, using the Software Center (begin using the Start screen, or by clicking the “New software is available” balloon in the system tray), select the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 RTM deployment and click INSTALL.

  3. In the Software Center warning dialog box, click INSTALL OPERATING SYSTEM.

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