How to install Windows 7 remotely?

By : |December 29, 2009 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: The  new version of MDT was released recently is  meant to automate deployment of Windows 2008 and Windows 7 in large environments.

MDT 2010 supports two ways to remotely deploy Windows -Lite Touch Installation (LTI) and Zero Touch Installation (ZTI). The ZTI mode requires System Configuration Manager 2007, while LTI uses deployment workbench to deploy images. With LTI, remote deployment of Windows can be performed over a network using a shared folder and removable storage, i.e. CD or DVD. 

LTI does not require System Configuration Manager and all deployment processes can be initiated manually or automatically with Windows deployment services. Through LTI, both partially automated as well as fully automated deployment of Windows can be performed.

Here we will talk about how you can install Windows 7 remotely using MDT 2010 with LTI type installation.

Prerequisites
To get started, download  MDT 2010 toolkit from http://tinyurl.com/2n3mrx  and Windows Automated Installation toolkit (Windows AIK) from http://tinyurl.com/l8d7bn. You would  need source files for Windows 7 as well as drivers for the target machine and of course a D.C should be present in the network with Windows 2003 or 2008. Here, we have used Windows 2008. MDT 2010 supports Windows 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Vista with SP1 and SP2.

Before going ahead and installing MDT 2010, you also need to plan your storage space.

Once you have downloaded all the components, install MDT 2010 as well as Windows AIK. Once you have Installed Windows AIK, open ‘Deployment Workbench’ from Start Menu, under MDT 2010. Now in ‘Deployment Workbench’ console, browse to details, go to installed and check if Windows automated installation toolkit is shown as installed.

Configuring MDT 2010
To configure MDT 2010, first you need to  create a deployment share. To do this,  open ‘Deployment Workbench’, right click on the deployment shares and choose the option ‘New Deployment Shares’. This will launch ‘New Deployment Share Wizard’. Here the wizard will ask you to browse to folder, where you plan to keep Windows deployment images, this can be a local folder or a network shared folder.

The wizard will ask you, whether it should ask user for a product key as well as admin password during the installation; choose according to your scenario. Once the wizard has finished, a deployment share will be created. Next step is to add operating system files to the deployment share.

To do this, select the share we just created and from the actions pane, choose the option Import Operating System. This will launch ‘Import Operating System’ wizard. Here, select the option Full set of source files and in the next step, provide the path where the source files of OS i.e. Windows 7 reside.

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Once ‘Import operating system’ wizard has finished, you can view them under operating systems. Also, if the source contains multiple operating systems, then also all versions will be visible.

This can be your Windows official DVD or if you already have files on a network share. Once you finish the wizard, it will start copying files to deployment share, this could take a while.

 

Once you have added the OS, you  need to add the device drivers. These drivers will be automatically added to Windows pre-installation environment, and deployed as part of the Windows. To do this, again from the ‘Deployment Workbench’ tree, select the option Out-of-Box drivers and from the action pane, choose the option Import Device driver to launch the Import Driver Wizard. In the wizard, simply specify the path where driver for the target workstation or server reside, depending upon the scenario. Once the wizard finishes, it will copy the drivers to out-of-the-box driver folder in deployment share we created earlier. Similarly if you want some  applications to be installed with the Windows, under deployment share tree, select application, and from actions pane click on ‘ New Application’ and just follow the wizard.

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Every time you make changes to the Settings of MDT 2010 or change any files on the share you would need to update deployment share.

Now we need to create the task sequence in which Windows will be deployed. The  process remains same to the previous ones. From the ‘Development Workbench’ console, select task sequences and click on New Task Sequence from the Action pane. The Wizard will first ask you to provide a task sequence id and a name. Next you will be asked to select a template for task sequence; this can be a bit tricky. MDT 2010 comes with various task sequence templates to match common deployment scenarios. Choose one that suits your environment  best.

Next you would be asked to select the OS image for which you are creating the sequence. The wizard will then ask you for other details such as admin password, product key, etc.

The last step in configuring MDT 2010 is to update the deployment share. This would create the Windows pre-installation environment required to perform LTI based deployments. Updating deployment share is simple. From the Actions pane,  select Update Deployment Share and follow the wizard. Also every time you modify any of the above settings, such as task sequence or addition of driver, you would need to update deployment share again.

How to deploy
Once the updation of deployment share is finished, under deployment share, you will find a boot folder which should have LiteTouchPE_x86.iso and LiteTouchPE_x86.wim files or LiteTouchPE_x64.iso and LiteTouchPE_x64.wim files. Now to deploy Windows 7 or 2008, browse to boot folder and burn this ISO image (depending upon your architecture) in a DVD or CD, and then you need to boot the target machine with DVD. Now you need to boot the target machine with this media, once the machine has started, Windows pre-installation environment would start Windows deployment wizard.

Here you would need to perform few tasks such as providing credentials to access the network share, where source files are placed, providing computer name, etc. Once you finish the wizard, it will start installing selected version of Windows on the target machine.

If you are in a scenario where, all workstations have similar configuration, you can also capture image of a machine using ‘deployment workbench’ and install the same image on other workstations using the similar process.

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