Developing

Figure 3 illustrates the primary tasks completed during the Developing Phase. These activities consist primarily of completing the base build and then extending it with additional applications or other components that may be required within the environment.

Figure 3. Developing Phase activities

Figure 3. Developing Phase activities

On This Page

Roles and Responsibilities Roles and Responsibilities
Understanding the Build Process Understanding the Build Process
Adding Applications Adding Applications
Configuring Builds Configuring Builds
Configuring Deployment Points Configuring Deployment Points
Customizing Windows PE Customizing Windows PE
Capturing an Image Capturing an Image
Milestone: Images Created Milestone: Images Created

Roles and Responsibilities

All six role clusters from the MSF Team Model play a role in the Developing Phase of the initiative. Table 5 lists those roles and defines the focus areas for each role cluster. See Microsoft Solutions Framework at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/msf/default.mspx for more information about MSF Team Model role clusters.

Table 5. Roles and Responsibilities During the Developing Phase

Role

Focus

Product Management

  • Managing customer expectations

Program Management

  • Managing the functional specification

  • Project management

  • Updating plans

Development

  • Code creation

  • Documentation

  • Image creation

  • Infrastructure development

Test

  • Documentation review

  • Functional testing

  • Issues identification

User Experience

  • Training

  • Usability testing

Release Management

  • Deployment checklists

  • Operations plans

  • Site preparation checklists

  • Updated pilot plans

Understanding the Build Process

Creating an image from a build is essentially a LTI deployment process (containing applications, language packs, and so on), which ends by capturing an image of the destination computer in the lab. The following list outlines the overall process for using Deployment Workbench to create and capture operating system images:

  1. Prepare the distribution share by storing operating system source files, applications, out-of-box device drivers, and packages in it. The Computer Imaging System feature team initially prepared the distribution share during the Planning Phase of this project. Updates to this configuration will be necessary as the team develops each build.

  2. Create and configure a build, which associates an operating system with an unattended setup answer file (Unattend.xml or Unattend.txt) and a task sequence. A build essentially represents an operating system configuration, including a product key, installation and configuration tasks, and other settings.

  3. Create and configure a lab deployment point, which contains the settings necessary to connect to the distribution share and install a build from it.

  4. Update the deployment point to create Windows PE images that automatically connect to the lab deployment point, and then begin installation.

  5. Start the destination computer using the Windows PE image created in the previous step, and then install a build from the distribution share. During the initial interview, the Windows Deployment Wizard will prompt whether to create a custom image after LTI deployment is complete.

After capturing the custom image, the Computer Imaging System feature team can add the image to the distribution share as a custom operating system image. For detailed instructions to complete this process, see “Appendix F: Capturing a LTI Image.”

Note Capturing an image for SMS 2003 OSD is slightly different than capturing an image for LTI. Instead of allowing the Windows Deployment Wizard to capture the image, you allow it to prepare the destination computer for image capture by the SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard. After the computer shuts down, you start the computer using the Image Capture CD to run the SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard. For more information, see Appendix G, "Capturing a ZTI Image."

Adding Applications

During the Developing Phase, the Application Management feature team has repackaged applications or automated their installation. Core applications are common to most computers in the organization; supplemental applications are not. For more information about repackaging applications and the differences between core and supplemental applications, see the Application Management Feature Team Guide.

The first step in adding applications to a build is to add them to the distribution share. Deployment Workbench can install the application from its original network location, or it can copy the application source files to the distribution share. In either case, the Computer Imaging System feature team specifies the commands for installing the application when the team adds it to the distribution share. See “Applications” in “Appendix B: Configuring the Distribution Share” for detailed instructions on adding applications to the distribution share.

After the Computer Imaging System feature team has added an application to the distribution share, team members can install it in one of two ways:

  • During the task sequence. Application installations added to the task sequence—the sequence of tasks that occur during installation to prepare, install, and configure the build on the destination computer—occur when BDD 2007 executes the task sequence on the destination computer.

  • During the Windows Deployment Wizard. During the interview, the Windows Deployment Wizard prompts the installer with a list of applications that are available for installation. The installer can then choose which applications to install.

During the Planning Phase of this project, the Computer Imaging System feature team chose among imaging strategies: thick image, thin image, and hybrid image. How the team deploys applications differs depending on the strategy:

  • Thick image. Install applications to the build the team is using to create disk images. Team members can install applications by using the Windows Deployment Wizard, or they can add applications to the task sequence. For instructions to install applications during the task sequence, see “Appendix D: Editing the Task Sequence.”

  • Thin image. Application deployment likely occurs outside of operating system deployment, probably using a systems-management infrastructure such as SMS 2003. See the Application Management Feature Team Guide.

  • Hybrid image. The Computer Imaging System feature team installs applications to the build it’s deploying to destination computers (likely a custom image) and possibly installs additional applications using a systems-management infrastructure. The team can install the applications by using the Windows Deployment Wizard or by adding them to the task sequence. For detailed instructions on installing applications during the task sequence, see “Appendix D: Editing the Task Sequence.”

Note   Although it is highly recommended that all core applications be scripted for an automated installation, the applications need not support silent installation. It is possible to insert into the task sequence simple reminders of where certain applications should be installed. When the system reaches this part of the build, it stops; the developer can manually install the application, respond to the prompt, and then allow the system to continue processing. This approach is not recommended, but it is possible.

Caution   Do not allow an application to restart the computer. BDD 2007 must control restarts or the task sequence will fail. Use the command-line property REBOOT=REALLYSUPPRESS to prevent some Windows Installer–based applications from restarting, for example. To cause BDD 2007 to restart the computer after installing an application, select the Reboot the computer after installing this application check box in the Application Properties dialog box of Deployment Workbench as described in “Appendix B: Configuring the Distribution Share.”

Configuring Builds

A build binds operating system source files with a configuration. Builds include:

  • Operating system. Choose an operating system or custom image to use for the build.

  • Unattended setup answer file (Unattend.xml or Unattend.txt). Create an answer file that describes how to install and configure the operating system on the destination computer. For example, the answer file can contain a product key, organization name, and information necessary to join the computer to a domain.

  • Task sequence. Each build has a default task sequence. This sequence can be optionally customized as described in “Appendix C: Creating Builds.”

Editing the Answer File

An answer file contains settings that can be configured to perform an unattended installation of Windows. Windows Vista answer files are .xml files that are commonly named Unattend.xml. Use Windows SIM to edit Unattend.xml. The Computer Imaging System feature team can edit the answer file associated with each build added to a distribution share. Deployment Workbench loads the build’s answer file in Windows SIM. For instructions on editing a build’s answer file, see “Appendix C: Creating Builds.” For more information about Windows Vista answer files, see the Unattended Windows Setup Reference in the Windows AIK. For more information about using Windows SIM, see the Windows Automated Installation Kit User’s Guide in the Windows AIK.

Windows XP Professional answer files are .txt files that are commonly named Unattend.txt. Use Windows Setup Manager or a text editor to edit Unattend.txt. Like Unattend.xml, the Computer Imaging System feature team can edit the answer file associated with Windows XP Professional builds. For more information about Windows XP Professional answer files, see the Microsoft Windows Corporate Deployment Tools User’s Guide (Deploy.chm) and the Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Reference (Ref.chm), both of which are in the Deploy.cab file in the Support\Tools folder on the Windows XP CD-ROM.

Editing the Task Sequence

The Task Sequencer runs the task sequence top to bottom in the order specified. Each task in the sequence is a step, and steps can be organized in to groups and subgroups. When the Computer Imaging System feature team creates a build in Deployment Workbench, Deployment Workbench creates a default task sequence for the build.

Task sequences contain the following types of items:

  • Tasks (steps). Within a task sequence, tasks do the actual work. Tasks are commands that the Task Sequencer runs during the sequence, such as partitioning the disk, capturing user state, and installing the operating system. In the default task sequence, most tasks are commands that run scripts.

  • Groups. The task sequence can be organized into groups—or folders that can contain subgroups and tasks. Groups can be nested as necessary. For example, the default task sequence puts tasks in groups by phase and deployment type.

The Computer Imaging System feature team can filter both tasks and groups, including the groups and tasks they contain, based on conditions the team specifies. Groups are especially useful for filtering, because an entire collection of tasks can be run based upon a condition such as the deployment phase or type of deployment. “Appendix D: Editing the Task Sequence,” provides detailed instructions for editing a build’s task sequence.

Caution   BDD 2007 provides out-of-the-box support for partitioning and formatting the entire hard disk in New Computer scenarios. While editing the ZTIdiskpart.txt  script to create multiple partitions is possible, doing so has downstream consequences for which must be tested.

Configuring Deployment Points

Whereas a distribution share contains the files necessary to install and configure a build on a destination computer, a deployment point defines a subset of those files and how to connect to them. For example, the distribution share might contain multiple operating systems and hundreds of applications. A deployment point defines which of those files to distribute and how to access them through a network connection or removable media.

BDD 2007 supports four types of deployment points:

  • Lab. This is a basic, single-server deployment point. This deployment point references all the content in the distribution share. When building custom images, the Computer Imaging System feature team will usually use a lab deployment point.

  • Network. This is a subset of the distribution share that can be replicated to many servers based on the organization’s requirements. The Computer Imaging System feature team can choose the builds, images, device drivers, updates, and applications that are replicated to a network deployment point.

  • Media. This is a subset of the distribution share that the Computer Imaging System feature team can put on a DVD, Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash disk, and so on to perform stand-alone, potentially network-disconnected deployments.

  • OSD. This is a copy of all the scripts, tools, and other files necessary to properly configure custom actions in the Microsoft SMS Operating System Deployment (OSD) Feature Pack for performing a ZTI deployment. The images, applications, and device drivers are part of this replica. OSD deployment points can only be used to deploy images created by the SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard, as described in Appendix G, “Capturing a ZTI Image.”

For each deployment point, the Computer Imaging System feature team can create .wim and .iso Windows PE image files that automatically connect to the deployment point and begin the installation. During the process, BDD 2007 allows the user to choose which build to install from the deployment point. “Appendix E: Configuring Deployment Points” describes how to create each type of deployment point in Deployment Workbench.

Customizing Windows PE

BDD 2007 allows the Computer Imaging System feature team to download the Windows AIK (see the Getting Started Guide), which in turn comes with Windows PE. No additional files are necessary to create Windows PE images for BDD 2007. Deployment Workbench automatically customizes Windows PE .wim files when a deployment point is updated. Optionally, the Computer Imaging System feature team can configure the deployment point to generate the following Windows PE images:

  • LTI flat bootable ISO image

  • LTI bootable RAM disk ISO image

  • Generic flat bootable ISO image

  • Generic bootable RAM disk ISO image

When a deployment point is updated, Deployment Workbench generates the Windows PE .wim image and other optional ISO images. It stores these images in the distribution share’s Boot folder.

The Computer Imaging System feature team need not manually customize Windows PE to add network interface card (NIC) device drivers to it. Deployment Workbench automatically adds NIC device drivers to the Windows PE images that are added to the distribution share. The Computer Imaging System feature team has the additional option of automatically adding video and system device drivers from the distribution share to the Windows PE images.

After the Computer Imaging System feature team has updated the deployment point and generated Windows PE images, team members can add the .wim image file to Windows DS. Optionally, the team can burn the Windows PE ISO images to DVDs by using most commercial CD-burning software.

Note   The same platform edition of Windows PE must be used to start computers for installing each platform edition of Windows. In other words, the Computer Imaging System feature team must start destination computers using the x86 edition of Windows PE to install the x86 edition of Windows Vista. Likewise, the team must use the x64 edition of Windows PE to install the x64 edition of Windows Vista. If mismatched editions are used, team members might see an error indicating that the image is for a different type of computer.

To learn more about customizing Windows PE, see the Windows Preinstallation Environment User’s Guide in the Windows AIK. For more information about generating Windows PE builds, see the section “Updating Deployment Points” in “Appendix E: Configuring Deployment Points.”

Capturing an Image

In BDD 2007, capturing an image based on a build is fundamentally an LTI deployment that ends with the Windows Deployment Wizard capturing an image of the destination computer. When the Computer Imaging System feature team creates a deployment point, Deployment Workbench provides the option of prompting to capture an image. Select this option.

Then, when team members install the build on a destination computer, the Windows Deployment Wizard prompts them to capture an image after installation is complete. The wizard also allows team members to specify a destination for the image. The default destination is the Captures folder in the distribution share, and the default file name is the name of the build. For more information about capturing an image, see “Appendix F: Capturing a LTI Image.”

Capturing an image for deployment using ZTI is similar to capturing an image for deployment using LTI. However, use the SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard to capture the image instead of allowing Windows Deployment Wizard to capture the image. For more information about capturing an image for ZTI by using the SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard, see “Appendix G: Capturing a ZTI Image.”

Note Disable antivirus programs on the lab computer before capturing an image of the lab computer's disk. Antivirus programs can interfere with the configuration of the image and installation of applications during deployment. After deployment, enable the antivirus program. Test the interaction of antivirus programs with BDD 2007.

Milestone: Images Created

A fully functional image has been created, and a deployment method can now be tested. (See Table 6.) The Computer Imaging System feature team must work with the Deployment feature team to ensure that the image can be deployed successfully.

Table 6. Deliverables for Images Created Milestone

Deliverable ID

Description

Workstation Images

Developers have created the images necessary to support the computers to be deployed.

In the Developing Phase, the developers have customized and extended the imaging system as necessary to ensure that the images they have produced match the requirements defined in the Functional Specification.

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