Anybody who knows me knows I love automation.   I love it because as an ITPRO managing users there are just some things that can’t be automated no matter how hard you try.  

You’ll still be explaining nine time throughout the day to John in Account what a complex password is and just why he has locked himself out for the eleventh time today.   No matter what you do, certain users will never get the hang of typing in their own name correctly.

So anything we CAN automate helps us control those little battles with a little more grace.

Which is why I love MDT 2010 (Microsoft Deployment Tookit).   It’s a free download from Microsoft that allows you to (with minimal effort) generate a deployment point for Windows 7 and your applications on DVD,USB or even just a Network share.    This same deployment point can easily be tied into WDS (Windows Deployment Services) or SCCM (Systems Center Configuration Manager)

But enough of the marketing hooplah.   Over this next series of posts, I ‘m going to try and show you how to change that LTI (Light Touch Install) to a NEAR ZTI (Zero Touch Install).

I say “NEAR” because as I have been told by Deployment Masters, friends from Microsoft and various well meaning entities that a “TRUE” ZTI means you sit at a console and have a script, SCCM, programming or Ingabar the little Deployment Alien just magically run it from one spot.

FACT.  I don’t CARE about the details and the wording.  

This technique will give you a Deployment point on USB or DVD that will allow you to boot from it, walk away, and end up with an install that will do ALL the work for you.   This is a technique you can leverage whether you are a Small Business field technician, Mid sized tech or IT Department or the Enterprise.     So if I’m still figuring out Altiris or SCCM or my Deployment system?  I can still have an install SO automated a brain Dead Monkey (or even a user) could deploy Windows 7 and all the applications WITHOUT messing it up.

Is that “ZTI” enough for you?

So enough of Sean yammering away.  Let’s get at it.   We’re going to presume with this series you’ve at least used MDT and make what I think of as a basic LTI (Light Touch Install).  That your current deployment can

  • Install the Operating System with the basic prompts for
    • Computername
    • TimeZone
    • Domain / Workgroup
    • Image Capture
    • Backup
  • That it will prompt you for a list of applications
  • That you have some Service Packs and updates
  • That you have drivers for your hardware injected
  • That you have at least a Task Sequence

With these in place we’re going to show you how to SKIP those screens (ALL OF THEM) and have the answers pre-populated so that you can walk about with this on a USB key and just “Boot and install”.

Oh did I mention the cost of this technology again?  Free.

Now that we’ve laid out the groundwork, stay tuned for more details.