Mark Cresswell | 9 October 2015
Deploying Windows 10
Whether you’re deploying your first OS or you are a seasoned veteran, Windows 10 offers you new ways and opportunities to deploy. As well as the traditional wipe and load, Windows 10 now reliably deploys an in-place upgrade mode. Microsoft are so confident of the reliability of in-place upgrade that they consider it to be the preferred deployment method. But that’s not all. You can also use Deployment Packages. A deployment package (.PPKG file) can be used to deploy small things like certificates to re-provisioning a user’s BYOD device to Windows 10 Enterprise, but more about them later.
Steps before deployment
It’s always good to start at the beginning, and before we deploy any new OS it’s good to know what’s out there. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning toolkit (MAP) solution accelerator is an agentless tool that will help to identify challenges with hardware and software when migrating to Windows 10. Then the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) will provide you with a workbench to manage the task of mitigating those challenges. ACT will also help you try out shims and to create a shim database (.SDB file) to use in your deployments to help persuade those troublesome apps to behave on the new OS.
Not convinced with in-place upgrade? Not to worry you can still do wipe and load. But what about that user state information? Well the user state migration tool (USMT) can help you to preserve all that local info that somehow gets left behind.
A new process, introduced in Windows 10, is to use Provisioning Packages. A provisioning package can include management instructions and policies, domain certificates, installation of specific apps and Windows features, customization of network connections and policies, and more. These packages can be also used to transform a current windows 10 OEM to Enterprise without the need to wipe and load, thus saving time when provisioning new devices as well as in BYOD/CYOD scenarios. A new tool, the Imaging and Configuration Designer (ICD) tool is used to create these packages.
So now we’re ready to deploy. The Microsoft Deployment Tool (MDT) provides a rich deployment platform that can be easily tailored to deploy images, apps and drivers. The tool can also be integrated with Windows Deployment Services and System Center Configuration Manager to provide a more granular network based deployment.
Once deployed you can monitor the performance and reliability of the installations using the Windows Assessment Toolkit (WAT). This tool helps you determine the quality of a running operating system or a set of components with regard to performance, reliability, and functionality. You get a GUI tool to manage your assessments and provide the infrastructure for developing and extending assessments for long-term analysis. If more detailed performance analysis is required then you can use The Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) which consists of two independent tools: Windows Performance Recorder (WPR) and Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA). These two monitoring tools produce in-depth performance profiles of Windows operating systems and applications to help you understand not only the effect of applications running on your systems but also the impact of Startup Applications on the boot process.
Where do I get all these tools?
Great, I hear you say, where can I get all of these essential tools to help me with my deployments? Well Microsoft have packaged them all together for you. It’s called the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) and you can find more information on this page: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/hardware/dn913721.aspx. Scroll to the bottom half of the page and you find links to more information and the download page.
Check out all of QA's Windows 10 training courses.