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MDT Deployments

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is suitable for deploying workstations and servers in a large environment. It provides the ability to scale out the environment using linked deployment shares, which can leverage Distributed File System Replication (DFS-R). Using selection profiles, you can distribute portions of the configuration in MDT to, for example, a custom installation DVD. You can also define the settings from the Customsettings.ini file in a database that can be queried based on the computer, its location, a role, or a make and model.

Leveraging these techniques can help you build a highly flexible and scalable deployment solution.

In this tutorial, you will learn to:

  • Use selection profiles to create flexibility
  • Use linked deployment shares
  • Create stand-alone media from which you can deploy the operating system
  • Create and fill the MDT database

Discovering Selection Profiles

Selection profiles are part of the advanced configuration within the Deployment Workbench. Selection profiles allow you to make a selection of folders present in the Deployment Workbench. You can later use this profile during the creation of linked deployment shares so you can specify which content will be replicated to that linked deployment share. You can also use selection profiles while including the proper device drivers and packages for use within Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), which helps you define specific Windows PE images for specific configurations. Finally, you can use selection profiles within the task sequence and when creating deployment media.

By default, the selection profiles in Table below are available.

Table: Default selection profiles

Name			  Description
Everything 		  All folders are selected.
All Drivers 		  All driver folders are selected.
All Drivers And Packages  All driver and packages folders are selected.
All Packages 		  All packages are selected.
Nothing 		  Nothing is selected.
Sample 			  Used as an example; packages and task sequences are selected.

In addition to the default selection profiles, you can create your own, which you can use in your custom deployment solution. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Start the Deployment Workbench and browse to Deployment Shares → <your deployment share name> → Advanced Configuration → Selection Profiles.
  2. Click New Selection Profile in the Actions pane.
  3. In the New Selections Profile wizard on the General Settings page, provide a selection profile name and (optionally) some comments so that you can determine later why you created the profile. Click Next to continue.
  4. On the Folders page, select the folders you want to include in your selection profile. As you can see, all the folders and subfolders from your deployment share are available for selection. Choose the appropriate folder by placing a check mark in front of the folder name. Click Next to continue.
  5. On the Summary page, review the details provided and click Next to execute the creation of the selection profile. You can follow the creation progress on the Progress page.
  6. After the selection profile is created, verify that the outcome is "The process completed successfully." You can also save the status presented on the screen to a log file by selecting Save Output and providing a name to save the output to. Also notice that you can view the PowerShell script that was used to create the selection profile by selecting View Script. You can later use this script as a basis to create selection profiles automatically.
  7. Click Finish to end the wizard, and verify that you see your new selection profile listed in the workbench.
Making Selection Profiles Work for You
Selection profiles can help you distinguish between different types of operating systems and their related dependencies, such as drivers. If you group your Windows 7 drivers in a selection profile, you can later use that profile in your task sequence when injecting drivers. Selection profiles can also be used to ensure that only the necessary drivers-the network drivers and the mass storage adapter drivers-are injected into your boot image. You can create a selection profile containing only these drivers and use that profile while creating the boot image.

After you have created a selection profile, you can change its settings by right-clicking on the profile and selecting Properties. You can then modify the included folders in the selection profile, rename the selection profile, or add additional comments.

You also have the ability to copy selection profiles to other linked deployment shares. However, copying selection profiles within their own folder doesn't work at this time.