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Dec 15 2013

Creating an Offline MDT Deployment Media

Everything is working fine in your main office, you capture, you deploy, you migrate, but you have a bunch of small branch offices (10-20 PC’s) with limited bandwidth where you need to do the same thing. Well…you could just tell the people in those offices to leave their desktops and laptops on and deploy or migrate those over night, but still there are a lot of GB to transfer. The second thing is that not all of those workers can leave their laptops at the office, or they just don’t want to, who knows… An investment in a server is out of the question, maybe later. So how can you deploy using MDT those PC’s in those branch offices ? The answer is:
create a deployment media where you put all the operating systems, drivers, applications you need for those PC’s and use this DVD to deploy those systems. Now let me show you how to create this MDT media. I will use MDT 2013 for this demo.

I presume you have your applications,

MDT Offline Deployment Media

your OS’s,

MDT Offline Deployment Media

and your drivers imported in MDT. I recommend to be very granular and create a folder for every platform, OS type, OS version, because it will help you so much later on.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Besides those, I also presume you have your Task Sequences created and ready to rule.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Now expand Advance Configuration, right-click Selection Profiles and choose New Selection Profile. By creating a Selection Profile you control what’s included in the deployment media and what’s injected in the OS during the task sequence.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Give the Selection Profile a name and hit Next.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Here is the screen where you select what to include in the media. Now you see why I told you earlier to be granular with the folders. Since I want to deploy only Windows 7 and Windows 8 in those branch offices I will select only these OS’s and task sequences. If you select a root of the folder here and later on you create another folder under it in the Deployment Workbench and import OS’s, application, drivers or what have you, this folder (or subfolder we may cal it) will be automatically included in the selection profile.

MDT Offline Deployment Media    MDT Offline Deployment Media

At the Summary screen click Next to save the changes, then hit Finish to close the wizard.

MDT Offline Deployment Media    MDT Offline Deployment Media

And a new Selection Profile is created.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

If you forgot or you need to add a new task sequence later on, you can modify this Selection Profile by opening its properties.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Now that we have a selection profile for our branch offices computers it is time to create a deployment media. Right-click the Media folder and choose New Media.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Give it a path where to save the media content but, do NOT, I repeat do NOT save it in your deployment share. The Selection profile drop-down-box is the important part here. If you click it, you should see the Selection Profile created earlier. Choose that and click Next.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

On the Summary screen click Next and wait a few seconds for the wizard to finish

MDT Offline Deployment Media    MDT Offline Deployment Media

then close it.

MDT Offline Deployment Media



Now you should see the new media created, and if you right-click it and choose Properties, a window similar to the one from the DeploymentShare should pop-up.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

The Rules tab is the more interesting one. Here you can use the rules just like in the DeploymentShare, to automate the OS installation.

MDT Offline Deployment Media     MDT Offline Deployment Media

If you open Bootstrap.ini you can see that there is no root path specified, or credentials to connect to a deployment share. This is because WinPE has all the OS’s, drivers, applications on this media, so no deployment share is needed.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

The folder specified during the wizard has the exact same structure as the DeploymentShare but if you take a closer look most of the folders are empty (operating systems, drivers, applications etc).

MDT Offline Deployment Media

When you are done editing the rules and options click OK to close the media properties window than right-click the media from the Workbench and choose Update Media Content.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

This will create an ISO image with all the OS’s, drivers, applications that you specified in the Selection Profile wizard. Depending on how many operating systems, applications, drivers you selected, the wizard can take a from a few minutes to a few dozen minutes to complete.

MDT Offline Deployment Media     MDT Offline Deployment Media

At the end hit Finish to close the window.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Now take a look in the root of the folder you specified during the media creation wizard (mine was D:\MDTMedia). You should see an ISO image created that has a few GB in size.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

All you have to do now is burn this image to a DVD or Blue Ray media and boot the computers you want to deploy from this media. Select the type of platform and let it load the WinPE environment.

MDT Offline Deployment Media     MDT Offline Deployment Media

If you did not specified in the Bootstrap.ini to skip this part you will have to do it manually by clicking Run the Deployment Wizard to install a new Operating System.

MDT Offline Deployment Media

Select your Task Sequence

MDT Offline Deployment Media

and hit Next to begin the deployment.

MDT Offline Deployment Media     MDT Offline Deployment Media

This is a neat feature of MDT and is heavily used in environments where booting from the network is not an option. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

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68 comments

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  1. Lis Hawj

    Hi,

    I have successfully created a offline ISO file using your walk-through. Thank you very much! I do have one lingering question and that is how to split the offline ISO file to fit two 32GB USB drives? I am unable to use ISO to USB because the offline ISO file is too large. Any advice?

    1. Adrian Costea

      Hi,
      Just put in the image the minimal drivers needed for the systems. For applications and the rest of the stuff you can use a deployment software or GPO to install them. This way your offline deployment image will not get over 5 GB.

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