Microsoft Windows Deployment Service – Task Sequence

Release date: August 31st 2021

Welcome to my Microsoft Tips & Tricks section. In this session I will describe how I added applications, operating systems etc. to my deployment share, and how I created a VMware OSOT Task Sequence to automate the creation of my VMware Horizon templates. The goal of this session is to end up with a Windows 10 Build 2004 with MS Office, 7-Zip, Chrome and Edge Chromium, which I can use as a template with VMware Horizon. As this session is a part of my bigger session VMware Horizon – Automating Template Creation & Maintenance, it will be focused on the configuration used when creating new templates for VMware Horizon. I suppose some element can be used when configuring a task sequence for physical clients, but that isn’t the focus or reason for making this session.

Before I start creating and configure my VMware OSOT Task sequence, I will add some applications, operating system and the necessary VMware Agents and tools to the deployment.

Once the above components are in place, I will continue with creating and editing the task sequence. Finally I will do a quick test-run to see that all tasks are run without errors.

Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus

Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus

I start out by adding MS Office 365 Pro Plus to my deployment. To do this, I first need to download and install the MS Office Deployment Tool.

I select a folder for the extracted files

Once the files are extracted, I create a configuration.xml file to download MS Office 365 Pro Plus. There are plenty of resources on the web to help creating the configuration file, but as my setup is fairly simple, I just make a copy of the file supplied by Microsoft and edit it to my suit my needs.

To download the MS Office installation files, I run the following command

setup.exe /download configuration.xml

The command above will create a folder named Office and add the office installation files to this folder

I can now add Office 365 Pro Plus as an application in the Deployment Workbench

When the “New Application” wizard launches, I select “Application with source files”, Next…

I supply details about the application, Next…

I browse and select the folder containing the MS Office installation files, Next…

I leave the destination name as is, Next…

Fill in the command line parameters for the office installation and the working directory information, Next…

setup.exe /configure configuration.xml

I finally review the settings I just entered in, Next…

Once the process has finished successfully, Finish…

7 Zip

7 Zip

Before I add 7 zip to my deployment, I go to 7-zip.org and download the latest MSI version for my operating system. I save the file to a local folder, under the Manufacturer and Version

In Deployment Workbench, launch the “New Application”.

When the “New Application” wizard launches, I select “Application with source files”, Next…

Supply some details about the application, Next…

Browse and select the location of the downloaded msi-file, Next…

I leave the destination name as is, Next…

Fill in the command line parameters for silent install and the working directory information, Next…

msiexec.exe /I 7z1900-x64.msi /qb

I finally review the settings I just entered in, Next…

Once the process has finished successfully, Finish…

Finally, I can now deploy 7-Zip from my Deployment Share

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

To add Google Chrome to my deployment, I need to download the Enterprise bundles from Google, here: Download Chrome browser for your enterprise. I save the file to a local folder, under the Manufacturer and Version.

I repeat the process I used to add 7-Zip above, just a different command line. In Deployment Workbench, launch the “New Application” wizard…

When the “New Application” wizard launches, I select “Application with source files”, Next…

I supply details about the application, Next…

I browse and select the location of my downloaded enterprise bundles, Next…

I leave the destination name as is, Next…

I fill in the command line parameters for the silent install and the working directory information, Next…

msiexec /i GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise64.msi /qn /norestart

Next…

Once the process has finished successfully, Finish…

MS Edge Chromium

Microsoft Edge Chromium

To add Microsoft Edge Chromium to my deployment, I first download the latest MSI version for my operating system from: https://www.microsoft.com/nb-no/edge/business/download. I save the file to a local folder, under the Manufacturer and Version

I repeat the process I used to add 7-Zip and Chrome above, just adjust the command line. In Deployment Workbench, I launch the “New Application” wizard.

When the “New Application” wizard launches, I select “Application with source files”, Next…

I supply details about the application, Next…

Browse and select the location of the downloaded msi-file, Next…

I leave the destination name as is, Next…

Fill in the command line parameters for silent install and the working directory information, Next…

msiexec.exe /i MicrosoftEdgeEnterpriseX64.msi /qn

Next…

Once the process has finished successfully, Finish…

Windows 10 Build 2004

Operating System – Windows 10 Build 2004

Once the applications are added to my deployment successfully, I will add a operating system. Before I start the process of adding a operating system, I have connected the Windows 10 Build 2004 ISO to the MDT-server. To add an operating system, I launch the “New Operating System” wizard inside the Deployment Workbench.

I will be adding a full set of source files, Next…

I click “Browse” and select the DVD Drive containing Windows 10 Build 2004, Next…

I enter a destination directory name, Next…

I review the settings, which looks good, Next…

When the process finishes successfully, Finish…

As the above process imports all available Windows 10 Build 2004 versions on the ISO, I will delete those version I won’t be using.

Next…

Next…

Successful process, I repeat the above process with all other surplus Windows versions, Finish…

VMware Agents and tools

VMware Agents and Tools

To add the necessary VMware Agent and tools to my Deployment, I copy the agent installers to the correct sub-folder in the deployment share. When new versions are required in the future, I will simply replace these with newer agents. I downloaded the necessary software from the sources below.

Next I add VMware OS optimization Tool, sdelete and LGPO executables to the OSOT sub-folder.

I make sure to check “Unblock” on the executables

Finally, I download and copy the VMware Tools Installer into the VMwareTools subfolder.

Create VMware OSOT Task Sequence

Create OSOT Task Sequence

After having done all the preparations above, it’s finally time to create the VMware OSOT task sequence.

When the “New Task Sequence” wizard launches, I specify my general information, Next…

I select “VMware OSOT Task Sequence”, Next…

I select the Windows version I imported above, Next…

No product key at this time, Next…

Fill in some OS settings, Next…

I select “Do not specify an Administrator password at this time”, Next…

I review the settings I have chosen, looks excellent, Next…

Once the process has finished successfully, Finish…

Configure VMware OSOT Task Sequence

Configure the VMware OSOT Task Sequence

During a manual creation of a VMware Horizon template, it is critical to boot Windows into Audit Mode before applying the VMware OSOT optimizations etc. I will do the same here by editing the unattend.xml. First I generate a catalog for the operating system image and use Windows System Image Manager (SIM) to edit the answer file for an unattended installation. I right-click my task sequence and click Properties.

From the OS Info tab, click “Edit Unattend.xml”

Drag “Reseal” to oobeSystem

Select Audit as Mode under Reseal Properties.

Delete “Display”

I set “NetworkLocation” to Work and save and close the Windows SIM.

DotNet Framework 3.5 Feature

.Net Framework 3.5 Feature

From the Task Sequence tab, I add .NET Framework 3.5 in the Install Roles and Feature section.

From the Options tab, i deselect “Disable this step”, Apply…

VMware Tools

VMware Tools

In the VMware Tools section, I make my selection for what feature and drivers I will install for VMware Tools. Check out “Manually Creating Optimized Windows Images for VMware Horizon VMs” from VMware Digital Workspace Tech Zone, for info about which components of VMware Tools to use for VMware Horizon.

Add Applications

Add Applications

It’s now time to add some applications to my Task Sequence. I right-click and copy the Install Application section

I select “Install a single application, Browse…

I select 7 Zip

Looks good, I repeat this procedure and add Google Chrome and Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus to the task sequence

OSOT-Optimize

VMware OS Optimization Tool – Optimize

I customize the VMware OSOT optimization-settings and add a restart after optimization is done.

OSOT-Generalize

VMware OS Optimization Tool – Generalize

I customize the VMware OSOT generalization-settings and add a restart after the generalization is done. As generalize resets some setting that the optimization set above, I re-run optimization with reboot.

Horizon Agent

VMware Horizon Agent

I customize the VMware Horizon Agent settings and make sure to add a restart afterwards. (Maybe not longer necessary, but doesn’t hurt).

Dynamic Environment Manager Agent

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Agent

Customize the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager agent settings

OSOT-Finalize

VMware OS Optimization Tool – Finalize

I make my choices for the Finalize task. I wont release the IP address at this step, as I will install the VMware App Volumes Agent after this task has run.

Nvidia GPU Driver

Nvidia GPU Driver

I don’t have NVIDIA GPU’s in my ESXi servers, but if I did, I would install the NVIDIA Windows driver at this point in the task sequence.

App Volumes Agent

VMware App Volumes Agent

I add the FQDN of my App Volumes Manager and select default port: 443.

From the Options tab, i deselect “Disable this step”

This concludes this session about configuring the task sequence with applications, operating systems etc. I can now wrap this series up by scripting the automation with VMware PowerCLI, posted here: VMware Horizon – Automating Template Creation & Maintenance

VMware Digital Workspace Tech Zone: Using Automation to Create Optimized Windows Images for VMware Horizon VMs

Microsoft Tips & Tricks section

Disclaimer: Every tips/tricks/posting I have published here, is tried and tested in different it-solutions. It is not guaranteed to work everywhere, but is meant as a tip for other users out there. Remember, Google is your friend and don’t be afraid to steal with pride! Feel free to comment below as needed.

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