Graeme Bray

Real World Automation and Deployment

MDT – State Restore for Multiple Task Sequences

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As a Windows Engineer, one of the most difficult things about maintaining my deployments is consistency.  I maintain our legacy builds (Server 2003 – Std/Ent, x86/x64) as well as our current builds (2008 R2 Std/Ent, 2012 R2 Std).  My biggest problem is ensuring that our builds are the same no matter the OS (from 2008 through 2012 – who really cares about 2003 at this point).  One thing that Microsoft has done with MDT and Windows Server in general is make the OS Roles/Features and compatibility similar.

Task sequences are the lifeblood of the MDT Build Process. Consistency between the MDT Builds for each OS version (for example, 2008 R2 Std/Ent, or 2012 R2 Std) should be paramount in the Windows Server world. The average Windows Admin should strive to have an OS that looks identical each time it is deployed, no matter if it is Development, Production, or QA. This can be accomplished by building a State Restore phase of the that can be copied from a main task sequence to each subsequent one. Building this so that you can copy the entire State Restore phase will greatly reduce the time you spend configuring your task sequences.

To do this, each different OS you build will need to have a group created for the step you would like to perform (for example, a Role installation). You would then create a subgroup with the specific label of the OS (Ex: Server 2008 R2, Server 2012 R2) with a WQL Query.

Here’s an example of my Web (IIS) group:

Image

And here is my WQL (WMI) query for Server 2008 R2:

Image

The two queries that I use are:

SELECT * FROM Win32_OperatingSystem WHERE Name LIKE “%Windows Server 2008 R2%”

SELECT * FROM Win32_OperatingSystem WHERE Name LIKE “%Windows Server 2012%”

If you want to get more specific than just all 2012, then you can specify “%Windows Server 2012 R2%”.  Personally, my company never plans to deploy Server 2012 (And why would you at this point?  Its like Windows 8, why not skip right to 8.1?

Once I’ve got my folder templates created, I copy them to whatever place I need them, whether its my Role installs or specific applications that are only needed on 2008 or 2012.  This works very well to group items so you can see at first glance what is being installed for each OS.

Once this is complete, I select the “State Restore” phase grouping and right click to “Copy”.  I’ll open each of my other two task sequences (after testing the first of course) and remove my old State Restore and Paste the new one.

Voila, I never have to compare Task Sequences, nor make my updates more than once.

Work smarter, not harder, especially to maintain consistency.

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Written by Graeme

April 25, 2014 at 1:11 AM

Posted in MDT

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