Anthony and I often receive emails or tweets asking us to look into specific topics or scenarios. Well, last week we received a request from CJtheRocker to explore Windows 10 Provisioning using Windows ICD.
But really, why the big deal with deploying a new OS?? IT Pros have always said “I wish there were easier ways”. Management, however has always said “not again, did we not just finish the last one??” or “its too expensive” or “will all our stuff run on it? we need to test everything…”
All good points. This is why we are now talking about provisioning… Not deploying. it’s like an in-place upgrade instead of the traditional wipe-and-load approach preserving the apps, data, and configuration from the previous installation. We can achieve this by creating provisioning packages using Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer. A provisioning package is a bundle of Settings, Profiles and File assets that include the following:
It makes all the difference when for example you get new machines from your preferred vendors, but they come with a Pro SKU instead of the Windows 10 Enterprise you are running in production. You no longer need to re-image it, you can simply specify the license key for edition upgrade in the provisioning package and deploy it by clicking on .PPKG file from email, local storage, media, URL or by deploying it using your preferred tool.
Oh! And before you ask… Packages can be encrypted to protect sensitive content (like your volume key).
We’ve looked at this before. Step-By-Step: Building Windows 10 Provisioning Packages. And it’s also been covered at Ignite Australia by my friends Jeff Alexander and Andrew McMurray. take a look.
Today we will create that provisioning package that will convert a pro SKU to an Enterprise. First, download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10.
1- Once installed, start the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer app.
2- Select “Create – New provisioning Package”
3- Give you project a name and a meaningful description. and click Next.
4- You are then prompted to pick which Settings you want to view and configure. This is to select settings that are specific to the edition you choose. I picked “Common to all Windows desktop editions” since i will not be provisioning Windows 10 mobile or IoT editions.
The next screen is optional. If you have a provisioning package that contains customizations already configured in a different project and you want to reuse the customizations from this package, click Browse in the Import a provisioning package screen to locate the provisioning package that was exported from another project. in my case i just clicked finish.
5- In the new project, under the available customizations pane, navigate to Runtime Settings (1) –> EditionUpgrade (2) –> UpgradeEditionWithProductKey (3) and enter your Enterprise Product Key in the field (4). Notice that the interface gives you info on the settings you are modifying or customizing (5) .
6- Click File and Save to save your project. Then Export (1) and Provisioning Package (2)
7- Fill the “Describe the provisioning package” page and click Next. On the “Select the security details for the provisioning package” i checked “Encrypt package” and copied the password.
8- on the next pages select where you will store the PPKG file, click Next and then click Build. After it completes click finish.
9- you can now deploy that PPKG file using many means. i used it on a Windows 10 Pro machine by double clicking the PPKG files I exported to the USB key. Once i double clicked it. the process asked for the password. (good thing i wrote it down),
10- the next question is “Is this package from a source you trust?” and by clicking “Yes, add it” it will perform the customization we configured and reboot the machine.
That’s it. a new Enterprise PC without the wipe-&-Reload.
I hope this was useful. we’ll look at different customization in the future.
P.S: this blog was written and published using the newly released Open Live Writer. Open Live Writer is an open source application enabling users to author, edit, and publish blog posts. It is based on a fork of the well-loved but not actively developed Windows Live Writer code. Open Live Writer is provided under a MIT license.