Our engineering team has had an amazing journey this past year with two key releases to help our customers improve their capabilities for deploying Windows in their enterprises. As you know, we released Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 in April of this year to coincide with the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) and this enabled a lot of functionality asked for by you. These are outlined in this post I made back around this release and include an all-new extensible wizard, all-new rebuilt designer, and support for all the enterprise deployment scenarios.
On the heels of the 2012 release, our team was quickly focused on enabling the UDI scenario for Windows 8 & 2012 which were soon-to-be-released. The final “gold” bits were announced for Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012, and with that, I’m super proud that we have released MDT 2012 Update 1 which enables all the key features and support needed to deploy Windows 8 & 2012 with MDT UDI.
In today’s post, I want to make you aware of the key additional features & support added in this release for UDI. In today’s post, I will not drill-down into the features and will save this for later more in-depth posts but I want you to start playing with them now.
Introducing USMT for Windows 8 Support
The major testing that our team had to do across the various refresh & replace scenarios was focusing on ensuring that we could effectively capture and restore your user’s data. In Windows 8, a new version of User State Migration Tool (USMT) was released and as part of Update 1 we’ve validated that all UDI-based scenarios using this new USMT is supported.
Full Support for selection, detecting, and re-installing Windows 8 Application Packages (.appx)
Introduced in Windows 8 is the new modern experience for application development. This development platform is based on the WinRT libraries and will result in a new paradigm for enterprises to develop applications for your users. With this new paradigm, the deployment team (along with the greater management team such as Configuration Manager) had to enable capabilities for making these new applications discoverable and installable. If you are using Windows 8 as a individual, or as we call consumer, your new applications are discovered through the new Windows Store.
For corporations, you want your applications to be discoverable using an internal-facing portal such as the one that is part of Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack 1.
The key work here for the UDI team is to allow deployment administrators to provide these new applications stored in the corporate portal to be installable as part of the deployment process. You can now do this easily using the UDI Designer as part of MDT 2012 Update 1.
This is allowed as part of the building of new UDI Wizard experiences but also we’ve enhanced the capabilities of our Application Discovery feature that will detect on Windows 8 devices that applications are installed and will mark them to be re-installed. As enterprises start taking advantage of the new paradigm, this support is super critical to providing seamless experiences as UDI is the only method to ensure that Windows 8 Application Packages are restored automatically during provisioning.
Introducing Powerful Build your Own Pages Feature
The top request since we released MDT 2010 Update 1 and completely through MDT 2012 is the ability for non-developers to build custom UDI pages. We are excited to announce that we’ve enabled this capability in MDT 2012 Update 1 and it includes a easy-to-use drag-n-drop experience for creation. This drag & drop provides grids for making visibly appealing pages, along with a full interface that shows the experience as it would look to the end-user.
You have a fixed list of controls that in this release we support and it includes common types such as Check Box, Combo Box, and Labels. What does this allow you to do? It allows you to build simple, verbose pages that takes advantage of custom scenarios not covered in out-of-box pages delivered in MDT 2012 Update 1.
It is time to usher in Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012. As announced on the Building Windows 8 blog, Windows 8 is now golden. As a MSDN subscriber, you can begin working to build your deployments for your enterprise and we hope that you decide to put the end-user or service technicians in control of the deployment experience using MDT 2012 Update 1’s UDI feature.
To download MDT 2012 Update 1, please use the below link: