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Automated reference image creation became common as IT professionals use tools like Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or System Center Configuration Manager. In most cases, creating a Windows reference image is fairly straightforward if you follow established best practices. However, there are still issues out there that may catch you off guard and you will suffer the consequences.

Thursday, 21 June 2018 08:11

Automating Dell BIOS Configuration Using MDT

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, so I’m slowly going through a backlog of things to cover. The push to get modern continues with the third part of my series on automating the process of transitioning from BIOS to UEFI using MDT. Today's blog post discusses the process of configuring BIOS settings on supported Dell Inc. enterprise systems.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018 09:54

Configuring HP BIOS Using MDT

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This is the second post in my series that explores one of the most common questions I’ve been asked from folks who are migrating to Windows 10: "How do I go about transitioning from BIOS to UEFI?". So naturally, I’m addressing this question. This time, I am going to discuss automating firmware configuration on supported HP (Hewlett-Packard) notebook, desktop, and workstation models. Now, it's not as if it's been no-man's-land before. I am fully aware that there are blogs out there that talk about doing this kind of thing and I’ve tried a few of the solutions with various rates of success. Still, the feedback I've been getting over the past few weeks has been that I should share my approach when working with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), so, here's my attempt to do precisely that.

Monday, 11 June 2018 17:08

BIOS to UEFI - The Easy Way: MBR2GPT

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This article is the first blog post in a series I'll write over the coming days that will provide a comprehensive overview that explains how you can automate the process of transitioning from BIOS to UEFI during "wipe-and-load" OS deployment scenario. To be able to migrate from BIOS to UEFI effectively you need to understand how to configure firmware settings, such as secure boot, legacy support, and TPM device configuration, as well as how to use the MBR2GPT tool. Unfortunately, though it seems like a relatively straightforward process when using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, based on questions I received as well as threads posted on TechNet over the past few weeks, there is still some confusion around this in the Windows technical community. Converting a device to UEFI comes with quite a few benefits including the ability to make full use of Windows 10 modern security features, so I thought it would be worth taking a few minutes to share my approach to dealing with BIOS to UEFI conversions.

Friday, 08 June 2018 10:10

Force LAPS Password Reset during MDT OSD

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My customers often send me exciting cases. This particular one is especially interesting because it is common in infrastructures that use "Local Administrator Password Solution" (LAPS) for password management. LAPS, which I can't recommend highly enough, provides management of common local administrator account by setting a different, random password on every managed domain-joined computer. The case opened when a customer contacted me a few weeks ago reporting that they experienced issues when re-installing computers using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit: after OS deployment, LAPS didn't update the local administrator password which in turn significantly increased the risk of lateral escalation (Pass-the-Hash (PtH)) that results when the same administrative local account and password combination is used. Given the importance of the customer, I immediately sat down to investigate.

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