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Good old Bob! Nobody knew how he did it, nobody cared how Windows was deployed, it just was. Bob was a ninja. Then, one day Bob wasn't available, apparently he'd moved on to greater things, and you, yes YOU, had been selected to maintain the ENGL Windows deployment process.

I don't need docs!

The week started well, you PXE booted into the ENGL imaging front-end, signed-in and selected a project and before you knew it, you'd deployed Windows 10 version 1809 to five machines. Job done! Pat on the back!

I need docs!

By Wednesday you receive orders to put a pilot together for the latest Windows 10 version. Hmm, you haven't done that before. No problem, you hear ENGL support is amazing, so you log some tickets. You need to update Imaging Toolkit. You need to import the new Windows media. You need to recreate the base image thingy. Wah....! You don't know where the images are stored or what customisations Bob had made. Bob was a ninja! Bob was amazing! Bob... Bob... oh Bob didn't write a darn thing down!

We've all worked with a Bob (Ed: Not all Bob's are like this). He could automate anything with a few lines of script, but he didn't like writing documentation, he didn't have time, it was boring, it was all in his head, what was the point of writing it down when he knew it!

The reality is, documenting a few procedures will only take a few hours to do and will be a life saver.

Configuration

You need to know what servers have services used for the Windows deployment. There should be sufficient information to recreate the environment including:

  • Servers and services - PXE, TFTP, images, imaging authentication, Deployment Monitor and Build Console
  • Components - What is on each server with dependencies, e.g. ENGLMON1 is running WDS, Deployment Monitor and ENGL share for images (remember to document any dependencies to rebuild those machines)
  • Machine deployment requirements - UEFI/BIOS and PXE boot
  • Images folder - Where are base images, project images (ztoolkit) and driver images
  • TFTP folder - Customisations for the imaging front-end and lookup files, e.g. images.ini, projects.ini and sites.ini
  • Applications - Which apps are global, site and user specific
  • Base image creation - Built-in applications (AppX) to include in the base image for a particular Windows version / platform and why (useful to know why you included them!)
  • Project settings - Administrator passwords used for the build process (perhaps a nod to where those are stored) and any customisations including Windows license activation, AD registration, local account creations

Procedures

The official ENGL Imaging Toolkit documentation includes walkthroughs and procedures to perform common tasks like creating the base image, but they do not include all your customisations and folder paths. You should include the following procedures for starters:

  • Creating a new base image - How to take a new Windows 10 version and make it deployable
  • Creating a new drivers image - How to use Build Console to search for the latest Windows drivers for a machine model and create a drivers image and update the images.ini in the TFTP folder
  • Restoring the Windows 10 image - How to deploy Windows to a machine

Summary

Don't waste time duplicating the ENGL documentation, instead write your own procedures that include all your customisations, e.g. UNC paths and server names. Your procedures should be written to be read along side the ENGL documentation, not to replace it. Ensure each time a change is made to the deployment process your documentation and procedures are updated.

Remember, ENGL support there is to help you, but you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you have documented your own processes and system. Happy Powerpoint'ng!