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Remote Windows Deployment

Hello all,

 

I am looking for options for Remote Windows Deployment

Normally we use WDS in the office and it works fine but as we are all working remotely now reinstalling windows on computer became a struggle.

I can't find any solution that would pull image from our server or from cloud and reinstall it on users device.

 

Any ideas?

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You can use MDT to do this as it has an option to create Offline Deployment Media. Have a look in to setting up MDT.

 

You should be able to as part of the imaging process create a recovery partition at the front of the disk that is bootable and contains this Offline Media that you will be able to boot from, it'll just be a secondary boot option. Updating this image won't be easy but at least you'll have a way to refresh systems back to a known state.

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1 hour ago, leadeater said:

You can use MDT to do this as it has an option to create Offline Deployment Media. Have a look in to setting up MDT.

 

You should be able to as part of the imaging process create a recovery partition at the front of the disk that is bootable and contains this Offline Media that you will be able to boot from, it'll just be a secondary boot option. Updating this image won't be easy but at least you'll have a way to refresh systems back to a known state.

I was thinking about something that would not require physical media and would be end user friendly (less interaction the better) 

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1 hour ago, Voy said:

I was thinking about something that would not require physical media and would be end user friendly (less interaction the better) 

Creating the partition on the front of the disk would mean physical media would not be required, problem is getting this done the first time. This would be the same as the factory restore feature on big OEM laptops that reset the OS/device back to out of the box, thing is they have that done and ready from the start.

 

Reimaging over the internet simply isn't safe enough to do, anything goes wrong you have a non functioning device and no way to fix it. There are ways to achieve this with tools like SCCM but it's just something I would strongly avoid due to the risk and the impact if something does go wrong. Secondary boot option that reimages the device is just so much safer.

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26 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Creating the partition on the front of the disk would mean physical media would not be required, problem is getting this done the first time. This would be the same as the factory restore feature on big OEM laptops that reset the OS/device back to out of the box, thing is they have that done and ready from the start.

 

Reimaging over the internet simply isn't safe enough to do, anything goes wrong you have a non functioning device and no way to fix it. There are ways to achieve this with tools like SCCM but it's just something I would strongly avoid due to the risk and the impact if something does go wrong. Secondary boot option that reimages the device is just so much safer.

Yeah that makes sense. Just hoped there is some tool we could use to do that.

Thank you for your help!

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One option would be - find any way to boot into linux live cd on said pc. It can be a usb flash, or it can be network boot from server in local network. Either option is pretty easy to explain to user as long as you have the exact steps.

 

Connect to said linux, start a VM there with physical hdd/ssd as storage and now you can work with the OS remotely as much as you want - fix it, or reinstall it from iso, restore it from backup or reimage it entirely. The only issue you have to be aware of are storage controller drivers which may cause issues with boot on HW directly once you are done with the VM.

 

Good thing about this - if you break it, you can just instruct user to reboot it (hard reboot i mean) and start over.

Another good thing is - since windows will be running in vm on linux host while you work with it you can present any form of network storage to it which host os supports. For example i used this to restore os after complete hdd failure using windows server backup which was stored on different server, presented to host os using iscsi and then connected to windows as virtual disk. Remotely. Something that is not supported and cannot be done by windows itself.

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I'm not sure if MAAS would meet your needs? MAAS | Metal as a Service, the only issue is you need to ensure that the physical hosts have a means to have an OS remotely installed on them (IPMI or iLO, etc). 

 

I haven't used MAAS too much yet, so unsure if it would meet your needs exactly. 

 

 

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Hmm MAAS could probably be a solution though it requires some interaction from END USER. 

I was hoping some something that END USER could start it Windows -> It would reboot system -> Boot into itself instead of Windows -> Pull OS Image from cloud / our server -> Reinstall it without any or with minimal interaction (Login, pressing next or something like that).

 

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On 1/28/2021 at 12:03 AM, Voy said:

Hmm MAAS could probably be a solution though it requires some interaction from END USER. 

I was hoping some something that END USER could start it Windows -> It would reboot system -> Boot into itself instead of Windows -> Pull OS Image from cloud / our server -> Reinstall it without any or with minimal interaction (Login, pressing next or something like that).

 

Pretty sure WDS can do this. Here is their guide for a win 7 to win 10 replacement.https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/deploy-windows-mdt/upgrade-to-windows-10-with-the-microsoft-deployment-toolkit

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