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Beware when installing ConfigMgr SP1 when still using vSphere 4 or running other platforms not supporting Windows 8 – UPDATED

Update: Microsoft has released CU2 for Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack 1, allowing you to use Boot images based on Windows 7 from the WAIK again (with some contstraints but workable). See the KB 2854009 article for more information. See this article written by Brandon Linton from Microsoft for more information on how to import your WAIK boot image: How to Create and Import a WinPE 3.1 Boot image for use in ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU2

VMware’s vSphere 4 doesn’t and will not support running Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 as a VM on top of its ESXi hypervisor. The reason for this is that the BIOS for the VM’s running on top of vSphere 4 do not meet the Windows 8 Hardware Requirements. You can check vSphere compatibility for Microsoft Windows 8 here. For ConfigMgr this shouldn’t be a direct problem, because we can still install the ConfigMgr roles on top of Windows Server 2008 R2.

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When installing ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 or upgrading to SP1, one of the changes introduced is that the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) isn’t used anymore, and we start using the Assessment and Deployment Toolkit (ADK). And this is were we have a potential issue, because the ADK contains a new boot image based on Windows 8 which will be used to create the new Boot images.

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Best practices for Implementing drivers in ConfigMgr

One of the most time consuming tasks when working with OS Deployment in ConfigMgr is implementing the drivers needed to support different hardware models. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Determining if drivers installed correctly can only be determined by executing an actual Task Sequence, which takes a lot of time.
  • Each Hardware Manufacturer has its own way of providing drivers. Finding the right driver can be a real nightmare and some Hardware Manufacturers make a real mess of the drivers they provide. On the other hand there are some manufactures which supply driver packages which you can import directly into ConfigMgr.
  • Especially for laptops, which contain a lot of extra features in the hardware, manufactures make it a sport to keep the optimal configuration which consists of the needed drivers plus additional software as vague as possible, so it’s up to you to find out which drivers and driver applications make the laptop fully functional. Don’t we have a nice job 🙂
  • Some HW manufacturers are known to change the hardware inside different batches of the same hardware model, make sure that you make agreements with your HW supplier that the HW doesn’t change with each delivered batch of machines, or you will continue to spent time on certifying HW models.

Before just simply starting I recommend you to create a strategy for implementing and maintaining the drivers within your company. What follows below are some guidelines which can help.

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