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Posts Tagged ‘ACT’

OS Deployment Pre-Planning tools you should consider to use. (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Mikael Nystrom on November 23, 2011

Back in 1628

The disaster was a fact; the Kings’ new ship sank on the maiden voyage, the reason? Basically it was bad planning, bad construction, and bad decisions. The ship was too high, had one cannon deck too much, too much cannons (like 500 or so). It was just one of those bad days, it sallied for about 1300 meters and then came out of lee, the sails was filled with wind and it heeled over to port, then once more and then the water started to rush in to the open gun ports and then it sank. Around 30 of the 150 in the crew died.

It was not a glories day for the Swedish Navy.

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You can avoid this disaster when it comes OS Deployment by using tools that are available from Microsoft for free and let us start with the most important tool:

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

A starting point, MAP gives you the “what do I have and what options do I have”. I use this tool to create reports (it seems that business people have an easier understanding for pie charts and MAP can create those very nicely), get inventories, and get ideas. I call it an “illuminate-or”, since it illuminates the environment so that you then know what your options are. Below are some screenshots of the tool. There is new version of this toolkit soon to be released, it has some nice new/improved features, most of them related to the “cloud”.

There is very useful training kit, it contains a sample database so you can see how reports and pie charts would like in your or your customers environment. You can download it here

Highlights:

  • Does not install any agent
  • very light weight
  • Works in almost any kind of environment
  • A variety of different reports and inventory’s

A Windows 7 readiness overview:

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A Web application discovery:

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A Web Browser discover (Normally it does not look as “clean” as this):

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An Office 365 Discovery:

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Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide’s

Hey, this is one really nice thing. This is not really White Papers, not really TechNet stuff, this. “Blue Prints”. That means that in these documents Microsoft have explain what technology works in what scenarios, for example, using Direct Access a solution for Contract Workers does not really work, there are other technology that works better. There are MANY documents and here is my list that I think you should read:

Windows Optimized Desktop Scenarios

So, this document helps to understand basically what features and functions that works in different environment and it helps to get a better understanding why most networks are a subject for improvement, you should read this.

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Windows User State Virtualization.

Here is the document that describes how to deal with Offline Files, Roaming Profiles and Folder Redirection, you should know all this. But if you don’t know, download and read.

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Application Compatibility Toolkit

Since applications tend to be one of the issues we need to take care of, ACT is one of the tools that could help you. It contains multiple applications. The one you normally start with is Microsoft Application Compatibility Manager. In this tool you can create an Inventory packet as an MSI file, distribute that and get data from all the machines back in a short while so you can see what apps you really have. You then use the tools as part of testing apps, planning what apps to test, create reports of applications. You can use a connector between SCCM and ACT to make it even better and here is how it looks:

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The one and only (that I know of) that could call himself “King of ACT” is Chris Jackson. If you in any way are responsible for the application to work in the new OS, you should listen to him, very carefully. Check out is blog

Note: If you install ACT 5.6, Chris has done a really horrible application for you to “fix”, it is called Stock viewer. To make it work in Windows 7, just follow the instructions in the self-paced training material that is included in ACT.

And hey, don’t start testing applications BEFORE you have read this very carefully, ok?
Chris Jackson’s Formula (for When to Test For Application Compatibility)

Security Compliance Manager

I have no clue on how many times people have asked me “-How do you secure a Windows 7 client", is there any Whitepaper?”

With SCM you can create security policy’s based on different templates that is provided by Microsoft (for now), you can then tweak them using the built help that explain all the settings and then you “lock” it, export it as a GPO, import that in to AD (or apply it locally) and then import the DCM file into SCCM to verify those settings, a neat little toolkit that just have been upgraded to version 2

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Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK)

This tool is new for IE9, but has been around for other versions of IE. If possible you should use this tool. It will give you the capability to customize IE pretty much exactly the way you would like it to be. It is easy to use and gives you so much flexibility in IE. The wizard will download the files for IE needed and then you run the Wizard, make all selections and when you are done you have one .EXE file and one .MSI file for the version you just configured, you need one for x86 and x64 for you just run it twice to create two folders, one for x86 and one for x64

There are “some” features to configure. J

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Some of the settings you might never seen

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This customer wanted me to change the default search provider to another vendor…

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Next time I’ll cover the other tools.

/mike

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