Applying Windows 10 Provisioning Packages

With the release of Windows 10, we also seen the introduction of the Windows Image and Configuration Designer.  The WICD tool is the utility that allows us to create and modify provisioning packages or a provisioned Image build.  The goal of this post is to do a high level overview of the deployment methods for provisioning packages.

WICD1

We will review creating some provisioning packages in a later blog and video post, but for now I wanted to focus on the different methods we have for applying our provisioning configurations.
There are 3 supported methods for applying Provision Packages.  Those methods are:

  • Offline Windows Imaging
  • Windows Imaging Deployment
  • Runtime Device Provisioning

Offline Windows Image
The “Offline ” process has two methods for applying the provisioning package to a Windows image file.  The WICD (Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer) and DISM tools.  With this method we can apply our configurations to our offline media.

The WICD tools allows you to import a provisioning package directly into a WIM file. This can be accomplished through the GUI or the ICD CLI.

With DISM we can use the /Add-ProvisioningPackage switch to add a provisioning package to offline media.

DISM.exe /Image:<path_to_offline_image> /Add-ProvisioningPackage /PackagePath:<package_path> [/CatalogPath:<path>]

Windows Imaging Deployment
The WICD tools allows you to import a WIM and apply the configurations directly into the image file and allows you to create a WIM or bootable media.  Those settings are then applied during the different setup passes.  With this method, we can pre-build our media with our configurations present.

The following table shows how provisioning can be initiated during OOBE phase.

Windows Setup pass Settings category Customizations
Boot to Windows PE Not applicable Not applicable
Apply Windows image Not applicable Not applicable
Offline Servicing Imaging time Customization assets and Unattend settings
Sysprep Specialize Deployment time Unattend settings
Boot to Audit Mode Deployment time

Runtime

Unattend settings

Settings defined in the common settings store

Sysprep Generalize Deployment time Unattend settings
OOBE Deployment time

Runtime

Unattend settings

Settings defined in the common settings store


 

Runtime Device Provisioning
Provisioning packages can be applied during the runtime phase.  This phase includes: booted into audit mode or OOBE, and when a device loads a desktop.  This method allows a user to manually apply a provisioning package to a device. Similar to the way mobile devices are configured.

The following table shows when you can install a provisioning package during the runtime phase.

Package delivery Initiation method Supported device
Removable media – USB drive or SD card

(Packages must be placed at media root)

Settings > Accounts > Your workplace > Add or remove a package for work or school All Windows devices
Downloaded from a network connection and copied to a local folder Double-click the package file Windows 10 for desktop editions devices
From an administrator device connected to the target device through

USB tethering

Drag and drop the package file onto the target device Windows 10 Mobile devices and Windows 10 IoT Core devices

In conclusion, Microsoft is giving us a multitude of ways to manage our devices in the new User-Centric environments that we are seeing become more and more prevalent.

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