The purpose of this post is to give a high level overview of the deployment methodologies now available to use in Windows 10. There are 3 methods available to use now for Windows 10 deployment, and those methods are:
- In-Place Upgrade
Like previous versions of Windows, we can still use the good old fashioned “Wipe-and-Load” method, where we backup all of or user data, wipe the hard drive, install Windows and any applications, then restore the user data. The Windows 10 media is the same as Windows 7 and 8 where we have an “install.wim” and we can continue using whatever existing imaging methodologies you are comfortable with. Whether it be manually building your image, or automating it with a deployment tool.
The next method we have is our “In-Place Upgrade”. Now don’t go running for the hills just yet. Microsoft has put a lot of work into the new upgrade process, and this is now the recommended method for deploying Windows 10. This isn’t like the “Windows upgrades of old”. They have made the process faster, and more reliable. There is a rollback function that will revert back to the prior OS if any failures occur during the upgrade process. I am personally very excited to start utilizing this functionality.
The upgrade process uses the standard OS image. Everything on the device is preserved during the upgrade process. Apps, files, and registry keys are identified by setup, extracted, then moved back into place by setup.
In some of our vNext deployment tools, we should expect to see out of the box support for automating the upgrade process. Until then, Microsoft has provided with a Task Sequence that we can use to do the upgrade process using Configuration Manager 2012 R2 SP1. I will be posting a video and blurb about that in the very near future.
Provisioning is another feature I am very excited about. I will only talk briefly about provisioning here, but I will go into more detail in a post regarding the different deployment methods for Provisioning Packages. With provisioning packages, we can deliver Enterprise settings to an existing, user configured device, without the need to wipe and load Windows. We can do things like: Upgrade the Windows skew from Pro to Enterprise; install apps; apply policies, and much more. This is going to be incredibly powerful with the BYOD and User Centric approach many companies are taking.
The tool that is used to create these Windows 10 Provisioning Packages in called the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (WICD). This tool is a part of the Windows 10 ADK.