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New Stuff in MDT 2012 – native VHD support

Maik Koster has a new post on a new feature in MDT 2012. 

Be sure to read his full post here.

As probably most of you have seen already, the Beta 1 of the upcoming MDT 2012 has been published to connect (Download link) recently (Announcement by Michael Niehaus). Main intent for this update is enabling support for the upcoming ConfigMgr 2012. But the team also included a couple other updates into this release like a “prettier” wizard, Cross-Platform support, etc. However some of the bigger changes “under the hood” did happen on the part that handles all drive and disk related activities like UEFI Support, creating partitions, formatting, etc.

While the Cross-Platform support is really helpful if you need to deploy to different architectures and I’m for sure will have a look on the new wizard, actually my personal highlight in this version is the added support for VHD during deployments. So lets have a look on how that works.

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Configuration Manager 2012–Beta 2 VHD’s Available

Want to check out Beta 2 of ConfigMgr 2012, but just don’t have the time to get a lab setup?  Problem solved! Microsoft has just released the VHD download for Beta 2. 

Download here.

This download comes as a pre-configured Virtual Hard Disk (VHD). It enables you to evaluate System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta 2 on Windows Server 2008 R2.

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Getting The ConfigMgr V.Next VHD To Work For Native VHD Boot

This came from the myITforum SMS email distribution list.  Credit to Richard Benfield for figuring this out and posting the solution to the mail list.

Here is the long and short of getting the SCCM vNext VHD Test Drive to work for Native VHD Boot:

1) Download the SCCM vNext VHD Test Drive from the following link (Note it is over 9.5 GB so it will take a while):

a. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=1b23c540-9b9f-4d41-a05d-d4b216061957

2) Download the VHD Resizer from the following link and install it:

a. http://vmtoolkit.com/files/folders/converters/entry87.aspx

3) Download all of the appropriate (Server 2008 x64 compatible) drivers for your model system.

4) Extract the contents of the SCCM vNext VHD Test Drive (Note the vhd is 20 GB, so it will take a while)

a. You only really need the two .\*.mht files and the .\Virtual Hard Disks\*.vhd file

5) Decide what size you want the VHD to be. (The actual used space is about 25 GB and you won’t want to cut it too close)

a. I decided on 50 GB for my use.

6) Use either the “Disk Management” console or the “Diskpart” command-line utility to shrink the volume in the VHD

a. You will need to attach the VHD, select the larger volume of the two, shrink it to the desired size minus 100 MB, then detach the VHD

7) Run the VHD Resizer and change the VHD to Fixed and the size listed for “Min” (again, this will take a while)

a. FYI, it sat there for a long time appearing to do nothing. I was convinced it wasn’t working and may not be compatible with 2008×64, but eventually it started cranking away.

8) You may want to move and rename the VHD. (I renamed mine SCCMvNext.vhd and moved it to C:\VHDBoot\)

9) Use the process described at the following link to copy the Windows 7 or Server 08 default BCD entry and point it to your VHD file.

a. http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/how-to-boot-from-a-vhd.aspx

10) Either change your systems SATA mode to ATA in the BIOS or inject the appropriate Mass Storage Controller Driver in the VHD image.

11) Boot up and choose the new boot entry from the menu.

12) Login and install the drivers…

That’s pretty much it, at that point you have a Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Native VHD Boot system with SCCM vNext preinstalled on it for testing/demos…

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P2V Migration Beta 2 Is Now on Microsoft Connect: ConfigMgr Support Now Documented

Microsoft Connect: P2V Migration Beta 2

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit team is working on a new solution incorporating Sysinternals Disk2VHD into the desktop migration process. Participation in the Beta Program for P2V Migration for Software Assurance is happening now, and we’d like your help!

If you are not already a member of the MDT beta program, click here to join.

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Booting Hyper-V R2 From USB

Nice post over the TechNet blogs from Ken Lince.

Read the full post here.

Didn’t think you could boot Hyper-V from a USB?  Well, you can.

Yeah, kinda snuck up on me too – I knew this was a feature request but it fell off my radar as it’s not something that I’ve had a need for and quite frankly, no one has asked me about it in any of the dozens of sessions that I’ve done on virtualization to partners and customers since R2 was released.  But, after a conference call last week when this topic came up, I thought I better go do some due diligence to see where we were.  Sure enough, this is fully supported now.

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Building a Bootable Windows 7 VHD from “install.wim”

Here is a video showing you how to build a bootable Windows 7 VHD from the Windows 7 install.wim using diskpart.exe and imagex.exe.  Very cool stuff!

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd758779.aspx

About this Video

This command line demonstration explains how to build a bootable Windows 7 VHD image from a Windows 7 "install.wim" file using diskpart.exe and imagex.exe. The demonstration continues with an explanation of how to configure the boot entry using bcdedit.exe and explains the limitations of VHD Boot. See the Windows 7 VHD Overview page for more information about this technology.