Making deployment’s easier by adding features using Microsoft deployment tools

Adding Windows features within a Windows operating system is a relatively easy process once an installation is completed. But what if you wanted to deploy the installation of features? Well luckily those clever people in Redmond have thought of this. You can use the following tools to install Windows features.

In this example I am using the tools to install the Windows PowerShell integrated scripting environment feature which does not get installed on all operating systems. The ISE needs the .NET framework version 3.5 to work.

All these tools require that the Windows Automated Installation Kit are installed, each operating system version has its own WAIK so a quick search on your favourite search engine will lead you to the WAIK of your choice.

DISM: Deployment Image Service Management

To add a feature to a windows image using DISM follow these steps..

Open the deployment tools command prompt with elevated privileges

Mount the WIM image by running the command

dism.exe /mount-wim /wimfile:"W:deploymentOperating SystemsWIN install.wim" /index:1 /mountdir:D:mount

Once mounted we can have a look at the features available to us within the image by using the commands

dism.exe /image:d:mount /get-features

I like to pass this to a text file so its easier to read, this is the command to output to a text file.

dism.exe /image:d:mount /get-features >c:features.txt

This gives me the following Powershell related features

Feature Name : MicrosoftWindowsPowerShellISE
State : Disabled

Feature Name : NetFx3
State : Disabled

NetFx3 is the .NET framework which is required for the ISE to work

Install ISE by running these commands

dism.exe /image:d:mount /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx3 (Run this first or DISM will give an error, and DISM is case sensitive)

Then run….

dism.exe /image:d:mount /enable-feature /featurename:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShellISE

Once the features are installed, if you go back and use the get-features command, you will notice that both the ISE and NET features are Enable Pending this means that the features are ready to be installed when the OS is installed.

MDT 2010 U1: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

Using MDT makes things a lot easier. By adding a step to a task sequence we can add features to builds at the end of the deployment

To add a step to a Task sequence, open the TS, highlight the custom tasks folder under state restore, click on Add, Roles, Install Roles, and Features, and select NET framework features and the ISE feature. Click apply.

The next time you install using the modified Task sequence, ISE will install at the end of the deployment.

Using these tools can make feature installations easier when deploying operating systems.

Just think about a large scale deployment of 200 plus systems and you were tasked with adding a feature to each.

You would soon change your mind 🙂


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