Monitoring MDT 2012 deployments

The latest beta release of MDT 2012 allows deployments to be tracked within the deployment workbench.

To set up remote monitoring right click on the deployment share, select properties then select the monitoring tab. Within this tab you can choose a monitoring host, and which ports to use for events and data. The default ports are 9800 and 9801.

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Once a deployment has started the monitoring node within the workbench will display the progress of the deployment. By right clicking the deployment progress and selecting properties the progress of the deployment will be shown in more detail.

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MDT monitors the progress of the deployment, the step, start and end, time elapsed, and any errors or warnings. MDT also assesses the deployment and will show options for remotely connecting to a machine if certain criteria have been met.

Remote desktop

The remote desktop button is displayed as default within the monitor. But will not establish a remote connection to WinPE, it will only connect to a system that has an operating system and remote desktop enabled.

DART remote control

The new version of DART (Diagnostic and recovery toolset) allows remote connections to be made to systems running WINPE.

The MDT monitoring tool will display a button for DART remote control if DART is detected running on the remote computer

VM remote control

The VM connection button allows a remote connection to a virtual machine running in Hyper-V.

MDT monitoring will display the button if Hyper-V integration components are detected running on the remote machine.

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Windows PowerShell cmdlets for monitoring a deployment

The new MDT beta comes with PowerShell cmdlets to monitor the progress of a deployment.

As usual you can use the MDT cmdlets by running the PowerShell one liner

Add-PSSnapin ‘Microsoft.BDD.PSSNAPIN’

You must then attach a PSDRIVE to the deployment share

New-PSDrive -Name mdt -Root ‘D:deployment’ -PSProvider MDTPROVIDER

To get the monitoring data for a particular deployment run the get-mdtmonitordata cmdlet

Get-MDTMonitorData -Path mdt:

You will get back something like this

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To stop monitoring the deployment use the remove-mdtmonitoringdata cmdlet

The task being monitored by MDT will then be removed

To add a monitor use the Set-MDTMonitorData cmdlet

Set-MDTMonitorData -Path mdt: -MacAddress ’00-15-5d-50-50-01′

NOTE:

This cmdlet would only allow me to load up the monitor if I used a MAC Address.

After loading up the monitor, get-mdtmonitordata reports that there are 2 deployments instead of 1 and when I try viewing the monitor node MDT will crash. Just a warning that this still is a Beta and issues like this will arise.

When I remove the extra monitor using PowerShell everything starts to work properly.

Conclusion

My way of remotely checking the progress of a deployment normally relies on somebody on the phone telling me its done or not. I also use the SLShareDynamicLogging customsettings property along with trace32 to monitor the real time logs.

By adding this monitoring capability MDT allows deployments to be carried out remotely with ease. I hope more functionality is added to this feature such as being able to view the logs.

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MDT 2012 Beta 2 changes

I have just downloaded the MDT 2012 Beta 2. On first look it seems to be the same old MDT mmc look.

On opening the deployment share properties right click on deployment share, select properties everything looks different.

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MDT Deployment share properties

MDT comes with 4 tabs. General, Rules, Windows PE, Monitoring

General and rules tab have not changed but within Windows PE MDT now has multiple tabs within to specify features and driver packages.

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The last tab is the monitoring tab, with MDT 2012 deployments can be monitored from the monitoring node within the deployment share. The progress of the LTI deployment process is displayed as a percentage of completion. More on this later.

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Within a task sequence properties there is now a run PowerShell step, MDT now allows PowerShell scripts to interact with task sequence variables and add to logs. PowerShell uses the Microsoft.BDD.TaskSequenceModule to create the TSENV: and TSENVLIST: Windows PowerShell drives. So I wasn’t going mad when I discovered this feature a few months ago in Beta1, more later.

PowerShell snapin improvements

Speaking of PowerShell MDT 2012 beta 2 has updated cmdlets for the monitoring solution. Once again, more on this later.

Disable-MDTMonitorService
Enable-MDTMonitorService
Get-MDTMonitorData
Remove-MDTMonitorData
Set-MDTMonitorData
Test-MDTMonitorData

There have been some major improvements in Beta 2. Ill do some more digging and testing and post more about this update soon.

Windows 7 performance information

If you have noticed a decrease in performance on your shiny Windows 7 system try looking in the performance information and tools section within the control panel.

Within this control panel you can rate your computers performance, change your indexing, adjust visual settings.

If you click on advanced tools you open up another panel which will provide performance monitors and will also detail any performance issues detected on the system and recommend fixes.image

My videos on Windows 7 features and Application Compatibility

A couple of videos about how cool Windows 7 is and why you should migrate from XP to 7

Enabling MDT items with with Windows PowerShell

If you use Windows PowerShell to access and manipulate your MDT deployment share you might have trouble enabling disabled items. To enable all the drivers within your deployment share run this PowerShell 1 liner within your out of the box drivers directory.

get-childitem|Foreach {Set-ItemProperty -Path $_.name -Name Enable -Value ‘True’}

To disable

get-childitem|Foreach {Set-ItemProperty -Path $_.name -Name Enable -Value ‘False’}

This one liner can also be used to enable and disable task sequences.

Thank you to Ben Hunter, senior program manager at Microsoft solution accelerators for helping me with this. Ben blogs at Deployment guys

Video: Why move from Windows XP to Windows 7

Why you should move from Windows XP to Windows 7

 

Quick video I produced for the Save SAM competition from Microsoft UK. Please be kind 🙂

To find out more about the competition click here..
http://blogs.technet.com/b/uktechnet/archive/2011/09/19/acer-aspire-iconia-ta…

Please click on the video. Thanks

MDT 2012 Possible Task sequence PowerShell module

Whilst playing with the MDT 2012 beta 1 release I noticed a module directory within the deployment share. Within this directory is a task sequence module.

At the moment its not in use but the directory does contain a dll file and module manifest file.

When I looked at the assemblies loaded into my system using the PowerShell 1 liner

[AppDomain]::CurrentDomain.GetAssemblies() | foreach-object { split-path $_.Location -leaf } | sort 

I found the following MDT assemblies loaded.

Microsoft.BDD.TaskSequenceModule.dll

Microsoft.BDD.PSSnapIn.dll

**Please note this task sequence module only loaded up when I had a serious poke around. It does not load up normally. **

I have been told this module “Might” be a Beta 2 feature. I say again it “Might” be a feature. Its an early build so hopefully it will be out for the Beta 2 release schedule for the fall. Please don’t get too excited just yet.

If anybody has any more information on this module or any other MDT related PowerShell information please get in touch.