Administration

The content below is intended for administrators who are responsible for managing OS deployments in their Microsoft Active Directory environment. Before you perform the tasks in this guide, please ensure you have correctly installed Specops Deploy/OS.

The Specops Deploy/OS admin tool is the central management console that can be used to:

  • Monitor the Specops Deploy/OS infrastructure
  • Configure your Active Directory infrastructure for OS deployment
  • Manage and publish the deployment repository

You can access the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool via the start menu.

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Servers


You can use the Servers tab to perform the following tasks:

  • Install new Deployment Servers
  • Export List of Server

You can use the Live View and Grid View pane to perform the following tasks:

  • Monitor the status of Deployment Server
  • Monitor the status of Servers

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Install new Deployment Servers

  1. In the navigation pane, expand Servers, and click Install new Deployment Servers.
  2. Enter the name of the server you want to configure as a Deployment Server, or click the browse button to find the server in Active Directory.
  3. Click Next.
    If the Image Server and Deployment Server are installed in the parent domain, and a GPO is configured in the sub domain, you will need to configure the deployment server explicitly in the GPO.
  4. Click Next. The Specops Deploy/OS admin tool will verify that the target server meets requirements.
  5. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

Export List of Servers

For a detailed list of your Servers, including server name, description, domain controller, last heartbeat, version, replication state, and state version for inventory purposes you can export the list of your servers.

  1. In the navigation pane, expand Servers, and click Export List of Servers.
  2. Enter a file name, and click Save.

Monitor the status of Deployment Servers

From the Servers tab you can monitor the status of Deployment Servers. The Live View pane displays icons that represent the servers allowing you to perform administrative tasks remotely. The Grid View presents the same content in a tabular format.

You can perform the following tasks by right clicking on the Deployment Server in the Live View or Grid View pane.

  • Restart Windows Deployment Server (WDS)
  • Restart Distributed File System Replication (DFSR): Restart the DFSR service
  • Restart Deployment Server
  • Upgrade Deployment Servers
  • Uninstall Deployment Service
If you have upgraded your Image Server to a new version of Specops Deploy, you will also need to upgrade the existing Deployment Servers. The servers that need to be upgraded will be highlighted in red.
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Monitor the status of Servers

From the Servers tab you can monitor the servers for problems such as stopped services, failed replication, or missing heartbeat information. Detected problems will be highlighted in red. For detailed status information you can hover above the server icon.

You can perform the following tasks by right clicking on the Image Server in the Live View or Grid View pane:

  • Restart DFS Replication
  • Restart Image Server
  • Publish Deployment Repository
If you have made changes to the Deployment Repository outside of the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool you will need to re-publish the repository manually.
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Images and packages


You can use the Images and Packages tab to perform the following tasks:

  • Import Operating System from Original Source
  • Initiate Operating System Capture
  • Import Captured Image
  • Import Language Package

You can use the Images pane to perform the following tasks:

  • Delete Image
  • Edit Image Settings

You can use the Language Packs pane to perform the following tasks:

  • Delete Language Packs
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Import Operating System from Original Source

Original images are the operating system images from the operating system installation disk. You need to import at least one original image of each version of Windows that you want to deploy through Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.

It is important to load the DVD / ISO that has been most recently added to the Microsoft download site. If you are importing an image from an ISO, you will need to mount the ISO and browse to the drive it is mounted to.
  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Images and Packages, and click Import Operating System from Original Source.
  3. Enter or browse to the location of the device or the folder containing the operating system, and click Next.
  4. Select the operating system you want to import, and click Next.
  5. Enter an image name and description.
    Note: If you are using MAK-licensing (volume license keys), you should also add the license key to the image data.
  6. Click Execute to import the selected image to the Specops Deploy/OS deployment repository.
To make the operating system image available on the Deployment Servers, you will need to publish the deployment repository.

Initiate Operating System Capture

You can use the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool to record or capture an image of an existing Windows installation from a client computer. The captured operating system image can be kept on a virtual machine and used to create the image that will be deployed to client computers.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Images and Packages, and click Initiate Operating System Capture.
  3. Enter or browse your Active Directory for the computer you want to capture.
  4. Click Execute.
During the capture process the operating system will be removed from the domain and uploaded to the captured image repository on the image server.

Import Captured Image

You can import to the system, operating system images uploaded to the Specops Deploy Image Server or .WIM format files created outside of the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool. .WIM format files are operating system images representing a compressed collection of reference files and folders needed to install and configure an operating system on a computer.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Images and Packages and click Import Captured Image.
  3. From the drop-down below select the image source, you can:
    Import a capture initiated by Specops Deploy

    1. From the drop-down, select Pending capture that has been initiated from Specops Deploy.
    2. From the list, select the image you want to import, and click Next.
    3. Select the Image to base the new Image on, and click Next.
    4. Enter the Operating System Image information, and click Next.
      The Operating System Product Key field is used to provide the installation with a Windows license key. This field should only be populated if your organization uses MAK licenses. If your organization uses KMS licenses, you do not need to enter a license key.
    5. Click Execute.
    Import a capture initiated by Specops Deploy

    1. From the drop-down, select Browse to a captured image in the file system.
    2. Browse to a WIM-file containing a captured image, and click Next.
    3. Select the Operating System Image you want to import, and click Next.
    4. Select the type of import from the drop-down menu.
    5. Enter the Operating System Image information, and click Next.
      The Operating System Product Key field is used to provide the installation with a Windows license key. This field should only be populated if your organization uses MAK licenses. If your organization uses KMS licenses, you do not need to enter a license key.
    6. Click Execute.

Import Language Package

You can use Specops Deploy/OS to import language packages to support multiple language versions of Windows.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Images and Packages, and click Import Language Package.
  3. Browse to the location of the operating system language files.
    The files should have the extension .cab or .msu.
  4. Click Execute.

Delete Language Packs

From the Images and Packages tab in the Language Packs pane you can view the list of Language Packs in the deployment depository and delete any package you no longer need.

Edit Image Settings

From the Images and Packages tab you can view the list of images in the deployment repository.

You can perform the following tasks by selecting an image in the Images pane:

  • Edit Image Settings
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Delete Image

From the Images and Packages tab you can view the list of images in the deployment repository.

You can perform the following tasks by selecting an image in the Images pane:

  • Delete Image
The Operating System Product Key field is used to provide the installation with a Windows license key. This field should only be populated if your organization uses MAK licenses. If your organization uses KMS licenses, you do not need to enter a license key.

Drivers


Specops Deploy/OS uses MDT to equip the operating system with the necessary drivers. During installation, the hardware IDs in the machine must match against those in the driver repository. The repository must contain valid drivers for all of your hardware models, and operating systems.

You can use the Drivers tab to perform the following tasks:

  • Test driver lookup for computer

You can perform the following tasks by right-clicking on Driver Folders:

  • Add New Child Folder
  • Add New Child “Make” Folder from Computer
  • Add New Child “Model” Folder from Computer

You can perform the following tasks by right-clicking on a Child Folder:

  • Add New Child Folder
  • Add New Child “Make” Folder from Computer
  • Add New Child “Model” Folder
  • Import Drivers
  • Delete
  • Properties
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Test driver lookup for computer

The Specops Deploy/OS admin tool includes a test tool which you can use to verify that a given computer can find the correct driver folders in your driver library.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Drivers, and click Test driver lookup for computer.
  3. Enter the computer name or browse to the source computer.
  4. Click Next.
  5. From the drop-down, select the operating system to run the test against.
  6. Click Execute.

Add New Child Folder

To add a new folder to the driver repository:

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Drivers.
  3. Right click in the tree view and select Add New Child Folder….
  4. In the text field, enter a new folder name.
  5. Specify the Driver Folder Type:
    • Make Folder: The Make Folder and its subfolders are matched by looking at the computer manufacturer information. For example, a Dell computer would be Dell Inc. and HP is Hewlett Packard. If you select the Make folder type you will be given the following options:
    Add a new folder manually

    1. Click Add Alias
      You will need to add at least one Alias.
    2. From the drop-down, select a WMI property.
    3. In the text field, enter the alias value.
    4. Click OK.
    Add a new folder manually

    1. Click From Computer.
    2. Enter or browse to the computer, and click Next.
    3. Click Finish.

    Note: To ensure that the correct WMI name is specified, it is recommended that you use the Add a new folder from computer option to remotely contact an existing machine and retrieve the relevant information.

    • Model Folder: The Model Folder and its subfolders are matched by looking at the computer model information on the computer. For example, Dell Latitude E6400 would be Latitude E6400, and the HP EliteBook 2570p would be EliteBook2570p. If you select the Make folder type you will be given the following options:
    Add a new folder manually

    1. Click Add Alias.
      You will need to add at least one Alias.
    2. From the drop-down, select a WMI property.
    3. In the text field, enter the alias value.
    4. Click OK.
    Add a new folder manually

    1. Click From Computer.
    2. Enter or browse to the computer, and click Next.
    3. Click Finish.

    Note: To ensure that the correct WMI name is specified, it is recommended that you use the Add a new folder from computer option to remotely contact an existing machine and retrieve the relevant information.

    • OS Folder: The OS folder matches the operating system that is deployed to the computer during installation. By adding an OS Folder under the Model Folder, you can organize your drivers by the operating system. This will allow you to easily manage the drivers in the future. Select the operating system from the drop-down menu, and click OK.
    • Custom Folder: The Custom folder allows you to set up a folder structure outside of the Make/Model structure. Custom folders only have names meaning that they are matched by all client installations. You can still add Make, Model, or OS Folder as children of a Custom Folder to prevent matching against all clients. In the text field, enter a name for the folder, and click OK.
  6. Ensure that the Folder is enabled box is checked, and click OK.

Import drivers

Once you have setup a folder structure that matches your computer, you will need to import the drivers to the target folder.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Drivers.
  3. Right-click the folder where you wish to add your drivers and select Import Drivers….
  4. Enter or browse to the file path where the drivers can be found.
  5. Click Execute.

Policies


Specops Deploy/OS uses Group Policy to assign the appropriate OS images and other OS settings.

You can use the Policies tab to:

  • Start Group Policy Management Console

You can use the Default policy pane to:

  • Edit default policy

You can use the Group Policies pane to:

  • Edit Group Policy

You can use the Naming Policy Pattern pane to:

  • Edit Naming Policy
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Start Group Policy Management Console

The Group Policy Management Console allows you to access policies in the domain.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Policies.
  3. Right click in the tree view and select Start Group Policy Management Console.

Default Policy

The default policy is intended as a fallback policy for computers that are not affected by any Group Policy Objects with Specops Deploy/OS settings. The default policy should be configured with general settings. If all computers are assigned Group Policies with Specops Deploy/OS settings, you do not need to configure a default policy.

You can use the Default Policy tab to view and edit the default policy.

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Group Policies

Policies can be configured from the Group Policy Management Console. To start editing Specops Deploy/OS settings, you must edit an existing Group Policy Object, or create a new Group Policy Object and link it to the appropriate node in Active Directory.

The settings in a Group Policy Object are tied to a specific Deployment Group. If you change the Deployment Group affinity, all Deployment Group settings will be removed from the Group Policy Object.

You can use the Group Policies tab to view Group Policies in the domain.

Naming Policy

When new computer accounts are pre-staged through the Specops Deploy / OS admin tool, the naming policy is used to create naming standard for accounts.

The following variables can be used:

Variable Name Description
%[0][n]# Incremental number
  • %# Indicates the next available incremental number
  • >
  • [0] adds zero padding
  • [n] number of digits
%[m]OUn Retrieve characters from OU structure
  • %OU retrieves the name of OU, n number counted from the domain root
  • [m] the number of characters to use from the selected OU.
    If [m] is not specified the full name of the OU will be used.

For example, the pattern for SPECOPS001, SPECOPS002, etc. is Specops%03#.

Deployments


Specops Deploy/OS admin tool allows you to monitor and manage your OS deployments.

To automate the deployment process for bare metal installations, the system needs to identify the computer hardware in order to select the correct computer name, operating system image, and retrieve the other configuration settings from Group Policy. Bare metal installations are performed by PXE booting the computer hardware to the Deployment Servers where they can retrieve the WinPE boot image which will run the installation.

You can use the Deployments tab to perform the following tasks:

  • Pre-stage Computer
  • Pre-stage computers from file
  • Reinstall Computer
  • Export List of Deployments

You can perform the following tasks from the Live View/Grid View pane:

  • Monitor the status of OS deployments
  • Filter the deployment information
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Pre-stage Computer

To allow the Deployment Server to identify the computer, you must pre-stage a computer account object in your Active Directory with a hardware ID that matches the network card MAC-address or the GUID of the computer.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Deployments and click Pre-stage Computer.
  3. In the text field, enter the Computer GUID or MAC-address, and click Next.
  4. Select where the new computer object should be created in your Active Directory.
  5. Enter a name and WindowsPE information.
    1. Enter a name for the computer. You can use the Generate Name button to generate a name according to your configured Naming Policy.
    2. Here you can choose the WindowsPE version, either x86 WinPE (BIOS) or x64 WinPE (UEFI).
  6. Click Execute.
The new computer account will be created and configured to start the deployment process as soon as the computer PXE boots.

Pre-stage computers from file

When working with multiple computers, you can pre-stage all account by compiling the hardware IDs in a CSV file.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Deployments and click Pre-stage computers from file.
  3. Browse to your file.
  4. If your file contains the computer name, the Data file contains computer names box should be checked.
  5. If you want to use the naming scheme, the Use naming scheme box should be checked.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select where the new computer object should be created in your Active Directory.
  8. Click Execute.

Reinstall Computer

You can use the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool to reinstall a computer, or all computers in an organizational unit, and preserve local user data.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Deployments, and click Reinstall Computer.
  3. Enter or browse to the computer, or computers in an organizational unit, that you want to reinstall.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select a reinstall option:
    From version 7.0.19283.1 of Specops Deploy/OS, the Default and Default discard user data options also work as in-place upgrades, i.e. upgrades from one version of Windows 10 to another. For example Windows 10 1803 to Windows 10 1903.

    Default: This option starts the reinstallation from Windows and instructs the system to preserve user data through USMT. You will need to create a USMT3 folder in DeploymentShare\Tools\X86 and unpack the CAB file into this folder.


    1. Create a folder called USMT3 in Deplyoment Repository\tools\x86
    2. There is already a directory called USMT5. Verify that you have created a new directory called USMT3.
    3. Locate the file USMT30_x86.cab. It is located in the \Deployment Repository\tools\x86 directory.
    4. Extract the USMT30_x86.cab in the USMT3 folder you created in step 1 (above).
    5. Publish the deployment repository from the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
    6. Make sure that all target computers have the Specops Deploy Client Side Extension (CSE) installed. For in-place upgrades, the CSE must be at version 7 or later.

    Default discard user data: This option starts the reinstallation on the next Group Policy refresh but does not preserve any user data.

    Make sure that all target computers have the Specops Deploy Client Side Extension (CSE) installed. For in-place upgrades, the CSE must be at version 7 or later.

    Reboot and reformat: This option performs a full PXE-based installation of the OS, including formatting the hard drive. All data on the drive will be lost if this option is selected.

  6. Select a restart option and WindowsPE version:
    Attempt GpUpdate: This option will start the reinstallation immediately. Otherwise it will be performed on the next Group Policy refresh.
    Attempt Restart: This option will restart the computer if it is powered on. This option enables the use of the following end user notification settings:

    • Close user’s applications
    • Display message with countdown

    WindowsPE version (only available when choosing the Reboot and reformat option): Here you can choose the WindowsPE version, either x86 WinPE (BIOS) or x64 WinPE (UEFI).

  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Execute.

Export List of Deployments

You can use the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool to export deployment details to a CSV file.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Deployments and click Export List of Deployments.
  3. Enter a file name, and click Save.

Monitor the status of OS Deployments

From the Deployments tab you can monitor, in real-time, the status of OS Deployments. The Live View pane displays icons that represent the status of OS deployments. Pending installations are displayed as greyed out icons. The Grid View presents the same content in a tabular format.

You can perform the following tasks by right clicking on a computer icon in the Live View or Grid View pane:

  • Show Details
  • Open Install Log
  • Open Log Directory
  • Remove Deployment Information

Filter the deployment information

To reduce the amount of information in the Live View and Grid View, you can filter the deployment information in the following ways:

  • The Filter by state option allows you to filter by the state of the deployments.

The Filter by Deployment Server options allows you to filter by the Deployment Server being used.

Deployment Group Settings


An associated group of Deployment Servers is known as a Deployment Group. When the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool is started, it searches for Deployment Groups in the current domain where the admin tool is running. This will allow you to select the Deployment Group the admin tool should operate against.

Edit Deployment Group Settings

The Group Policy settings for Specops Deploy/OS will be tied to a specific Deployment Group.

  1. Open the Specops Deploy/OS admin tool.
  2. In the navigation pane, expand Deployment Group Settings.
  3. You can modify the following settings:
    Edit the Domain Join Account

    The domain join account is the active directory account that is used to add computers to the domain during Operating System deployments.

    1. Click Edit.
    2. Enter the username and password of the account the service will run as, and click OK.
    Manage the domains served by the Deployment Group

    All domains where the Deployment Group should be active must be specified here.

      To add a domain:

    1. Click Add.
    2. From the drop-down box, select a domain.
    3. Click Browse to identify the management level where the Active Directory permissions are created.
    4. Click OK.
    5. To edit a domain:

    6. Click Edit.
    7. Click Browse to change the management level where the Active Directory permissions are created.
    8. Click OK.
    9. To remove a domain:

    10. Verify that the correct domain is selected, and click Remove.
    11. Click Yes.