Saving a couple of hundred dollars in software always feels like a win…It’s often not as the missing support etc can cost you in time.
In this case it was mainly because I had a fixed budget plus I get free keys for MS software as part of my work MSDN subscription. So when buying my new laptop I customised it and removed Windows from the order and spent some of the savings on more RAM.
Classically when it arrived I went straight to https://my.visualstudio.com/ to Download the latest Windows ISO and wrote it to a USB Device (200MB/s microSD in USB3 reader). Then booting the setup process on the laptop it loaded to the point of needing to access storage (after selecting language+kb) and asks for a driver disk which they don’t supply. Queue a visit to the lenovo support site for my model+serial, and extracting the files an still no joy.
Quick solve, setup ubuntu usb media and install that to test laptop. All good.
Eventually I stumble upon a Deployment guide for the Customer Readiness Deployment Team, in the Knowledge base, which mentions SCCM and WinPE (windows preboot environment used for recovery + boot disks) and also hints at a Hardware Support Application package that will be needed to get you a custom windows deployment. This is the way forwards.
We will obtain the SCCM driver package and the HSA, combine them into one folder, save the HSA powershell script which installs the HSA components, and then install Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT with WinPE), finally building a copy of windows by following the lenovo suggestions.
This takes a chunk of space, call it 30GB. (5–10 for MDT + WinPE extensions), 5 for win iso (which must then be mounted or extracted), 2.8 for drivers, and finally 12 for the Deployment Share (we make a boot disk, then install over network share via USB-to-Ethernet).
- Install MDT + WinPE extensions:
- Extract SCCM drivers + HSA package into same folder
- Save PowerShell script into same folder
- Create new Deployment Share in MDT
- Setup HSA application with dummy data
- Configure drivers
- Add execution task for PowerShell script
- Update Deployment Share
- Write boot iso to USB media
- Boot laptop with media plus USB-Ethernet connection and Deploy
- If it fails like mine did, change sharing security settings of Share
- Change security back, or just remove all the things
- Enjoy new laptop ☺