SCCM 2012 R2 – Windows 8.1 To Go deployment

Today I would like to tell about my struggles when I tried to implement Windows 8.1 Togo with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2.
First, I would highly recommend to use this TechNet article as starting Point:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj651035.aspx
Let me Point out two hints to this “How to”:
1. Do not forget to set the Task Sequence Variable “SMSTSPreferredAdvertID”! (See TechNet link above)
2. You can really use your normal Task Sequence, but… see my TS Settings for Windows 8.1 Togo below.

So I will start with the changes I’ve done to my Task sequence. First, when you are using a TS created with the console wizard, the Formating and Partitioning step is already properly configured, it is the TS Variable “_SMSTSMediaType” that is set to “OEMMEdia” when you are booting a prestaged media:
TS Setting for Partioning
With this knowledge, there is no Need to Change anything, but when you have read some other Posts on this blog already, you might know, that I use variables for the Apply Operating System Step. This doesn’t work with Windows 8.1 ToGo, because you don’t modify the Partitions.
So I just added to my normal “Apply Operating System” step a Task Sequence query for the “_SMSTSLaunchMode” variable, if this is true, then it is a Windows 8.1 Togo, if not, it will use this normal step:
SCCMTogo03
Task Sequnce Step
And my step for the ToGo Installation has the fixed Harddisk and Partition for my USB stick configured:
Togo Step
Togo Step

This was all I needed to Change in my Task Sequence to be ready for Windows 8.1 Togo.

The next important step is to created a prestaged media file, which is afterwards used to create the Windows 8 ToGo creator package.
As described on the TechNet page above, I create a Media, there are two Points which you should consider, I will Point them out:
Create prestage 01
Don’t Forget to use unattended Installation, and on the next step of the wizard, you can decide the MP finding, I used Dynamic Media. The step “Media Properties” is clear, so no Need to printscreen.
But the Security Tab is important, be sure to the activate the “Enable unknown Computer Support”:
Enable unknown computer support
The next Screens within the wizard are fairly clear, you have to choose the Task sequence and afterwards MP and DP. But we are not finished yet, one of the most important section within the wizard is the customization.
I needed to advice the System to make a pause, so that Windows PE could load the NIC Driver and get the Network up, before th TS starts, I just used a ping to localhost:
ping localhost -n 60
And here you add the “SMSTSPreferredAdvertID” variable:
Togo Customize step
You can then finish the wizard, and wait until your wim-File is created. Our next step will be to create a Windows ToGo Creator package.

The process of creating a Windows ToGo Creator package is also described on the TechNet page above (direct link to this section: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj651035.aspx#BKMK_CreatePackage). After you have created this package, mind to deploy it to a User Collection and to allow User interaction, even if the program is run as an Administrator.
When the package is successfully distributed to a DP, you can Login on a machine, plug a certified USB stick and start the process of the Windows Creator.

While this is running, you can start to create your deployment on the “All Unknown Computers” collection. Be aware, there can be loads of side effects, if you don’t understand what it means to Support unknown Computers. But as Long your DP (specially the PXE Tab) is not configured to Support unknown Computer, nothing will happen. But you will Need to deploy your TS to this collection.
I deployed it as a required Installation, but make it only available to media and PXE:
Deployment setting of Windows togo

With this configuration, I can create Windows Togo USB sticks on a machine which is also used as a normal Workstation.

Hope this helps, Martin

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