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Windows 8 Deployment

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With the recent release of Windows 8 we have had a number of inquires about Windows 8 deployment support in SmartDeploy Enterprise. To group some of those questions and corresponding answer together, I wanted to add a brief information entry about SmartDeploy Enterprise and Windows 8.

The Windows 8 Deployment Process

To jump right in and address the main question, "does SmartDeploy support deploying Windows 8?". I am happy to say that with the release of SmartDeploy Enterprise Version 1.1.1980 we have officially added support for deployment of Windows 8. What this means is you can now deploy Windows 8 following the same process you would with Windows 7 or Windows XP.

  • Create a virtual reference machine with Windows 8 installed.
  • Shutdown and capture the virtual reference machine using the Capture Wizard.
  • Build boot/deployment media.
  • Walkthrough the Deploy Wizard selecting the newly created Windows 8 image.

Gotchas and Other Considerations

Although the deployment process for Windows 8 remains the same as previous versions of Windows, there have been quite a few changes to Windows 8 that present some potential considerations.

  • Creating and capturing the virtual reference machine.
    • Most virtualization software has been updated to support Windows 8 virtual machines, there are however some SmartDeploy supported virutalization platforms that do not support Windows 8, like Windows Virtual PC. Please be sure to create your Windows 8 virtual reference machine on a virtualization platform that supports the operating system.
    • Currently we have seen some issues with VMware Workstation/Player. When shutting down Windows 8 normally in VMware it seems as though the OS doesn't power off correctly. This causes an error in the Capture Wizard stating "Unable to locate a system volume...". This behavior seems to be related to the new power features, like kernel hibernation, in Windows 8. If you experience this behavior please use the command prompt and "Shutdown.exe -t 0 -s" to power off the machine. At this time we have tested the capture process using virtual machines created from Hyper-V, VirtualBox and VMware Workstation/Player, at this time only VMware Workstation/Player exhibit this behavior.

    [*]Driver support

    • As of posting this there isn't a lot of Windows 8 driver support provided by the computer manufacturers. This will obviously change in the coming months. As computer manufacturers begin to officially release Windows 8 driver support you will see the SmartDeploy Platform Pack library updated as well. In the mean time you can deploy Windows 8 images without a Platform Pack and update the drivers manually, or extract the Windows 7 drivers from the Platform Pack and re-import them to a Windows 8 node. This will need to be tested to ensure all Windows 7 drivers work with Windows 8 on the particular device.

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