Vol. 44, #8 - August 26, 2013 - Issue #944

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Automating Driver Deployment

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Automating Driver Deployment
    • Tip of the Week
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Events Calendar
    • Americas
    • Europe
    • Australia
  4. Webcast Calendar
    • MS Exchange CON 2013 Virtual Conference
    • Register for Webcasts
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Windows Server
    • SharePoint, Exchange and Office
    • Windows PowerShell
    • Hyper-V
    • VMware
    • Citrix
    • System Center platform
    • Miscellaneous cloud computing
    • Windows Client
    • Security
    • Other stuff
    • Acknowledgements
  6. Windows Server News
    • Securing data with Authentication as a Service in the cloud, mobile era
    • Hosted virtual desktops suffer from licensing, operational costs
    • The path to VM enlightenment begins with Hyper-V Integration Services
    • Modern Infrastructure 2013 Seminar
  7. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
  8. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Solve the problem. Be a hero. Try FactFinder Express.

 

Solve the problem. Be a hero. Try FactFinder Express.

A distributed application is slow, but your tools show no obvious resource issues or log errors. Itís time for FactFinder Express - a new kind of server monitoring. Use it to pinpoint the root cause of the problem: Is the application itself slow? Is the slowdown caused by server resource contention? Are back-end databases or services to blame? In one tool, you have everything you need to find the source of performance problems.

Try it free for 30 days on your own system.

 

Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about how to automatically install device drivers on Windows servers using Group Policy, a network share, and Windows Update. To explain this we have a guest editorial by Joseph Moody who says on his blog that he spends his days dealing desktops, management, servers, users, and so on.

Automation of course is generally a good thing, but as this Dilbert comic illustrates it might not be so good when it comes to finding a date for Friday night:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247304786

Automating Driver Deployment

And now on to our guest editorial by Joseph Moody...

Automatic Driver Installation with Group Policy, Windows Update, and a Network Share

Installing devices is one of the largest time wasters in an IT Department. It seems that no amount of standardization ever eliminates the driver installation beast. But there is a better way to manage devices and drivers. Best of all, it is free and you probably already have everything that you will need in your environment!

By using Group Policy, Windows Updates, and a Network Share, you can create a central driver store. After installing a device once on a machine, you can make the device driver is available for every other machine in your domain.

Configuring and Organizing Your File Server

You will need a simple server share to get started. If you are already using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) as your deployment solution, you are good to go! If not, create a new share on a file server and ensure that Authenticated Users has the Read/Execute permissions on the folder and share. For this guide, I will be using the Out-of-Box drivers folder in my MDT Deployment Share.

If you’ve created a new share, you will also need to think about how your future drivers will be organized. The first common method is to organize the drivers by Operating System and architecture type. For example, you would create a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 folder. Under each subfolder, you would create an X86 and an X64 folder. You would then dump your drivers into these architecture folders.

The second method, which I prefer, organizes drivers based on hardware type. You would have subfolders for Printers, Display Adapters, Network cards, etc. If you are using MDT, you will notice that your Out-of-Box drivers folder is already organized this way:

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Figure 1

Populating your Driver Share

Excluding UAC, the improvements that Microsoft made to the device and driver installation process is the best enhancement that Windows Vista brought us. Anytime a new driver is installed on a Vista+ machine, the complete driver package is stored at %WINDIR%\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository. By sorting the FileRepository by Date Modified, you can easily see your newest drivers. For example, my newly installed network adapter is the latest folder to be modified. This folder contains everything needed to reinstall this hardware:

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Figure 2

If you are using MDT, simply copy these drivers and import them into your Out-of-Box drivers folder. They will automatically be sorted by the Device Setup Class. If your share is not managed by MDT, you can open the INF for each driver and copy the ClassGUID. Then head on over to MSDN to translate your GUID to a Device Type:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247312926

For any driver that you do import, be sure to note the CLASS GUID value for our next step.

Group Policy Changes to Make

To allow users to self-install your imported drivers, you will need to change three Group Policy settings. For easier management, create a new GPO named “Automatic Driver Installation Settings”. Create a new Registry Preference Item under Computer Configuration and use the settings below. Be sure to update the Value Data line to reflect your server’s share:

The next change can be found under Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/System/Driver Installation. Set it to Enabled. Then paste in the CLASS GUID values that you gathered from above:

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Figure 3

The final Group Policy change can be found in the Device Installation folder under System in the Computer Configuration Node. You will want to enable Specify search order for device driver source locations and set your computers to Search Windows Update only if needed. This will ensure that your local drivers are always used first.

Lessening the IT Burden

Solutions like automatic driver installation allow your IT department to focus on issues that really matter instead of repeating the same steps over and over again. You will find that the more drivers you import, the less work you have to do down the road. To show a practical example, we just replaced 1,500 computers. In total, we had to install drivers for just 12 pieces of hardware! Each of those drivers were imported for future automatic installation.

About Joseph Moody

Joseph Moody spends his days figuring out how to better manage 6,000 computers. His solutions can be found at his blog http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247343020. When not working or writing, he is enjoying the time with his new bride.

Send us feedback

Got any feedback concerning anything this issue? Let us know at [email protected]

Tip of the Week

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Here's a tip from my colleague Ed Wilson (the Microsoft Scripting Guy) about how to determine basic driver information using PowerShell.

Question: You want to find basic driver information on Windows 8 using Windows PowerShell. How can you do this?

Answer: Use the Get-WindowsDriver cmdlet and specify the –online switch and the –all switch. This command requires admin rights and appears here:

Get-WindowsDriver -Online -all

Ed Wilson is the bestselling author of eight books about Windows Scripting, including Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step, and Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps. He writes a daily blog about Windows PowerShell call Hey, Scripting Guy! that is hosted on the Microsoft TechNet Script Center; for more PowerTips check out the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog.

Recommended for Learning

In the Recommended for Learning section of Issue #939 we listed ten recent titles from O'Reilly on administering different Microsoft server platforms. In this issue we have a list of must-have books for IT pros who deploy and maintain client computers running Windows 7.

Windows 7 Resource Kit (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247368161

Windows 7 Inside Out, Deluxe Edition (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247372286

Windows 7 Administrator's Pocket Consultant (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247412192

Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247416130

MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-685): Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Technician: Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Technician (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247419973

MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-686): Windows 7 Desktop Administrator (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247424317

MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows 7 (Corrected Reprint Edition): Configuring Windows 7 (Microsoft Press)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247428301

Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (Sybex)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247431958

Microsoft Windows 7 Administration Instant Reference (Sybex)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247435786

Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator's Reference: Upgrading, Deploying, Managing, and Securing Windows (Syngress)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247439801

Quote of the Week

"He was a bold man that first eat an oyster." - Jonathan Swift

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

Find out why a server is having performance problems with FactFinder Express. Use it to see whether the issue is a slow app, slow SQL requests, or a CPU/Memory/Disk bottleneck. 30 day free trial.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377250034609

Top 5 Free Tools that IT Pros Love. Free download.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377249902280

Download SolarWinds free VM Console and bounce that troublemaking VM. This free tools tracks up/down status and takes snapshots of all your VMs – even if you’re not a VMware admin.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377249905530 

The Microsoft Server Virtualization Calculator compares the cost of virtualizing applications on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V to VMware vSphere 5.1:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377249908952

SSD Fresh is a free utility for optimizing Windows to better maintain your SSD drive:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377249913842

 

Events Calendar

Americas

Project Conference, 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247451583

Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247454020

SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247456223

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247458567

Europe

European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247461551

Australia

Microsoft TechEd Australia on September 3-6, 2013 in Gold Coast, Australia
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247463739

Microsoft TechEd New Zealand on September 10-13, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247465614

Add your event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Webcast Calendar

MS Exchange CON 2013 Virtual Conference

All from the convenience of your office, on September 12, 2013!

Register here

Register for Webcasts

 Add your Webcast

PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Tech Briefing

We're trying to make this section of our newsletter more useful by organizing articles into sections according to platform and topic. What do you think? Send us your feedback at [email protected]

Windows Server

"ESG Lab found that Microsoft’s storage solution can save organizations as much as 50% when compared with traditional iSCSI and FC SAN solutions" (ESG)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247489630

Mounting an image to convert Windows Server 2012 R2 Core to Full Installation By Adnan Cartwright (Blain Barton's Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247493051

Software Defined Networking (SDN): Double-Clicking into our Point of View (Windows Server Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247496630

 

SharePoint, Exchange and Office

"This fear of patching is now back in the Exchange world" (a new message has arrived)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247500880

Authenticate your Exchange client in Office 365 (Exchange dev blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247504567

Now available: Refresh of Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 developer training (Apps for Office and SharePoint Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247508098

 

Windows PowerShell

PowerShell Sessions, Slides and Demos from TechEd 2013 (Windows PowerShell Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247512192

New Networking Diagnostics with PowerShell in Windows Server R2 (Networking Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247516067

Jump Start on-demand: Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 (Microsoft Virtual Academy)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247524989

 

Hyper-V

PXE boot will be supported on synthetic NIC in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V R2 (UP2V)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247529239

Testing SMB Live Migration on WS2012 R2 Hyper-V (Aidan Finn, IT Pro)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247533005

Multi Server Management for Hyper-V (Part 1) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247536676

 

VMware

Aligning your VMs virtual hard disks (Yellow Bricks)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247543536

Disaster Recovery of Stretch Deployed VM (DCE) in vCloud Hybrid Service aka vCHS (Stretch Cloud)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247547130

 

Citrix

Citrix XenApp - Voted VirtualizationAdmin.com Readers' Choice Award Winner - Application Servers (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247551489

Citrix PVS: Enabling KMS licensing on a vDisk (Ingmar Verheij)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247568083

 

System Center platform

Automation–Orchestrating the Cloud (Building Clouds Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247572426

Automation–Orchestrator Architecture and Runbook Deployment Process (Building Clouds Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247576005

Automation–Orchestrating Hyper-V Replica with System Center for Planned Failover (Building Clouds Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247579520

Automation–Orchestrator Integration Pack for PowerShell Script Execution (Building Clouds Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247583333

 

Miscellaneous cloud computing

Cloud Computing for CIOs: Getting Inside the Mind of Your CFO (CIO.com)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247587505

 

Windows client

QuickTricks: SmartSizing when using Remote Desktop Connection in Windows 8  (Catapult Systems)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247591520

HowTo: Bootable USB Stick for OS Install (Regular IT Guy)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247597833

 

Security

USB flash drives masquerading as keyboards mean more BYOD security headaches (ZDNet)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247606661

Pass-The-Hash: Protect Your Windows Computers! (Part 1) (WindowsSecurity.com)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247610598

The Security Realm – A Microsoft Map of the Known World (Microsoft Download Center)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377247671817

 

Other stuff

5 Reasons the Modern Datacenter Matters (Concurrency)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248267333

Autoruns v11.70, Bginfo v4.20, Disk2vhd v1.64, Process Explorer v15.40 (Sysinternals Site Discussion)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248275317

 

Acknowledgements

We'd like to thank the following individuals for contributing items for this section from time to time:

 

Windows Server News

Securing data with Authentication as a Service in the cloud, mobile era

For decades, security practitioners have developed strong authentication policies to alleviate risk and make users and their identities easier to manage, but recent cloud computing, SaaS and mobile devices have thrown a wrench in traditional practices. Inside, learn about new Authentication as a Service (AaaS) options that can help reduce the costs and complexities associated with authentication and identity management systems.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248288755

Hosted virtual desktops suffer from licensing, operational costs

What’s keeping IT from adopting DaaS? It’s not the technology, but the licensing and operation costs. Hear from the experts as they review the complex licensing rules that govern Windows virtual desktops and discuss the major challenges to look out for when deploying cloud-based desktops.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248292926

The path to VM enlightenment begins with Hyper-V Integration Services

It’s crucial for virtualization administrators to understand Hyper-V Integration Services, what they do and when they should be used. Gain advice to help clarify the capabilities, compatibility and installation process for Hyper-V Integration Services.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248296989

Modern Infrastructure 2013 Seminar

Designing and managing a state of the art data center doesn’t have to mean buying the latest and greatest technologies – despite what many vendors and analysts will have you believe. And it’s from this vendor-neutral, objective perspective that the traveling Modern Infrastructure seminar series addresses the architectural and operational issues created by trends like cloud and consumerization. Register today for expert advice on tackling the tug-of-war between streamlining IT infrastructure and accommodating exponential growth in data-, user-, and business-demands.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248306020

 

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Image

The Pagani Huayra is the fastest road-legal and streetworthy car ever to go round the Top Gear Test Track, setting a time of 1 minute 13.8 seconds.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248313708

The best costumes from the San Diego Comic Book Convention 2013 (Part 2). After all who doesn't want to be a superhero?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248317755

Amazing aerial footage of Niagara Falls made possible by remote controlled quad-rotor helicopter and lightweight HD camera.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248322833

People are awesome and brilliant with abilities that are amazing and somewhat out of this world.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1377248328348

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Solve the problem. Be a hero. Try FactFinder Express.

A distributed application is slow, but your tools show no obvious resource issues or log errors. Itís time for FactFinder Express - a new kind of server monitoring. Use it to pinpoint the root cause of the problem: Is the application itself slow? Is the slowdown caused by server resource contention? Are back-end databases or services to blame? In one tool, you have everything you need to find the source of performance problems.

Try it free for 30 days on your own system.

 

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com

Ingrid Tullochis Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.