Vol. 44, #8 - August 26, 2013 - Issue #944
Automating Driver Deployment
- Editor's Corner
- Automating Driver Deployment
- Tip of the Week
- Recommended for Learning
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- MS Exchange CON 2013 Virtual Conference
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Windows Server
- SharePoint, Exchange and Office
- Windows PowerShell
- System Center platform
- Miscellaneous cloud computing
- Windows Client
- Other stuff
- 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
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Solve the problem. Be a hero. Try FactFinder Express.
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
- Hive: HKEY_Local_Machine
- Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
- Value Name: DevicePath
- Value Type: REG_SZ
- Value Data: %SystemRoot%\inf; \\SERVER\DRIVER\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:
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)
Windows 7 Inside Out, Deluxe Edition (Microsoft Press)
Windows 7 Administrator's Pocket Consultant (Microsoft Press)
Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant (Microsoft Press)
MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-685): Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Technician: Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Technician (Microsoft Press)
MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-686): Windows 7 Desktop Administrator (Microsoft Press)
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows 7 (Corrected Reprint Edition): Configuring Windows 7 (Microsoft Press)
Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (Sybex)
Microsoft Windows 7 Administration Instant Reference (Sybex)
Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator's Reference: Upgrading, Deploying, Managing, and Securing Windows (Syngress)
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 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.
Top 5 Free Tools that IT Pros Love. Free download.
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.
The Microsoft Server Virtualization Calculator compares the cost of virtualizing applications on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V to VMware vSphere 5.1:
SSD Fresh is a free utility for optimizing Windows to better maintain your SSD drive:
Project Conference, 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California
Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada
SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
Microsoft TechEd Australia on September 3-6, 2013 in Gold Coast, Australia
Microsoft TechEd New Zealand on September 10-13, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand
Add your event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
MS Exchange CON 2013 Virtual Conference
- Hear from a top analyst from Osterman Research with the latest research on MS Exchange top trends and challenges.
- Watch how vendors are solving some of the biggest Exchange Management challenges.
- Discover answers to your top MS Exchange and MS Exchange 2013 question with an Exchange MVP.
All from the convenience of your office, on September 12, 2013!
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
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]
"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)
Mounting an image to convert Windows Server 2012 R2 Core to Full Installation By Adnan Cartwright (Blain Barton's Blog)
Software Defined Networking (SDN): Double-Clicking into our Point of View (Windows Server Blog)
SharePoint, Exchange and Office
"This fear of patching is now back in the Exchange world" (a new message has arrived)
Authenticate your Exchange client in Office 365 (Exchange dev blog)
Now available: Refresh of Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 developer training (Apps for Office and SharePoint Blog)
PowerShell Sessions, Slides and Demos from TechEd 2013 (Windows PowerShell Blog)
New Networking Diagnostics with PowerShell in Windows Server R2 (Networking Blog)
Jump Start on-demand: Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 (Microsoft Virtual Academy)
PXE boot will be supported on synthetic NIC in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V R2 (UP2V)
Testing SMB Live Migration on WS2012 R2 Hyper-V (Aidan Finn, IT Pro)
Multi Server Management for Hyper-V (Part 1) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Aligning your VMs virtual hard disks (Yellow Bricks)
Disaster Recovery of Stretch Deployed VM (DCE) in vCloud Hybrid Service aka vCHS (Stretch Cloud)
Citrix XenApp - Voted VirtualizationAdmin.com Readers' Choice Award Winner - Application Servers (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Citrix PVS: Enabling KMS licensing on a vDisk (Ingmar Verheij)
System Center platform
Automation–Orchestrating the Cloud (Building Clouds Blog)
Automation–Orchestrator Architecture and Runbook Deployment Process (Building Clouds Blog)
Automation–Orchestrating Hyper-V Replica with System Center for Planned Failover (Building Clouds Blog)
Automation–Orchestrator Integration Pack for PowerShell Script Execution (Building Clouds Blog)
Miscellaneous cloud computing
Cloud Computing for CIOs: Getting Inside the Mind of Your CFO (CIO.com)
QuickTricks: SmartSizing when using Remote Desktop Connection in Windows 8 (Catapult Systems)
HowTo: Bootable USB Stick for OS Install (Regular IT Guy)
USB flash drives masquerading as keyboards mean more BYOD security headaches (ZDNet)
Pass-The-Hash: Protect Your Windows Computers! (Part 1) (WindowsSecurity.com)
The Security Realm – A Microsoft Map of the Known World (Microsoft Download Center)
5 Reasons the Modern Datacenter Matters (Concurrency)
Autoruns v11.70, Bginfo v4.20, Disk2vhd v1.64, Process Explorer v15.40 (Sysinternals Site Discussion)
We'd like to thank the following individuals for contributing items for this section from time to time:
- Florian Klaffenbach, a Solution Expert in Microsoft & Cloud Computing working at Dell TechCenter Germany. Be sure to check out Flo's Datacenter Report:
- Yuri Diogenes, Senior Technical Writer in the Server and Cloud Division at Microsoft. You can find Yuri's blog on TechNet:
- Heather Witz of the Microsoft Customer, Architecture & Technologies (CAT) team for Windows Server & System Center. Check out their team blog Building Clouds on TechNet:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
The best costumes from the San Diego Comic Book Convention 2013 (Part 2). After all who doesn't want to be a superhero?
Amazing aerial footage of Niagara Falls made possible by remote controlled quad-rotor helicopter and lightweight HD camera.
People are awesome and brilliant with abilities that are amazing and somewhat out of this world.
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.