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Fine-Tuning MDT Deployments : Creating a Linked Deployment Share (part 1) - Understanding Linked Deployment Shares

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8/7/2013 6:17:15 PM

1. Discovering Selection Profiles

Selection profiles are part of the advanced configuration within the Deployment Workbench. Selection profiles allow you to make a selection of folders present in the Deployment Workbench. You can later use this profile during the creation of linked deployment shares so you can specify which content will be replicated to that linked deployment share. You can also use selection profiles while including the proper device drivers and packages for use within Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), which helps you define specific Windows PE images for specific configurations. Finally, you can use selection profiles within the task sequence and when creating deployment media.

By default, the selection profiles in Table 1 are available.

Table 1. Default selection profiles
NameDescription
EverythingAll folders are selected.
All DriversAll driver folders are selected.
All Drivers And PackagesAll driver and packages folders are selected.
All PackagesAll packages are selected.
NothingNothing is selected.
SampleUsed as an example; packages and task sequences are selected.

In addition to the default selection profiles, you can create your own, which you can use in your custom deployment solution. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Start the Deployment Workbench and browse to Deployment Shares => <your deployment share name> => Advanced Configuration => Selection Profiles.

  2. Click New Selection Profile in the Actions pane.

  3. In the New Selections Profile wizard on the General Settings page, provide a selection profile name and (optionally) some comments so that you can determine later why you created the profile. Click Next to continue.

  4. On the Folders page, select the folders you want to include in your selection profile. As you can see, all the folders and subfolders from your deployment share are available for selection. Choose the appropriate folder by placing a check mark in front of the folder name. Click Next to continue.

  5. On the Summary page, review the details provided and click Next to execute the creation of the selection profile. You can follow the creation progress on the Progress page.

  6. After the selection profile is created, verify that the outcome is "The process completed successfully." You can also save the status presented on the screen to a log file by selecting Save Output and providing a name to save the output to. Also notice that you can view the PowerShell script that was used to create the selection profile by selecting View Script. You can later use this script as a basis to create selection profiles automatically.

  7. Click Finish to end the wizard, and verify that you see your new selection profile listed in the workbench.

Making Selection Profiles Work for You

Selection profiles can help you distinguish between different types of operating systems and their related dependencies, such as drivers. If you group your Windows 7 drivers in a selection profile, you can later use that profile in your task sequence when injecting drivers. Selection profiles can also be used to ensure that only the necessary drivers—the network drivers and the mass storage adapter drivers—are injected into your boot image. You can create a selection profile containing only these drivers and use that profile while creating the boot image.


After you have created a selection profile, you can change its settings by right-clicking on the profile and selecting Properties. You can then modify the included folders in the selection profile, rename the selection profile, or add additional comments.

You also have the ability to copy selection profiles to other linked deployment shares. However, copying selection profiles within their own folder doesn't work at this time.

2. Creating a Linked Deployment Share

By using several linked deployment shares, you can create a scalable deployment solution by placing these linked deployment shares in the neighborhood of the clients you are going to deploy.

2.1. Understanding Linked Deployment Shares

By using linked deployment shares, you can synchronize content from a source deployment share to a target deployment share. Using selection profiles allows you to create deployment shares servicing certain scenarios. You can, for example, create a deployment share only suitable for installing servers within your organization and place that deployment share in your server VLAN.

By using Distributed File System Replication (DFS-R), you can replicate the contents of equally configured linked deployment shares automatically. If you also replicate the contents of the MDT database, you are able to build a highly scalable deployment solution.

The target deployment share server doesn't need to have the WAIK and MDT installed. It will just host a file share containing the necessary files. WDS is needed, though, if you want this server to perform PXE boot services to its clients.

  1. On the server where you want to create the target deployment share, create a folder and share it with the share name you prefer. Also make sure that the share is accessible by the source deployment server by providing correct share and NTFS permissions.

  2. Start the Deployment Workbench and browse to Deployment Shares => <your deployment share name> => Advanced Configuration => Linked Deployment Shares.

  3. Select New Linked Deployment Share from the Actions pane on the right; the New Linked Deployment Share wizard will start.

  4. On the General page, provide the UNC path to the share you just created on the target server. You can optionally provide comments explaining the purpose of the linked deployment share you are about to create.

  5. By default, the Everything selection profile is selected, but you can modify this when necessary so that only a subset of the source deployment share is copied to the target deployment share.

  6. Specify whether you want the New Linked Deployment Share wizard to either merge or replace the selected content into the target deployment share. Click Next.

  7. On the Summary page, review the settings and click Next to create the relationship.

  8. Verify on the Confirmation page that the process completed successfully.

  9. Click Finish to end the New Linked Deployment Share wizard, and verify that the new linked replication share is listed in the workbench.

You also have the ability to save the status presented on the screen to a log file by selecting Save Output and providing a name to save the output to. Also notice that you can view the PowerShell script that was used to create the linked deployment share by selecting View Script. You can later use this script as a basis to create linked deployment shares automatically.

Using Linked Deployment Shares to Distinguish between Test and Production

Linked deployment shares in combination with selection profiles can help you distinguish between your MDT test environment and the MDT environment that you want to make available for mass deployment. If you receive a new hardware device, you can test the driver installation in your MDT test environment and later include the drivers and applications in your MDT production selection profile. You can use this selection profile to fill the linked deployment share that you use for production deployment.

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