Quick Tip: Enable server-side log storage in MDT for easier troubleshooting
· ☕ 2 min read
Probably the most important thing about troubleshooting anything is having the data on the process. Troubleshooting Task Sequences in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit can be tricky, and has, in the past stumped me for days because I didn’t have, or couldn’t find the right data on what was going wrong. Luckily MDT does have logs - lots of them! During a task sequence they’re kept on the client and by default they’re deleted when the deployment finishes, even if it’s unsuccessful.

Tales From The Real World: Windows 10 Deployment
· ☕ 4 min read
I’ve been doing a reasonably large scale Windows 10 deployment recently and I thought I’d feedback on performance of my MDT setup, whilst also taking into account the specification and topology of the network. Below is a screenshot of the times of some successfully completed deployments for reference. As you can see, they’re in the vicinity of around 1hr 30m. Let’s delve into the specs of everything. Windows Server 2016 Standard w/ Desktop Experience 4x vCPU 8GB RAM Dynamically expanding VHDX for C:\ Windows Dynamically expanding VHDX for E:\ Deploymentshare 1x vNIC using the Virtual Host network adaptor The config of the VM is really nothing special, and I could have done some extra work to optimise the configuration.

Feature Spotlight: Night light
· ☕ 2 min read
A feature that I’m very happy to see coming in the Creators Update for Windows 10 is Night light. It’s not exactly a headline feature, but I’m happy to see it and wanted to draw attention to it. What Night light does is change the colour temperature of the display as the sun sets, reducing the blue light and enabling your eyes to relax as you work into the night which, I personally do a lot.

App Spotlight: Plex
· ☕ 4 min read
Recently I’ve been looking at my home NAS/media server setup and been wanting to update it. Up until now, I’ve either watched movie and TV show DVD rips locally on my PC or on my Xbox 360/One through the media apps, served via DNLA from my old QNAP NAS. At some point the experience became very slow and clunky, either due to my NAS' DNLA server not being very good or the Xbox One media player app not being very good.

Automated Minecraft Server Backup for Shared Hosting
· ☕ 3 min read
In my There’s PowerShell In My Marzicraft! post I shared my script that creates a backup of the server and then uses OneDrive to upload it offsite. In this post, I’ll share my script to backup a Minecraft server that’s on shared hosting and therefore I only have limited access to. The server in question has a web admin front end and FTP access. I have no access to the terminal or desktop.

Customising the Start Menu and Taskbar with Windows 10 all versions incl. 1903/1909
· ☕ 3 min read
This week I’ve gone pretty deep down the rabbit hole of automating the Start Menu and Taskbar layouts during an MDT Task Sequence. Update 2017-05-02 This also works with Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) As every device I’m deploying will have the same customisation I wanted to automate it during the build or deploy Task Sequence, rather than applying it via domain Group Policy to reduce limited network bandwidth, keep Group Policy as light as possible and reduce login times as much as possible.

Let's take a look at Windows 10/Xbox's 'Play Anywhere' feature
· ☕ 1 min read
Time for a fun post. As a Xbox and PC gamer, I wanted to check out whether the ‘Play Anywhere’ feature worked as well I’d imagined and hoped. I’m glad to say it did, but here’s a short video taking a look at what the experience is like for a first time user. If you’d like to contact me, please leave a comment, send me a tweet or DM, or you can join my Discord server.

Deploying a Windows 10 1607 Reference Image with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443
· ☕ 13 min read
Continuing on from my previous post (Building a Windows 10 1607 Reference Image with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443) I’ll be continuing my series of deploying Windows 10 1607 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit build 8443. In this post we’ll be building a task sequence to deploy the reference image created previously and we’ll also be tackling domain joining, drivers, and post-imaging tasks. Update 02/05/2017: Please note that this post is also relevant to Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) with a few minor changes, which I’ve posted about here.

Building a Windows 10 1607 Reference Image with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443
· ☕ 9 min read
Following on from my previous post (Getting Started With Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443 and Windows 10 1607), I’ll be continuing my series of deploying Windows 10 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Update 2017-05-02: Please note that this post is also relevant to Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) with a few minor changes, which I’ve posted about here. In this post I’ll be building a task sequence to create a reference image that would be suitable for a real world deployment on new devices or performing a ‘wipe and load’ on existing devices.

Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update) opens msn.com at login and how to stop it.
· ☕ 5 min read
I thought about trying to find a better name for this post and this issue, but this is all I could come up with. Update 2017-10-16: A few people have contacted me and made me aware that doing the reg hack below can prevent users from using Microsoft Office Clipart, so you should be aware of that before proceeding. Additionally, I’ve found that with Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update), allowing access to http://www.

A Quick and Dirty Hyper-V Backup Script
· ☕ 3 min read
I’ve replaced this script with a much more robust script that will backup each VM, including checkpoints/snapshots. You can find that post here. Let’s celebrate the holiday season with a quick PowerShell script to backup a Hyper-V server…or maybe you just need a quick and dirty, belt and braces backup script for your Hyper-V based VMs. It’s a small, quick script leveraging Hyper-V’s PowerShell module and some traditional command line utilities, like robocopy.

PXE Booting for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
· ☕ 3 min read
Update 2018-04-28: I’ve completely re-written and updated this post with new information for Windows Server 2016 here. When installing PXE (pronounced “pixie”) booting for use with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit there are a few things to consider. There’s not much to installing WDS and configure PXE booting for MDT on a flat network, but if you have a larger network with VLANs there is some additional configuration needed. I’ll be covering the flat network configuration here and will post about the additional configuration needed for a larger network at a later date.

Getting Started With Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443 and Windows 10 1607/1703
· ☕ 8 min read
For this post the demo network consists of an Active Directory Domain Controller (DC01), a WSUS server (WSUS01) - here’s a previous post on installing WSUS, a server that will have Microsoft Deployment Toolkit installed (WDS01) and a blank Hyper-V Virtual Machine for creating the reference image. Update 2017-05-02: Please note that this post is also relevant to building Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) images. I’ve posted about the differences here.