Fully Automated Image Factory for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
· ☕ 11 min read
UPDATE: This post is old and intended as a walk through on how my original script was put together for those wishing to learn PowerShell. For the finished, up-to-date script please check out this post and you can download the script from my Microsoft TechNet profile. Recently I’ve been looking into automating my image build process further using PowerShell to create an Image Factory of sorts. There are other similar scripts that I’ve found online, but I like the relatively simple and straightforward method I’ve developed below.

Windows 10 Insider Preview (Creators Update) - New OOBE
· ☕ 1 min read
As we hurtle towards the release of the Creators Update, I decided to take a look at the new OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) that users will see when installing the update. The new OOBE has been a part of the Insider preview builds for some time now. It’s main feature is Cortana support, so you can use speech to go through setup which appears to be as much as a cool and useful feature as it is about accessibility.

Quick Tip: Windows 10 Screenshots
· ☕ 1 min read
You’re probably aware that the Print Screen captures a screenshot and stores it in the clipboard. What you may not know is that Win + Print Screen also captures a screenshot and saves it in Pictures\Screenshots. When you press the key combination, the screen will dim for a second. Man, you learn something new everyday. Additionally if you’re looking for more control over taking screenshots, the awesome Snipping Tool has been in Windows since Windows 7.

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
· ☕ 3 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.

Deploying a Windows 10 1607 Reference Image with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 8443
· ☕ 12 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 at login and how to stop it.
· ☕ 4 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.