One of the best reasons implementing MDT 2012 is the way it manages your drivers. I had a customer who was using WDS only for deploying their Windows 7 images. They told me that the deployment would halt for around 30 minutes when applying drivers. The problem there was that every driver was being to applied to every machine during deployment. I explained to them a few ways in which MDT could help.
When you create a new Operating System deployment Task Sequence, the default behaviour is to Install only matching drivers from the selection profile. This will save an immense amount of time without you having to do anything.
For small deployments with up to 10 models and only 1 version of Windows these defaults will suffice and I would continue to use them.
If you have multiple Operating Systems I suggest using the driver selection profiles to isolate each Operating System and Architecture(x86,AMD64).
For larger organisations where you have many makes and models (25+) and multiple OS versions I suggest isolating your Drivers by Operating System/Architecture and Make/Model then dynamically applying the drivers. This will isolate and ensure that only the exact drivers are downloaded in injected during your deployments.
Here’s how it’s done. Organise your drivers by using the driver management methods in my previous posts:
- MDT Powershell: Creating a Driverstore folder structure
- MDT Powershell: Importing device drivers from organised folders
Your drivers will now be organised in a tree hierarchy like in this screenshot.
This time we wont be using the selection profiles so change the selection profile to nothing.
Next, create a new Task Sequence Variable for DriverGroup001 and enter a value for the Operating System root folder then make and model variables.
Now during your deployments, MDT will only apply a small subset of drivers to each model.
You could also do this in the customsettings.ini by adding the DriverGroup property to a specific path. This example demonstrates such a method but assumes you have only 1 Operating System.
[Settings] Priority=Model, Default Properties=CustomProperty [Default] OSInstall=Y [OptiPlex 755] OSDComputername=PC%SerialNumber% DriverGroup001="Windows 7 x86\Dell Inc\OptiPlex 755" [HP ProBook 6560b] OSDComputername=PC01 DriverGroup001="Windows 7 x86\Hewlett-Packard\HP ProBook 6560b"