31 January 2020

Importing an OS into MDT

MDT is a powerful tool but it really needs an operating system, to deploy or capture, if you really want to utilize it’s full potential. Match that with Microsoft’s release schedule of Windows and you will find yourself needing to import a new OS at least once year, if not more. Today we’re going to take a look at importing Windows 10 v1909 into our MDT server.

The first thing that you will need to do is acquire a Windows Installation ISO or or use a captured custom install. Ultimately, we will need a file that is in the Windows Image (.WIM) format. FWIW – Microsoft has been using the WIM format in it’s installation media (DVDs and ISOs) since Windows Vista. Once you have acquired your installation media, either insert your DVD into your machine, or mount the ISO file so it can be accessed.

Open your Deployment Workbench and open the deployment share that you wish to import the OS into. Drill down into it’s folder and click onto Operating Systems. In the Actions pane on the right side of the console, click on New Folder, and create a folder appropriately named for the OS you wish to import and complete the wizard. I’m only importing the 64-bit iso, but if you were import both 32-bit and 64-bit, you might want to specific that in the folder’s name.

In the Deployment Workbench, right-click onto the new Windows 10 folder that you just created. Once selected, Import Operating System.

That will open the Import Operating System Wizard. Unless you are using a custom installation file, you will be selecting Full set of source files to import the WIM file from your DVD or ISO, then click NEXT.

Select your source folder. As i mentioned above, this will be your DVD or mounted ISO, click OK, then click NEXT.

Give your Destination directory a name and click NEXT.

Click NEXT on the Summary page.

You’ll see a progress window as MDT imports your OS.

When the import is complete, you see a message the the process was successful and you can click FINISH.

Because I’m importing from an ISO that has Enterprise, Education, and Profession in it, you can see that that it imported about ten different WIM files. Thats okay… We can delete the versions which we know we won’t use. Select and highlight the versions that you don’t want, right click and select Delete.

There will be a wizard that you can click NEXT through to complete the removal of the unwanted versions of the OS.

That completes importing an OS into MDT. Now we can use the newly imported versions of our OS in our Task Sequences.

17 January 2020

VMware Workstation can’t run on Windows

This was fun… Lets update Windows. Okay, done. Now lets open VMware Workstation and get back to work on that vm that I needed to do something on…

VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows

Check for an updated version of this app that runs on Windows.

Compatibility Assistant

What the!!! Umm, I’m not re-purchasing Workstation, I just bought it a couple months ago! 🤬 😤

If you have tried running VMware’s Workstation Player/Pro version 12 or 14 on Windows 10 1903 (or above), there’s a pretty good chance that you went through the same conversation with yourself that I did above. Apparently the release schedules for Windows 10 and for Workstation, don’t align, and older releases of Workstation will get put on a sort of program “blacklist”.

As part of a MS Cumulative Update (Sept 26, 2019; OS Build 18362.387+), it will update a database of programs that are prohibited by MS. Their “Compatibility Assistant” component now prevents older versions of Workstation from even running. So how do we get around this and use Workstation?

The best solution would be to become a paid “Advantage” member of the VMware User Group (VMUG). By spendign $200 and becoming an VMUG Advantage member, one of the biggest perks is that you get access to evaluation licenses of basically all of VMware’s products. So, you can download, install, run with the most current and non-“Compatibility Assistant” blocked version of Worstation.

Okay, so you don’t want to spend any additional money. I totally understand. In that case, the simplest way to fix this is going to be to make a registry edit. The registry edit is necessary to override the “Compatibility Asisstant” default behavior, thus allowing us the ability to run Workstation again.

  1. Backup your registry… Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for any unintentional mishaps you have while you edit your registry.
  2. Open a text editor, and copy/paste the code below into it.
  3. Save it as a ‘.reg’ file. Go ahead and name it something like “VMworkstation.reg”.
  4. Open and apply your “VMworkstation.reg” file to modify your registry.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags]

Note: This method is also suitable to deploy via Group Policy.

The last option available, would be to replace the “Compatibily Assistant” database file with an older version of itself. I’m personally not a fan of this method, so I’m not going to expand on it. But with a little googling you can learn how this would be done.