Jump to content


How can I dynamically deploy multiple operating systems with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager ?

Recommended Posts


Traditionally you deploy one operating system per task sequence but there are times when you might want to deploy more than operating system in the same task sequence.


There are a variety of ways of doing this, for example you could use a MDT based User Driven Installation (UDI) task sequence which in turn requires you to use the UDI Wizard Designer to edit the Volume page and add, remove or re-order Operating System wim images which can then be displayed to the end user (shown below).


Multiple WIMS via UDI task sequence.png


This works well as long as you are willing to use UDI based task sequences and the associated UDI Designer Wizard and don't mind updating the MDT Toolkit Files package after doing so.


Alternatively you could use a dynamic task sequence which uses a HTA FrontEnd (hypertext application or web page..) that is based on variables set in the task sequence itself. The HTA method is more dynamic as you do not need to update the MDT Toolkit files package every time you make a change to one of the operating systems included in the task sequence and you don't need to use a User Driven Installation based task sequence either.


Here is what the FrontEnd looks like


Multi Image.png


you can click on the drop down menus to select from the Operating Systems that you make available


drop down menu.png


In addition you can use tooltips (by hovering over a drop down menu) in this task sequence to display helpful info to the end user about what each operating system is for.





So how is it done ? I'll show you.


Step 1. Get the Task Sequence


Download the Multiple Operating Systems in a Task Sequence below.


Multi-Image task sequence.zip


You need to import it into your Configuration Manager server. To Import it, in the Configuration Manager console navigate to the Software Library and find the Operating Systems section, right click on Task Sequences and choose Import Task Sequence as shown below.


Import Task Sequence.png


browse to the UNC path where you downloaded the ZIP file above


browse to the source.png


click next, you will get an import failure for the boot wim, select Ignore Dependency as shown below


ignore dependency.png


The task sequence is imported successfully.


successfully imported.png


Step 2. Get the HTA


Download the Multi Image HTA below




Unzip these files and copy them to a folder on your Configuration Manager server. Next, create a package by doing as follows, select Application Management in software Library, and choose Packages, right click and choose Create Package


create package.png


fill in some info about the package, call it Multi-Image


path of multi-image.png


Select do not create a program


do not create a program.png


continue through the wizard until done


continue until done.png


Step 3. Distribute the package


Right click on the Multi-Image package and choose Distribute Content,


distribute content.png


distribute it to all your distribution points as shown below


content destination.png


continue until the wizard is complete.


wizard is complete.png


Step 4. Edit the Task sequence


Right click on the Multiple Operating Systems in a Task Sequence task sequence and choose edit,


edit task sequence.png


you'll probably see the error below, it's ok we are going to add that package next...


objects referenced.png


On the Display HTA step, click on the Browse button beside Package, and select the Multi-Image so it looks like below


display hta.png


Once done, take a look at the three OSName variables, they are what is shown to the end user in the Multi-Image HTA. You can set these variables to match whatever three (or two or more) operating systems you are deploying in this task seqence.


OSName variable.png


in addition you can define the two tooltips used in the HTA


tooltip variable.png


If you want the HTA to display make/model and serial number info then add a MDT Toolkit Files step, immediately followed by a MDT Gather step as shown below (this is optional, and requires MDT Integration with Configuration Manager 2012.)


MDT Gather.png


Now you need to add your operating system images, under the New Computer Group,click add,choose images and then apply operating system image as shown below


add images apply operating system image.png


click on browse and browse to your selected operating system image


windows 7 enterprise.png


Next, select the Options tab, and add a condition (Task Sequence Variable) and enter the following info, ImageValue = OSValue1 as shown below




repeat the above for each Operating System Image you want to deploy, however set the options value for the variable ImageValue to OSValue2 or OSValue3 as appropriate.


You don't need to make all three available, you can simply disable one or two in the task sequence if you want and they won't appear in the HTA. Dynamic !


disable this step.png


for the purpose of this task sequence, you can go ahead and add a boot wim and then deploy it for testing, obviously you'll want to customize the task sequence to do all the actions you normally do,


below you can see that the second Operating System image was selected (OSValue2) and is being deployed as logged in SMSTS.log


osvalue2 selected.png


That's it, job done !








Deploying multiple operating systems with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 is easy enough and there are many ways of doing it, this method is dynamic and I hope you try it out !.


Related Reading


You can download a Microsoft Word copy of this guide here.


Multiple Wim Images in One Task Sequence.zip

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

you mean controlling what boot wim get's used ? that's decided by the task sequence it is attached to, and the order of when it was deployed,


so for example if i deploy a task sequence with a x86 boot wim to All Unknown Computers, and then PXE boot an unknown computer, it will download that x86 boot wim

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks as always Niall! Question though... I've filled at the TS with the standard options for my normal OSD steps and created a standalone boot media for the sequence. When it runs, it basically downloads the files needed to run the HTA, but then nothing displays, the rest of the TS flies through without making any actual changes. I'm guessing this is because the HTA doesn't run so no choices are made, thusly causing each OS image to be skipped.


So my question is, will this work from inside Windows PE? Or, does it have to be run from within an OS for the HTA to display properly? Judging from the screenshots, it looks like it does work from within Windows PE so I wonder if I have the steps not sequenced correctly or something?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

will this work from inside Windows PE? 

absolutely ! that's how it's designed to run,

you probably have a spelling mistake or an other problem, attach your smsts.log and i'll be able to determine what the issue is


my guess is you have no HTA support in your boot wim optional components and therefore it cannot display the HTA.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the quick response!


I started thinking along those lines just after I posted and as you suggested, I did not have HTA support enabled in my boot image. However, after enabling, the TS still fails, though not at the HTA steps. Oddly enough, it still does not display the HTA and proceeds through the TS until it fails at Setting up Configuration Manager. Checking the log file, I do not see any errors pertaining to the HTA sequence. I've attached the log file and a screen shot of the TS steps.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

did you redistribute the boot wim and then recreate the media after adding hta support to the boot wim ? the HTA component is shown below, is that the one you added ?


add hta support.png




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

did you redistribute the boot wim and then recreate the media after adding hta support to the boot wim ? the HTA component is shown below, is that the one you added ?


attachicon.gifadd hta support.png





Yes in all regards. I can try again though. I notice that the placement of my steps doesn't really match yours. Not sure if that's going to make a huge difference or not as I think the overriding issue is that the HTA doesn't display.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...