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Theorycrafting: how would you handle provisioning under these circumstances...

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Good day everyone,

I would like to pick the brain of the proverbial community think-tank here on the forums.

The product

We are looking at purchasing a number of (what I am calling) WInBooks for students (Dell 3180's, Lenovo N22, etc).  These are basically Windows 10 versions of their ChromeBook counterparts.  11" screens, Celeron/Pentium procs, 4GB RAM with 64/128GB SSD's...and wireless only.


The IDEAL solution

Generally speaking, I think the solution to provisioning these would be using InTune, but that is not on the table due to budgetary reasons.  As such, I do not have CM setup as an MDM.


The more likely solution

Use WICD and create a provisioning package that we apply when the new laptops are first turned on...apply SharedPC settings, wireless profile, domain join, etc.


The concerns/problems

We like to image things that come in for a number of reasons...cleans off bloatware from the mfg's, install organizational specific software, customize other settings, etc...however, with most of these devices only having wireless cards and no dedicated NIC, it takes a couple more hoops to jump through in order to image them (currently just using a USB drive).

Using WICD to create a provisioning package that we apply at first boot is the simplest solution, but it leaves all the mfg's software installed, as well as trial software that gets in the way.

Using a USB drive for OSD gives us a clean laptop and software we want installed, but still leaves us needing to do something about the wireless profile and domain join.



My initial thought was to use DISM to apply a provisioning package(s) at various steps in the TS in order to try and automate the process via TS.  For example, first apply a package with the wireless profile immediately after the image is applied, and then during the software installs, apply another package with the domain join (no idea if this would work yet, as I have yet to test it)...this would be contingent upon the wireless profile being applied first, and actually connecting to the network during the Install Applications portion of the TS...and I have no idea if that would work.

What else should I take into consideration?  Has anyone else dealt with something similar?  Perhaps there is a more simple solution that I am missing (can't see the forest for the trees)?

All input is appreciated! Thanks!

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do these devices have usb ports, if so maybe you can connect a usb nic and pxe boot off that ? that said you'll need to ask Dell what nic they offer can do that, not all will be supported by the hardware bios for pxe boot, so contact Dell

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They do have USB ports, and I had forgotten to mention the USB NIC as a consideration as well.  I have not had great success using USB NIC's in the past...as you point out, there will be a limited number of supported devices there. Thanks!

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