Deploy Autopilot with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

A screenshot of a cell phone

Some questions now, if I was already using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), why should I run Autopilot afterwards? There are several reasons why it can be useful, here are some examples:

  • Provide virtual machines for testing with less effort.
  • Deploy existing hardware with the latest version of Windows 10 for Autopilot.
  • Install your own image for Autopilot on the systems.
  • Get the latest updates for the systems.
  • Preinstalled software, even if it cannot be managed in Intune.

With new devices, it is, of course, easier to let the manufacturer do this directly. Unfortunately, this does not work with existing devices and VMs.

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Preparations for Autopilot

Even though there are other ways now, I still use the hardware hash. The reason for this is that I don’t need to store the autopilot profiles in the image. And I can change the profiles in the Azure AD if necessary.

I’ve been using a Powershell script for such purposes for a while, which uploads the hash directly to the device directory via an Azure webhook.

Screenshot of the client script to capture the hardware hash and upload it to the Azure Device Directory
Screenshot of the client script to capture the hardware hash and upload it to the Azure Device Directory

The instructions for this process can be found on Roger Zander’s blog: “Automatically register the existing device in AutoPilot

I just leave out the Sysprep command in the script, it’s my own task sequence. I execute this without shutdown, that shutdown makes the task sequence end.

To make life easier, I set an Order-ID with the script, which is used for a dynamic group. This dynamic group automatically assigns an autopilot profile.

Screenshot: portal.azure.com - Dynamic Group with OrderID as criteria
Screenshot: portal.azure.com – Dynamic Group with OrderID as criteria
Screenshot: portal.azure.com - Assigning the Dynamic Group to the Intune Autopilot Profile
Screenshot: portal.azure.com – Assigning the Dynamic Group to the Intune Autopilot Profile

Task sequence in MDT

I use a normal installation task sequence to install it, which I have adapted a bit. By adjusting the variables I prevent a domain join and skip some steps like the software installation.

Screenshot: First part of task sequence for OS installation with autopilot activation
Screenshot: First part of task sequence for OS installation with autopilot activation

In my task sequence, I install the C++ Runtimes and BGinfo. Since the C++ runtime environments are updated via Windows updates, I don’t need any software management or maintenance by Intune. The second last step is to run the Power Shell script, which creates the hardware hash and uploads it via the webhook.

Screenshot: Second part of task sequence for OS installation with autopilot activation
Screenshot: Second part of task sequence for OS installation with autopilot activation

Within the task sequence, I also update the system against the WSUS server. In addition, I use a golden image. This means that I create and update a reference image. This installation is then captured and used as a base. Since I do this once a month, I save time with each installation.

I execute the Sysprep only with “/OOBE”, so the task sequence is finished cleanly with the shutdown over the MDT.

This article first appeared on Infrastrukturhelden.de in German.

This article is a translation of the Infrastrukturhelden.de article “Autopilot mit Microsoft Deployment Toolkit verteilen” from July 2, 2019. Links may refer to other Infrastrukturhelden.de articles, these may also be available in English language.

Also it can be, that I still use screenshots of German systems. However, where it is possible for me with little effort, I insert screenshots of English systems.

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Author: Fabian Niesen

Fabian Niesen has been working as an IT consultant for years. Here he writes privately and independently of his employer. Among others he is certified as MCSA Windows Server 2008 / 2012, MCSA Office 365, MCSA Windows 10, MCSE Messaging, MCT and Novell Certified Linux Administrator. Since 2016 he is also MCT Regional Lead for Germany. His hobbies are social media, blogging, medieval markets, historical songs and house building.

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