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This article describes the steps to perform a centrally-initiated deployment, using the SiteDeploy® console, or an endpoint-initiated deployment, using the deployment media.

Prior to reading this article, we recommend ensuring that your golden image store and deployment media have been created.

The golden images can now be deployed to the target computers using the deployment media. First, boot the computers using the deploy media. Since the deployment media contains multiple versions of Windows PE, you may need to select the correct version for the computer you are using.

Important Note

If the CPU architecture of the computer is 32-bit, then you will need to select a 32-bit version of the deployment media, otherwise, a 64-bit version of PE should be used. If the computer has UEFI firmware, then it is recommended that a PE 10 version of the deployment media is selected, if the computer has BIOS firmware, then a PE 3.1 version should be used. 

If the in-box PXE server is being used to boot the deployment media on the endpoints, the relevant booting option will be selected for the endpoint automatically.

Once the deployment media has booted, the PE Agent will be displayed:

The deployment can now be initiated using SiteDeploy® (centrally-initiated deployment), alternatively, a guided deployment can be initiated locally on the target endpoint once a user has logged in (endpoint-initiated deployment). 

Centrally-Initiated Deployment 

Once the target computer has been booted with the deployment media, it will be shown in the ‘Deployment Targets’ tab of SiteDeploy®. If the MAC address of the computer, that has been booted with the deployment media, matches the MAC address of a computer that is being managed using Macrium Site Manager, then the name of the computer will be shown. If the MAC address does not match any computers that are being managed by Macrium Site Manager, then the name will show 'Recovery:X' with incrementing numbers:

This 'Recovery:X' number will also be shown in the PE Agent on the target endpoint and can be used to match the target endpoint against the 'Deployment Targets' in SiteDeploy®:

The computers can be expanded to see more information about their hardware. This information can also be used to help identify the endpoints:

Select the endpoint(s) that will be the target for the deployment using the checkbox shown next to each endpoint, then select ‘Deploy.’  

A list of available golden images will be displayed in the window that opens. The arrow next to the golden images can be used to display the partition structure that was included in the golden image.  

On the next page of the wizard, additional options can be specified for the deployment. 

The options for the deployment are: 

Rapid Delta Restore - Only changed blocks are deployed to the target computer meaning the deployment will be completed much faster. This only applies when restoring an NTFS volume and the target has a version of the imaged file system (e.g. when deploying an image to a computer that has previously had the same image deployed to it). You can read more about when rapid delta restore will be used in this article. 

SSD TRIM - Affects restore operations to SSD only. During the deployment, unused blocks on the SSD will be flagged using a TRIM operation. Writing to an unused block is much quicker than an in-use block as it avoids both the slow erase operation and the read-modify-write cycle. This results in an increase in both the lifetime and the performance of the device. It is effective for all Windows operating systems, even those that support SSD trim as the file system driver can only TRIM blocks on de-allocation; it cannot TRIM blocks written by another process. It is also effective for USB-attached SSDs. 

Resize image to fit disk - The partition(s) will be copied to the target and all extendable/shrinkable partitions will be proportionately resized, so all partitions fill the disk. Extendable and Shrinkable partitions are all non-system partitions, and drive C, that are formatted using either NTFS or FAT32.

Sysprep answer file - When this option is selected a Sysprep answer file will be copied to the target computers post-deployment. The Sysprep answer file can be used to perform post-deployment tasks like renaming the computer and skipping the Out of Box Experience (OOBE). This article contains more information information about Sysprep answer files. The Sysprep answer file is only available when deploying a Sysprepped golden image. If the golden image has not been Sysprepped this option will be unavailable, as the deployed operating system will not enter the OOBE.

Sysprep answer file options

When 'Sysprep answer file' is selected, additional options will be displayed that can control the variables in the answer file, changing the values on the deployed operating system.

Computer name - These options can be used to specify a naming convention for the target computers. 

Computer Name template - This option can be used to specify the target endpoint(s)' names post-deployment.

Auto Name Start Num - This option specifies the starting number for the '{nn}' variable. For example, if 100 is specified, the first endpoint will be numbered 101.

Use Agent Name if Available - When this option is selected, if the endpoint is also managed for continuous backups by Site Manager, the computer name of the agent computer will be used instead.

Create Computer Account - This option is used to create a computer account on the deployed operating system, this can either be a 'Built-in Administrator' or 'Local account', a password can also be specified for the account.

Join Computer to a Domain - This option enables a deployed endpoint to be joined to a domain. Domain user credentials should be specified to enable the computer to join the domain.

If one of the fields is left blank, you may be prompted to complete the relevant section of the OOBE on the deployed operating system.

On the next page of the wizard, the deployment is checked for 'conflicts.' A conflict is something that requires interaction from the deployment operator. For example, if you are deploying to a computer with multiple disks, the deployment operator will need to select the disk that will be used as the destination.  

Once the conflict has been resolved, the computer will be shown as ‘Ready for Deploy’: 

If the 'Sysprep answer file' option is selected on the 'Options' page of the deployment wizard, the post-deployment name of the endpoint will be shown in the 'New Computer Name' column. The new computer name of each computer can be overridden with a different name by selecting 'Edit'.

The final page of the deployment wizard will show a summary of the deployment that will take place. Select ‘Finish’ to start the deployment: 

The golden image will then be deployed to the computers that were specified. The progress of the deployment can be monitored from the endpoint:

The progress of the deployment can also be monitored on the 'Dashboard' page of the Site Manager.

The target computer will reboot automatically once the deployment has been completed. 

Endpoint Initiated Deployment 

Alternatively, a guided deployment can be initiated locally using the PE Agent on the target computer. To start the guided deployment, the Site Manager will need to be logged in from the PE Agent. To do this, select ‘Login’ and enter the credentials of a user that has the administrator role in the Site Manager: 

Once the PE Agent has successfully logged in to the Site Manager, the connection status will show as ‘Connected’ and the ‘Deploy’ button will be active: 

In the ‘Deploy Golden Image’ wizard, select the image that will be deployed to the computer, then select ‘Deploy.

In the window that opens, specify the partitions that will be copied to the destination disk from the golden image. The properties of the partitions can be edited once they have been copied to the destination disk, see this article for more information about managing partitions in the restore wizard. 

The final page of the wizard shows a summary of the deployment that will take place. 

Select Finish to start the deployment. The target computer will reboot automatically once the deployment has been completed. 

Macrium ReDeploy

When a golden image is deployed, whether this is a centrally initiated deployment or a target-initiated deployment, Macrium ReDeploy will run automatically. This will ensure that the deployed operating system is bootable on the target hardware once the deployment has been completed. This article contains more information about Macrium ReDeploy.

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