Simplifying the imaging of your workstations

We observe that many companies and administrations include software and configurations in the Windows images they deploy on their fleets of machines.

If you use WAPT, lose this habit now and forever! Why?

  • Each time you make a new image, you waste a lot of time installing software and configuring it. You are very limited in the user configurations that you will be able to include in your image.

  • each time you make a new image, if you are serious about it, you will have to keep track of the changes in a text document, a spreadsheet, or a change management tool. It’s a very heavy and thankless burden. And you know as well as I do, what’s ungrateful is usually badly done!

  • finally, if you introduce in your image security configurations, network configurations, or configurations to limit the intrusion of Windows telemetry, these configurations can disrupt the normal functioning of WAPT, it will complicate future diagnostics, and it will discourage you from using an efficacious tool very capable of freeing up your time.

What do you suggest to do then?

Tranquil IT recommends:

  • to make only one raw image per OS type with MDT or Fog (win10, win2016, etc) without any configuration or software. Put only the system drivers you need for your image deployment in the MDT or Fog directories provided for this purpose;

  • to configure your WAPT server to register hosts with a random UUID to avoid UUID Bios or FQDN conflicts;

  • to create as many Organizational Units as you have machine types in the CN=Computers OU (ex: standard_laptop, hardened_laptop, workstations, servers, etc) in your Active Directory;

  • to configure your Active Directory to distribute the WAPT Agent GPO to the different Host Organizational Units; This way, you can opt for fine grained configurations of your waptagent.ini for the hosts attached to each OU.

Note

Alternatively, you may include a generic WAPT agent in your OS image.

  • to properly configure your DHCP to redirect the PXE to the correct system images;

  • to properly configure your MDT or Fog to register the machine in the correct Organizational Unit of your Active Directory;

  • to create as many WAPT security configuration packages as you have Organizational Units created above. Thus, you will be able to apply different security profiles depending on the type of machine. These packages will include the desired security configurations (telemetry suppression, firewall configuration, etc);

Hint

To save you time, you can base your security configuration strategy on security WAPT packages already available in the WAPT Store, you will only need to complete them according to your organization’s specific security requirements.

  • to create in the CN=Computers OU as many Organizational Units as there are types of computer usage in your organization (accounting, point_of_sale, engineering, sedentary_sales, etc);

  • to create generic WAPT packages of your software applications with their associated configurations;

Note

To save you time and effort, you can import many proven WAPT packages from Tranquil IT’s public stores or subscribe to Tranquil IT’s private stores.

  • to associate the WAPT packages created above with the Organizational Units of the typologies of computer use;

How does the scenario work?

  • you receive or the IT manager at the remote site receives a new machine in its box;

Hint

Alternatively, you choose or the IT manager at the remote site chooses to switch an existing machine from win7 to win10. You will either have, or he will have previously backed up the user directory(s) to a network drive or another convenient storage media.

For this purpose, you may build a WAPT package that, upon execution, will zip the C:Users on the win7 computer, name it with the computer’s FQDN, password protect the compressed file using this procedure and upload it to a web server or a network share. That same WAPT package can do the reverse process and reinstall the user files after the host has been re-imaged.

  • you configure MDT or Fog with the machine’s MAC address so that it gets the right system image through DHCP and is positioned in the right Organizational Unit at the end of the cloning process;

  • the expected system image is downloaded on the machine in masked time, the machine is placed in the right Organizational Unit;

  • the WAPT agent registers the machine with the WAPT server, it appears in the WAPT console;

Hint

If your machines are from a win7 to win10 update, then you will remove the old win7 machines from the WAPT inventory as they will be duplicated due to your choice of random UUID configuration; these machines will be easy to find in the WAPT console because they will be marked as win7 with the same MAC address or the same FQDN as your new machine in win10; after removing the win7, your inventory will be clean and up to date in your WAPT console;

  • the WAPT agent detects that it is in an Organizational Unit that requires a particular software set and a particular security configuration;

  • the WAPT Agent downloads and executes software packages and security configuration packages in hidden time; the WAPT Agent automatically removes delegated rights that are rendered useless after joining the domain to prevent them from being subsequently exploited in an unauthorized manner;

  • either by group of machines or machine by machine, you finalize the configuration of the machines by assigning specific WAPT packets to them;

Hint

If you want, you can even leave the final configuration step to your users by configuring WAPT self-service for them (printer configurations, special software needs, etc).

Conclusion

With little effort, you now have full control over a fleet of several hundreds or even thousands of geographically dispersed machines. All your installations are documented, your users work with adequate rights and you benefit from a clear visibility on your users’ tools and uses. In this way, the past is no longer an imponderable burden for you and an obstacle to your future projects.