Windows ADK 1809 For Windows 10 Now Available with Add-On

With the release of Windows 10 version 1809, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1809 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

NOTE: There is a new change with this ADK which requires an add-on installation to include Windows PE.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1809, Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) is released separately from the Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK). To add Windows PE to your ADK installation, download the Windows PE Addon and run the included installer after installing the ADK. This change enables post-RTM updates to tools in the ADK. After running the installer for the WinPE add-on, the WinPE files will be in the same location as they were in previous installs of the ADK.

See Download and install the Windows ADK and ADK tools to get the ADK and WinPE add-on.

Johan Arwidmark has written a nice PowerShell script to automate the installation of the Windows ADK and Windows PE Add-On. You can grab it from his script repository on GitHub. This is very useful.

The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.

The latest version of the Windows ADK includes:

  • The Windows Assessment Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit to assess the quality and performance of systems or components.
  • Deployment tools such as WinPE, Sysprep, DISM and other tools that you can use to customize and deploy Windows 10 images.

Learn more about Windows ADK v1809 for Windows 10.

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ADMX Template For Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) Now Available

On April 30, 2018, Microsoft released the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) build to customers worldwide. The following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX), Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), and the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

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Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) For Windows 10 v1803

The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update v1803 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following download files available for version 1.0 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:

  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1803-x64.msu (95.1MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1803-x86.msu (69.9MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x64.msu (92.3MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x86.msu (69.5MB)

See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.

Additional Information:

When to use WS_1803 RSAT Package: When managing Windows Server, version 1803 or Windows Server, version 1709
When to use WS2016 RSAT Package: When managing Windows Server 2016 or previous versions

Known Issues that may impact RSAT functionality:

Issue: DNS Tools missing
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 or WS2016 RSAT package or apply this workaround

Issue: Cannot turn off individual RSAT components
Impact: WS_1803 and WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1803/1709 (April 2018 Update/Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update)

Issue: Tabs missing from MMC Properties
Impact: Windows 10 clients before 1607 (Anniversary Update)
Resolution: Update to the latest version of Windows 10 client and reinstall RSAT

Issue: Shielding Data File Wizard cannot create shielding data files
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1709 (Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 RSAT package on Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update), or use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update) to create shielding data files for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.

Issue: Template disks created from the Template Disk Wizard do not boot
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1709 (Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 RSAT package on Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update), or use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update) to create template disks for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.

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Windows ADK 1803 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1803, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1803 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1803 with this version of the ADK.
The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.

The latest version of the Windows ADK includes:

  • The Windows Assessment Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit to assess the quality and performance of systems or components.
  • Deployment tools such as WinPE, Sysprep, DISM and other tools that you can use to customize and deploy Windows 10 images.

Learn more about Windows ADK v1803 for Windows 10.

 

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Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT 8450) Released

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released and the most current build (8450) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 version 1709 (10.1.16299.15) which is available for download on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center.

Some of the significant changes in this update include:

  • Supported configuration updates
    • Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1709
    • Windows 10, version 1709
    • Configuration Manager, version 1710
  • Quality updates
    • Win10 Sideloaded App dependencies and license not installed
    • CaptureOnly task sequence doesn’t allow capturing an image
    • Error received when starting an MDT task sequence: Invalid DeploymentType value “” specified. The deployment will not proceed
    • ZTIMoveStateStore looks for the state store folder in the wrong location causing it to fail to move it
    • xml contains a simple typo that caused undesirable behavior
    • Install Roles & Features doesn’t work for Windows Server 2016 IIS Management Console feature
    • Browsing for OS images in the upgrade task sequence does not work when using folders
    • MDT tool improperly provisions the TPM into a Reduced Functionality State (see KB 4018657 for more information)
    • Updates to ZTIGather chassis type detection logic
    • Upgrade OS step leaves behind SetupComplete.cmd, breaking future deployments
    • Windows 10 ADK 1607 and later UEFI boot issue on some hardware
    • Includes updated Configuration Manager task sequence binaries

The following post provides some information on How to get help with MDT, in case you need it.

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Windows ADK 1709 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1709, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1709 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1709 with this version of the ADK.
The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.

Update: April 6, 2017
** Known Issues for ADK 1703 **
ADK Drivers don’t install on systems with secure boot enabled:
Drivers on the ADK Deployment tools will not install on systems with Secure Boot (SB) enabled.  To work around the issue, disable SB on these systems.This only impacts systems with Secure Boot enabled. More info here!

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Should You Care About Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S was announced on May 2, 2017 at the MicrosoftEDU event, specifically targeted for the education market.

What Is Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S is basically a locked-down version of Windows 10 Pro that has been streamlined for security and performance. The major difference between this new SKU of Windows 10 and others is that it is designed to run only those applications that can be procured from the Windows Store or those traditional desktop applications that developers have converted for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) using the Desktop Bridge tool (code-named Project Centennial).

You can read my detailed blog post on LinkedIn, as well as on vmblog.com where I wrote as a guest blogger for Adaptiva.

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Review – Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery

At some point or another we have all faced the dilemma of missing important files such as photos, videos, documents, and even installers to name a few, which were deleted from our systems by mistake or due to various other reasons. “Oops, the file I need is not on my backup drives. I remember deleting it from my computer and emptying the trash bin. Now what do I do?” Well, fret not, we can solve the problem with some 3rd party software which are designed to recover deleted files thus saving the day and mindset!

One such solution is the Windows Data Recovery Professional tool by Stellar Phoenix. If you’re looking to recover your lost or deleted files, folders, documents, photos, videos, and other files, this software does the trick. These are some key features of this product as listed on their website:

  • Recovers data, documents, photos, videos and more
  • Recovers files from hard drive, CD/DVD, SD cards, and USB drives
  • Recovers lost or inaccessible hard drive partitions
  • Create image of entire partition for data recovery
  • Ability to search for lost data in specific folders and recover data

Windows Data Recovery software which I’ll refer to as WDR is quite simple to install and more importantly easy and straightforward to use. The installer file is less than 16MB in size and the installation steps are just a few clicks and you’re done. WDR has two scan mechanisms, Quick Scan and Deep Scan, and in my testing I found the scan for missing files with the Quick Scan method was adequately fast and the results were what I expected. Deep Scan takes a little longer but does a thorough job in recovering all files and folders including raw data, and this would be a good option to use if you don’t find what you’re looking for with the Quick Scan.

Here are some screen captures to highlight how the product works which were captured during my testing. Please note that I used the Professional version which retails at $99, however Stellar Phoenix does provide a free version which has some limitations, such as you can recover up to 1GB of data for free and the file sizes must be less than 25MB. The free option is a good way to try the software and to recover some files when you absolutely need to do so.


When WDR is launched, you are provided with some options as to what you would like to recover. You can select the “All Data” option to choose everything or be selective, then click the Next button.


If you would like to preview files during the scan, you can enable this feature by clicking the cogwheel on the top left corner of the window which will pop-up an Advanced Settings menu with the option to do so. Keep in mind that turning on preview mode can increase the scan time. Check out the other options in Advanced Settings such as File List to target specific file types to speed up scanning and recovery.


Select the location of the recovery desired.


Scanning in progress status.


Results of how much data was recovered with the Quick Scan.


The recovered data as listed in Tree View with files preview turned on.


The recovered data as listed in File Type view with files preview turned on. Select the files or folders desired for recovery and click on the Recover button. If the Quick Scan did not locate what you were looking for, you have the option to run a Deep Scan as seen above.


Select a location where you would like the recovered data saved to. Clicking on the Advanced Settings link provides some additional options such as compression option, recovery option, and file filter option as seen in the images below:


For testing purposes, I deleted a folder called “mvp award kit” which included several files which was located in D:\install\ path. I selected a file for recovery as seen above and selected the path C:\local\Recovered as the destination for the saved data. WDR adds a folder named “#Root” along with the original folder names where the file was previously located, thus preserving it’s file structure.


Results of how much data was recovered with the Deep Scan.


Example of the extensive data recovered using the Deep Scan mode.

I’m impressed with the speed of this tool and the amount of lost data it is capable of recovering. The one con I found with this tool is that it crashed when a new scan for a new location was performed while the software was previously opened after a previous scan. It could very well be my system as I was able to launch the software and re-run a new scan quickly. Bottom line, this is a “stellar” tool and does what it claims to do. The company provides a ton of information on the software product page including an FAQ and download for trial. They are also quick to respond to inquiries. Give it a try and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Five Routine’s That Sums Up Desktop Management

IT departments play a major role in systems maintenance and it takes some effort for a system administrator to keep servers and end user workstations up and running for stability and productivity reasons. Lets take a look at system administrator’s daily routine and the importance of it.

1. Downloading and Deploying patches to user computers

System administrator has to identify required patches (3rd party) on systems, download them from the vendor websites and deploy them to end user computers. Managing these patches on a one of basis seems straightforward but it becomes cumbersome on a routine basis and especially when there are many systems to patch. Using a Patch Management solution, these routine tasks can be automated and scheduled to lessen the cumbersome workload on system administrators.

2. Installing software to user computers

Manually installing software on remote computers can be a daunting task and is challenging. A Software Management solution can resolve this complication by allowing a system administrator to deploy software from any location, handle tickets with ease and assist users demands in software installation with simplicity.

3.Troubleshooting remote computers

Troubleshooting servers and workstations for Operating System issues, software installations, security patches, system crashes can be remedied much easily with software management solutions, especially with remote capabilities and centralized management interface.

4. Managing IT assets in your network

Asset tracking for hardware and software in your organization is highly important and can be done with ease with the use of an asset management software. Apart from tracking the hardware and software in the organization, software license management, hardware warranty management, and identifying the usage of software particularly for licensing, restricting unwanted software in your network is important as well. An asset management solution provides a systems administrator the tools needed to effectively gather and manage this data.

5. Deploying configurations and managing mobile devices

Managing and configuring devices such as computers, tablets, phones, and peripherals in a growing organization with rapid demands for technology can be a challenging task for system administrators. MDM and desktop management solutions provide much flexibility and the tools needed to handle these technology challenges in the enterprise.

ManageEngine Desktop Central is one such ideal solution for desktop management, with its bundle of features and pricing compared to some known industry solutions. Desktop Central offers Patch management, Software management, Asset management, Remote support, Mobile device management, Failover Service, and Auditing capabilities. Desktop Central supports heterogeneous platform in 16 different languages. Finally, Desktop Central offers a fully functioning edition to manage 50 endpoints completely free with no hidden cost.

Download Desktop Central now and experience simplified IT management.

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MDOP Group Policy Templates v2.7 Now Available

New Group Policy Templates, version 2.7 (.admx and .adml) for Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) are now available from Microsoft to manage policies across the enterprise for the following MDOP technologies:

App-V 5.0
App-V 5.0 SP1
App-V 5.0 SP2
App-V 5.0 SP3
App-V 5.1
MBAM 1.0
MBAM 1.0 R1
MBAM 2.0
MBAM 2.0 SP1
MBAM 2.5
MBAM 2.5 SP1
UE-V 1.0
UE-V 1.0 SP1
UE-V 2.0
UE-V 2.1
UE-V 2.1 SP1

The download is available from the Official Microsoft Download Center.

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