The Lone Geek Blog

One geek in a sea of nerds.


System Installation Automation

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Over the past 8 months or so, I’ve been playing with my Dell R710. It’s a nice system to play on but it could use some SSDs. One day I shall get some. My last post described a bit about it as it currently stands. This post shall be about what I’ve done as far as creating automated system installs for both Windows and Linux.

Windows Deployment Systems (WDS) + Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)

I know some people might frown on the idea but my deployment system resides within my primary Windows Server 2016 Lab VM also running AD and TCP/IP Routing to a isolated virtual network of things.

It took some time but I managed to build a system that’d prepare a Windows 10 VMware VM from creation to a functional system complete with drivers and a few apps preinstalled. I intend to add more when I think about it and eventually come up with some way to update the installers.

I’m going to include some configs of what I have so far.

The MDT Config lets me set up a VM complete with a select set of apps to do my things. It has so much potential that I’ve yet to explore. In due time I suppose. At present, it just installs vmware drivers specifically for VMs hosted on my ESXi Lab Server; notepad++, 7zip, and Google Chrome can be checked at the preinstall stage for whatever template I choose.

The WDS Config is pretty basic. It’ll let me automatically install windows but that’s it. It took some time to figure out how to build it but it works now. There’s not much it can do on it’s own, that’s where MDT comes in.

I have used the WDS system to netinstall windows to a physical machine at least once. No more CDs or USB sticks. :)

Unattended Linux Install ISOs

Now for my efforts with Linux was somewhat easier. It took some effort and with the help of an article I found, I was able to build an ISO that would install Ubuntu Server onto a freshly created VM with OpenSSH Server, nano, and htop along with a script to change the VM hostname and domain and do other things I configure it to do like copy my ssh keys from a remote host to the system. :)

I put all the files up on github to share. Unattended Ubuntu Repository