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Windows 10 Technical Preview – First Experiences

Hello All,

For those that may not know, Microsoft announced yesterday the new version of Windows, called Windows 10. Yes, that’s right, we’ve gone from Windows 8/8.1 straight to 10, no 9.

Why you may wonder? Well according to the Q & A session after the event (found here via TheVerge), one individual asked “Can you talk about the name? Seems weird going from Windows 8 to Windows 10.” Their answer was “This product, when you see the product in your fullness I think you’ll agree with us that it’s a more appropriate name.” That makes one think that there are so many changes, that it’s considered more than a single iteration/version increase.

However, according to a Reddit AMA on naming of Windows 10:

Reddit Comment On Naming

If you are interested, here is the YouTUbe video link that was recorded at the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfveyXCsiA8&list=UUVGOyzms_XJNk_DHqrffXCw.

To get started, head over to https://insider.windows.com/ and signup for the Windows Insider Program and download the Technical Preview. Here are the System Requirements as provided by Microsoft.

Windows 10 Technical Preview System Requirements

Basically, if your PC can run Windows 8.1, you’re good to go. If you’re not sure, don’t worry—Windows will check your system to make sure it can install the preview.

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster

  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB

  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

  • A Microsoft account and Internet access

Important Notes

  • Some PC processors and hardware configurations aren’t supported by Technical Preview.

  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an Internet connection, a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768, and a Microsoft account.

  • After you install the preview, you won’t be able to play DVDs using Windows Media Player.

  • If you have Windows 8 Pro with Media Center and you install the preview, Windows Media Center will be removed.

  • The preview won’t work on Windows RT 8.1 and Windows N editions.

  • The preview is not available for Windows Phone.

  • A small number of older, 64-bit CPUs might be blocked from installing the preview.

  • If you’re running Windows 7 without SP1, you can only upgrade to the preview by downloading an ISO file. If you install Windows 7 SP1, you can upgrade to the preview by using Windows Update or by downloading an ISO file.

Microsoft has also made available a Windows Technical Preview Quick Guide to help you get started.

But now, let’s take a first look at Windows 10. We’ll start by examining the Windows installation.

Windows 10 Installation

I’m installing Windows 10 in my lab, on a Virtual Machine (VM). So, I have already downloaded the ISO, and mounted it to my VM.

Note: There are 2 different ISO’s available for Windows 10 Technical Preview, namely:

  • en_windows_technical_preview_x64_dvd_5552500.iso
  • en_windows_technical_preview_for_enterprise_x64_dvd_5554079.iso

Obviously, one is the consumer version of the OS (i.e. like Windows 8.1 Pro), and the other is the Enterprise version. I’m going to be working with the Enterprise version of the OS.

The installation is straight forward, and very much like installing Windows 8, so we won’t waste time/screenshots on stuff we already know.

Once the installation is complete, we get the configuration of Windows. I noticed this option to choose how we setup the PC, either by copying my existing settings (since I logged in with my Microsoft account). For this lab example, I am going to set up this as a new PC.

Win10 Config - 01 - Setup PC

Once everything loads and is setup, we have the desktop.

Windows 10 Desktop

Windows 10 Changes

Start Menu

One of the main changes is the Start Menu. We see the Windows 7 style, combined with the Windows 8 live tiles. We can even resize the tiles.

Win10 - Start Menu

Notice that OneNote and Skype are also installed by default.

Win10 - Start Menu - Details

If you right-click on the Start Menu, choose Personalize.

Win10 - Start Menu - Personalize

We now have the option to change the color. This is similar to Windows 8, but this will also change the color of the start menu as well.

Win10 - Color and Appearance

Taskbar Properties

There are some changes with the Taskbar properties as well. Here’s a comparison between Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Windows 8 Taskbar Properties

Windows 8 Taskbar Properties

Windows 10 Taskbar Properties

Windows 10 Taskbar Properties

Windows 8 Taskbar Properties - Jump Lists

Windows 8 Taskbar Properties – Jump Lists

Windows 10 Taskbar Properties - Start Menu

Windows 10 Taskbar Properties – Start Menu

If you un-select the option “Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen”, you will encounter the following message.

Win10 - Change Start Settings

Windows 10 Customize Start Menu

Windows 10 Customize Start Menu

Desktop Icons

Windows 10 Desktop Icon SettingsMultiple Desktops

One of the nice new features is the multiple desktops. I tried to see if there was a limit to the number of desktops. I got to 11, before I couldn’t fit anymore on my screen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an option to scroll through the existing/open desktops.

Win10 - Multiple Desktops

Start Screen

If you choose to switch back to the Windows 8 start screen style, it will familiar to Windows 8. But now, if we right-click, we see a new “Settings” option, which causes the Settings in the Charm bar to appear.

Win10 - Start Screen

PC Settings

There is an option for Preview Builds to check for updates to the preview OS installed. Who knows if this will be present later, but maybe it will be used for OS updates (not Windows Updates, but like Windows 8 to 8.1 update).

Win10 - Update And Recovery - Preview Builds


If you check out the PowerShell version, we see we’re using the new PowerShell 5.

Win10 - PowerShell

So that’s my first experience with Windows 10!


Using WDS to Deploy SCCM Images without PXE-Enabled DPs

I ran into this scenario recently while at a client’s site, working with SCCM to create a server build task sequence.

Let’s say you have SCCM installed, including a CAS, multiple Primary Sites and Secondary Sites, and many Distribution / Management Points. However, despite having Distribution Points in your environment, you do not have them PXE-enabled. Instead, you are using a standalone Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server to handle/manage the PXE-boot process.

Now, the second part of the scenario. In SCCM, we have MDT installed and integrated. Therefore, we are using not the “normal” Boot Images created by the installation of SCCM, but rather the MDT Boot Image.

So, to sum up: SCCM Distribution Points without PXE enabled, using the MDT Boot Image, and using WDS standalone.

So, here’s the issue. IF you take the MDT Boot Image from SCCM, and upload it into WDS as a Boot Image, you encounter an issue. When you system PXE Boots, everything seems to be OK, and the boot image starts to load. First it will show “Initializing hardware devices…”, then it will show “Windows is starting up…”. Finally, it will show “Preparing network connections…”, and then BAM! Nothing! And the system will restart, just to repeat the same process over again.

If you enable Command Line support in the Boot Image, you can press F8 and be able to check the Log files to see what’s going on. So, if you press F8, and navigate to X:\SMSTSLog\, you will see a .Log file called “SMSTS.log”. Open it in Notepad (by typing “notepad” in the command line, since we don’t have the CMTrace.exe utility available to us). In the Log file, scroll to the bottom, and you should see a entry that says: “Failed to download PXE variable file. Code(0x00000001).”


Now, if you search online for a solution, most posts will mention checking drivers (usually NIC drivers). But in my case my VM was getting an IP Address, therefore it’s not a NIC driver issue.

Well, thanks to some of my co-workers, they pointed me to the following website: http://www.deployvista.com/Blog/JohanArwidmark/tabid/78/EntryID/54/Default.aspx. This article refers to an older version of SCCM, but is still applicable with SCCM 2012. Additionally, for applicability/clarity, the information taken from the above listed article has been re-written/worded, and includes screenshots.

Background Information

When you add the Distribution Point (DP) role to a system managed by SCCM, and enable the “PXE support for client’s” option, SCCM will install (if not already installed as a Role/Feature) the Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server role. This makes is difficult to co-exist with other Boot Images, like the MDT Lite Touch boot image, on independent/standalone WDS servers.

With SCCM, you can generate WinPE Boot Images for Operating System Deployment (OSD). However, the issue is using a standalone WDS system which is not managed by SCCM to provide the PXE boot option on the network, with an SCCM DP server where the OSD content exists (and where the boot image refers to).

SCCM Boot Media Information

When an SCCM generated Boot Media is used, there are additional configuration files contained within the ISO, most importantly the TSMBootStrp.ini and Variables.dat files. These files are present within the SCCM generated boot media, but not actually contained within the .WIM file itself. The issue is further complicated due to the fact that you cannot add an ISO boot media file into WDS, but rather, require a .WIM file.

The solution is to extract the contents of the SCCM generated boot media ISO file, and add the missing configuration files into the Boot Image .WIM file. After these files have been added into the Boot Image, this .WIM file can be added into WDS, and thus made available to PXE boot.

Modifying a WinPE Boot Image (WIM) File to Include SCCM Boot Media Files for Standalone WDS

This section provides step-by-step instructions on how to extract SCCM Boot Media content, and insert/inject it into a Boot Image .WIM file.

Create SCCM Boot Media

Launch the SCCM Console, and navigate to Software Library > Operating Systems > Task Sequences.

Build TS - 01 - Task Sequences

Right-click on the Task Sequences section heading, and choose Create Task Sequence Media.

SCCM Boot Media - 02 - Create Task Sequence Media

On the Select Media Type page, choose Bootable Media, then click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 03 - Select Media Type

On the Media Management page, choose Dynamic Media, then click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 04 - Media Management

On the Media Type page, choose CD/DVD Set, provide a location and filename, then click Next.

Note: The path does not need to be a UNC patch, and can be a local drive (i.e. C:\). Also, the Filename provided must end with the “.ISO”.

SCCM Boot Media - 05 - Media Type

On the Security page, select the ‘Enable Unknown Computer Support’ option. You can also choose to password protect the media, but this is not required. Accept all other default selections as-is, then click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 06 - Security

On the Boot Image page, click Browse and select the appropriate Boot Image, and Distribution Point. Then click Add and select an available Management Point. Once all 3 fields have been entered, click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 07 - Boot Image

On the Customization page, accept the defaults, and click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 08 - Customization

On the Summary page, review the selections made, and then click Next.

SCCM Boot Media - 09 - Summary

On the Completion page, click Close.

SCCM Boot Media - 10 - Completion

You should now have an .ISO file at the location you specified during step 5.

Extract SCCM Boot Media ISO Contents

At the location of your ISO file, use a ZIP program (i.e. 7zip), and extract the contents of the .ISO file. This should create a folder, with the same name of your ISO file, containing all the files (i.e. C:\SCCMBootMedia\).

Note: Ensure that you make note of where the ISO extracted folder contents is located, as this will be needed in the next section.


Mount Boot Image WIM File and Inject SCCM Boot Media Files

To be able to complete this step of the process, you must have the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) installed. It is important to note that this tool is not compatible with Windows XP, and therefore must be installed/used on a newer Operating System (i.e. Windows 7/8.x). This document will not detail on how to install the AIK, as this is a straightforward process.

Note: For Windows 8.x, the AIK has been changed/re-named to the “Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)”.

Important: For simplicity, it is recommended to copy your Boot Image (.WIM) file to the same location that you extracted the SCCM Boot Media (.ISO) to.

Start this part of the process by launching the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment.

Launch Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment

Within the command prompt, type the following command:

ImageX /MountRW <index#>

Example: ImageX /MountRW C:\BootImage.WIM 1 C:\BootImageMountLocation

This will now allow you to explore (and thus add) the content contained within the Boot Image WIM file, from the Mount Location you specified, via File Explorer.


Navigate to the location that you extracted the SCCM Boot Media ISO file, and copy the \SMS\Data folder into the WIM Mount Location.

Example: C:\SCCMBootMedia\SMS\Data to C:\BootImageMountLocation\SMS\




Return to the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment command prompt, and type the following command to unmounts the image (WIM) file, and commit the changes applied (i.e. the files copied into the directory).

ImageX /UnMount /Commit

Example: ImageX /UnMount /Commit C:\BootImageMountLocation


Copy the updated Boot Image .WIM file (which should now have an updated timestamp) to the WDS server, launch the Windows Deployment Services console, select the Boot Images folder, and click Action > Add Boot Image.

WDS - Add Boot Image

On the Image File page, click Browse, and navigate to the modified .WIM file that was copied to the server, then click Next.

WDS - Add Boot Image - File Location

On the Image Metadata page, provide an Image Name and Image Description, then click Next.

WDS - Add Boot Image - Image Metadata

On the Summary page, review the information presented, then click Next.

WDS - Add Boot Image - Summary

On the Task Progress page, once the operation has completed, click Finish.

WDS - Add Boot Image - Task Progress

Back in the WDS console, under Boot Images, you will now see your Boot Image listed which will be used for PXE booting.

WDS - Add Boot Image (POST)

Now when you PXE boot your system, and boot into WinPE, your system will be able to communicate with SCCM, and continue the rest of the process (running Task Sequences).


As always, if this post helped you in any way, and you would like to show your appreciation, please rate it and comment on it. Also, feel free to contact me (via the About Me page) with requests for future articles.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Generation 2 VMs and x86 MDT Boot Media = Boot Failure!

I came across this scenario today, when creating a video walk through on using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013, which can be found on my MiCloud YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SCMiCloud.

When using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to build and capture a reference image, part of the process is to create Boot Media. To use MDT to build and capture an image, you need to mount the boot media ISO to your Virtual Machine (VM).

Normally, when creating and using boot images (with MDT or SCCM), I usually use the x86 version of the media and not the x64. Why, you might ask? This is because x86 is more versatile and more widely compatible than x64 media. 

However, in Windows Server 2012 R2, when you create a new Virtual Machine, you can choose a Generation for the VM.

VM Generation

In my case, I was trying to build and capture a Windows 8.1 reference image. Therefore, I choose the Generation 2 option. Note that it states: “Guest operating systems must be running at least Windows Server 2012 or 64-bit versions of Windows 8”. Therefore, you would think that you could use x64 bit boot media with these systems.

So, as stated above about x86 versus x64 boot images, I mounted the x86 version of the MDT Boot Media, and started the Virtual Machine, preparing to build and capture an image. Except, no deal! Boot Failed! Weird.

VM Boot Fail

After trying many different things, including re-creating the VM, changing the network adapter (from current to legacy), re-generating the Boot Media, etc.

Then, for reasons I cannot recall, I decided to try the other Boot Media. I mounted the x64 version of the Boot Media, restarted the VM, and bam! The MDT boot media started to load without issue.


I am not 100% sure why this is, but apparently if you are using Hyper-V, and in particular a ‘Generation 2’ Virtual Machine for building and capturing a reference image (either through MDT or SCCM), you will need to use 164-bit Boot Media instead of the x86.

Hope this helps someone if they encounter this issue.

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