Windows 8

Automating the Windows 8 Startup Background Image

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*** Update 11/26/12 – KB2770917 now provides administrators with the ability to modify the default background as well, without needing to perform the below steps within WinPE ***

Automated deployment and configuration of Windows 8 is much like that in Windows 7.  I can easily see many organization not caring for the default Windows 8 background startup image and wanting to replace it with one of their own.  In a TechNet posting, one person had gone through a series of painful scripts to take ownership of a folder, propagate the permissions, etc.  While this could still accomplish the task, many of the steps seem unnecessary.  The easiest method that I found to change the default image was to replace the initial file while the ConfigMgr 2012 imaging process was still within WinPE.  In this way, the files are not locked by any permissions.

To do this:

  1. Create or find the image that you desire to use.  Save it as a .png file type.
  2. Create a script to execute the below command to replace the image.  (Side note: if you want to retain the old image, then add an extra entry into your script to rename the img100.png file)
    if exist C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.png xcopy “%~dp0MyCustomStartupBG.png” C:\Windows\Web\Screen\img100.png /Y
  3. Execute the script in a task sequence with a Run Command Line step.  Place this immediately after the Apply Operating System step!
  4. At completion of your task sequence is your custom startup background image!

Creating Windows 8 Start Tiles with WSIM

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Automated deployment and configuration of Windows 8 is much like that in Windows 7.  The Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) can be used to create an unattend.xml file for use in a ConfigMgr 2012 task sequence.  Keep in mind that deployment of Windows 8 is limited to MDT 2012 and/or ConfigMgr 2012.  To get the version of WSIM that supports Windows 8, you’ll need to download/install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit v8.

Windows 8 has the new “Start Tiles” which replaces the old Start Menu that dates back 18 years with Windows 95.  One thing that you may need to do as part of your automated deployment is create new Start Tiles.  In the WSIM, add into the “Specialize” pass, item Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup >> Start Tiles >> Square Tiles >> SquareOrDesktop Tile1 (then Tile2, 3, 4, etc.).  In the below example, I have added a tile for Microsoft Word 2013.

There are a few things to note when configuring these values:

  1. The path must be hard-coded, you cannot use environment variables such as %ProgramData% instead of C:\ProgramData
  2. Your drive letter must be correct.  If MDT ‘accidentally’ assigns the drive letter to E:\ then this will not work (see point #1)
  3. You must point to a link (.lnk) file.  Trying to use the executable name (such as WINWORD.exe) does not work