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Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment

The Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy is for large organizations with an information technology (IT) staff with IT pros who have expertise with deployment, networking, and Configuration Manager 2007 R2. Organizations using this strategy typically have more than 500 client computers and at least one location with more than 25 users. They have managed networks based on Windows Server.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 is a Microsoft solution accelerator available at no cost for deploying Windows operating systems. Based on the experience of Microsoft employees, partners, and customers, MDT 2010 contains many thousands of lines of code—code that provides a deployment framework so that customers can focus on their business, not on programming. Integrating MDT 2010 with Configuration Manager 2007 R2 helps large organizations use this framework to more easily implement the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy.

About the Strategy

Customers can use MDT 2010 for Lite-Touch Installation or Zero-Touch Installation deployment. The Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy is appropriate for large organizations that have the necessary infrastructure (Configuration Manager 2007 R2, Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS), and so on). If your organization does not have the required infrastructure, use the Lite-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy, instead. Organizations that meet the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy’s requirements can realize significant savings by fully automating Windows deployment.

Benefits of integrating MDT 2010 with Configuration Manager 2007 R2 in the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy include:

  • Streamlined deployment, because installation is fully automated without interaction.

  • Lower support costs, because configurations are consistent across all client computers.

  • Streamlined maintenance, because Configuration Manager 2007 R2 handles applications, device drivers, and updates.


MDT 2010 supports thin and thick imaging. Thin imaging refers to installing the Windows image that Microsoft provides without customizing it (or installing a lightly customize image), and then using automation to install applications, device drivers, and updates on each client computer during deployment. Thick imaging refers to customizing an image with applications, device drivers, and updates before deploying it. Microsoft recommends using thin images, as doing so helps reduce maintenance time and costs. MDT 2010 makes using thin images with the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy simple: In fact, this strategy advocates thin images.

Strategy Requirements

The following elements are required to use the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy:

  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

  • Volume-licensed (VL) media provided by Microsoft

  • MDT 2010

  • Windows User State Migration Toolkit (USMT)

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)

  • Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK)

  • Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and its prerequisites

Strategy Limitations

The Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy’s most significant limitations are the infrastructure and skill level required to implement it. This strategy relies on integrating MDT 2010 and Configuration Manager 2007 R2. MDT 2010 can be simple, but Configuration Manager 2007 R2 requires significant infrastructure. Additionally, using Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to deploy Windows requires expertise with deployment, networking, and the Configuration Manager 2007 R2 software. Training is also required. These limitations are offset by the reduced costs realized by fully automating deployment.

Deployment Process

The following table describes the high-level deployment process for using the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy with MDT 2010. The left column describes the step, and the right column contains links to detailed information about completing that step.

Step More Information

1. Review the available planning guidance for using the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy with MDT 2010. This guidance includes detailed information about the infrastructure that is required to deploy Windows 7 by using this strategy.

2. Determine your organization’s readiness for Windows 7 by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit or a similar assessment tool.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

3. Use the ACT to prioritize your organization’s applications, determine your compatibility status, and consolidate applications. The ACT can help organizations triage and remediate applications that have compatibility problems.

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) Version 5.5

4. Prepare the infrastructure for the Zero-Touch, High-Volume Deployment strategy with MDT 2010, including installing and configuring Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and its prerequisites, creating the required user and service accounts, and configuring Active Directory Domain Services.

5. Install MDT 2010, and configure the Configuration Manager 2007 R2 integration. This process includes configuring how to define new computers in the site database and creating additional packages that Configuration Manager 2007 R2 requires during deployment (USMT package, Custom Settings package, and so on).

6. Optionally, create a custom master image by using Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to deploy Windows 7 to a master computer, customize the configuration, and then capture the custom image.

Microsoft Deployment Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Imaging Guide