Windows 8 Thread, MS Surface RT School Deployment in Technical; Currently working for a school which has just taken delivery of 20 Surface RT devices. I know 8.1 is coming ...
15th August 2013, 09:59 AM #1
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MS Surface RT School Deployment
Currently working for a school which has just taken delivery of 20 Surface RT devices. I know 8.1 is coming out in October but we are still thinking of putting 8.1 preview on all of these now.
The issue is that the 8.1 preview is basically an app from the store. So mass deployment could be somewhat a pain....
I'm contemplating backing 1 surface up (original install) then installing 8.1 preview. Then re back up this surface to another USB stick. Then restoring this backup to the of RT devices. Obviously I will have to rename the surfaces once I have restored it to 8.1
BUT can anyone think why I this wont work? Suppose you can look at it as setting your first one up and basically taking an image and sending it out to the rest. As they cant be domained I don't need to worry about domain SIDs
any thoughts of better solution will be most appreciated.
15th August 2013, 04:35 PM #2
Your supposed to be able to deploy rt with wds on server 2012. However I dont know how you'd do it. Im assuming to product key is in the bios. I dont know how many activatons you get per oem key. It was 2 on win 7. It might be easier to write a script with the reg changes and use the xml file for the start screen layout.
15th August 2013, 08:39 PM #3
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Finally managed to get one RT on 8.1 all updated. worked out how to restore to another RT dev (backed up first just in case :-)) restore of the 8.1 usb pen worked but windows isn't activated and fails activation. looks like its lost a product key.shame you cant download the 8.1 preview to a usb stick and manually install per RT dev. would save a huge amount of time especially downloading each 8.1 per dev.
16th August 2013, 06:07 AM #4
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I'm not sure if you can push out 8.1 but I've heard about a microsoft cloud mdm like meraki called intune. There's a 30 day trial if I remember correct and could be useful. Just an idea.
10th January 2014, 02:18 AM #5
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Note: Apologies, I had a nice explanation typed out but my session timed out and I lost it. This one is a bit quick and dirty.
Like a lot of you guys I work for some schools and have encountered many of the same issues that have been documented here on EduGeek. This of course has been a huge help as I have been saved from doing the leg work to fix the problem. So with one of my latest endeavors being the Microsoft Surface RT version 1 tablet (Win 8RT) I have had the same issue as documented here in this topic and elsewhere on the internet, which is how do we upgrade any large quantity of these devices to 8.1 without needing to download via the Windows Store on each device. After some experimentation and quite a bit of time I have come up with a method that will allow deployment via USB and I am posting that here to try and say thanks for all the other problems that EduGeek has been able to help me with.
Surface RT Version 2 (Win 8.1RT)
The version 2 tablet is required to copy the 8.1 source files from the recovery volume. If like me you only have version 1 devices from the Microsoft education deal, you could be in for a bit of trouble. I ended up borrowing a version 2 tablet that a staff member purchased privately. If an RT 8.1 install.wim file can be sourced elsewhere, the version 2 tablet is not necessary but at this point in time I am not aware of anyway to source the 8.1 install.wim file elsewhere.
Upgraded RT Version 1
I am not sure if this is strictly required although I would say it is likely a best practice. We need two things from the upgraded tablet:
- The device drivers for the Version 1 hardware which may be different between 8.0 and 8.1.
- The version of DISM that ships with 8.1 for servicing an 8.1 image.
Microsoft RT 8.0 Recovery Image
I have just discovered that Microsoft have removed the download. Unfortunately I am not in a situation to be able to share the copy that I have downloaded currently. So this will mean that if you are unable to source it from elsewhere or do not have any other way to boot the RT from a USB drive than this method will not work. Note: I think that the files from the recovery partition on the tablets might be able to be substitute the recovery image but I do not know anything about Windows RE and how to modify it to work from a USB.
- On the Surface RT Version 2 using DISKPART, mount the larger of the two recovery partitions. This partition contains the Windows RT 8.1 install.wim file that we can use to complete a clean install.
- Using an elevated command prompt, navigate through the folders on the mounted recovery partition until you find the install.wim file. Copy the install.wim file to a USB.
- Unmount the recovery partition. The version 2 tablet is no longer required.
- On the Upgraded Surface RT version 1 tablet. Copy the install.wim file from the USB to a folder.
- Use the GetMyDrivers PowerShell script to save all of the loaded drivers in a folder for use later.
- Using DISM, mount the install.wim file for offline servicing.
- Using DISM, remove all detected drivers from the mounted image. (The existing drivers conflict with the version 1 hardware)
- Using DISM, add all drivers that were collected with the GetMyDrivers PowerShell script in step 5.
- Using DISM, unmount the install.wim file commiting the changes.
- Copy the Surface RT 8.0 Recovery Image to the root of a USB drive and then delete the Sources/install.wim file.
- Copy the install.wim file that we modified in steps 6-9 to the Sources folder of the USB drive.
- Insert the USB drive into a Version 1 tablet that needs upgrading and then hold the volume down button. Still holding volume down, power on the tablet. This will boot it off of the USB drive.
- Once Windows RE has loaded, select Troubleshooting and then Reset. Select your preferences for file removal and partition creation.
- Windows RE is now copying the 8.1 source files to the tablet and it will then reboot and commence with Windows Setup.
- I have discovered that DISM does appear (at least for adding.removing drivers) to function correctly on Windows RT. I have seen reports on the internet that DISM does not function properly.
- I have also discovered that we can use unattend.xml files to modify the behavior of windows setup just like we can with proper Windows 8.1. Further to this Windows System Image Manager officially supports (Yes I was surprised as I can't find official support for RT anywhere when it comes to enterprise tools) "Windows RT ARM" and I can confirm that I have had success creating answer files. This opens the door up to account creation, adding favorites, configuring proxies, running scripts, etc. A lot of the things that we can do with either GP or MDT to achieve a consistent SOE from an out of the box state with little device interaction. It is not perfect but it is better than configuring devices 1 at a time.
- The install.wim file downloaded by windows store when upgrading is encrypted and cannot be used. This is why I copied it from a Version 2 tablet.
- When adding/removing the drivers from the image I found it easiest to use Excel to drag/drop and create the DISM commands for each file. Then simply pasting them into the Command Prompt, rather than doing each driver manually.
- Like the Windows Store upgrade, it appears that this method breaks the recovery partition on the device and a recovery will need to be completed via USB in the future if needed. Though on the bright side, recovery is actually possible now.
Hopefully this will be of some use to someone.
Last edited by Foggy; 10th January 2014 at 02:24 AM.
10th January 2014, 07:13 AM #6
It is still available if you know the URL. However, I am not sure if the reason it was removed was due to the issue described here.
Originally Posted by Foggy
A better option perhaps would be to download the "Windows RT 8.1 with Office 2013 RT" image and drivers from this website since it is more up-to-date.
http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/3/7/837ABEB8-D419-43E0-8C7F-474004F2C016/Surface RT 8.0 North America.zip
http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/3/7/837ABEB8-D419-43E0-8C7F-474004F2C016/Surface RT recovery image instructions.pdf
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