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MDT Driver Groups

One of the biggest pains regarding Windows imaging has to do with driver management. You could have an imaging environment designed to deploy to thousands of computers but almost always have problems when dealing with drivers. When imaging fails, 90% of the time it has to do with poor driver management. Fortunately, driver management is built into the Microsoft Deployment toolkit and is very easy to set up. I use the DriverGroups variable to handle driver management in my environments. Here are some examples on how to use it:

DriverGroups Example #1:

The Out-of-box Drivers folder structure needs to be built like this:

Open, or create, a task sequence. Navigate to the "Preinstall" stage. 
Add a new rule right above the first “Inject Drivers” task and give it some type of name, such as “Set Drivers Path” or “Set DriverGroup”.
Type “DriverGroup001” in the Task Sequence Variable text box.
Type “FOLDER NAME OF OS TYPE\%make%\%model” in the Value box.

There are multiple benefits when choosing to use DriverGroups in this manner.
  1. This allows you to fully control all drivers for each computer model during deployment.
  2. This allows you to have a different task sequence per OS version (such as one task sequence to deploy Windows XP, another task sequence to deploy Windows 7, and so on).
  3. Makes it easier to manage the driver folders in the MDT Workbench.
  4. Makes it easier to add\remove\update drivers for each computer model in the MDT Workbench.
  5. Makes it easier to add new hardware model drivers to the environment.
The only con to setting up DriverGroups in this manner is there is increased overhead in managing the drivers and task sequences in the imaging environment.

DriverGroups Example #2:

The Out-of-box Drivers folder structure needs to be built like this:

In the MDT Workbench, right-click the current working directory of the deployment share and choose Properties.
Click on the Rules tab and add the following entry to the "Default" section:

DriverGroup001=“FOLDER NAME OF OS TYPE\%make%\%model”

Save the rules and click OK.

Setting up DriverGroups in this manner allows for the least amount of administrative work to set up task sequences. Since the default section in customsettings.ini has been edited, this is now a global variable for all task sequences. However, this locks down the deployment share to only allowing one OS edition to be deployed from this share. This is fine if you are only deploying Windows 7 or Windows XP, but this does not allow you room for growth for any other operating systems.