Bare Metal Windows Implementation and Deployment Guide


Why do I need this?

It seems impossible to set up and maintain computers in an ideal state; secure and always in compliance with your standards.

It’s time for a new approach. 

The days of imaging, task sequences, packaging, deployment targeting, and dependency logic are coming to an end. Imagine having all this work done for you, flawlessly, by-the-book, and without replacing your existing infrastructure.

How does it work?

For techies:

Aiden combines a massively scalable managed service for automating IT tasks, Desired State Configuration, Natural Language Processing, a proprietary AI for emulating IT decision making, and a universal integration mechanism for deployment tools.

For everyone else:

We are an extension of your IT team, providing automation experts who deliver solutions and their experience through an exceptionally smart utility, called Aiden.

The Aiden Bare-Metal Windows Implementation and Deployment Guide

This is a step-by-step guide for how to automate the installation of a new version of the Windows operating system using our Aiden service and utility.

Each step is executed by one of the following roles clarified below:

Aiden Service – Our technical support team of engineers
Aiden.exe (Aiden Utility) – Our intelligent DevOps for Windows software
Aiden Downloader – How we sync our environment with yours
Customer IT Team – Your IT team
Customer’s Deployment Tool – Your deployment tool

Aiden Implementation and Deployment Diagram

aiden bare metal windows deployment guide

Aiden Service: Onboarding call

The first step of the Aiden service is to understand and document your company standards, roles, software needs, configurations, etc. We standardize all of this into a plain-English format that is easy for everyone to understand. If needed, your team also can modify Aiden’s configuration, but we usually do this for you.

Customer IT Team: Tell us what software and hardware is needed

  1. List of hardware models to support
  2. List of system configurations (departments) and desired software
  3. List of language packs to install for each AD site and/or build option

Customer IT Team: Find or create a file server for Aiden’s content (repository)

One or more physical or virtual servers inside your network for hosting all content from Aiden, including application packages, similar to a distribution point. While running on an endpoint, Aiden.exe finds the nearest available repository for downloading packages. We recommend using a Windows server for the built-in PXE boot service designed for Windows deployments.

Aiden Service: Write corporate standards document

We write your hardware and software standards, and your department-specific configurations, in an easy-to-read document. This document is also Aiden’s configuration file because we built Natural Language Processing (NLP) into Aiden.

Aiden Service: Build and test packages, Windows deployments

Your subscription includes a full application packaging service. We custom-build each package for your environment and thoroughly test it in our labs. Example packages:

  • Windows
  • Windows Server
  • Applications
  • Utility packages: Windows updates, Adobe updates, hardware vendor updates, and more
  • System Utilities
  • Drivers
  • Firmware & BIOS updates
  • Software removals
  • Language packs & Regional settings
  • Fonts
  • Tasks: encrypting hard drive, start layout config., set app defaults, and more

Aiden Downloader: Update customer repository with content

A private and secure continuous file synchronization tool maintains all content from Aiden on as many repositories as you like in your network.

Customer IT Team: PXE boot Aiden.exe & select configuration

To wipe-and-load a computer, also known as a bare-metal Windows deployment, we enable Microsoft’s PXE boot service called Windows Deployment Services (WDS) on each of your Aiden repositories. This allows your computers to boot from the network, and load our always up-to-date Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) image. You will be presented with a Windows deployment option for every desired combination of Windows version and device role (system configuration). You will also have the option to install on top of an existing installation, or start clean, which we recommend.

Aiden.exe: Install Windows

Aiden.exe does not image or clone machines and does not require cleanup steps or workarounds for duplicate GUIDs. Aiden.exe performs a clean installation of Windows from the original files from Microsoft. Then it installs the exact drivers, firmware updates, and system utilities intended for the specific device.

Aiden.exe: Is device patched & compliant with your standards?

When Aiden.exe runs, it scans your computers and compares it with your policy document.

If yes

If the computer is already up to date, Aiden.exe leaves the computer untouched and returns a success code to the deployment tool.

If no

Aiden.exe: Build a plan to bring computer into compliance

Aiden.exe combines Desired State Configuration, Natural Language Processing, and a proprietary AI for emulating IT decision-making to compare each computer’s state with your corporate standards document. It uses this data to build a plan to bring the computer into compliance and then begins executing the plan, taking into account dependencies and order of installation.

Aiden.exe: Download & run packages to perform all tasks

Aiden.exe is a very small, lightweight, and portable application designed to use minimal system resources. We take great care to avoid interrupting end-users, and Aiden.exe informs deployment tools when any process is unsafe to perform and should be retried later. It sequentially downloads and installs a package to perform each task, which may include installing, removing, patching, updating, reconfiguring… anything. Some examples include:

    • Application look and feel
    • User profile customization
    • Registry settings
    • Complex application swapping, removals, and cleanup

Aiden.exe: Device in full compliance

Since Aiden.exe is not an agent, it leaves the machine when it’s done.

Aiden.exe: Silent mode?

If yes

It exists, returns a status code to deployment tool, and is deleted by deployment tool. The deployment tool will collect deployment metrics, receiving a status code to generate a compliance report.

If no

Aiden.exe displays a status report on screen in English.

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