SCCM 2012 R2: Managing Drivers for your Operating System Deployments

There are a number of different approaches you can take with managing drivers and deploying those drivers to your workstations. These are Auto Apply Drivers and Apply Driver Packages.

Auto Apply Drivers

The most common approach is to add drivers in to the central repository and using the Auto Apply Drivers task. This uses the Plug and Play (PnP) detection to scan the hardware during an Operating System Deployment (OSD) and sends this to the management point, the management point responds with all available drivers on the distribution point and the drivers are downloaded for Windows to install.

We can build on the previous process by filtering out certain drivers using Categories. When we import drivers in to the central driver repository we can apply categories to the drivers, this allows us to customise the Apply Drivers task based on device make and model by adding a Query WMI condition to the Apply Drivers task. The benefit of this approach is we can reduce the amount of drivers the management point needs to retrieve from the distribution point.

The above two approaches share the following disadvantages:

  • Driver Versions: if all drivers are added to a central repository and this includes different version of the same driver you do not have any control of which drivers are applied to which device – this can result in the wrong driver version being applied to a device because they are considered a better match while that driver may in fact cause instability or blue screening.
  • Missing Drivers: During an OSD you may find some device drivers are missing for example Bluetooth drivers, while on the next deployment that particular driver installs successfully. This can occur if the device is not detected when a Plug and Play scan is carried out during an Operating System Deployment – This could be caused due to the devices being switched off (e.g. bluetooth switch is off). If the device cannot be detected during this short period of operating system deployment then this will not be installed.

Driver Packages

I have found the most effective approach to be using Driver Packages for each models of devices, while this can take longer initially, it will prove easier to manage in the long term. Driver Packages does not use plug and play detection to install drivers during an OSD, instead all drivers included in a Driver Package are installed on the device regardless of the device being present.

Despite the initial administrative effort it provides the SCCM admin with greater control on what drivers are deployed regardless of the device being present on the workstation – for example we can install drivers for a USB Bluetooth Device which is not present during an OSD.

I have documented the full procedure to correctly get the driver management process configured using driver packages.

Create Driver Repository

The first step is to create a central source store for both your drivers and driver packages, this can be your existing source folders for your distribution point. For this example I have created a shared folder on my SCCM server with the path E:\Sources and shared as \\SCCM\Sources.

Add drivers to the Central Repository:

  1. From the Laptop, launch Command Prompt and type the following command:
    wmic computersystem get manufacturer 

    and then

    wmic computersystem get model
  2. Make a note of the manufacturer and model of the machines (its important you note the information listed in command prompt rather than what is on the laptop sticker).
  3. Browse to the location of your SCCM software repository: \\SCCM\Sources\DriverSources\Windows7\ and create the folder for the manufacturer you noted earlier
  4. Create a new folder and name it the model number you retrieved earlier.
  5. Launch SCCM Console, Software Library, Operating Systems, Drivers and select Import Driver to launch the Import Driver Wizard
  6. In the Import all Drivers in following network path, click Browse and enter the source path: \\sccm\sources\DriverSources\Windows7\MANUFACTURER\MODEL and click OK
  7. Ensure the option Import the driver and append a new category to the existing category is selected
  8. Click Next
  9. Click Categories, and create a new Category names MANUFACTURER – MODEL e.g. TOSHIBA Satellite Pro C850-10X
  10. Click New Package and create new package with the following settings:
    1. Name: Windows 7 MANUFACTURER MODEL
    2. Path: \\SCCM\Sources\DriverPackages\Windows7\MANUFACTURER\MODEL\
  11. Click Ok and click Next.
  12. You will not need to add the driver to Boot image unless you are creating an updated boot image with new Network/Display drivers. Click Next and complete the Wizard
  13. The Final step after closing the wizard is to deploy the package to the distribution point. This can be done by going to SCCM, Software Library, Operating Systems, Driver Packages and select the newly created Driver Package.
  14. After selecting the driver package, click the Distribute Content button from the ribbon along the top, this will launch the Distribute Content Wizard.
  15. Click Next and click Add and select Distribution Point
  16. Select your distribution point checkbox and click OK.
  17. Click Next and then Finish to close the wizard. Wait a few moments while the package is distribution to your distribution point. This can be monitored using the information view along the bottom of the SCCM Console when you click on the package. Clicking the Refresh button from ribbon along the top will let you view if the package has successfully been targeted to a distribution point.

Adding New Drivers to Task Sequence for Client Builds

  1. From the SCCM Console, Click Task Sequences, right click the task sequence you use to deploy the image and click Edit.
  2. Click Apply Drivers folder, if a folder for your manufacturer is not listed under Apply Drivers, then click Add dropdown menu and select New Group. Enter the Name for your manufacturer and click the Options tab.
  3. Click Add Condition and select Query WMI, under WQL Query enter the following string and edit the manufacturer:
    SELECT * FROM Win32_ComputerSystem WHERE Manufacturer LIKE '%TOSHIBA%'
  4. Click the Manufacturer and click Add Condition and select Drivers > Apply Driver Package
  5. Edit the name of the newly created Apply Driver Package task with the full model of the machine.
  6. Click Browse and select the Driver Package created earlier
  7. Select the checkbox for Do unattended installation of unsigned drivers on versions of Windows where this is allowed.
  8. Click the Options tab and click Add Condition and select Query WMI, under WQL Query enter the following string and edit the model:
    SELECT * FROM Win32_ComputerSystem WHERE Model LIKE '%C850-10X%'
  9. Click Apply and click Ok to complete the Task Sequence.

You should now test your task sequence to confirm all drivers have been installed successfully.


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