IMHO, do not use “Auto Apply Drivers”

IMHO -do-not-use- Auto-Apply-Drivers

When using ConfigMgr to perform OS Deployments, a convenient method in an OSD Task Sequence (TS) is to pre-install any necessary drivers using the “Auto Apply Drivers” action. This action relies on using Plug and Play (PnP) detection to discover hardware devices using the Vendor IDs and Device IDs. The automatic detection works reasonably well but completely fails for devices such as unplugged devices (i.e. printers, USB devices), built-in devices that may be disabled (i.e. wireless connections with an on/off switch), and software-drivers that may not be detected by PnP detection within WinPE (since that is where this specific TS action executes).

A method that I have used with 100% reliability is the “Apply Driver Package” TS action. This method works by inserting all the drivers you have specified, regardless if they were detected by the PnP detection or not. This gives you a level of governance over which drivers will be applied to a particular hardware model. I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Johan Arwidmark (Deploymentresearch.com and Technical Architect @ Knowledge Factory) and he describes three different scenarios:

Scenario #1 – Total Chaos

This scenario is typical for smaller organisations, usually one operating system and no more than 4-5 different models. For this scenario the default “Auto Apply Drivers” could be used.

Scenario #2 – Added Predictability

This scenario is typical for small and medium sized organisations, deploying a few different OS’s like Win7 and Win8.1, having not more than 10 hardware models, all from the same vendor. For this scenario the default “Auto Apply Drivers” in combination with Driver Categories can be used.

Scenario #3 – Total Control

This scenario is typical for medium and large sized organisations, deploying a few different OS’s, having more than 10 hardware models, from multiple vendors. For this scenario the Apply Drivers Package method is highly recommended.

Which scenario will you choose?

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