Taking the worries out of managing drivers during Windows 10 upgrades

Taking the worries out of managing drivers during Windows 10 upgrades

Now, thanks to Big Bang’s Universal Imaging Utility and Windows Servicing Suite, you don’t have to worry anymore.

There’s no doubt the adoption rate of Windows 10 is accelerating fast. Especially as the January 2020 end of service is fast approaching. 1E’s Windows Servicing Suite (WSS) is being used by many sites to automate the upgrade process and handle on-going Windows 10 Feature Updates. To be fully effective, that automation depends on some preparation.

One of the pain points of many upgrade efforts has been collecting the vast assortment of drivers necessary to move the many varieties of Windows 7 devices to Windows 10. This is such a challenge for some organizations, that they have required keeping much of the hardware running Windows 7 through a Windows 10 upgrade project. This means large driver repositories must be maintained to support this upgrade effort.

Big Bang, LLC. has a solution to make driver management highly automated and completely integrated with Configuration Manager. The Universal Imaging Utility or UIU is the tool responsible for the automated driver “magic” that takes the pain out of driver management. Once the product is installed, you build the repository with the drivers you need based on hardware models. The repository will be built as a package in ConfigMgr which will be downloaded during the driver plug-and-play portion of the task sequence. Previously, an administrator only had a choice of downloading the entire repository at task sequence runtime or downloading specific driver content directly from the distribution point during the task sequence. Obviously, this presented major risks with either choice because it might significantly increase the task sequence time length because the entire repository had to be downloaded first or a high amount of bandwidth was needed for pulling driver files directly from the distribution point in a reasonable amount of time.

A new version of the UIU was recently released which now allows the UIU to function with Nomad – the core content distribution and automation engine of WSS. Now, Nomad can be used to download only the needed driver files from a Nomad peer. This can result in much shorter runtime for an OS upgrade or migration. Additionally, this removes the requirement for all task sequence downloads to be run from a distribution point or for the entire driver repository to be downloaded first.

For example, a customer that recently upgraded to the UIU 2.2 no longer had to rely on copying the drivers directly from their DPs over the WAN. Another large healthcare customer that had a 15GB driver repository no longer has to transfer that entire repository to a system that is running a task sequence. It only copies the individual drivers it needs from a Nomad peer. It works by utilizing 1E’s ActiveEfficiency product to discover local Nomad peers that have the driver files needed for the system running the task sequence. One crucial step in this process it to make sure that you have pre-cached the updated UIU driver repository to systems using Nomad prior to attempting OS deployment with this updated UIU functionality.

As you can see, WSS, Nomad and the UIU working together can make ongoing driver management for task sequences almost completely hands-off for the ConfigMgr administrator and remove the WAN burden and long task sequence runtimes that could plague OS upgrades. Current UIU customers can contact Big Bang to receive this update. If would like to learn more about UIU, head over to Big Bang’s website.

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