ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 is out for a while now. It should be pretty well known that ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 uses WinPE 4.0 boot images, MDT 2012 U1 integration is irrelevant for this feature. However, MDT 2012 U1 integration allows you to build very feature rich boot images so it is strongly recommended to integratie MDT 2012 U1 into ConfigMgr 2012 SP1.
WinPE 4.0 boot images are used by Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
One feature that kind of escaped my attention is the requirement of PAE/NX/SSE2 to allow Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 to be installed. This requirement is also present for WinPE 4.0 as well.
More information regarding this require is available here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/hh975398.aspx
Thanks to Russ Rimmerman’s blog I became aware of this requirement, which is available here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/configmgr_geek_speak/archive/2013/03/03/winpe-4-0-boot-images-not-working-with-cpu-s-that-do-not-support-nx-pae-sse2.aspx
The most important feature of the 3 is the presence of the NX bit. NX is used for Hardware DEP support in Windows, this became available in Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Even though you’re not deploying Windows 8 on client machines, WinPE 4.0 boot images are still used.
The absence of NX is most likely the case on very old machines, machines which are most likely not used anymore but some environments are still these ancient machines for various reasons.
A couple of years ago, I studied for the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization (70-659). For this training I used the CBT Nugget for this. The instructor, Greg Shields, demonstrated at that video how to check if your CPU has the hardware support for Server virtualization using Hyper-V. Hyper-V requires Hardware DEP to be supported. He used the tool SecurAble which is freely available at the following website:
SecurAble is a good ol’ tool which allows you to check if your environment will actually be able to run WinPE 4.0. This is not limited to physical machines. Some hypervisors might not be able to pass through Hardware DEP on virtual machines either which will cause booting from WinPE 4.0 to fail. Well fail, it will start but it hangs during loading the boot image…
Running SecurAble on my machine give me quite a funny result:
Yeeeeh, I can run WinPE 4.0 and Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 on my laptop J.
Funny detail is that I have no support for Hardware Virtualization, even though my laptop allows me to install the Hyper-V role and running 64 bit virtual machines.
However, the focus is on Hardware DEP this time…
Try it out yourself before getting started with ConfigMgr 2012 SP1…