Configuration Manager: Using Collection Variables to automate Operating System Deployment (OSD)

We have multiple computer labs across the campus with a variety of unique software titles required for each location. We wanted to improve the process to re-image a computer in a lab.  One of the improvements we made was to  leverage collection variables. By using the collection variables, we were able to make the re-imaging of a known computer nearly zero touch. The technician only needs to select the task sequence if the computer is known.  If the computer is unknown, the technician will need to select a location.  This also will enable us to explore using required task sequence deployments to lab locations.

We are using a collection variable for each lab called Location.  We use a combination of the building abbreviation and room number for the variable value (e.g. WBOB100).  Each computer lab has a device collection with the Location variable set to the appropriate value.

Collection Properties-Collection Variables tab selected-Variables Location set to WBOB100

We use another collection variable called Unit.  The limiting collection we use for the lab collections is where we set the Unit variable.

Collection Properties-Collection Variables tab selected-Variables Unit set to ATS

In the task sequence, we use the Unit variable to drive an automated naming convention script. If the Unit is equal to a value it runs the script to set the OSDComputerName variable based on the Location collection variable plus the serial number of the device.

Task Sequence step with Options tab selected. Any conditions true. Unit equals ATS.

For new computers, a different script runs if the Unit variable is not equal. This script prompts a drop down menu to select the location. This sets the variables Unit and Location variables based on the selected choice and sets the OSDComputerName.

The location variable is used throughout the task sequence for decision making similar to the naming convention (e.g. binding the devices to specific locations, running a particular child task sequence). We use the options tab to check if the Location variable is equal to the location.

Task Sequence step with Options tab selected. Any conditions true. Location equals WBOB100.