Managing localization settings in a Microsoft Endpoint Manager CM Task Sequence with native functionality
This blog post is the completion of a series on managing language and input settings in a Microsoft Endpoint Manager task sequence. Previous posts covered using UI++ to set language values and using WimWitch to inject language packs in a Windows 10 WIM.
MEMCM Native Task Sequence Language Behavior
In previous posts I discussed my process for setting native language and keyboard settings using UI++ (from @JasonSandys) and injecting language packs into a Windows 10 WIM using WimWitch (from @TheNotoriousDRR). I decided on those tools based on my needs, but those posts overlooked important behavior that was introduced in Microsoft Endpoint Manager 1910.
Prior to 1910 there was not a native setting in the task sequence for setting UI language and input settings. 1910 introduced new settings on the Apply Windows Settings task sequence step that allow you to select from a list of native language packs and input settings. These still require either a WIM with language packs injected or installing the language packs dynamically during the task sequence, but they do make managing simple language settings simple. They are not perfect and don’t cover every possible option, but the native MEMCM functionality can be ideal in some scenarios.
This post will cover 3 native scenarios:
1) Setting the language and UI settings for a single language scenario using Apply Windows Settings
2) Dynamically setting language and UI settings with optional conditions and a Collection Variable
3) Using Collection Variables and a custom unattend.xml to set language options
Each one of these scenarios has advantages and disadvantages.
This post is a follow up to my post on customizing language settings in a Microsoft Endpoint Manager task sequence using UI++ and a custom unattend.xml file. I will continue this series in a third post that discusses the native functionality in MEMCM 1910 and later.
In a post a few weeks ago I discussed my process for managing languages in a Microsoft Endpoint Manager task sequence. That post went in depth on using UI++ and a custom unattend.xml file to allow a technician to select a primary language and alternate keyboard layout during OS deployment. That process requires having a Windows image that already has language packs and features on demand injected. I briefly discussed my process for creating a WIM file.
That post mentioned that I initially created a WIM file with WimWitch from Donna Ryan (@theNotoriousDRR). I would create the image, run my own script to inject the languages and features on demand, and then update the WIM using WimWitch. At that point WimWitch did not support language pack injection. Donna had mentioned that language injection support was coming – but I didn’t know when it would be available. Shortly after posting my last post she released the 1.4 beta release of WimWitch which previewed the language pack injection! WimWitch version 1.4.1 is now available. The language support is excellent!
I was originally going to write about my own script, but Donna hit this process out of the park. With each new version, WimWitch adds amazing new features that could only be designed by someone who is familiar with MEMCM, the imaging process, and has an excellent eye for detail. If you aren’t already using WimWitch, take the time to explore all of the features that are currently available – it’s a great tool and new features are being added regularly!
Are we even speaking the same language?
We spend a lot of time writing user-facing documentation, only to have users ask us questions that we already answered in our communications to them. It seems like no one is reading any of what we wrote. Users who need clear step-by-step instructions still contact the help desk, and the users who “get it” stop us in the hall and ask us questions we covered in the documentation.
We hear the term “digital native” being thrown around a lot lately. It was first coined in 2001 by Marc Prensky, in a paper titled, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” Prensky was an educator. His paper focused on the different languages and learning styles of people raised in a world of technology, the digital natives, and people who grew up before technology became so ubiquitous, or “digital immigrants.” Prensky’s paper was targeted at educators, but for IT pros, his message carries several important lessons. He best sums up his own argument in one line: “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.”
The biggest different between these two groups is how they engage with technology. Digital natives speak the language of a digital world. It has shaped how younger generations learn and engage with the world around them.
Traditional education was very methodical. Lessons were carefully planned and calculated to teach us important lessons through repetition and rote memorization. Lessons were singularly focused. Subjects were explored separately, and students were expected to give their undivided attention to the lessons of the day. It was far from perfect but designed to help the highest number of students succeed.
My name is Sean Bulger. I am an IT Pro that has worked in the Modern Endpoint Management work space since 2015. I have worked in various environment, ranging from mature enterprise all the way down to a fledgling IT organization looking to find their way in a cloud first world. Before rejoining the technology field in 2014 I had a wide range of careers - from plumber to paramedic - that have helped to shape my perspective on the world.