I’ve worked with a variety of tools to deploy new workstations. Most recently I’ve been using Windows Deployment Services to push out images that I’ve developed. At the Tribune, we tend to deploy machines based on the end user’s department–many departments have specific application sets that they need. To keep costs low, software is only upgraded when new features are wanted or needed, which results in many different versions running side by side in the company. This creates some headaches for licensing, but keeps us on our toes.
Also used is Microsoft Group Policy. We try to configure as many settings as we can through GPO, to keep the base images as simple as possible. GPO can be a little tricky to setup, but it’s been fantastic once you get it going properly. Much nicer than the old days of customizing everything after the workstation has been deployed!