Book Image

Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

By : Jeff Stokes, Manuel Singer
Book Image

Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

By: Jeff Stokes, Manuel Singer

Overview of this book

Topic The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) provides a comprehensive collection of tools, processes, and guidance for automating desktop and server deployments. It considerably reduces deployment time and standardizes desktop and server images. Moreover, MDT offers improved security and ongoing configuration management. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is the official supported method of creating and customizing Windows images for deployment. Description: Starting from scratch, this book walks you through the MDT setup, task sequence creation, and image deployment steps in detail. Breaking down the various MDT concepts, this book will give you a thorough understanding of the deployment process. Beginning with imaging concepts and theory, you will go on to build a Microsoft Deployment Toolkit environment. You will understand the intricacies of customizing the default user profile in different versions of Windows. Driver handling can be a challenge for larger organizations; we’ll cover various driver concepts including mandatory driver profiles. ]Other important topics like the User State Migration Tool (USMT), configuration of XML files, and how to troubleshoot the USMT are also discussed in the book. We will cover the verifier and Windows Performance Toolkit for image validation scenarios. Furthermore, you will learn about MDT web frontend implementation as well as how to utilize the database capabilities of MDT for deeper deployment options. We’ll wrap it all up with some links to resources for more information, blogs to watch, and useful Twitter handles.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Mastering the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
About the Authors
About the Reviewers


For most Windows users, the setup process is something of a black box. You run setup and stuff happens and then voilá, you have a Windows installation. For the deployment engineer however, the setup process is where the magic happens. MDT manipulates the setup by providing variables along the process, to customize the resulting image for the target machine.

MDT does this by inserting variables into the Unattend.xml file for Windows setup. Some of these variables can even be provided dynamically based on queries using a technique known as UserExit scripts. These are used to determine a variables property based on something such as the organizational unit (OU) of a user account, the location of the machine on the network (usually determined by what the default gateway value is), or a hardware query such as chassis type=laptop to specify that the machine is a laptop and therefore needs a VPN client installed.

The options available to the engineer are detailed in depth in the technical documents of the MDT word documents available on the Microsoft download site at Some are documented in MSDN as well in further detail.

Troubleshooting in the setup isn't generally considered an easy thing to work on in IT. MDT makes it somewhat more straightforward for engineers by centralizing a logging directory for the administrator. A master smsts.log file logs the activity of the task sequencer and will indicate which sublog is needed to review for additional information if needed.