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

Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer

The new Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (WICD) is part of the Windows 10 ADK. It will be updated/enhanced with next releases of ADK.

WICD is described on MSDN as a tool that can do the following tasks:

  • View all of the configurable settings and policies for a Windows 10 image or provisioning package

  • Create Windows provisioning answer files

  • Add third-party drivers, apps, or other assets to an answer file

  • Create variants and specify the settings that apply to each variant

  • Build and flash a Windows image

  • Build a provisioning package

The source of this information is

Not only does it have the possibility to create configuration packages, but it is also able to switch the SKU of your Windows 10 installation. This was previously not possible. You still cannot move to Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) via this mechanism, as this is a completely different build. At this stage of the process, you cannot downgrade. Currently, only an upgrade from Pro to Enterprise is possible (except for the Education SKU, which allows an upgrade from Home to Education).

The WICD can be used to create packages that implement any mobile device management (MDM)-based setting. Alternatively, you can run external scripts to set most MDM settings.

For some actions, such as pre-provisioning Windows 10 Mobile or switching to Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, WICD is the only available tool to the enterprise.

WICD has a wide range of functionality in addition to script support. All in all, it sounds like a very mighty and powerful tool. However, it is currently not directly supported inside the MDT 2013 Update 2 GUI; this is subject to change in future releases. You can integrate a command line as a workaround, but this has a major drawback.

Currently, there is no way to fully automate or silently install the provisioning package. You can sign the ppkg to remove some prompts, but not in all circumstances. You also need to embed it in an image so that it gets installed during the OOBE process to get no prompts. However, this takes away a lot of flexibility.


If you hit the Windows key five times during OOBE, you can put in a provisioning package!

It has been our field experience that certain functions WICD can perform or try will break the MDT deployment process. Therefore, it should be tested and care should be taken while including this tool in your work (at the time of writing).

Some issues found at the time of writing (1511 release) include the following:

  • Changing the SKU inducts a non-interruptible reboot that will break the MDT task sequence engine.

  • Currently, you can only set what is shown through the UI. It is not possible to enter extra OMA-URI-based CSP policies.

  • Removal of preinstalled applications does not work properly at this time.

  • Most policies configured are MDM-related, so some options are only available in this toolset for customization.

With all these required workarounds, caveats, and limitations, we decided to move WICD here for supplementary information purposes. This tool is likely to be improved in future releases of the ADK. Also, future releases of MDT will likely support WICD directly in the deployment workbench, so keep an eye out for release notes changes and expansion of the tool's capabilities.