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


Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 is a lightweight task sequencing environment and has a well-established community of IT professionals that use it. It's fully supported by Microsoft and is available for free.


"Q: Why is it still "MDT 2013" when the year is almost 2016? Two primary reasons. First, we have only made minor changes to MDT which in our opinion does not constitute a major version revision. Second, per the MDT support lifecycle, a new major version will drop support for MDT 2012 Update 1 which still supports legacy platforms."

 --Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager

With its support for Windows 7 and higher versions, including Windows 10 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and higher versions, it is the ideal tool for golden image creation and image deployment. This article will help you understand the important imaging techniques and build up your own MDT 2013 environment.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Imaging Concepts and Theory, covers the basic terminology of imaging, when to use thick versus thin versus hybrid images, and why deployment changed in Vista and higher versions. Furthermore, the reader will learn the concepts behind reference image versus deployment image, where to integrate patches and why, and what apps and drivers are from the MDT perspective.

Chapter 2, Setting Up Your Environment, explains how to construct an MDT environment from scratch. This chapter will be a walkthrough of the different installation options and will explain why I recommend a particular configuration for production environments.

Chapter 3, Creating Reference Images, helps to understand the principles of a reference image and how it applies to the organization. Sysprep practices, patching, maintenance, and bitness will be covered in depth.

Chapter 4, Default User Profile Customization, covers the intricacies of customizing the default user profile from version to version of Windows. Tools and concepts available to brand the image, tweaking settings prior to deployment, and supported methods of doing so will be discussed in this chapter.

Chapter 5, CustomSettings.ini and Task Sequence, covers the CustomSettings.ini file and task sequence engine in detail and depth. Tips for customizing the deployment share, enabling logging, branding, and more will be covered here.

Chapter 6, Drivers, explains how driver handling can be a challenge for larger organizations. We’ll cover driver concepts, when drivers are applications and when they are drivers and how to handle both scenarios, and also mandatory driver profiles.

Chapter 7 , Image Deployment, focuses on the deployment share configuration, deployment best practices, and guidelines on securing the deployment share.

Chapter 8, USMT - The User State Migration Tool, covers USMT in depth, configuration of XML files, walkthroughs of the process, and troubleshooting. This also includes XML configuration and customization, USMT process top to bottom, and troubleshooting.

Chapter 9, Troubleshooting Deployment Logs, shows what to do when things go wrong. How to read MDT logs, which log file contains what data, how to interpret the binary error codes, and frequent pitfalls will be covered as well. We will also cover error code resolution, MDT log files, Trace32, and error messages.

Chapter 10, Validating the Image, covers Driver Verifier and Windows Performance Toolkit for image validation scenarios. We will talk about different tools that can be used to validate the image, check for bad drivers and poor performance, articulate the cost of purchasing lower-end hardware for management, and the operational and performance costs of anti-malware, antivirus, and other security-auditing software.

Chapter 11Database, UserExit Scripts, and Web Services, explains the ability to web frontend the MDT implementation, as well as how to utilize the database capabilities of MDT for deeper deployment options. Also, we’ll discuss a little about UserExit scripts. We’ll get into the whys and hows of UserExit scripts, what options are available, and when to use them.

Appendix, Additional Enterprise Configuration Items, discusses some considerations of the Windows 10 tool set, as well as some configuration suggestions for secure environments.

What you need for this book

MDT 2013 Update 2 (6.3.8330), Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 or Windows 10 installation with Hyper-V enabled, and ISOs of the OS and software you want to image/deploy will be required for this book.

Who this book is for

This book is for IT professionals who want to take a deeper look into imaging techniques and setting up a MDT 2013 environment.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "The ADK comes as a web installer, adksetup.exe, by the way."

A block of code is set as follows:

DeployRoot=\\mdt-share\Reference Share
UserID=< >
UserDomain=< >
UserPassword=< >

When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the relevant lines or items are set in bold:

  <var name="ISDESKTOP">
    <![CDATA[ True ]]>

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

msiexec /i EnterpriseFoxitReader605.0618_enu.msi /qn

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "The primary area we are concerned with is the Deployment Shares line, which we will select with the mouse, and then right-click to select New Deployment Share."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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