Installing and Configuring Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 on Windows Server 2012 R2

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Last week I gave a presentation at the local Citrix Users Group in Santa Clara on Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 and Windows Server 2012 R2.  During the session, I had a 20 minute demo where I went through the basic installation and configuration of MDT 2013 on Windows Server 2012 R2. I enjoyed presenting the demo so much that I have decided to capture it into a blog post to help those new to the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit!  If you want a quick overview and primer on MDT, go check out my presentation and previous blog post here: Bay Area Citrix Users Group October 23rd Presentation – Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 Primer!

In this post we are going to be covering slides 10-14 from my presentation, the live installation and configuration demo. Let’s get started!  For this demo, I will be using two systems, the first is my MDT 2013 server, running Windows Server 2012 R2. The second is my MDT client/target, to which I will be deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 from a volume license ISO. On the MDT server, I will start by downloading the Microsoft Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 which can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39982.

Click Download:

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Click Run:

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I would always recommend downloading the ADK to a local folder or network share, since these files take a while to download and are commonly used in many Microsoft products, including System Center. Select a local or network path and click Next:

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Click Next:

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Accept the license agreement:

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After many minutes (or even hours), the ~3GB files will finish downloading. When complete, re-launch the ADK setup wizard by executing adksetup.exe from the path specified earlier:

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If the installation files are detected, the installer will simply prompt for an installation directory. Click Next:

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Click Next:

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Accept the license agreement:

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Uncheck all features except Deployment Tools, Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), and User State Migration Tool (USMT). These are the only features required for the MDT Server. Click Install:

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After a couple minutes, the installation will finish. Click Close:

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Next, we’ll download the MDT 2013 install files from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40796. Click Download:

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Select all files and click Next:

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Click Save for each file, putting the files in an MDT folder:

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Once each of the five files have been downloaded, launch MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit2013_x64.msi:

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Click Next:

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Accept the license agreement and click Next:

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Click Next:

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Click Next:

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Click Install:

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Click Finish:

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On Windows Server 2012 R2, click the Start menu:

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As with many newly installed applications, you’ll find the app shortcuts are a bit buried in Windows Server 2012 R2 until you get used to it. From the Start interface, click the Down arrow in the bottom left for all programs:

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A new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit section is created. Launch the Deployment Workbench (New):

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The first time launched, you’ll see a nice overview of MDT 2013:

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Right click Deployment Shares in the left navigation and select New Deployment Share:

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Change the deployment share path or leave defaults and click Next:

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Change the deployment share name or leave defaults and click Next:

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Change the deployment share description or leave defaults and click Next:

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Review and uncheck each of the default options and click Next:

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Review and click Next:

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Click Finish:

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Open Computer Management. Expand Local Users and Groups and right click Users to select New User:

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A local user account with rights to the MDT share will be very beneficial for deployments. Create a local user, set password never expires, and enter a password that can be safely stored in plain text without much risk (not a super secretive password):

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By default the deployment share is created with Everyone Full Control permissions. To review, find the deployment folder, right click and go to the Sharing tab. Click Advanced Sharing:

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Click Permissions:

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Note Everyone is added by default with Full Control (security is controlled by NTFS permissions on the folder):

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On the Security tab of the share, note that Users have Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read NTFS permissions. This is perfect for our newly created MDT user to access the share during deployments:

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Back in the Deployment Workbench, right click the new deployment share and select Properties:

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Under the Rules section, drop the following block of options at the end of the [Default] section:

SkipComputerName=YES
SkipDomainMembership=YES
SkipUserData=YES
SkipCapture=YES
DoCapture=NO
SkipLocaleSelection=YES
SkipTaskSequence=NO
SkipTimeZone=YES
SkipApplications=YES
SkipSummary=YES
SkipBDDWelcome=YES
TimeZone=004
TimeZoneName=Pacific Standard Time

After you’re fairly experienced with MDT, you can read up and review all of the CustomSettings.ini options in various documentation articles and blogs online. Once each option has been added, click Edit Bootstrap.iniin the bottom right:

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Under the [Default] section, drop the following block of options:

UserID=MDT
UserDomain=WS12R2MDT01
UserPassword=P@ssw0rd01
KeyboardLocale=en-US
SkipBDDWelcome=YES

Close the Notepad document and you will be prompted to save changes:

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Click Save:

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Click Apply to save changes to CustomSettings.ini for the deployment share:

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Click OK:

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Next, we’ll import the Operating System images (WIM) for Windows Server 2012 R2. To do this, I will very handily double click to Mount the volume license ISO:

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The next drive letter available for my MDT server was E:\ so the installation media is now mounted using that drive:

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In the Deployment Workbench, right click Operating System and select Import Operating System:

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Select Full set of source files and click Next:

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Type E:\ to use the recently mounted ISO. Click Next:

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Enter a destination directory name (I typically just clean up the default name that was detected). Click Next:

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Click Next:

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Upon completion (typically a couple minutes) click Finish:

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Typically, I do some cleanup since I won’t need most of the WIM files imported. For now, I’ll delete the three WIM files and leave Server Datacenter. To do so, select each file, right click and select Delete:

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I’ll select Completely delete and click Next:

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Click Next:

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Click Finish:

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Next, I’ll rename to clean up the WIM file name to “Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter.wim”:

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Right click Task Sequence and select New Task Sequence:

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Enter DEPLOY-WS2012R2 for the Task sequence ID and a name to be selected using the deployment wizard, “Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2” for example. Click Next:

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Select Standard Server Task Sequence from the drop-down and click Next:

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Select the Operating System from the list and click Next:

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Your choice to enter a product key, or do this later. Click Next:

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Enter a name, organization, and home page. Click Next:

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Enter a password that you don’t mind having stored in plain text as this is kept within the Unattend.xml file. The administrator password can always be changed post-deployment. Click Next:

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Click Next:

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Click Finish:

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Next, we’ll modify the task sequence to enable Windows Updates. Right click the new task sequence and select Properties:

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Under the State Restore section, there are two entries for Windows Update which are both disabled by default. Highlight each of these tasks and click the Options tab:

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Uncheck Disable this step to enable the step.

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Repeat for the second Windows Update entry:

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Uncheck Disable this step and both tasks should now be enabled. This will come in hand later when we start slipping in applications to the task sequence. Click OK to save all changes to the task sequence:

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Optionally (and highly recommended), the default Microsoft Solutions Accelerator background can be replaced by using an identically sized and bit depth BMP file in the following location: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit\Samples\Background.bmp:

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Finally, let’s package everything up to create a LiteTouch ISO file for booting. In the Deployment Workbench, right click the deployment share and select Update Deployment Share:

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Leave defaults and click Next:

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Click Next:

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Upon completion, click Finish:

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Once the deployment share has been updated the first time, the LiteTouchPE_x64.iso files are created under the \Boot folder in the deployment share.  These ISO files can be used to directly boot physical and virtual machines, or integrated into Windows Deployment Services for PXE booting to deploy MDT images.

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For this blog post, I have attached the LiteTouchPE_x64.iso file to a new virtual machine. On first boot, the machine will boot from optical media and start the process:

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Using the Bootstrap.ini and CustomSettings.ini options I provided, only a single question must be answered during deployment:

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Optionally, two additional lines can be added to the Bootstrap.ini file to skip this screen and automatically deploy a task sequence of your choosing. These options are:

SkipTaskSequence=YES
TaskSequenceID=DEPLOY-WS2012R2

This can be very helpful when creating MDT Media, a topic that I will likely cover in a future blog post.

Upon completion, the wizard will indicate success of failure. Click Finish:

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Below is a video of start to finish in my lab, approximately 8 minutes of deployment time for Windows Server 2012 R2. Click the maximize button in the YouTube video below to view full screen:

Hopefully this has been helpful for those getting up to speed with MDT, even as a refresher for MDT 2013.  Here are a number of resources that will help in your journey!

Quick Start Guide for Lite Touch Installation (Included in the MDT 2013 Documentation.zip file)
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Samples Guide (Included in the MDT 2013 Documentation.zip file)
Toolkit Reference (Included in the MDT 2013 Documentation.zip file)
Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (Included in the MDT 2013 Documentation.zip file)
Getting Started with Windows Deployment for Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 Using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) – Blog Post by Charity Shelbourne

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to leave feedback, please do so below.  Thanks for reading!

@youngtech

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  1. MattMatt12-02-2016

    Hi I am very interesting about your MDT configuration, you have described very well I have learn more thanks for that. so if you can please help me to configure USMT with MDT. I have done some but I don’t now how to restore the backup.if you can I would appreciate you.

  2. Martyn JeffreyMartyn Jeffrey10-03-2016

    went through the install and it then required the windows AIK for windows 10.

    files can be found here.

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/A/E/9AE69DD5-BA93-44E0-864E-180F5E700AB4/adk/adksetup.exe

  3. FarooqFarooq03-03-2016

    Sorry typed from the phone couldn’t see the format properly

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