Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has long been a popular free deployment solution, allowing organizations to roll out image-based installations of Windows. Now that Windows 11 has been released, many organizations may be looking to update their images to deploy the newest version of the operating system.

Deploying Windows 11 with MDT is fairly straightforward. However, to make sure your Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is compatible with deploying Windows 11, you need to ensure that your MDT installation is the latest available. You can find and download the latest version of MDT here.

An important update addresses a boot loop issue that you want to make sure you download and apply to your Microsoft Deployment Toolkit server. The update is available here. The patch has you replace the boot media folders and regenerate the boot media. Below is an image showing the boot media regenerating in MDT.

Updating the boot media in MDT when installing the patch

Updating the boot media in MDT when installing the patch

Steps to deploy Windows 11 with MDT ^

The overall process of deploying Windows 11 with MDT workflow includes the following:

  1. Create a Windows 11 operating system folder in the Deployment Workbench.
  2. Import the Windows 11 operating system files.
  3. Create a new Windows 11 task sequence.
  4. Build and capture using the Windows 11 task sequence.
  5. Deploy the Windows 11 image captured with MDT.

Importing the Windows 11 operating system ^

The first task is to create the folder that will house the Windows 11 operating system files. Right-click the Operating Systems folder and create a new folder for Windows 11.

In MDT, create the Windows 11 operating system folder

In MDT, create the Windows 11 operating system folder

Now, we can import the operating system files for Windows 11. To do so, right-click the newly created Windows 11 folder, and select Import Operating System.

Import the Windows 11 operating system files

Import the Windows 11 operating system files

For the OS Type, choose Full set of source files.

Add the full set of source files for Windows 11

Add the full set of source files for Windows 11

Mount your downloaded Windows 11 ISO as virtual media, and select the virtual DVD drive.

Choose the source drive letter where the Windows 11 ISO is mounted

Choose the source drive letter where the Windows 11 ISO is mounted

You may notice that the Import Operating System Wizard skips the Setup and WDS screens when you choose the Full Operating System files.

Choose the directory name for the Windows 11 import

Choose the directory name for the Windows 11 import

The summary screen displays the configured OSType, OSDestination, OSSource, and MoveOS options. Click Next.

The Windows 11 operating system is successfully imported, as displayed on the Confirmation screen.

The Windows 11 import completes successfully

The Windows 11 import completes successfully

You should now see multiple images listed under the new Windows 11 folder created in MDT.

Creating a new task sequence to deploy Windows 11 ^

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit task sequence is a series of steps that automate image deployment. It represents an essential capability of MDT because it allows almost any customization of the image. For example, you can use them to configure all the settings available in Windows SIM, add drivers or language packages, and start your own PowerShell scripts at any time.

Let's create the task sequence for a Windows 11 deployment.

Creating a new Windows 11 deployment task sequence

Creating a new Windows 11 deployment task sequence

When you initiate New Task Sequence, it launches a new wizard for creating the new task sequence.

Name the new Windows 11 task sequence

Name the new Windows 11 task sequence

In the Select Template dialog, we just select the Standard Client Task Sequence in our basic example. MDT offers a wide range of templates, including one for Windows Server installation or a custom template that you can design yourself from scratch.

Select the task sequence template

Select the task sequence template

Next, select the specific Windows 11 image you want to use for deployment.

Select the Windows 11 OS to deploy in the task sequence

Select the Windows 11 OS to deploy in the task sequence

Choose your product key installation options. Here, I am choosing not to specify a product key.

Choose the product key option for the deployment

Choose the product key option for the deployment

Now, fill in the OS settings details, including full name, organization, and the optional Internet Explorer Home Page (no longer relevant).

Configure OS settings for the Windows 11 deployment

Configure OS settings for the Windows 11 deployment

In the next step, you can choose your administrator password settings. Finally, view the summary screen to ensure that the options selected are those intended.

On the confirmation screen displayed at the end of the New Task Sequence Wizard, click Finish to create the task sequence.

Viewing the task sequence confirmation screen

Viewing the task sequence confirmation screen

Build and capture the image using the task sequence ^

In the first part of the process, we boot the VM from PXE over the network instead of from ISO. So there is no need for an ISO image, or burning physical media to boot from, such as a DVD. However, you can also use an ISO "burned" to USB or create physical media, as it works the same.

If you are wondering where the images come from, they are created when you create a new deployment share in MDT under the <Deployment Share>\Boot folder.

Viewing the MDT Deployment Share Boot folder

Viewing the MDT Deployment Share Boot folder

To add the boot image to Windows Deployment Services (WDS) for PXE boot, right-click Boot Images in your Windows Deployment Services console, and select Add Boot Image. Here, you upload the LiteTouch images created by MDT or any other custom boot images.

Adding boot images in Windows Deployment Services

Adding boot images in Windows Deployment Services

To allow your Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server to respond to PXE requests from clients, right-click the server in your Windows Deployment Services console, and choose Properties. Under the PXE Response tab, select the setting for how you want the WDS server to respond and to which clients.

Configuring WDS to respond to PXE clients

Configuring WDS to respond to PXE clients

After configuring WDS using the MDT images, you should be able to PXE boot a client and select from the boot images available.

Booting from PXE and choosing your MDT lite touch boot image

Booting from PXE and choosing your MDT lite touch boot image

Choose the Windows 11 task sequence created earlier.

Select the Windows 11 task sequence for deployment

Select the Windows 11 task sequence for deployment

Here, choose the computer details. I am leaving this at the auto-generated computer name and join a workgroup.

Entering the computer details for the Windows 11 task sequence

Entering the computer details for the Windows 11 task sequence

Choose the location of the image capture and the file name.

Choose to capture an image of the Windows 11 reference computer

Choose to capture an image of the Windows 11 reference computer

The task sequence will build and capture the Windows 11 reference image.

The Windows 11 image capture begins

The Windows 11 image capture begins

Deploy the Windows 11 image on a target computer ^

The final step in the journey is to test the Windows 11 deployment on a target workstation. PXE boot from the MDT media and, again, choose the Windows 11 task sequence, as shown above.

Set your computer details, including the computer name and workgroup or domain details.

Select the computer details for Windows 11 deployment

Select the computer details for Windows 11 deployment

Next, on the capture image screen, choose Do not capture an image of this computer. Instead, deploy the captured Windows 11 image to a target workstation.

Do not capture an image of this computer on a target machine

Do not capture an image of this computer on a target machine

The Windows 11 image deployment begins, and Windows 11 will eventually boot on the target workstation.

The MDT automation is working in our favor here, as the installation goes past the mini-setup wizard and begins checking for updates.

Deploying Windows 11 using MDT completes successfully on the target computer

Deploying Windows 11 using MDT completes successfully on the target computer

Deploying Windows 11 using MDT completes successfully on the target computer

Final notes ^

Even though Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is getting "long in the tooth," it is still a viable way to capture and deploy Windows 11 images.

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Many organizations are heavily invested in the tooling provided by MDT, so it is great to see that we can still capture and deploy Windows 11 images with the MDT solution.

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