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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.
Steps to deploy Windows 11 with MDT ^
The overall process of deploying Windows 11 with MDT workflow includes the following:
- Create a Windows 11 operating system folder in the Deployment Workbench.
- Import the Windows 11 operating system files.
- Create a new Windows 11 task sequence.
- Build and capture using the Windows 11 task sequence.
- 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.
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.
For the OS Type, choose Full set of source files.
Mount your downloaded Windows 11 ISO as virtual media, and select the virtual DVD drive.
You may notice that the Import Operating System Wizard skips the Setup and WDS screens when you choose the Full Operating System files.
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.
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.
When you initiate New Task Sequence, it launches a new wizard for creating the new 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.
Next, select the specific Windows 11 image you want to use for deployment.
Choose your product key installation options. Here, I am choosing not to specify a product key.
Now, fill in the OS settings details, including full name, organization, and the optional Internet Explorer Home Page (no longer relevant).
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.
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.
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.
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.
After configuring WDS using the MDT images, you should be able to PXE boot a client and select from the boot images available.
Choose the Windows 11 task sequence created earlier.
Here, choose the computer details. I am leaving this at the auto-generated computer name and join a workgroup.
Choose the location of the image capture and the file name.
The task sequence will build and capture the Windows 11 reference image.
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.
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.
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
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.