Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 is the latest solution accelerator for OS deployment. It is the easiest (and cheapest) way to deploy any modern Microsoft OS including Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2. It supports Zero Touch Installation deployments with SCCM 2012 R2 and to UEFI systems. Without a doubt, this (free) upgrade is very much worth it.

MDT 2013 Welcome Screen

MDT 2013 Welcome Screen

If you are still running a previous version of MDT, you will need to upgrade to MDT 2013 in order to deploy these new operating systems and use these new features. This guide will assume you are upgrading from MDT 2012 Update 1. Before continuing, be sure to have a current backup or snapshot of your deployment server. This process, including wait times, should not take more than an hour.

To save boot image generation time, launch the MDT Deployment Workbench and open the Properties tab on your Deployment Share. Select the Windows PE tab and uncheck Generate a Lite Touch bootable ISO image (if you only use PXE booting). Be sure to do this under both OS platforms (X86 and X64).

Disabling ISO generation will save us Boot Image rebuild time

Disabling ISO generation will save us Boot Image rebuild time.

Upgrading to ADK 8.1

MDT 2013 is able to support Windows 8.1 because of the underlying tools in Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK). Because of this, ADK 8.1 is a required prerequisite. Uninstall any previous version of the Automated Installation Kit (AIK) and ADK (including ADK 8) before continuing. Reboot your deployment server.

After rebooting, download and launch the ADK setup. If needed, the ADK 8.1 install can be found here. Proceed through the setup until you are prompted for new features to install. At a minimum, select Deployment Tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE).

Selecting features in the ADK 8.1 setup

Selecting features in the ADK 8.1 setup

Continue through the setup. If prompted to reboot at the end, do so now.

Upgrading to MDT 2013

On your deployment server, download MDT 2013 and launch the setup. If needed, MDT 2013 can be downloaded from this link. There is no need to uninstall MDT 2012 before doing this.

The MDT 2013 setup

The MDT 2013 setup

In our organization, we only differed from the default setup options by accepting the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

Once your install has completed, launch the MDT Deployment Workbench console and expand to your Deployment Share. Right click on your Deployment Share and select Update Deployment Share

Updating a Deployment Share in MDT 2013

Updating a Deployment Share in MDT 2013

Within the Update Deployment Share wizard, select completely regenerate the boot images and continue through the wizard.

Update Deployment Share wizard

Update Deployment Share wizard

Final changes in Windows Deployment Services

If you attempt to PXE boot a client now, you will notice two things. First, Windows PE now has a new Windows 8 loading icon. Second, you will likely have some big issues. Possible problems include deployments not working, inability to connect to the deployment share, and immediate reboots.

The solution to this problem is easy. Replace your current boot images with the regenerated boot images. Launch the Windows Deployment Services MMC and expand to Boot Images. Right click on any MDT boot images listed and replace them with the newly generated images. The default location for boot images are in D:\DeploymentShare\Boot.

Default location for boot images

Default location for boot images

Once replaced, your clients should successfully PXE boot and connect to the deployment share. Congratulations – you are now running Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013!

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