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Installing and Configuring MDT

The install and configuration process for MDT (Microsoft Deployment Tool Kit) is fairly well documented.

At the time of this post version 4.2 was the latest and greatest version of MDT and can be Downloaded from Microsoft.  Also a good resource for information on MDT is the Optional – MDT Print-Ready Documentation that can be downloaded from the same page.

Items you need before you can begin:

Because of our problems in having success building the answer files to automated the OS deployment from WDS we have elected in our configuration to use WDS merely as a PXE boot server, so when you enable the service on your server there is little configuration for WDS since the LiteTouch (MDT) scripting will take care of everything for us.

Installing WDS:
You can download the Step-By-Step guide for WDS from Microsoft technet.  This document is a good resource for installing and setting up WDS.  Since we are using MDT we only needed to follow the first 10 pages, but the rest is a good resource to understand how WDS works.

At the first launch of the WDS console, you will have to configure the server. This will create and populate a folder called RemoteInstall. This folder is shared as reminst. It is recommended not to store this folder on the system partition.  In our case we mounted an iSCSI volume for storing our deployment data.

You can run WDS on the same server as your DHCP Server but you will have to modify which ports that server listens on.. In our case WDS and DHCP are on two separate servers so no worries there.

Lastly check to make sure that you are accepting all PXE boot requests.  This can be configured in the Server properties under the PXE Response Settings.  Since a boot image will only be active for us when we are deploying an OS to machines there isn’t a risk of unauthorized access.

Installing WAIK 1.1:

From MS’s Site:The Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is designed to help corporate IT professionals customize and deploy the Microsoft Windows Vista™ family of operation systems. By using Windows AIK, you can perform unattended Windows installations, capture Windows images with ImageX, and create Windows PE images.

You must have WAIK installed prior to installing MDT, we won’t use it directly with MDT since LiteTouch configures the install for us, but you have to have it as a pre-req for installing MDT.

Installing MDT:

From MS’s Site: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit technologies eliminate interaction time required to install desktop and server operating systems. Interaction at the targeted computer may take a few moments using the Lite Touch Installation (LTI) method or it can be completely automated using Zero Touch Installation (ZTI). Zero Touch Installation utilizes Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Systems Management Server 2003 with the Operating System Deployment Feature Pack. Lite Touch Installation can be used when software distribution tools are not in place.

Once MDT is installed open the Deployment Workbench MMC console. and Click on Distribution Share.  You will see a display of the tasks that need completed in order to deploy a workstation with MDT.


OS FILES – Next you need to add the operating systems you want to deploy (it can be either or both 32 bit and 64 bit OS) by mounting the ISO or inserting the DVD of the media in the server.  Right click Operating Systems and click New. Select Full set of source files. Give the drive letter of your OS DVD or mount iso file, and Finish. This takes a bit, so its a good time for a break here.

APPLICTATIONS – After you have imported the OS you will need to add any applications that you would like to install.When you right click applications and choose new you will have the choice of where your source files live.  For our applications we did install sources from a network file share.  Since its later going to map a drive to this location during the install its important to use the FQDN for this rather than a mapped network drive letter.

For Office 2007 applications you can have the installer run silently with the key embed by using the Office Customization tool.  To launch the OCT run the application installer with the  admin switch  (setup.exe /admin).  If you add the Office 2007 application from CD the customize tool is a tab later in the applications but it was easier to use the network share already configured.

Drivers  – Next you can add any drivers needed fort your specific hardware and group them by that model.

Task Sequence - After you have added your OS, Apps and Drivers you are ready to build the instructions on how you would like the OS to be deployed.  Building the task sequence builds the OS install instructions including the infamous unattend.xml.

Basic Task sequence instructions are:

-Click New in the Task Sequences context menu and fill in the General Settings. Assign your Task sequence ID, Task sequence name, and Task sequence comments.
-On the Select Template screen, select the Standard Client Task Sequence
-On the Select OS screen, select the OS you added in the Operating Systems
-On the Specify Product Key screen, type in your Product Key or Do not specify a product key at this time  if you are using a KMS to activate your OS.
-On the OS Settings screen, fill in your organization name and a home page for IE.
-On the Admin Password screen, type the local admin password of the target computer.

Deployment Point – the last step is setting up your deployment point, this is the network share where the client machines will connect to the server to pull the customized installation.

Basic steps are:
- Right click on Deployment Point and choose new.
- Choose a lab deployment point
- Name the Deployment Point (in our case Install and Build)
- Don’t Allow users to select apps on upgrade
- Don’t ask for a image to be captured
- Don’t set the local admin password
- Don’t ask for product key
- On network share use the defaults
- Don’t configure the user state.

Now that MDT is setup we need to make a few more final changes so that the OS installation runs with minimal user intervention.  This is done by editing the Bootstrap.ini and Customsettings.ini files.  A good reference of the settings that can be configured by these files can be found here in the Property Reference Guide.

Our CustomSettings.ini and bootstrap.ini files are configured so that we only have to answer two quest
ions while the OS is installing 1. Which OS to install and 2. Which applications we want installed.  Our .ini files look&nb
sp; like this:

Custom Settings.ini


UserID=The user credentials for accessing network resources.
UserDomain=The domain in which a user’s credentials (specified in UserID) exist.
UserPassword=The password for user credentials specified in UserID.
TimeZoneName=Central Standard Time
OrgName=Orgainzation Name Here
JoinDomain=The domain that the target computer joins after the target operating system is deployed
DomainAdmin=The account is used to join the computer to a domain.
DomainAdminDomain=The domain in which a user’s credentials (specified in DomainAdmin) exist
DomainAdminPassword=Password used to join the computer to the domain
InputLocale= en-US


UserDomain=The domain in which a user’s credentials (specified in UserID) exist.
UserID=The user credentials for accessing network resources.
UserPassword=The password for user credentials specified in UserID.

***Note UserDomain, ID and Password are in bootstrap.ini AND customsettings without these in both places you are prompted for credentials when you first boot into WindowsPE.

After you are ready to deploy your OS right click on your Deployment Point and choose UPDATE.  This builds the WIM file that you will boot from.

See other Posts on Vista Deployment with MDT:


  • Reply James Avery |

    I’m working on a MDT at another customer and have you ran across the “SkipBDDWelcome=Yes” in customsettings.ini not working in MDT 4.2. Any reason?

So, what do you think ?