Deploying Windows 8.1 from a USB Stick
Ready to test Windows 8.1 in your environment? With the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013, you can quickly create a USB-based deployment media that not only installs Windows 8.1, but also installs the needed drivers, your applications and much more. Everything part of an automated deployment. This is possible because, in addition to the normal network-based deployments, MDT 2013 also supports the use of offline media-based deployments. You can very easily generate an offline version of your network-based deployment solution. The generated offline media can be burned to a DVD or copied to a USB stick for deployment.
Step 1: Install MDT 2013 and Windows ADK for Windows 8.1
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 requires
Windows ADK for Windows 8.1, which is quite straightforward to install. Simply
download the kit from Microsoft and run the adksetup.exe. A quick tip: if you want to download Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 only, without running the normal install, you can run: adksetup.exe /layout "C:\Setup\Windows ADK 8.1".
Step 2: Create a deployment share
Using the Deployment Workbench (via the Start screen), right-click Deployment Shares and select New Deployment Share. Use the following settings for the New Deployment Share Wizard.
Step 3: Import the Windows 8.1 operating system
Note: These steps assume you have downloaded the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 ISO and extracted it to the C:\Setup\Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 folder.
After adding the operating system, using the Deployment Workbench, in the Operating System node, change the operating system name to Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64, as seen here:
Step 4: Import applications
MDT 2013 can install applications (well, in fact, run any executable) as part of the deployment. Here is an example on how to add Adobe Reader XI to MDT 2013.
Step 5: Import drivers
Windows 8.1 already contain drivers for quite many devices, but it’s likely that you need to import additional drivers to support hardware not included by default. Driver handling in MDT 2013 would be an article on its own since MDT supports many different options to inject drivers. The method I like the most is the “total control” method in which you assign drivers on a per model basis. When using this method, you create a folder for each hardware model and configure MDT 2013 to inject only the correct drivers to the correct model. If you want to learn more about driver handling in MDT 2013, please review the “ MDT 2013 Lite Touch Driver Management” article that I posted recently.
Step 6: Create and configure a task sequence
Once you have added the operating system, and any applications and drivers you want, you can create a task sequence. Using the Deployment Workbench, in the MDT Production deployment share, select the Task Sequences node. Right-click the Task Sequences node, and select New Task Sequence. Use the following settings for the New Task Sequence Wizard:
Step 7: Create the MDT 2013 media
Now it’s time to create an offline media from the MDT Production deployment share. Using File Explorer, create the C:\MDTMedia folder, and then using Deployment Workbench, in the MDT Production / Advanced Configuration node, select the Media node. Right-click the Media node, and select New Media. Use the following settings for the New Media Wizard:
Automate parts of the deployment wizard by opening the C:\MDTMedia\Content\Deploy\Control\Bootstrap.ini in Notepad, and in the Default section, add the SkipBDDWelcome=YES option. If you want to automate further, please review the “Quick Start Guide for Lite Touch Installation” in the
downloadable MDT 2013 documentation.
About the Author
Johan Arwidmark is a consultant and all-around geek specializing in systems management and enterprise Windows deployment solutions. Johan speaks at several conferences each year, including TechEd events around the world.