Windows 8.1 Deployment: From the ground up – Setup your environment

Hello Folks,

Earlier in March I wrote that I was working on this series that covers the migration of XP to Windows 8.1 from the ground up.  In this post we setup our environment.  This environment will be crucial to take care of all the phases of our project.Win8Pro_Blu286_D_rgb_EN

  • Plan
  • Deliver
  • Operate

Let get going.  First download the free Evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 (MDT 2013) , the “Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit” and Windows ADK. we will need them to prep the environment. In our case we are doing this in a test environment so we can document it.  so we started with a test domain.  let’s name it (as if I ever use another…) we have one DC on witch we will setup our tools and services to take care of most of our steps.  in production you may want to use a separate server in order not to risk any downtime in your environment.

Step 1: Install the Windows ADK

Run the ADKSetup.exe from whatever location you downloaded it.  I put all the downloaded packages in a Tools directory on the local machine


Select Install the Assessment and Deployment Kit to this computer. and click Next

Select whether you want to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), and then click Next

Accept the terms of the license agreement click Accept.


in the next screen, you need to select the Windows ADK features that you want to install, in our case we added Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), the User State Migration Tool (USMT) and the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express and then click Install.  We selected those because they will be needed later.

the installation may take a while.  it will acquire the components it needs and install them on your machine.

Step 2: Install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 (MDT 2013)

Double-click MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit2013_x64.msi (for 64-bit operating systems) or MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit2013_x86.msi (for 32-bit operating systems) and after the MDT 2013 Setup Wizard starts follow the wizard to complete the installation.


Step 3: Install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 (MDT 2013) Missing Components

The Installation of MDT 2013 is only the beginning. You now need to start the Deployment workbench from the Apps view of the Start screen on our Windows Server 2012 machines.  I prefer to pin it to the Desktop once it’s installed.


Once started navigate to Information Center and components. In the Actions pane, click Check for Updates. and follow the wizard directions in order to validate that you have the latest manifest of all the components that are needed.


After the update, select each components and click the Download button. once you have done that to all the components you will need they will be queued for download.


I did that part before going to bed so it downloaded overnight.

Step 4: Install the “Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

The last step today, is to install the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit.  It is an agentless inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that can assess your environments for various platform migrations.  We install it by running the MapSetup.exe we downloaded and run through the installation wizard.


At this point we are ready.  The next step will be to collect the info about the machines in our environment, validate that they meet our minimum requirements and start planning our deployment.

As I mentioned last week. I encourage you to take the following Microsoft Virtual Academy modules.

and refer to the Springboard site for all your deployment needs.

I’ll be back in a couple days with more.



Pierre Roman | Technology Evangelist
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Comments (1)

  1. Recep YUKSEL says:

    Thank you Mr. Pierre.

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