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Author: Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Client and Mobility

The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 is now officially available on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center. (The page also includes other Windows kits; remember for deployment you only need the Windows ADK for Windows 10.) If you are using either System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 or System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 (which I’ll now refer to as “Configuration Manager 2012” for simplicity) you now have two options:

  1. Continue to use the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 (which is still the setup prerequisite for these versions of Configuration Manager)
  2. Upgrade to the Windows ADK for Windows 10

Let’s take a look at each of these options in more detail.

Continue to use Windows 8.1 ADK

Configuration Manager 2012 was designed to support operating system deployment of a broad array of Windows versions by leveraging different versions of Windows PE boot images. By continuing to use the Windows 8.1 ADK you do not need to make any changes to the software installed on your site servers or make any changes to your boot images, but you can still deploy Windows 10 if needed by using a Windows 10 boot image. Visit our TechNet topic, How to Customize Windows PE Boot Images to Use in Configuration Manager, for more information on how to create a Windows PE 10 boot image on a separate computer and then import it into your site. (To be clear, the deployment tools are not forward-compatible; you need to use a Windows 10 boot image to deploy a Windows 10 OS image.)

I also recommend taking a look at the new Windows 10 in-place upgrade scenario that does not have any dependencies on components of the Windows ADK.

Upgrade to the Windows 10 ADK

Configuration Manager 2012 shipped with built-in support for the Windows 10 ADK. This is the latest version of the Windows ADK, providing the latest tools for deploying Windows 10. Upgrading to the Windows 10 ADK requires some additional steps but will bring native support in the Configuration Manager console for Windows 10 boot images. Here are the necessary steps to start using the Windows 10 ADK:

  1. Download the Windows 10 ADK.
  2. Uninstall the Windows 8.1 ADK from your site server(s).
  3. Install the Windows 10 ADK on your site server(s).
  4. Restart your site server. (This ensures that components such as the WIMGAPI driver are properly registered for use with Configuration Manager.)

Note: make sure you upgrade the Windows ADK on all systems in the site that have it installed. This can include (but not limited to) the site server, SMS Provider, and administrator consoles. The installed version of the Windows ADK needs to be consistent across all systems that leverage it.

Any existing Windows PE 3.1 or Windows PE 5 boot images can still be used, but are no longer customizable from the Configuration Manager console. You can create new boot images which will now be using Windows PE 10. Windows PE 10 boot images support deployments of Windows 7 through Windows 10.

Note that you will also need to create a new package for USMT 10. See the TechNet topic, How to Manage the User State in Configuration Manager, for information on how to create a new USMT package. You will need to point the source to the USMT folder for the Windows 10 ADK, which is typically C:Program FilesWindows Kits10Assessment and Deployment KitUser State Migration Tool.

Also note that if you need to continue to use an older version of USMT, by uninstalling the Windows 8.1 ADK you will remove the source folder for that older USMT package. Make sure you copy the folder to another location before uninstalling the Windows 8.1 ADK, and then update the source location on the older USMT package to the new location to which you copied the content.

What about new installs of Configuration Manager 2012? The Windows 8.1 ADK is still the setup prerequisite so that will need to be used during initial installation. But afterwards you can follow the above process to install the newer Windows 10 ADK.

Known Issues

There are currently a few known issues with Windows 10 deployments that I wanted to use this opportunity to note.

  • Sysprep will fail for a modern app that is installed but not provisioned for all users. This is due to older app frameworks available via Windows Update, thus only affects systems that build and capture while connected to Windows Update. This will be fixed in an update package, which will need to be applied in the task sequence before Sysprep. UPDATE: this is addressed by KB3074667.
  • USMT 10 cannot restore to a Windows 7 device. As noted above, continue to use older USMT packages for Windows 7 deployments. UPDATE: Version 10.1.14369.1000 or later of the Windows 10 ADK will support restore to a Windows 7 device. For more information refer to USMT Requirements on TechNet.

— Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager


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This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.