MDT 2012 New Feature: DaRT integration

In MDT 2012 Beta 2, a new feature has been added: the ability to integrate the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 7 into the Lite Touch boot images generated by MDT.  The end result is a new option when booted into Windows PE:


And when you choose the “Run DaRT Tools” option, you can see all the tools that DaRT offers:


While you will typically see DaRT positioned as more of a “recovery” tool, you can probably see the “diagnostics” benefits too, using the provided tools to inspect the current computer. 

One of the new features in DaRT 7 is especially useful: remote control.  Using this you can access a remote computer even while it is in Windows PE.  There is a client-side agent for this that is automatically executed as soon as the MDT “Welcome” wizard completes.  (We don’t start it before then because you might be using static IP addressing that would be configured through the “Welcome” wizard.  If you aren’t planning to use static IP, you can skip the “Welcome” wizard by setting “SkipBDDWelcome=YES” in CustomSettings.ini.)  You’ll see this minimized on the bottom left of the screen:


If you restored that to a full window, you would see that it is listening for connections:


From a computer with DaRT installed, you can run the “DaRT Remote Connection Viewer” to make the connection, just type in the ticket number, IP address, and port.  (If you’ve enabled the MDT 2012 monitoring feature, to be discussed more in a future blog posting, this process is automated – the connection details are automatically provided.)  The connection performance is good, just like you are using a typical RDP connection.  (Really, that’s exactly what you are doing – this uses the same underlying protocol as a typical remote desktop connection.)

So how do you enable the DaRT integration?  The MDT documentation explains this, although there is an error in step #1, which I’ve rewritten below:

Enable DaRT support

  1. Copy the file from the DaRT installation to the appropriate tools folder (either Tool\x86 or Tools\x64) in a deployment share.
  2. Click Start, and then point to All Programs. Point to Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, and then click Deployment Workbench.
  3. In the Deployment Workbench console tree, go to Deployment Workbench/Deployment Shares
  4. In the details pane, click deployment_share (where deployment_share is the name of the deployment share for which you want to enable DaRT support).
  5. In the Actions pane, click Properties.
    The deployment_share Properties dialog box appears (where deployment_share is the name of the deployment share for which you want to enable DaRT support).
  6. In the deployment_share Properties dialog box, on the Windows PE tab, select platform (where deployment_share is the name of the deployment share for which you want to enable DaRT support and platform is the processor architecture platform for which you want to enable DaRT support), select the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) check box, and then click OK.
  7. Update the deployment share.
    As a part of updating the deployment share, the DaRT files are integrated with the Lite Touch Windows PE .wim files, which automatically include Windows RE. When the .wim files are installed on the target computer, DaRT support will automatically be included.
    Note For more information about updating a deployment share see Update a Deployment Share in the Deployment Workbench
  8. Close all open windows and dialog boxes.

So how do you know which folder to copy the “” into?  Well, when you install DaRT on an x86 OS, you get an x86, so that goes into the Tools\x86 folder.  Conversely, when you install DaRT on an x64 OS, you get an x64, so that goes into the Tools\x64 folder.  (Yes, that’s less than ideal as it means you need an x86 and an x64 install of DaRT to get both platform files.  We’re working on that.  In the meantime, you can cheat: you can do an administrative install of the opposite platform using “msiexec.exe /a MSDart70msi”.  That will end up creating the folder structure, but not any of the shortcuts, for the opposite platform install.)

Once you’ve copied the files into the right place, you can then see a new Windows PE component in the deployment share properties:


Check the DaRT checkbox (for each platform), apply the changes, update the deployment share, and you’re done.

A few common questions:

Q: How do I get DaRT?

DaRT is a component of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).  To get DaRT, you need to get MDOP.  To get MDOP, you need to have Software Assurance on your client computers (or be using Windows Intune).  If you have any questions, contact your local Microsoft account team.  (Don’t know who they are?  Drop me an e-mail and I’ll find out.)

Q: How does monitoring help with this?

The DaRT remote control agent writes a file to the X:\Windows\system32 folder with the details needed to make a remote control connection (ticket, IP address, port).  This file is found by the MDT “Gather” script (you can see the values in the BDD.LOG).  When monitoring is enabled, those details are passed along to the monitoring server and stored, making it easy to initiate remote control with a simple button push:


This initiates the DaRT Remote Connection Viewer with command line parameters with the required details (ticket, IP address, port).

Q: Can this be done with Configuration Manager too?

Well, sort of.  If you copy the files into the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit\Templates\Distribution\Tools\<platform> folder, you will then see the “Microsoft Diagnostics and Recover Tools (DaRT)” option in the MDT wizard for creating a new boot image in ConfigMgr:


So that adds the pieces into the boot image, but you would still need to run them as part of a ConfigMgr task sequence with a command line like “cmd.exe /c start /min x:\windows\system32\RemoteRecovery.exe -nomessage”.

Comments (27)
  1. Anonymous says:

    "Tool requires a supported offline OS" is caused by a missing BCD when booting DaRT8. In my case, it does not have the smarts to handle multiboot systems if it can't find a BCD to use. Now, how dumb is that for a recovery app?

    If you use DaRT7 in the same situation, it will create the BCD for you and ask you to reboot. Once you have this BCD, it can also be used for DaRT8. I now keep the BCD on my flash drive where I boot either DaRT7 or DaRT8 from and this allows me to use all of the DART tools now that I have an option of choosing a system for repair.

  2. Hi Michael, explained and simplied injecting DaRT in such an easy way, really appreciate for your efforts. It can’t be better then this, well explained.

  3. MDT includes a default DartConfig.dat file that enables all components.  You could use the DaRT wizard to generate a new one of these that disables some components, then overwrite the DartConfig.dat file in the MDT installation directory with your modified version.

  4. Make sure that you have followed all the steps:  Add the, enable the component in the deployment share's Windows PE properties, update the deployment share to generate new boot images, and then create new CDs or update WDS (depending on how you are initiating a bare metal deployment).

  5. The DaRT items that aren't enabled when you choose the "Run DaRT Tools" option on the MDT "welcome" wizard would be enabled if you chose the "Run Windows Recovery Wizard" option.  That would show you the "select an OS" wizard that you are familiar with; once you've made that choice, you can then choose "DaRT" from the WinRE menu and the options will be enabled.

    We didn't want to force you through that route, because the "Windows Recovery Wizard" option is only available if we can find a boot.wim that matches the WAIK version.  And you might not have an OS on the machine, but you still want to use some of the tools.

  6. Once you've enabled DaRT, the Lite Touch script will automatically set some task sequence variables (DartTicket, DartIP, DartPort) with the details needed to make a remote viewing connection.

    With monitoring enabled, these details are automatically provided to the server.  If you aren't using monitoring, you would need a different mechanism for providing these to the server.  That's certainly doable, ranging from the simple (SLShareDynamicLogging) to fancier (e.g. writing a script to create a batch file that includes the necessary command line, including the ticket, IP, and port).

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the Windows 7 system enables syskey and EFS, can the user still able to read those EFS-encrypted files without having to reimport the EFS certificate, after his/her password resetted by LockSmitch?

  8. DaRT only works in Windows PE, so as soon as you boot into the full OS you would need to use a remote desktop connection (as Administrator to the console) to watch what was going on.


  9. says:

    For those with missing Recovery option, I believe that it depends on what your WinPE is being created with. If your WinPE is using the default WIM files from ADK, then I don’t think it is there. Easy solution is to replace the existing winpe.wim files
    in %ProgramFiles%Windows Kits8.1Assessment and Deployment KitWindows Preinstallation Environment*en-us with the boot.wim from your Windows 8.1 media.
    1. Rename the winpe.wim to default_winpe.wim
    2. Copy the Boot.wim and rename to winpe.wim
    3. Regenerate Boot Images

    You will notice that the Boot.wim files from Windows ISO are about 90MB larger than the ones that come with ADK. This is part of what is missing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just got around to creating a DaRT8 iso. I used the Dart defaults and during creation, all tools were shown as selected. I booted the iso without any problems, but I cannot use all of the tools. All are listed, but some have no active links and cannot be launched.

    Also DaRT 8 is erroneously not finding any offline systems and the Recovery Tools screen for OS selection does not appear for me. I have a multi-boot setup where drive1 has XP and Vista and drive2 has Win7 and Win8. All are bootable. I don't understand why DaRT has a problem finding them.

    I've seen on other forums that I'm not the only one with this problem. Do you have any ideas how to fix this?

  11. Nico Sienaert says:

    For people that want to know more about the ConfigMgr integration. I blogged about it.…/use-dart-remoteviewer-to-monitor-your-osd-deployments.aspx

  12. Steve says:

    I cannot see the "Run Dart Tools" and "Run the Windows Recovery Wizard" on the Startup Wizard.  I have addes both x86 and x64 MSDaRT files into their correct directory and still no sign of them.

  13. John Marcum says:

    This is really nice. Back in the old days I had two boot images in WDS. One for lite touch and another for DART (or whatever it was called back then). Then when SCCM came out and took control of the WDS server that killed being able to boot multiple disks from WDS.

  14. Chris E. says:

    This is super nice!

    Is there anyway to access the DaRT remote information WITHOUT turning on logging for MDT 2012? Our MDT server is currently firewalled off so the monitoring will not work without a systems engineer opening the firewall port. I looked through the BDD dynamic log file that is written to the server when the TS is running, but I couldn't find a mention for the ticket or port number for remote control.

  15. Greg Mackinnon says:

    Michael, thanks for sharing this and all of the other great information on your site that we have been benefiting from over the years.

    I have a question about this feature… Both at our site, and in your screenshot above, I see that some of the DaRT features are disabled when launched from LiteTouch boot media (SFC, Hotfix uninstall, Computer Management, Locksmith).  I am assuming this is because the DaRT tools do not know where to look for the Windows operating system.  On a "regular" DaRT WinPE install, you are first prompted to identify the Windows OS partition before DaRT launches.  

    Do you have any guidance on enabling these additional features for DaRT on the LiteTouch media?

  16. Joshua says:

    Is it possible to turn off the Locksmith tool or password protect the use of DaRT?

  17. Jason says:

    I have successfully integrated the DaRT feauture in my MDT 2012 Menu. Thank you by the way for all the wonderful information you put out there. I have also implemented a driver selection screen following one of your posts.

    My question here is I do not have the "Run the Windows recovery Wizard" option in my menu and I am wondering if you can expnad on that or point me to another post you may have done. Looking at another post i found it looks like it may be due to my WAIK version. I am at Win PE 3.0 and we deploy Win 7 Ent SP1, so is this a matter of my WinPe is 7600 and my wim is 7601?

    Thank you in adavance,


  18. Jeff Irvine says:

    This is a great article, thank you. I've got just about everything working except for Defender. It pops an error that states "The tool failed to run. Try choosing another tool." Any ideas?

  19. DaRT 8.0 Integration No Connection after Reboot says:

    curious if this is how it works or not i have setup the DaRT 8.0 Integration and i can remotely connect to a deployment my problem seems to be as the machine reboots and then starts to install applications i cannot remote to connect. is this because it is now booting to the OS instead of the WinPE is there anyway to get it to remote connect in the same way to monitor??

  20. jx says:

    I have a problem same as Jason. I have “Run Dart Tools” but I do not have the “Run the Windows recovery Wizard” option in my menu . Can some one tell me what was wrong with this?


  21. Brian says:

    I have not got a check box to enable dart

  22. Brian says:

    i have copied from dart 7 to mdt 2012 tools folder cannot see check box to enable dart where do I find the check box

  23. Brian says:

    don’t need help I found my mistake

  24. Brian says:

    I have setup my mdt with dart only cant get network connection have tried remote connection viewer the details I put in are not connecting

  25. Stan Cheung says:

    I have successfully integrated DART in the WinPE environment, but for my standalone ISO option the Windows Recovery Wizard does not show up. Has anyone come across this issue…? I am using ADK/MDT 2013 SP1.

  26. brian49 says:

    My question here is I do not have the "Run the Windows recovery Wizard" option in my menu every thing is alright I get the option to install os and "Run Dart Tools" I have windows 7 64 bit dart 64 bit

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