Understanding the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 Update and MDT 2013

Author: Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager

This post applies to customers using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013.

A revision to the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 Update is now available. See this post for more information. If you are also using Configuration Manager see this post. (You’ll find it looks very similar to this post, but there are some differences.)

We recommend that all customers of MDT 2013 upgrade to the latest ADK, but this upgrade is not required. You can continue to use an existing version of the Windows 8.1 ADK or the Windows 8.1 Update revision to service and deploy all Windows 8.1 (including Windows 8.1 Update), Windows 8, and Windows 7 images. If you do upgrade, you don’t have to uninstall the previous version first; running the ADK setup will update the existing components of the ADK installation.

After upgrading the ADK to the latest version, here are a few general items of note for MDT:

  • There are some bug fixes to the User State Migration Tool (USMT) in this revision, so if you use USMT be sure to update the deployment share to refresh the USMT content.
  • You do not need to update the deployment share to update boot images. Windows PE 5.0 can be used to deploy Windows 8.1 Update images.
  • We recommend using the latest full installation source (also known as “slipstreamed” or “refresh” media) for Windows 8.1 Update from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) as the starting point for your OS deployments. This media should be available on or about 14 April 2014.
  • A Windows 8.1 Update OS image (refresh media or offline serviced) can be applied with the deployment tools natively present in Windows PE 5.0.
  • MDT does not support the new WimBoot functionality at this time. We are investigating adding support for WimBoot to a future release.

Windows PE 5.1

The Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 Update still includes Windows PE 5.0 (including the Windows PE 5.0 optional components and language packs), the same as the previous versions of the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1. The Windows PE documentation references Windows PE 5.1 for supporting WimBoot deployments. (Remember, MDT does not yet support WimBoot.) Windows PE version 5.1 is not needed for MDT and can actually be problematic if you try to use it. Windows PE 5.0 can continue to be used to deploy Windows 8.1 Update. There is a documented process to upgrade Windows PE to version 5.1, but this should be considered incompatible with MDT at this time. Keep reading if you want more details about this, otherwise skip to the next section.

Why can’t MDT use Windows PE 5.1? The process to create Windows PE 5.1 requires injecting the Windows 8.1 Update package into the Windows PE image, and if it also includes optional components or language packs these must be done in a specific order. The process then requires using the DISM /Cleanup-Image option with the /ResetBase parameter to cleanup and optimize the image before unmounting the image and committing the changes. MDT doesn’t currently support this sort of process during boot image servicing. Optimizations aside, even though MDT allows for updates to be injected to Windows PE, the order of operation when applying updates is not guaranteed.

Windows 8.1 Update Servicing

As stated above, we recommend using the latest Windows 8.1 Update full media. If you need to service an existing Windows 8.1 image here are some tips:

  • Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) requires a servicing stack update (KB2919442) to be installed as a prerequisite. This prerequisite update was released in March.
  • Do not add KB2919355 to the Packages node of a deployment share. MDT’s servicing functionality uses commands in Unattend.xml, which cannot guarantee the order in which updates are applied to an image.
  • These updates can be manually applied to an image using DISM /Add-Package commands, ensuring the correct order is followed.
  • If applying the updates online, for example during a standard client task sequence, they can be created in the deployment share as Applications. This then allows them to be added to the task sequence as explicit steps for proper ordering.
  • Be sure to fully test the outcome of these actions before deploying your serviced image to clients.
  • Did I mention that we recommend using the Windows 8.1 Update refresh media?

Language Packs

If your images and deployments include language packs, be sure to consider the following:

  • As is always the case, per existing documentation, always install language packs before installing updates.
  • Review the Windows 8.1 Update documentation for language packs to learn about additional details regarding any additional processing that must occur when applying language packs.

We’ve been working closely with Windows engineering on streamlining this process as much as possible. I’m always interested in your feedback, or feel free to post your questions below, especially if there are MDT deployment scenarios not covered here.

-- Aaron Czechowski, Sr. Program Manager

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

Comments (23)
  1. Anonymous says:

    @Reto – you should get the media the same as you would normally. The two primary channels of which I’m aware are MSDN and VLSC. I’m not sure of the schedules for refresh media via other distribution channels.

    @Nalin – yes, “refresh media” is the full Windows 8.1 media that is refreshed to include the Windows 8.1 Update. Media was similarly refreshed back in October around the general availability timeframe; the April refresh is specifically what I’m referring to. And this should be consistent across any edition available via these channels, including Enterprise.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately ADK8.1 Update 1 still has one big problem: it doesn’t seem to be able to download things through a proxy that requires authentication — or am I a special case?

  3. Anonymous says:

    @Sean – thanks for the feedback! That’s our goal as well, and are looking at ways we can improve the experience in the future with respect to ADK alignment.

    @hubertlam – I’m not familiar with that issue. You should be able to download from a separate system (that does not use the proxy) and then install from that cached content. Otherwise I recommend following the link above to the Windows Springboard blog and providing your feedback there.

  4. Anonymous says:

    thank you

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very good Article, thanks

  6. Anonymous says:

    thank you

  7. Anonymous says:

    @Sergio – that’s probably the safest route. Both KBs mention, “You must restart the computer after you apply this update.” And it’s important to note again that if you’re doing online servicing during the task sequence, make sure any language packs are applied _before_ the updates are installed. Refresh media is available now on MSDN, and will be posted to the VLSC in about 10 days.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why didn’t MSFT fix the WinPE image (boot.wim) in the ADK 8.1 Update ? This is extra work for consumers of WinPE.

  9. Sean Bober says:

    Thank you for the very thorough description that answered most of my questions. The only thing that I would add is that it is always nice when there is alignment between MDT, ADK, and OS releases.

  10. Sergio Calderon says:

    Aaron, so if I want to add the Update via MDT adding the package from the Applications node, do I have to set a restart after each installation?

  11. Anonymous says:

    El artículo pasado mostré cómo podíamos inyectar el llamado Update de Windows 8.1 a una imagen offline

  12. Reto Felix says:

    We are a small company without MSDN or VLSC. Is there a way to download a refresh media (iso) for us?

  13. Anonymous says:

    227 Microsoft Team blogs searched, 58 blogs have new articles. 225 new articles found searching from

  14. Nalin U says:


    Many thanks for this. In your last paragraph you say ” we recommend using the Windows 8.1 Update refresh media”.. Do you mean the full windows 8.1 media ? What about Windows Enterprise deployments ? could you kindly add a couple of lines to say whether or / not the process applies to windows 8.0 Enterprise deployment s as well please ?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Na téma novinek ve Windows 8.1 Update z pohledu uživatele bylo v minulých týdnech

  16. Anonymous says:

    Recent Releases :

    Managing change with Message Center – 01-Apr-2014

    Announcing release of Visual

  17. Anonymous says:

    Understanding the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 Update and Configuration Manager OSD

  18. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Configuration Manager Training ConfigMgr 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 ADK Update | Configuration Manager Training

  19. Andy L says:

    Is MDT 2013 Update 1 on the horizon?

  20. Leroy M says:

    When I try installing adksetup.exe on a VM Server 2008 R2 I get a general error "Access Denied." Looking at the logs I see Error 0x80072ee2: Failed while reading from internet. We use a proxy here, how do I install adk 8.1 using a proxy? I am able to start
    IE and access the internet and navigate the the link that fails. I am running adksetup.exe as admin. I also tried running it from an elevated cmd prompt.

  21. Donec says:

    Is it possible to migrade DB from MDT2010 to MDT2013?

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