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?
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.