In the first part of this article series, I explained what it takes to install Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013, create a deployment share, and configure the deployment steps for Windows 8.1. In this second article I’ll focus on how to create the offline USB media from within MDT, and provide some details on which USB device to use for different deployment scenarios.
On top of the components from part one of the article, you need a USB device (preferably a stick, although a USB disk might also do the trick). Now this is rather important to decide what deployment approach you will use, as that will define what USB stick you can or cannot use.
The first step involves configuring the MDT 2013 deployment share we’ve been working with in part one of this article for offline media.
In this section I’ll walk you through the steps to create a bootable FAT32 USB Device, assuming your Windows image file is not larger than 4Gb in size. To verify, browse to your earlier created deployment Media folder / Content / Deploy / Operating Systems / <your operating system> / sources / install.wim (in case of default Win 8.1 ISO file as source, this file is 3.4Gb in size.
Next, you need to make this USB device bootable. From within the same admin command prompt, browse to your Windows 8.1 ISO image (or mount the ISO if needed) boot subfolder, and type the following command: Bootsect /nt60 XX: (where XX is the drive letter form your USB volume).
In the final step, copy over all files and folders in the Media-folder to the root of the USB device.
Boot up your Surface Pro from this USB drive, by holding down the volume button while pressing the power button. Once the Surface boot logo is showing up, it should start booting form the USB device. You can release the volume down button at that time.
Follow the MDT client deployment wizard to get your Windows 8.1 image installed on the Surface Pro.
In the scenario of having a larger WIM-file, you need to use a multi-partioned USB drive. A smaller partition will become the boot partition (2-4Gb should sufface), where a larger partition will be formatted as NTFS.
Again, it is best to use a Windows-To-Go certified USB stick for this or a USB drive. What’s important is that when the USB device is attached, the volumes should be recognized as a “fixed disk” in Disk Manager. Otherwise, this approach won’t work.
Most of the steps are identical to the one from creating a FAT32-drive.
Next, copy the contents from the Media folder on the deployment server to your USB partitions as follows: