Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1: Overview and Installation

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 is a solution accelerator used by IT professionals to assist with the deployment of Microsoft products. MDT can be used to simplify the deployment of Microsoft operating systems and applications. Windows 7 and 8, as well as Windows Server 2008R2 and 2012, can be installed using MDT.

How Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1 Helps Deploy Office and Windows

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit installs an application called deployment workbench to the computer. When using the Deployment Toolkit, there are several pieces that you’ll need to be familiar with.

The Management Computer — The computer that runs the deployment workbench is referred to as the management computer during the deployment process.

The deployment workbench on the management computer is where you will prepare to deploy your products. The deployment OS, device drivers for the hardware to which you’re deploying, and software applications are all used on the management computer. Task sequences and boot images are created using the deployment workbench on the management computer.

The management computer doesn’t have to be the same operating system as the one you’re deploying. You can have a Windows 7 workstation as the management computer and deploy Windows 7, 8, and Server 2008 R2 and 2012, all from the same management computer.

The Deployment Share — Deployment shares are created by the management computer. The deployment shares are shared directories used to holding the source files, drivers, applications, and system images. Deployment shares can be held on the management computer or on another network share.

The Reference Computer — The reference computer is used for preparing the image. The reference computer should be representative of the hardware to which you’re planning on deploying. The more alike it is, the more assured you can be that the deployment will later proceed without errors.

After putting the boot image and the initial task sequence together on the management computer, the reference computer goes through the deployment process. Images of the referenced computers after they have undergone the deployment are taken for final deployment to similar hardware.

The Target Computer — The target computer is the end point of the deployment. This is the computer or group of computers that you will deploy to.

How to Deploy Software from Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012

There are several steps to deploying the software, and there are different options based on what type of installation experience you want your users to have. However, there are several general steps that are similar for each type of deployment you may want to create.

  1. Download the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1 on the management computer.
  2. Create a deployment share for MDT 2012.
  3. Import the source files for the OS, patches, device drivers, and applications to the management computer.
  4. Create a boot image for the reference computer.
  5. Create a task sequence for the reference computer.
  6. Add the source files, task sequence, and boot image to the deployment share.
  7. Move all of those files again into the reference computer.
  8. Run deployment wizard on the reference computer.
  9. Capture the image from the reference computer and send to the management computer.
  10. On the management computer, create a new task sequence and boot image using the captured system image from the reference computer as a source file.
  11. Add the source file (the captured image from the reference computer), the boot image, and the task sequence to the deployment share.
  12. Copy those files from the deployment share to the target computers and run the deployment on each target computer.

Installation Methods

The end-user experience is determined by which deployment method you choose to use during the creation of the task sequence and boot image. There are three levels of user interaction.

Lite Touch Installation (LTI)

The most widely available deployment method is the Lite Touch Installation method.

  • Advantages of an LTI — An LTI deployment can take place in any environment. There’s no other infrastructure required. The deployments themselves are able to be run across the network or locally, so the actual deployment can be done with almost no infrastructure.
  • Disadvantages of an LTI — Since user interaction is required, there is a greater chance for configuration error. Also, you need to know certain elements about what the configuration should be, such as which image to deploy.

Zero Touch Installation (ZTI)

Zero Touch Installation is a completely automated installation. It requires Configuration Manager 2007 R3 or later.

  • Advantages of a Zero Touch Installation — The deployments are completely automated. Since users have no input into the deployment process, they cannot introduce misconfigurations into the system. Likewise, technicians have no configuration settings that need to be set at the time of deployment, so in that way the deployment is easier.
  • Disadvantages of a Zero Touch Installation — It takes longer to setup the environment, and there’s more configuration. You cannot deployment to any computer that is not managed by the configuration manager infrastructure. Also, RPC (Remote Procedure Call) is required to communicate with the computer, which may take some extra configuration steps to ensure is working across any system firewalls.

User-Driven Installation (UDI)

User-Driven Installations give a flexible configuration experience. It takes input from users and can be customized to accept basic information from end-users for easy deployments, and also accept more advanced configuration settings when deployed by technicians.

  • Advantages of User-Driven Installation — This is the most flexible of the deployments. You can customize the user’s interface experience through the UDI Wizard Designer.
  • Disadvantages of User-Driven Installation — Similar to the requirements of the ZTI, the UDI also takes longer to setup the infrastructure due to the requirements of having Configuration Manager 2007 R3 or better installed. Likewise, RPC is required to communicate with the computers. However, similar to the LTI deployments, UDI deployments need to have configuration settings known by the end users or technicians performing the deployment. There are also more possibilities of incorrect configuration settings causing errors.