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I was looking into learning Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. I have been using AIK to create answer files and sysprep to clean the referece computer and imagex to capture and apply images. I have some .wim files I need to keep (they also have an answer file in them).

I was wondering, if I start using WDS, can I import these images and have MDT deploy them or do I have to start over with capturing the images using MDT?

If I can import, how do you deploy them in the same manner that imagex would use the images internal answer file using MDT?


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If I can import, how do you deploy them in the same manner that imagex would use the images internal answer file using WDT

The simple answer : Yes, intsall.wim files will be compatable between MDT and WDS.

The honest truth : Build a share for building images, and use a second share for production.

People commonly confuse WDS (Windows Deployment Services) and MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) The alphabet soup of windows deployment can be confusing, but you probably don't need WDS just yet.

You'd really only need WDS for PXE booting.

I highly recommend using MDT to build, capture, and deploy images. MDT uses task sequences, and boot images in combination with install images. If you use a VM to build your reference, you can build a "hardware independent" image that'll run on everything, laptops, desktops, Dell, HP, Lenovo, whatever.

A quick overview of what you would do in the MDT workbench

  1. Download & Install MDT 2012 Update 1 -

  2. Download Win7 AIK -

  3. Create Deployment Share -

  4. Import Drivers -

  5. You would import the existing .wim file from your old imagex days into the Deployment Workbench under Operating Systems.

  6. Create a task sequence and import your .wim file

  7. You would then launch the Windows System Image Manager from the Task Sequence Properties OS Info Tab.

  8. Update the deployment share

  9. Upload boot image from MDT into WDS -

Theoretically, it'll load the same unattend.xml, if not you should be able to reimport your old answer files in WSIM. If not, you may have some luck copying the answer file over manually into the deployment share control folder, but I wouldn't recommend trying that.

Learning MDT is highly rewarding, and it takes some time, but it really pays off. Once I really understood MDT, my company went from 12 images to 1. Currently we can image, provision, join to the network, and update in less than 30 min.

Deployment Soup Video

Deploying Windows A - Z

Learning to use MDT litetouch

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Quick tip. Make sure you organize your drivers. It takes longer in the short term to setup folders for each operating system/architecture/machine type/etc. but in the long run it saves a ton of headache in troubleshooting driver issues. Also, if you are using Dell or HP, they both offer packages of drivers specifically for deployments. – BroScience Feb 13 '13 at 17:12
BroScience is 110% right. Driver management is key here. In the out of box drivers section, organize by OS \ Make \ Model that way you can use a driver path variable to take total control. – MDT Guy Feb 13 '13 at 17:16

You can definitely import the .wim files for WDS, you did mean Windows Deployment Services right? Or are you referring to the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit which can also be used with WDS? Download the MDT and read through the documentation. It's excellent and covers all of the available scenarios for MDT and integration with WDS, SCCM, MDT alone, etc.

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