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Windows 10 Support Added to Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

Microsoft on Monday released Update 1 of its Deployment Toolkit 2013 solution, adding support for Windows 10 deployments.

The toolkit can be downloaded from this page. Previously, it was just available as a preview for testing purposes, but now it can be used by organizations rolling out Windows 10 desktops.

The toolkit requires also having the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) in place, but those tools, in combination, allow organizations to build "custom Windows 10 images, deploy Windows 10 to new machines, and upgrade existing machines," according to Michael Niehaus, a senior product marketing manager for Windows Commercial at Microsoft, in a blog post.

Microsoft favors performing Windows 10 in-place upgrades of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 client machines, but the old wipe-and-load approach is still supported, too. The new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 solution can be used to help automate the Windows 10 deployment process.

Microsoft also recently announced that its current System Center 2012 Configuration Manager products can deploy Windows 10 when the latest cumulative updates to Configuration Manager have been installed. The new Deployment Toolkit integrates with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 when the Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit is installed, according to a blog post by the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit team.

The latest Configuration Manager products have been devised to ease Windows 10 deployments through upgrading, rather than wipe and load. Microsoft is claiming that the Windows 10 upgrade process will preserve "apps, drivers, user data and settings" in the process. An upgrade is also "30 to 60 minutes" faster than a refresh. Upgrades have "zero Windows ADK dependencies -- thus you don't need to manage the ADK or update images," according to Microsoft.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 supports deployments of long-term servicing branch and Education editions of Windows 10. It uses DISM for images, rather than the deprecated ImageX. It also contains various fixes recommended by Microsoft MVPs for things such as "Windows Updates, password handling, and PowerShell cmdlets," among other improvements, according to the Deployment Toolkit team blog.

While the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 solution is available now, Microsoft indicated it's still working on posting the documentation on TechNet. It's promising to announce further details about the coming documentation in future Deployment Toolkit blog posts.

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 solution is typically used for large deployments. However, Microsoft also rolled out a more lightweight way to upgrade to Windows 10 using so-called "provisioning packages." One benefit of using provisioning packages is that they avoid having to install new images. Provisioning packages can be set up via the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool, which is part of the Windows ADK package. It's possible to use provisioning packages to upgrade from one Windows 10 edition to another, according to this blog post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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