UIU Blog

What's New in MDT 2013?

Released in October 2013, Microsoft's Deployment Toolkit 2013 (MDT 2013) includes many enhancements and capabilities, mostly surrounding the support of or deprecation of operating systems. The most notable enhancement is the inclusion of support for Windows 8.1 (as well as Server 2012 R2) combined with the deprecation of support for Windows XP. Capabilities include the upgrade of MDT to handle new PowerShell versions and better handling of UEFI boot sequences.

Here are some observations we've made during our testing of MDT 2013:

ADK for Windows 8.1 (WinPE 5.0) is required for installation. As a result, MDT 2013 only supports Windows 7 and newer Windows operating system versions. If you're using MDT with SCCM for Zero Touch Installations, note that MDT 2013 only supports SCCM version 2012 R2 (or presumably greater, when available).
If you have the need to deploy Windows XP (or Vista), you'll need to stick with older versions of MDT (e.g. MDT 2012) and older versions of Configuration Manager (e.g. SCCM 2012) for ZTI processes.

The installation of MDT 2013 is very similar, (dare we say identical?) to that of MDT 2012. As usual, it is advisable to perform all system and critical updates prior to executing the installation.

Deployment Workbench:
Similar to the installation, the appearance of the Deployment Workbench is identical to that of MDT 2012. As noted above, Windows XP is no longer supported (same goes for Server 2003). To be clear, any version of desktop or server operating system including and prior to Vista are not supported.
When we performed an upgrade from MDT 2012 wherein we had previously imported Windows XP-based WIM files, the files were still selectable in the Workbench yet did not result in any successful deployments of Windows XP. To wit, any custom-captured XP WIM files that are imported (no errors were thrown) do not show up in GUI as available even though they do appear in the Deployment Share file structure. In short, we were not able to fool MDT 2013 into deploying our XP images.

Upgrade Process:
We have performed both an upgrade of MDT 2012 to MDT 2013. The fresh installation performed as expected and very much felt like the installation of MDT 2012. However, after the upgrade from MDT 2012, we experienced some minor issues when editing a previous task sequence that included a third-party plug-in, (not entirely unexpected). We simply uninstalled and reinstalled the plug-in and edited the task sequences, reapplying the plug-in step. All was well after that.
As previously discussed, Windows XP WIM files that existed in an upgraded MDT 2012 implementation will remain but in our experience, no longer provide for a successful deployment.
Note that you'll need to open your Deployment Share(s) at which point, you'll be prompted to update the share(s) for MDT 2013. It's a checkbox, no worries.
Additional note: Do not import Windows 8.1 WIM files into your Deployment Share source files until MDT has been upgraded to 2013 or you will experience problems when deploying.

UIU v5 MDT plug-in Support pending
Insofar as the UIUSD for MDT plug-in (UIU v5 technology) is concerned, we've got a couple of tweaks to make in order for the plug-in to function as expected in MDT 2013. Release of an updated plug-in is expected shortly.

Technical Reference for MDT 2013:


Here's a blog entry from the venerable Michael Niehaus:

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