Windows Server

What is ADK, MDT, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (SCCM), Intune, Autopilot, and WSUS

These are all Microsoft tools and they are all for deployment purposes. What is the difference? Why did Microsoft develop all these tools instead of merging them into one?

Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK): Windows ADK is a collection of tools that you can use to customize, assess, and deploy Windows operating systems to new computers. The Windows ADK enables two key scenarios which are;
– Windows deployment and
– Windows assessment.

Windows Deployment is for OEMs and IT professionals who customize and automate the large-scale installation of Windows across an organization. The Windows ADK supports this work with the deployment tools that were previously released as part of the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) including Windows Preinstallation Environment, Deployment Imaging, Servicing and Management, and Windows System Image Manager.

IT Professionals can use the tools in the Windows ADK to facilitate deployment of a new version of Windows. The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) inventories applications used in your organization and identifies potential applications compatibility issues. With the User State Migration Tool (USMT), IT Professionals can migrate user data from existing Windows installations. Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) enables IT professionals to deploy Windows installations in their organization and manage the activation status of their PCs.

Assessments are for OEMs, IHVs, enthusiasts, and IT professionals who measure the operational characteristics of a computer.

The tools available in the Windows ADK include:
– Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT): The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) helps IT Professionals understand potential application compatibility issues by identifying which applications are or are not compatible with the new versions of the Windows operating system. ACT helps to lower costs for application compatibility evaluation by providing an accurate inventory of the applications in your organization. ACT helps you to deploy Windows more quickly by helping to prioritize, test, and detect compatibility issues with your apps. By using ACT, you can become involved in the ACT Community and share your risk assessment with other ACT users. You can also test your web applications and web sites for compatibility with new releases of Internet Explorer. For more information, see Application Compatibility Toolkit.

– Deployment Tools: Deployment tools help you customize, manage, and deploy Windows images. Deployment tools can be used to automate Windows deployments, removing the need for user interaction during Windows setup. Deployment tools include Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management (DISM) command line tool, DISM PowerShell cmdlets, DISM API, Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), and OSCDIMG. For more information, see Deployment Tools.

User State Migration Tool (USMT): USMT is a scriptable command-line tool that IT Professionals can use to migrate user data from a previous Windows installation to a new Windows installation. By using USMT, you can create a customized migration framework that copies the user data you select and excludes any data that does not need to be migrated. USMT includes ScanState, Loadstate, and USMTUtils command-line tools. For more information, see the User State Migration Tool.

– Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT): VAMT helps IT professionals automate and centrally manage the activation of Windows, Windows Server, Windows ThinPC, Windows POSReady 7, select add-on product keys, and Office for computers in their organization. VAMT can manage volume activation using retail keys (or single activation keys), multiple activation keys (MAKs), or Windows Key Management Service (KMS) keys. For more information, see Volume Activation Management Tool.

– Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT): Windows Performance Toolkit includes tools to record system events and analyze performance data in a graphical user interface. WPT includes Windows Performance Recorder, Windows Performance Analyzer, and Xperf. For more information, see Windows Performance Toolkit.

– Windows Assessment Toolkit: Windows Assessment Toolkit is used to run assessments on a single computer. Assessments are tasks that simulate user activity and examine the state of the computer. Assessments produce metrics for various aspects of the system and provide recommendations for making improvements. For more information, see Windows Assessment Toolkit.

– Windows Assessment Services: Windows Assessment Services is used to remotely manage settings, computers, images, and assessments in a lab environment where Windows Assessment Services is installed. This application can run on any computer with access to the server that is running Windows Assessment Services. For more information, see Windows Assessment Services.

– Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE): Windows PE is a minimal operating system designed to prepare a computer for installation and servicing of Windows. For more information, see Windows PE Technical Reference.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT): MDT is a unified collection of tools, processes, and guidance for automating desktop and server deployment. And this in turn reduces deployment time and standardizes desktop and server images. MDT enables you to more easily manage security and ongoing configurations. With MDT, you can use it to create reference images or as a complete deployment solution.

MDT builds on top of the core deployment tools in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) with additional guidance and features designed to reduce the complexity and time required for deployment in an enterprise environment. MDT supports the deployment of Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. It also includes support for zero-touch installation (ZTI) with Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager – SCCM).

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): WSUS previously known as Software Update Services (SUS). It enable the latest Microsoft software updates to be deployed on computers with Windows operating systems. WSUS gives administrators extensive management options for distributing updates released through Microsoft Update.

For more articles I have written, see the following hyperlinks below
Configuring WSUS Email Notification to Work With Office365
How to setup and configure Windows server update services (WSUS)
– Important Areas to Master on WSUS (Installed and not applicable, Install 1/4, and Installed / Not applicable 100)
– Targeting WSUS Client with the Registry keys: How to configure WSUS Clients to get Updates from the WSUS server using Registry settings
How to apply Windows Updates from WSUS to the server using AWS RunCommand
– How to Configure SSL between WSUS servers (Upstream and Downstream Servers)
– Handy WSUS Commands – Windows Server Update Services Commands, WAUACLT, PowerShell and USOClient
– How to Start, Stop and Restart Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) via PowerShell and CMD
– Windows Server Update Services: Windows 2016 Servers does not show up on WSUS console,
WSUS clients appear and disappear from the WSUS Update Services console

Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager: Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager was previously known as (System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)): Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager is a software management suite provided by Microsoft that allows users to manage a large number of Windows-based computers. Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager features a remote control, patch management, operating system deployment, network protection, and other various services.

Users of Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager can integrate with Microsoft Intune, allowing them to manage computers connected to a business, or corporate, network. Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager allows users to manage computers running the Windows or macOS, servers using the Linux or Unix, and even mobile devices running the Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems.

Windows AutoPilot: Windows AutoPilot enables you to set up and pre-configure new Windows 10 devices for your organization right out of the box without imaging or infrastructure to manage.

What does it mean? This means that there are no images to deploy and no drivers to inject. And one of the most interesting things is that your users can go through the process independently without making any decisions and without needing to involve IT.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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