Windows Server

How to correctly upgrade Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, Windows Preparation Environment, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

WinPE

The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) and Windows PE add-on have the tools you need to customize Windows images for large-scale deployment, and to test the quality and performance of your system. The Windows ADK includes the Windows Assessment Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit to assess the quality and performance of systems or components, the Compatibility Administrator and the Standard User Analyzer tool, Deployment tools such as Windows PE, Sysprep, and other tools that you can use to customize and deploy Windows 11 images. You may also be interested in this guide “How to deploy Windows using ADK, MDT, and WDS, and how to configure Windows Deployment Services on Windows Server 2019“.

Windows PE (WinPE) is a small operating system used to install, deploy, and repair Windows desktop editions, Windows Server, and other Windows operating systems. The Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) is a separate download from the Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK). To add Windows PE to your ADK installation, download and install the Windows PE add-on after installing the ADK.

Prior to Windows 10, version 1809, WinPE was included in the ADK and wasn’t an add-on. From Windows PE, you can:
– Set up your hard drive before installing Windows.
– Install Windows by using apps or scripts from a network or a local drive.
– Capture and apply Windows images.
– Modify the Windows operating system while it’s not running.
– Set up automatic recovery tools.
– Recover data from unbootable devices, and
– Add your own custom shell or GUI to automate these kinds of tasks

Note: Windows PE is not a general-purpose operating system. It may not be used for any purpose other than deployment and recovery. It should not be used as a thin client or an embedded operating system. There are other Microsoft products, such as Windows Embedded CE, which may be used for these purposes. To prevent its use as a production operating system, Windows PE automatically stops running the shell and restarts after 72 hours of continuous use. This period is not configurable. When Windows PE reboots, all changes are lost, including changes to drivers, drive letters and the Windows PE registry.

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is a free tool for automating Windows and Windows Server operating system deployment, leveraging the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows. For some information on BOOTP Vendor Extensions and DHCP Options, see the following link and for automatic IP Assignment, see the following guide Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). Here are some other vital links “how to install Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol on Windows Server 2019, and how to configure DHCP: Post-deployment of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol“.

Why is important to upgrade Windows ADK, and WinPE?

It is always recommended to use the ADK version that matches the Windows version you are working with. If your environment has a mix of Windows versions say Windows 10 and Windows 11, use the ADK version that matches the latest operating system in your environment. In my case for ADK for Windows 11, version 22H2. The same applies to WinPE. the latest version of WinPE is recommended to deploy Windows. If you are using customized WinPE for Windows 10 images, you may prefer to continue using your existing Windows PE image and run the latest version of DISM from a network location.

Note: After uninstalling WinPE and Windows ADK, it is always recommended to have your server restarted. This is because restarting your device puts it in its default state and runs everything from scratch. This way, your PC gets rid of the trash and delivers better performance after the restart. Also known as rebooting, this restart process solves issues like RAM leakage, overheating, incomplete updates/installations, etc Kindly proceed with the uninstallation and re-installation as described below for ADK and WinPE.

Note: If the following steps described above/below are not adhered to, you are likely to get the following error “Permanent fix for this snap-in performed a non-valid operation and has been unloaded: To continue using this snap-in restart MMC or try loading the snap-in again“.

Uninstall Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

Unfortunately, you cannot install a new version of ADK when there is an older version already running. When you try to install a new ADK, the following error will be prompted.

uninstalladk

You will have to uninstall first via programs and Features or Apps and features with Windows Settings before re-installing the Windows ADK.

Re-install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

Kindly download and install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) on your WDS server. Double-click on the executable as shown below. For the complete installation steps of WinPE, please see the following guide: Install ADK, MDT, and WDS: How to deploy Windows images via Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services.

Screenshot 2020 05 30 at 21.55.18

Upon clicking on the installer, the following windows below will be prompted. It’s a simple installation and I will not be showing all the steps.

Screenshot 2020 05 30 at 22.04.22

Please select the features you wish to install. Note: DISM needs to be selected as it is required to have the same version for your ADK and DISM. As you can see below, the installation is complete.

Uninstall Windows ADK Add-on (WinPE)

Windows PE is a “Lite” version of Windows 10 and was created to act as a deployment platform. Windows PE replaces the DOS or Linux boot disks that ruled the deployment solutions in the last decade. The key thing to know about Windows PE is that, like the operating system, it needs drivers for at least network and storage devices in each PC. Luckily Windows PE includes the same drivers as the full Windows 10 operating system, which means much of your hardware will work out of the box. If the right drivers aren’t integrated, the deployment will fail and this can be evident in the BDD.log file.

As we can see in the Windows ADK installation above, the Windows PE environment was not included. To do this, we will have to Download the Windows PE add-on.

Note: If you have previously installed the WindowsPE (Windows ADK Addon), please uninstall and reinstall, else the error below will be prompted. When the uninstallation is complete, please proceed with the reinstallation.

UninstallWinPR ADKAddOn

Below is the installation process via Windows Settings (Apps and Features).

Re-install ADK add-on (WinPE)

Note: The installation steps are similar to step 1 above. Double-click on the installer as shown below. If you have previously installed WinPE (ADK Addon), please download and install it. For the complete installation steps of WinPE, please see the following guide: Install ADK, MDT, and WDS: How to deploy Windows images via Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services.

Screenshot 2020 05 30 at 22.44.24

As already mentioned, the re-installation steps are simple. Upon clicking on the installer, you just have to continue clicking on the Next button.

Screenshot 2020 05 30 at 22.47.03

As you can see below, the installation is complete. Click on close as shown below.

Download and Install Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is a free tool for automating Windows and Windows Server operating system deployment, leveraging the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows.

Note: For MDT, you do not need to uninstall and reinstall a new version of MDT. You can just download the latest MDT version and have it installed. Click on the following link to download MDT.

downloadMDT

Select the right download for your need. In my case, it was a 64Bit download. Click on Next to proceed.

64BitMDT

Below are the steps to install MDT correctly on your server.
– Run the .msi on the target MDT server.
– Accept the Microsoft Software License Terms, and Follow the steps in the installation process to complete the installation.

When the installation is complete, please click to start the Deployment Workbench desktop app from the Start menu in the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit group from the Start Menu.

For the complete installation steps of MDT, please see the following guide: Install ADK, MDT, and WDS: How to deploy Windows images via Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services.

MDTinstallation

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please let me know in the comment session if you have any questions.

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