Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 Released

Microsoft on Tuesday released its next-generation Windows operating system deployment tool for IT pros, called Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010.

The free tool, part of Microsoft's Solution Accelerators series of free administrative apps, is Microsoft's "recommended process" for automating server and desktop deployments. It can be downloaded here for both x86 and x64 machines.

MDT 2010 is particularly designed to handle Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 deployments. However, the toolkit can also automate deployments of Windows XP and Windows Vista, as well as Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, according to Microsoft's release notes.

MDT 2010 provides "standardized desktop and server images." It can be used for so-called Lite Touch Installation (LTI) deployments or it can work with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2 release candidate for "zero touch installation."

Microsoft defines an LTI as "an interactive installation and deployment of XP SP2 or Vista complete with application install and any other needed configuration of the final image on destination computers." It's the process used when an organization lacks a systems management solution.

A two-part video series provided by Microsoft illustrates how MDT 2010 can be used for LTIs, as referenced in this blog.

IT pros who use Windows Deployment Services and MDT 2010 can add a script to automatically update boot images, according to a blog post by Michael Niehaus, a systems design engineer at Microsoft. Niehaus has been blogging for several months on various noteworthy features in the new toolkit. His series of posts can be accessed here.

One new feature in MDT 2010 is the ability to "access deployment shares from anywhere on the network," according to the release notes. A deployment share is a folder that contains all source files needed for an operating system installation. Users can copy the contents of the deployment share "across organizational boundaries or sites," according to the MDT 2010 release notes.

Microsoft is also touting an improved graphical user interface in MDT 2010 to manage deployments plus automation using the Windows PowerShell command line interface. Users who are curious can view the PowerShell-equivalent scripts generated by the GUI-driven wizards in MDT 2010.

Microsoft's toolkit team said that this release contains more than 70 percent code changes over the previous toolkit, MDT 2008. IT pros wanting to use MDT 2010 should check the release notes first before upgrading from MDT 2008, the team cautioned.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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