Deploying Windows 7 - Part 6: Lite Touch using MDT 2010

by [Published on 13 Aug. 2009 / Last Updated on 13 Aug. 2009]

This series of articles on Windows 7 deployment continues with a walkthrough of Lite Touch deployment using MDT 2010.

If you would like to read previous articles in this series, please go to:


In the previous article of this series we examined the new features of MDT 2010, the latest version of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. We also looked at how to install MDT 2010 and examined the basic layout of the updated Deployment Workbench. In this article we will examine how to manually perform a basic Lite Touch Installation (LTI) deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise using MDT 2010. The tasks we are going to perform include:

  • Preparing the environment
  • Creating a deployment share
  • Configuring the deployment share
  • Creating a task sequence
  • Updating the deployment share
  • Performing the install

Before you continue reading, you may want to refer back to the following two articles from my previous series Deploying Vista:

Preparing the Environment

To follow along through this walkthrough, make sure you have the following environment (or something similar) set up:

  • Domain controller for the domain.
  • DHCP server with a scope configured for leasing addresses to client computers.
  • Technician computer with MDT 2010 and Windows AIK 2.0 installed.

In my own test environment, one computer running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64 fulfills all of these roles.

Creating a Deployment Share

Open the Deployment Workbench on your technician computer, then right-click on the Deployment Shares node and select New Deployment Share. The New Deployment Share wizard starts. Click the Browse button and create a folder named DeploymentShare$ in the root of your disk volume as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Specify the name and path to the deployment share folder

Click Next and the share name will automatically be populated and the UNC path to the share will be displayed (Figure 2):

Figure 2: The share name and UNC path for the deployment share are displayed

Click Next and give your deployment share a descriptive name (Figure 3):

Figure 3: Name the deployment share

Click Next and choose whether you want to be able to capture an image after deploying it to a computer (Figure 4). We will leave this option enabled so we can use it if we deploy a reference (master) computer and capture its image for deployment onto multiple target (end-user) computers:

Figure 4: Specify whether the option to capture an image will be displayed when the Windows Deployment Wizard runs during an install

Click Next and specify whether the user should be allowed to set the password for the local Administrator account on their computer (Figure 5). We'll leave this option unchecked:

Figure 5: The Allow Admin Password option

Click Next and specify whether the user should be asked to enter a product key (Figure 6). We will leave this unchecked because we are deploying Windows 7 Enterprise, which means that activation is typically performed using Key Management Service (KMS):

Figure 6: Choose whether the user is prompted to enter a product key during the install

Now finish the wizard and review the Confirmation page to ensure everything was done as expected. Figure 7 shows the newly created deployment share and its folder structure in the Deployment Workbench:

Figure 7: The newly created deployment share

Configuring the Deployment Share

Once you have created your deployment share, you need to configure it as follows:

  • Add the operating system you wish to deploy
  • Add any out-of-box device drivers needed for installing the operating system on the target computers
  • Add any applications you want to install on the target computers during the install
  • Add any packages such as hotfixes or security updates you want to install on the target computers during the install

For simplicity we are only going to add an operating system (Windows 7 Enterprise) to the deployment share. In future articles we will examine how to add drivers, packages and applications to deployment shares.

To add an operating system, right-click on the Operating Systems node in the deployment share and select Import Operating System. This starts the Import Operating System Wizard. On the first page of the wizard, specify that you want to import a full set of source files (Figure 8):

Figure 8: Importing a full set of Windows 7 operating system files into the deployment share

Insert your Windows 7 Enterprise product media into the DVD drive of your technician computer and browse to select the DVD (Figure 9):

Figure 9: Importing the OS source files from the product DVD

Click Next and the wizard skips ahead to the Destination page (Figure 10). Specify a descriptive name for the folder where the source files will be imported to on your technician computer (note that I have imported the x86 version of the OS in this example):

Figure 10: Specify the name of the folder where the OS source files will be imported to

Finish the wizard. The import process may take several minutes to complete. Once it is done and you select the Operating Systems folder in your deployment share, the imported OS is displayed (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Windows 7 Enterprise source files have been imported into the deployment share

At this point you would add out-of-box drivers, packages and applications to your deployment share as needed.

Creating a Task Sequence

Now let us create a task sequence. A task sequence is a series of steps that are performed during deployment. We want to create a task sequence that will install Windows 7 Enterprise onto a bare-metal target computer. To do this, right-click on the Task Sequences folder in your deployment share and select New Task Sequence. This launches the New Task Sequence Wizard. On the first page of the wizard, specify a task sequence ID (no spaces), task sequence name, and comments as desired (Figure 12):

Figure 12: Creating a new task sequence for deploying Windows 7

Click Next and select Standard Client Task Sequence from the list of available task sequence templates (Figure 13):

Figure 13: Base the new task sequence on the Standard Client template

Click Next and select Windows 7 Enterprise, which is the only imported OS at this point (Figure 14):

Figure 14: Select an operating system to deploy using the task sequence

Click Next and select the option to not specify a product key in the task sequence (Figure 15):

Figure 15: Do not specify a product key in the task sequence when deploying volume-licensed media and using KMS activation

Click Next and specify the name of the user who will be using the computer and your organization name and website/internet (Figure 16):

Figure 16: The OS Settings wizard page

Click Next and specify a password for the local Administrator account on the target computer (Figure 17):

Figure 17: Specify a password for the local Administrator account on the user's computer

Finish the wizard. The new task sequence is displayed in the Task Sequences folder of your deployment point (Figure 18):

Figure 18: The new task sequence is displayed in the Deployment Workbench

Updating the Deployment Share

Now we need to update our deployment share. Updating a deployment share does several things, one of which being the creation of customized version of the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) that can be used to deploy the operating system using the task sequence. Specifically, updating the deployment share in this example creates the following Windows PE images in the C:\DeploymentShare$\Boot folder on your technician computer:

  • LiteTouchPE_x64.iso – Used to manually deploy Windows 7 Enterprise x64 onto a bare-metal system.
  • LiteTouchPE_x64.wim – Used to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise x64 onto a bare-metal system using Windows Deployment Services.
  • LiteTouchPE_x86.iso – Used to manually deploy Windows 7 Enterprise x86 onto a bare-metal system.
  • LiteTouchPE_x86.wim – Used to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise x86 onto a bare-metal system using Windows Deployment Services.

To update your deployment share, right-click on it and select Update Deployment Share. This launches the Update Deployment Share Wizard (Figure 19):

Figure 19: Updating the deployment share

Leave the default options selected and finish the wizard. It may take some time to create the Windows PE images on your technician computer. Once the wizard finishes, burn the LiteTouchPE_x86.iso file onto a CD as you will need it to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise x86 onto your target computer.

As shown in Figure 20, on the Confirmation page of this wizard (and on all MDT 2010 wizards) there are two buttons:

  • Save Output – saves the output of the wizard to a text file (actually it's better to save it as .rtf as it's more readable that way).
  • View Script – displays the underlying Windows PowerShell commands that are executed by the wizard.

As an example of the second, the View Script output from the Update Deployment Share Wizard looks like this:

Add-PSSnapIn Microsoft.BDD.PSSnapIn
New-PSDrive -Name "DS001" -PSProvider MDTProvider -Root "C:\DeploymentShare$"
update-MDTDeploymentShare -path "DS001:" -Verbose

Figure 20: Confirmation page of the wizard

Performing the Install

At this point, you are ready to deploy Windows 7 using MDT. Turn on your bare-metal (i.e. no OS installed) target computer and put your customized Windows PE CD into the CD drive on the computer. After a short time the Windows Deployment Wizard will start and you can follow the prompts almost exactly as shown in my earlier article Deploying Vista Part 26: Deploying Vista Using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. The differences between what you will see when you do this using MDT 2010 and what this earlier article shows for MDT 2008 are basically only cosmetic in nature.

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If you would like to read previous articles in this series, please go to:

See Also

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch avatar

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.


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