About 6-7 months ago I did a Windows 7 deployment using Windows Deployment Services. I successfully deployed the clients but I honestly still don't understand how WDS works. It seems like a really convoluted process (boot images, capture images, answer files for OOBE and Unattended, etc.). For example I want to add another image for just my laptops and I don't even think I can use the same capture boot image.

So now I need to deploy Windows 7 to 10 laptops along with our company software and settings. I went back to my WDS server and realized I had lost what understanding I had on the WDS server. I can still push the image I created 6-7 months ago but that's about it.

So should I attempt to do this with MDT instead? I have it installed but never used it. Or should I stick with WDS and find a much better step-by-step for it? I'm overwhelmed at the thought of it at the moment.

Ideally, I'd like to build my image the way I want it, sysprep, then capture and deploy. Also it would be nice if it was easy to deploy the same image in the future, update it, and capture again. This seems so difficult in WDS to me (probably because I don't understand the way it works).

2 Answers 2


For ten laptops I would definitely use MDT. Download the package from Microsoft and read through the docs, they're quite good and cover all of the steps you need to make it go. If you encounter larger numbers of machines to deploy to I would then look towards WDS but use it with MDT.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1

  • Thank you! Will read over this. Is it true that MDT doesn't support PXE boot and that you can use WDS with MDT to do so? I have both installed on my deployment server. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 2:13
  • 2
    WDS handles the PXE boot. We used MDT 2010 alone to do about 100 "in place" upgrades from XP to Windows 7. It worked like a charm.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 16:47

Think of MDT as a piece of software that greatly expands and integrates into WDS. Once you have MDT installed you really need not touch the WDS components. The most helpful resource I found was this video by Richard Smith of Microsoft : Windows 7 Image Creation and Lite Touch Deployment using MDT 2010.

It's for the 2010 version but it's mostly the same on 2012. That being said, for 10 laptops you could just use Clonezilla on a USB drive.

  • Clonezilla is a joke. Don't use it. Downvote just for even mentioning it.
    – MDT Guy
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 15:27
  • 2
    Clonezilla is a tool that does a specific task well, with little training and no setup. MDT on the other hand takes a lot of setup but is able to do much more. The existence of a pneumatic nailer does not invalidate the hammer as a worthy tool, you will still find a hammer in every toolbox. Your comment would have more value if you added the disadvantages of Clonezilla rather than dismissing it as a joke.
    – Bin
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 20:11
  • Clonezilla isn't in the same ballpark, not even in the same league as MDT. It lacks driver injection and real support. Linux's driver support of some makes and model is poor at best. Worst yet, Sector Based Images Lack Hardware Independence - you're forcing yourself into building one image for every make and model but it does more than just image a disk, it builds images, it captures images, it names systems, backs up and restores user data, it joins them to the domain, it updates them, it does A - Z. All clonezilla can do is a clone a disk, no more than Ghost did in 1998.
    – MDT Guy
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 20:32
  • @MDT Guy Yep, totally agree, except for driver support which in my experience is fantastic. All of my HP servers and desktops work with well with Clonezilla. However, if you can invest the time to setup and learn MDT you are going to see many long-term gains at zero cost.
    – Bin
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 12:49
  • You're lucky then. When I worked for this one multinational conglomerate that shouldn't be mentioned we had nothing but Dells and Lenovos and Clonezilla was a nightmare, we had over a dozen images and the deployment process was painful.
    – MDT Guy
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 14:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .