Just a quick question, I couldn't find this out by looking around and have not had the time to run a test myself:

Is it possible to create image hierarchies in MDT?

Take this example where we have three images.
- Image 1: Base OS
- Image 2: Company Wide Applications (built off Image 1)
- Image 3: Specific Role Applications (built off Image 2)

Now just say we change the version of an application in Image 2.
The next time we build Image 3, will this take the new version of the application since it's basing its image off Image 2?

Also, If we add a program to Image 1, leave Image 2 unchanged and re-build Image 3, would this include the new program?

I'm trying to plan out a way of creating images such that if a change is required for an image that is on basically every machine (think, Image 1) then we only have to change it in one location.

Has anyone actually done something like this and has any tips?

1 Answer 1


With MDT, you do not need to have the applications built into the image. Applications can be installed after the base image is installed, and you can install them one by one or as an application group. For the example you have given, image 1 is the base OS (assuming no other software is installed). Image 1 would be installed on every machine. When the image is being installed, the MDT wizard pages will ask if you want to install applications or application groups with a list. Simply check what applications or groups you want to install (or none) to decide on the end result being the same as the image you want. You can also setup selection profiles to group these things together for you. Selection profiles are discussed around the seven minute mark in the TechNet video “Deployment Day Session 2: MDT 2012 Advanced”.

By doing it this way, then any time you make a change to one of the programs in MDT, that new application will be distributed to any new deployments and you will not have to rebuild your images for program changes.

More videos and articles to help you deploy Windows with MDT can be found on the Deliver and Deploy Windows 7 and Deliver and Deploy Windows 8 pages of the Springboard Series on TechNet.

  • Cheers for that, the only thing else I'm considering is the total deployment time. I'd expect not having apps baked into the image would increase the deployment time but I'm not too sure if it's negligible, I guess I'll have to play around and either trade off ease of modification for speed of deployment
    – Antix
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:54
  • @Antix Also remember that keeping the software out of the image means that you only maintain one image, instead of 3. The TechNet Magazine has an article named 'Desktop Image Management: Build a Better Desktop Image' that talks about that balance you are looking for and may be of interest.
    – dwolters
    Jun 25, 2013 at 17:21
  • Thanks, I eventually went down a similar path to keep the software out of the image (and creating a master image of the final result rather than having 3 layers of images). So far it's turned out quite well
    – Antix
    Jul 2, 2013 at 12:57
  • @Antix Fantastic! Glad you have it all working.
    – dwolters
    Jul 8, 2013 at 15:37

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