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Upgrading to MDT 2013, do I still need MBR in my task sequences?

    Question

  • So we are gearing up for our MDT 2013 upgrade and we are finally kicking all the legacy OS deployments to the curb. We are only going to support deployments of Windows 7 x86, Windows 7 x64, and Windows 8.1 x64. We are deploying several surfaces that require GPT for the OS volume. I'd prefer to avoid the creation of separate task sequences for GPT/MBR formatting. What would be the consequences of kicking MBR to the curb and switching all my task sequences to GPT? Does GPT require UEFI in order to boot?
    Friday, October 25, 2013 9:31 PM

Answers

  • Yes, booting from GPT requires UEFI, and UEFI requires GPT.  So you would use GPT for UEFI systems, MBR for BIOS-based systems.

    If you use the standard MDT task sequence (specifying a single partition for 100% of the free disk space), MDT will automatically do the right thing:  On BIOS-based systems, it will create two partitions (boot and OS) on an MBR disk; on UEFI-based systems, it will create four partitions (boot, MSR, recovery, OS) on a GPT disk.

    If you specify a custom disk partition layout (e.g. you want 50% OS and 50% data), then you would need two conditional steps (one with IsUEFI=True, one with IsUEFI=False) to create the needed structures.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    Friday, October 25, 2013 9:44 PM
  • MDT 2010 Update 1 included the initial UEFI support, but MDT 2012 did improve on that.  If using the default disk config, you can definitely use a single task sequence for UEFI (GPT) and non-UEFI (MBR) deployments, I do that all the time.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    • Marked as answer by ZeusABJ Monday, October 28, 2013 8:46 PM
    Monday, October 28, 2013 8:05 PM

All replies

  • Yes, booting from GPT requires UEFI, and UEFI requires GPT.  So you would use GPT for UEFI systems, MBR for BIOS-based systems.

    If you use the standard MDT task sequence (specifying a single partition for 100% of the free disk space), MDT will automatically do the right thing:  On BIOS-based systems, it will create two partitions (boot and OS) on an MBR disk; on UEFI-based systems, it will create four partitions (boot, MSR, recovery, OS) on a GPT disk.

    If you specify a custom disk partition layout (e.g. you want 50% OS and 50% data), then you would need two conditional steps (one with IsUEFI=True, one with IsUEFI=False) to create the needed structures.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    Friday, October 25, 2013 9:44 PM
  • Yes, booting from GPT requires UEFI, and UEFI requires GPT.  So you would use GPT for UEFI systems, MBR for BIOS-based systems.

    If you use the standard MDT task sequence (specifying a single partition for 100% of the free disk space), MDT will automatically do the right thing:  On BIOS-based systems, it will create two partitions (boot and OS) on an MBR disk; on UEFI-based systems, it will create four partitions (boot, MSR, recovery, OS) on a GPT disk.

    If you specify a custom disk partition layout (e.g. you want 50% OS and 50% data), then you would need two conditional steps (one with IsUEFI=True, one with IsUEFI=False) to create the needed structures.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    Hey Michael,

    Thanks for responding (BTW - love your blog and TechEd talks). So it sounds like I'm just operating from a failed assumption. A few months back we got a handful of Surface Pros to test out for a big future project. Our first attempt at imaging resulted in a bricked device. Honestly we were never 100% sure if the device itself was just a dud or if we did something wrong in the deployment. A member of my team noted that the "Format and Partition Disk" section of the task sequence defaulted to "Standard (MBR)". He recalled reading somewhere that Windows 8 required GPT on the Surface Pro hardware (which we naturally now know is due to UEFI, but we did not fully understand that at the time).

    So we created a new task sequence with GPT as default for our next attempt at imaging the Surface Pro and it worked flawlessly! Since then we've been maintaining two task sequences for our Windows 8 deployments (one for MBR and one for GPT). Obviously this has doubled our work when it comes to task sequence edits for Windows 8 deployments. The goal of this post to the MDT forums was to (hopefully) establish a way to eliminate the need for one of those task sequences. If I'm hearing you right as long as we leave the "Format and Partition Disk" section alone (or as the 100% OSDisk default) MDT should just be able to determine whatever partition schema is needed and apply it automatically? If so is that a new feature in MDT 2012? I'm just wondering if we have been maintaining two task sequences all this time for nothing!

    • Edited by ZeusABJ Monday, October 28, 2013 6:36 PM
    Monday, October 28, 2013 6:32 PM
  • MDT 2010 Update 1 included the initial UEFI support, but MDT 2012 did improve on that.  If using the default disk config, you can definitely use a single task sequence for UEFI (GPT) and non-UEFI (MBR) deployments, I do that all the time.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    • Marked as answer by ZeusABJ Monday, October 28, 2013 8:46 PM
    Monday, October 28, 2013 8:05 PM
  • MDT 2010 Update 1 included the initial UEFI support, but MDT 2012 did improve on that.  If using the default disk config, you can definitely use a single task sequence for UEFI (GPT) and non-UEFI (MBR) deployments, I do that all the time.


    Thanks,
    -Michael Niehaus
    Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Deployment
    http://blogs.technet.com/mniehaus
    mniehaus@microsoft.com

    That's awesome Michael! I guess we should have looked into the issue more instead of just assuming it was something we had to do manually for all our Surface Pros. This will be a big time saver for us. That first Surface pro we imaged must have just been a dud.

    Thank you so much!

    Monday, October 28, 2013 8:45 PM