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What partition does MDT 2012 place WinRE on? RRS feed

  • Question

  • (Sorry for what is probably a simple question; didn't see a clear-cut answer when I searched this forum.)

    I want to suggest that we put WinRE in our images, now that we've got MDT 2012, but we need our OS needs to be on the first partition and that partition must be named "C".  We also anticipate using the REFRESH scenario, as needed, and the preceding matches the requirements in the documentation "Verify Adequate Target Computer Resources".  However, if WinRE is added, is that placed on the first partition?  And does that "bump" the OS to a second partition?

    Thank you in advance,



    Mike

    south-central Nebraska

    Friday, June 15, 2012 8:13 PM

Answers

  • Hi Mike,

    To actually enable "WinRE" (I dont agree with the terminology used here since it's actually the same boot image that is used by MDT) you first need to add the variable PrepareWinRE=Yes either to the customsettings/db/tasksequence. If this variable is not configured, the ZTIWinRE.wsf script will simply skip over this step and not apply MDT's "WinRE" image, what happens instead is Windows will pre-configure it's own WinRE image located at Windows\System32\Recovery to be placed at C:\Recovery\{Random-GUID} as the acting WinRE environment.

    By default, task sequences have a checkbox enabled "create extra 'active' partition". This will create a 500MB partition at the start of the disk which will host the bootmgr. This will also host MDT's "WinRE" image if you configure the variable.

    While it's a step forward to support WinRE with MDT2012, I still cant say I'm satisfied with it's implementation (but that's my personal opinion).

    If you do need to change this behaviour for disk layout partitioning, you could alter the format and partition disk step. I do think the old logic from MDT2010 regarding the bitlocker partition has been removed, which created a small partition at the end of the disk which was used to host the bootmgr.

    Kind regards,

    Stephan Schwarz.


    If one of these posts answered your question or issue, please click on "Mark as answer".

    My Blog | Twitter: @Schwarz_Stephan | MCTS, MCITP, MCC.
    How to configure Windows RE/OEM Recovery Partition with MDT

    • Marked as answer by RV2011 Monday, June 18, 2012 12:34 PM
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 2:30 AM

All replies

  • Hi Mike,

    To actually enable "WinRE" (I dont agree with the terminology used here since it's actually the same boot image that is used by MDT) you first need to add the variable PrepareWinRE=Yes either to the customsettings/db/tasksequence. If this variable is not configured, the ZTIWinRE.wsf script will simply skip over this step and not apply MDT's "WinRE" image, what happens instead is Windows will pre-configure it's own WinRE image located at Windows\System32\Recovery to be placed at C:\Recovery\{Random-GUID} as the acting WinRE environment.

    By default, task sequences have a checkbox enabled "create extra 'active' partition". This will create a 500MB partition at the start of the disk which will host the bootmgr. This will also host MDT's "WinRE" image if you configure the variable.

    While it's a step forward to support WinRE with MDT2012, I still cant say I'm satisfied with it's implementation (but that's my personal opinion).

    If you do need to change this behaviour for disk layout partitioning, you could alter the format and partition disk step. I do think the old logic from MDT2010 regarding the bitlocker partition has been removed, which created a small partition at the end of the disk which was used to host the bootmgr.

    Kind regards,

    Stephan Schwarz.


    If one of these posts answered your question or issue, please click on "Mark as answer".

    My Blog | Twitter: @Schwarz_Stephan | MCTS, MCITP, MCC.
    How to configure Windows RE/OEM Recovery Partition with MDT

    • Marked as answer by RV2011 Monday, June 18, 2012 12:34 PM
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 2:30 AM
  • Thanks, Stephan!  Your answer, and the link to your poast, rellay helped my understanding.


    Mike

    south-central Nebraska

    Monday, June 18, 2012 12:35 PM
  • Hallo Stephan,

    I'm trying to figure out how exactly MDT2012 U1 does partitioning & formatting.

    1. When I create a custom partition script for UEFI computer, following closely the recommended MS layout, except for an extra data partition (with separate WinRE partition, Technet has a diskpart example file for it), the partitions get created but there is nothing in the WinRE partition.

    Layout (uefi pc with 1 gpt disk, I'm deployin Win8 x64): 1. Windows recovery partition (WinRE - NTFS 300MB), 2. EFI System partition (ESP - FAT32 512MB), 3. Microsoft Reserved partition (MSR - unformatted 128MB), 4. Windows partition (OSDisk - NTFS 100GB), 5.Data partition (NTFS 100GB) & 6. Recovery Image partition (NTFS till end of disk for 250GB disk)

    2. Similarly if I use the Format and Partition disk TS (same layout as before but minus the WinRE partition as I leave "Create extra Active partiton" checked), I do not get a WinRE.

    It seems MDT2012U1 only creates this WinRE under very specific formatting circumstances? Can you explain how this works exactly? I'm new to all this.

    Ideally IMHO we could create a custom partition script and then point the OS and WinRE to the correct partitions, and that would be it.  But I don't think that works unless I'mm missing something.

    Thanks a lot,

    Bavo

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 11:59 AM
  • We contemplated doing this but we found it a lot easier to just have WinRE as one of the PXE boot options.

    There is a good guide on how to do this at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/winre/archive/2006/12/12/creating-winre-using-waik.aspx

    You can even inject your own troubleshooting tools into this image and instantly be able to access them on any network-joined PC :)


    Thom McKiernan (UK) @thommck | thommck.wordpress.com | MCSA | MCTS

    Friday, July 5, 2013 2:52 PM
  • I've worked in environments with both options and have come to the conclusion that both approaches have their benefits. I would tender that the single decision making question would be, do I have end users that are outside my local network for extended periods of time.

    If this is the case than a local installation would be extremely valuable for the very simple reason, my user is in some other location while IT personnel are located on site the user cannot get to the site for whatever reason we can guide him through booting into the WinRE and then via the Microsoft DaRT Remote Control take over and perform the repairs.

    I have found this technology extremely helpful while reformatting computers at more distant sites as well. I have the end user boot the computer via the PXE, and then when the Remote Control window pops up within seconds you are in control as though you are sitting there.

    For more great deployment ideas please feel free to visit the Automation Deployment Blog at http://jeremyblass.blogspot.co.il/.

    • Proposed as answer by Yosef Blass Monday, August 11, 2014 11:39 AM
    Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:14 AM
  • You cant enable BitLocker on a Surface unless you have a functioning recovery partition. I've no problems with a BIOS PC, but the UEFI devices, first WinRE wouldnt fit on the partition, because its only 300mb, and my LiteTouch is 377 with drivers and Dart.

    I modified ZTIDiskpart to change the constant to 1000 mb. Now it attempts to add the RE wim, but puts it on the EFI partition, not the recovery partition. But it thinks its on the recovery partition, so ReagentC fails to enable.

    Copying it from the EFI boot parttiion to the recovery partition and running Reagentc.exe /enable, fixes it but I cant figure out why its doing that. I am poring over ZTIDiskPart, ZTIWinRE, and the logs, no joy.


    • Edited by JoeZeppy Friday, October 24, 2014 12:09 PM
    Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:23 PM
  • It appears that MDT has a bug in ZTIWinRE.wsf

    MDT will create the proper partition configuration on uEFI machines.

    *however* MDT fails to copy the WinRE image to the Recovery partition, instead copying it to the System partition <whoops> for uEFI scenarios only (BIOS is fine).

    I could fix, but it's lower priority for me. So another day.


    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    • Proposed as answer by Barryt_jam Friday, February 13, 2015 5:19 PM
    Monday, October 27, 2014 3:20 AM
    Moderator
  • So glad this has been straightened out, do you know if Microsoft plans on fixing this for Windows 10?

    I had posted a bunch of ,lets just say "confusing "posts looking for help on this when MDT 2013 was first released as I couldn't figure out why it was failing on UEFI based systems. After examining the  BDD/litetouch logs you can see that MDT uses the drive letter that is assigned to system, when it tries to copy in the Litetouch PE. Rather that the Windows Re partition drive letter. This lead to other issues on certain models where MDT would not bitlocker C: ,as MDT did not want to bitlocker a computer that did not have a proper Windows RE environment enabled (usually only in certain tablets or "keyboard-less models") where MDT would assume the computer did not possess a physical keyboard and Winre was not registered properly.  There is also a group policy key  to work around this behavior that stops bitlocker  from making preventative check..."-Enable use of BitLocker authentication requiring preboot keyboard input on slate"I'm assuming this is safety measure to ensure a computer can boot to Winre and have a usable keyboard available to enter the Bitlocker recovery key if its is required.

    Regardless, I have made my own work around step.

    A custom step that runs based on UEFI=true and Preparewinre=yes. A powershell script that identifies volumes letters by volume label, and copies the litetouch.wim from %deployroot% to the volume letter assigned to the Windows RE partition, and then registers the path, and enables the Winre environment with Reagentc.exe.

    My builds are offline USB installs.

    I hope this helps someone else.

    Friday, February 13, 2015 5:52 PM
  • If you could post your Powershell script, that would be great, I'd like to see it.

    I'm not thrilled with mine, and it doesn't work for OEM builds, where it can't identify the partitions correctly. We were going to ship an OEM build to a vendor for per-installing Win 8, but then the idea got dropped, so I never followed up.

    This is a lot of aggravation for something that kind of needs to work if you are going to enable Bitlocker on a tablet.

    Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:30 PM