MDT Offline Media on multi-partitioned external drive RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi guys,

    I've been trying really hard to make this work but can't figure it out. 

    I divided my external USB drive into 3 partitions: NTFS, ExFAT and MAC OS Journaled. NTFS partition contains a bootable LiteTouchMedia ISO, ExFAT is empty, and MAC OS Journaled partition contains MAC OS X bootable installation media.

    I am able to boot from NTFS partition and start the OS deployment process, but when the PC restarts after installing OS it says that "OS wasn't found. Try disconnecting any drives that don't contain an operating system". Do you guys have any suggestions on what could be happening or if MDT doesn't like the multi-partitioned external HD?

    If I boot into PXE or from a hard drive with a single NTFS partition everything seems to work.

    Thanks a lot!!


    Monday, September 14, 2015 4:56 PM

All replies

  • MDT isn't really designed to install an OS on an external USB drive.  You could post logs and that 'might' help.

    Most important details are logs. If you are unsure how to post logs or where to find them then reference

    Monday, September 14, 2015 7:55 PM
  • Hi Ty,

    I am trying to install the OS from external USB drive to internal SATA hard drive. Sorry for the confusion.

    Monday, September 14, 2015 8:36 PM
  • I guess I should also say that MDT is also not designed to install from a external Drive.  You can use a USB Flash drive (and not all thumb drives are necessarily UFD type).

    Most important details are logs. If you are unsure how to post logs or where to find them then reference

    Monday, September 14, 2015 11:40 PM
  • Does the deployment when within PE look as you'd expect? I.E. does the drive get cleaned, does the OS get installed, does unattend get applied? 

    If so then what is your boot order in the BIOS? Perhaps it's trying to boot to the USB drive rather than the SATA drive with Windows installed, and it's defaulting to the wrong partition. I've never tried using an external HDD with partitions before so am just guessing here.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015 10:42 AM
  • Thanks, Andrew!

    It looks like everything in PE works well. I am able to select a task sequence and it goes on to injecting drivers and installing operating system. Once it restarts it gives me the error message. I did double check the boot order and tried to boot without external hard drive plugged in but it didn't work. Is there a log I can check that would tell me if something fails at some point?

    Another thing I tried yesterday is to specify in task sequence to install the OS on Disk 0, Partition 1 but that didn't make a difference. Everything works well with PXE deployments.

    I am wondering if there are any common tips or suggestions when deploying from external drive. We will be able to use PXE for most of our clients, but some will require offline deployments due to slow network connections. Why is a flash drive more recommended than a regular USB drive?

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015 1:43 PM
  • The reason for UDF rather than external HDD is because how is Windows PE/MDT supposed to know what's a hard drive that can be used to install Windows on compared to a USB stick which is clearly not part of the OS? There's a chance that MDT would try and install Windows on to your external hard drive which would result in exactly what you're seeing here i.e. the desktop tries to boot to Disk 0 partition 1 (internal) but MDT chose to install to Disk 1 partition 1 (external). So you say you've tried changing the format action to force this to not happen which is great but that's an example of why you wouldn't want to do it.

    Useful logs would be ZTIDiskpart and LTIApply.

    Why are you insistent on using an HDD as opposed to a flash drive? It would be worth considering using a UFD to keep yourself supportable and save this headache.


    Tuesday, September 15, 2015 1:57 PM
  • If your machine doesn't boot without the USB HDD attached then for sure part of the OS is being installed on it (For the reasons Andrew mentions).


    Most important details are logs. If you are unsure how to post logs or where to find them then reference

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015 8:06 PM
  • Thank you guys for all the replies!! It turned out, as you suggested, that some boot files were indeed getting installed on one of the USB HDD partitions resulting in the error. 

    The reason I wanted to make USB HDD work as opposed to a flash drive is because of space limitations. While I'm confident that MDT solution will work out great, I do want the technicians to have the ability to use our older system with previously made images as a backup, at least for now. We also currently install Mac OS X operating system manually in case it needs to be rebuilt for whatever reason, and those files also take up some space. That's pretty much it.

    In any case, I stumbled on the thread linked below and the latest post by "mrpaulmanley" seemed to help fix the problem for me, where he modifies few lines in ZTIDiskUtility.vbs script.

    Would you guys know the significance of the V: drive as it relates to MDT (or perhaps Windows installations in general)? Should I be cautious when I am imaging a computer that has 2 internal hard drives as to not unintentionally image the wrong one?


    Wednesday, September 16, 2015 12:37 AM