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Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 5: Add Disks and Partitions

In earlier parts of this series, we have covered everything from setting up a deployment share to customizing deployment and capturing a custom Windows image. One thing still missing is how to create a custom partitioning scheme, wherein we add and modify partitions and disks in a Task Sequence. In this last part of the series, we will dig into that.

As an example, I could use my standard deployment scenario. This particular target device has two disks (SSD or HDD). The primary disk (Disk 0) will contain the UEFI system partitions and a 100 GB Windows OS partition, the rest of the disk being used for a Data partition. In my case, 100 GB for the Windows partition is more than enough because I will install software to the Data partition, and sysprep user profiles (Users folder) to use a large User Profiles partition on secondary disk (Disk 1), as shown in the featured image at the head of this page.

To edit partitions and disks, right click a Task Sequence and select Properties. Click the Task Sequence tab. The first step for me now is to change default partitioning and add a Data partition to the primary disk. Default MDT partitioning on a GPT disk creates a 499 MB EFI partition, 128 MB MSR (Microsoft Reserved) partition, then uses 99% of the remaining space on the disk for a Windows partition. Finally, it uses the rest of the disk (100% of its remaining space) for the WinRE (Windows REcovery) partition. I will need to edit the Windows and WinRE partition sizes, then create a new Data partition last on this  disk.

First, I will set the Windows partition size to 100 GB, instead of the default 99%:

Click screenshots to open enlarged in a new tab.

Next, I will change the WinRE partition size to 1 GB, which is sufficient to accommodate future growth or change:

Now I can add a new partition to the end of the disk, naming it Data and using all remaining space:

Windows Setup will assign drive ID letters automatically. In this case, I know that the Windows partition will be C:, the Data partition D:, and the User Profiles partition E:. Thus, the optical drive (DVD) gets the first free drive letter that follows — namely, F:.

My next step is to create a new disk:

Selecting this new disk, I change its disk number to 1, its disk type to GPT, click the New partition button, and create one huge (100% of available space) partition, and name it User Profiles:

That’s it, all partitions are now created. From within the Task Sequence properties, I will next edit the answer file to completely move the Users folder to the E: drive. Select OS Info tab, and click Edit Unattend.xml. The answer file opens in Windows SIM, where I will expand the Shell Setup component in the Windows Image pane, then add FolderLocations to Pass7 OobeSystem:

Selecting FolderLocations in the Answer File pane, I can now enter a new location for profile folders and save that answer file:

All done! After booting the target device from the MDT LiteTouch media, Windows will be set up exactly as I specified:

… And indeed, all user profiles are relocated to the E: drive:

Here are links to all the posts in this series:
Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 1: Setup
Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 2: Deploying Windows
Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 3: Customize Deployment
Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 4: Capturing WIM, In-place Upgrade
Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 5: Add Disks and Partitions


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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