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July 16, 2020

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.

6 Responses “Windows Deployment with MDT – Part 5: Add Disks and Partitions”

  1. Keith
    September 19, 2019 at 03:31

    Wonderful series. Can the user profile and data drive be located on a NAS device? If so how?

    • September 19, 2019 at 16:51

      No. The deployment share can be on any network share, including NAS. On my home network, I do all installs / deployments with MDT from NAS. However, user profiles must reside on an internal disk. Data drive can of course be on any internal, external or network drive.

  2. MBV
    September 21, 2019 at 22:29

    Can we have partitions in this sequence:
    1 – system reserved (500 MB)
    2 – recovery (1 GB)
    3 – Windows system (120 GB)

    So it makes easier to redistribute disk space to windows system volume if necessary?


  3. Marco arie Simic
    October 26, 2019 at 18:14

    My I May I ask?
    how to sysprep & capture with 3 partitions ?
    that is, by composition, C = 113 Gb, D = 301 Gb, and E = 51 Gb.
    Please Hepme.

  4. Nicolas
    February 4, 2020 at 17:46

    Hello, thank you for this great document!
    I just have a question, in my deployment I also have a Data partition that I would like to have in D:
    I followed your advice except that in all cases the data partition is found in E: and in D: I have the USB deployment key.
    Do you have any advice for me?
    In any case, thank you again!
    (sorry for google translate, i speak french and spanish)

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