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Simulate a Windows 10 deployment in a test environment

This article will walk you through the process of creating a simulated environment on which to test your Windows 10 deployment using MDT. When working with advanced settings and rules, especially those like database calls, it's most efficient to be able to test the settings without having to run through a complete deployment. Luckily, MDT enables you to perform a simulated deployment by running the Gather process by itself. The simulation works best when you're using a domain-joined client.

Test environment

Simulate deployment

On PC0001:

  1. Sign as contoso\Administrator.

  2. Copy the following to a PowerShell script named gather.ps1 and copy it to a directory named C:\MDT on PC0001.

    # Check for elevation
    If (-NOT ([Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal] [Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()).IsInRole(`
        [Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole] "Administrator"))
        Write-Warning "Oupps, you need to run this script from an elevated PowerShell prompt!`nPlease start the PowerShell prompt as an Administrator and re-run the script."
        Write-Warning "Aborting script..."
    if (Test-Path -Path "C:\MININT") {Write-Host "C:\MININT exists, deleting...";Remove-Item C:\MININT -Recurse}
    cscript.exe ZTIGather.wsf /debug:true
    # Optional, comment out if you want the script to open the log in CMTrace


    For more information about the Configuration Manager Trace (cmtrace.exe) tool, see CMTrace.

  3. Using Local Users and Groups (lusrmgr.msc), add the contoso\MDT_BA user account to the local Administrators group.

  4. Sign off, and then sign on to PC0001 as contoso\MDT_BA.

  5. Open the \\MDT01\MDTProduction$\Scripts folder and copy the following files to C:\MDT:

    • ZTIDataAccess.vbs
    • ZTIGather.wsf
    • ZTIGather.xml
    • ZTIUtility.vbs
  6. From the \\MDT01\MDTProduction$\Control folder, copy the CustomSettings.ini file to C:\MDT.

  7. In the C:\MDT folder, create a subfolder named X64.

  8. From the \\MDT01\MDTProduction$\Tools\X64 folder, copy the Microsoft.BDD.Utility.dll file to C:\MDT\X64.

    Screenshot showing a folder with files added.

    The C:\MDT folder with the files added for the simulation environment.

  9. Type the following at an elevated Windows PowerShell prompt:

    Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Scope Process -Force
    Set-Location C:\MDT

    When prompted, press R to run the gather script.

  10. Review the ZTIGather.log in the C:\MININT\SMSOSD\OSDLOGS folder using CMTrace.


    Warnings or errors regarding the Wizard.hta are expected. If the log file looks okay, you're ready to try a real deployment.

Screenshot of a log file.

The ZTIGather.log file from PC0001.