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Use the MDT database to stage Windows 10 deployment information

This article is designed to teach you how to use the MDT database to pre-stage information on your Windows 10 deployment in a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express database, rather than include the information in a text file (CustomSettings.ini). You can use this process, for example, to add the client machines you want to deploy, specify their computer names and IP addresses, indicate applications to be deployed, and determine many more settings for the machines.

Database prerequisites

MDT can use either SQL Server Express or full SQL Server. However, since the deployment database isn't large, even in large enterprise environments, we recommend using the free SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express database in your environment.


Be sure to enable Named Pipes when configuring the SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express database. Although it is a legacy protocol, Named Pipes has proven to work well when connecting from Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) to the SQL Server database.

Create the deployment database

The MDT database is by default created and managed from the Deployment Workbench. In these steps, we assume you have installed SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express on MDT01.


Since SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express runs by default on a separate instance (SQLEXPRESS), the SQL Server Browser service must be running, and the firewall configured to allow traffic to it. Port 1433 TCP and port 1434 UDP need to be opened for inbound traffic on MDT01.

  1. On MDT01, using Deployment Workbench, expand the MDT Production deployment share, expand Advanced Configuration, right-click Database, and select New Database.

  2. In the New DB Wizard, on the SQL Server Details page, enter the following settings and select Next:

    1. SQL Server Name: MDT01
    2. Instance: SQLEXPRESS
    3. Port: <blank>
    4. Network Library: Named Pipes
  3. On the Database page, select Create a new database; in the Database field, type MDT and select Next.

  4. On the SQL Share page, in the SQL Share field, type Logs$ and select Next. Select Next again and then select Finish.

Screenshot of a dialog window showing the mdt database added to mdt 01.

Figure 8. The MDT database added to MDT01.

Configure database permissions

After creating the database, you need to assign permissions to it. In MDT, the account you used to run the deployment is used to access the database. In this environment, the network access account is MDT_BA.

  1. On MDT01, start SQL Server Management Studio.

  2. In the Connect to Server dialog box, in the Server name list, select MDT01\SQLEXPRESS and select Connect.

  3. In the Object Explorer pane, expand the top-level Security node, right-click Logins, and select New Login.

    Screenshot of a window showing the top-level security node.

    Figure 9. The top-level Security node.

  4. On the Login - New page, next to the Login name field, select Search, and search for CONTOSO\MDT_BA. Then in the left pane, select User Mapping. Select the MDT database, and assign the following roles:

    1. db_datareader
    2. db_datawriter
    3. public (default)
  5. Select OK, and close SQL Server Management Studio.

Screenshot showing a login dialog window.

Figure 10. Creating the login and settings permissions to the MDT database.

Create an entry in the database

To start using the database, you add a computer entry and assign a description and computer name. Use the computer's MAC Address as the identifier.

  1. On MDT01, using the Deployment Workbench, in the MDT Production deployment share, expand Advanced Configuration, and expand Database.

  2. Right-click Computers, select New, and add a computer entry with the following settings:

    1. Description: New York Site - PC00075
    2. MacAddress: <PC00075 MAC Address in the 00:00:00:00:00:00 format>
    3. Details Tab / OSDComputerName: PC00075

Screenshot showing a properties windows.

Figure 11. Adding the PC00075 computer to the database.