Windows 8 deployment resources

Here are some tools for Enterprise Deployment planning for Windows 8.

For customers deploying Windows 8 Enterprise, there are going to be several available volume activation methods.

To step back for a second, Volume Activation consisted of two technologies—Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Key (MAK)—that allowed Volume Licensing customers to activate Volume License editions of the Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating systems.

KMS and MAK volume activation methods (used in Windows 7) are still available for Windows 8 and there is also a new Active Directory-based Activation method.

KMS activation works with minimal administrative intervention. If the network environment has Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) and allows computers to publish services automatically, deploying a KMS host can require very little effort. MAK activation is used for one-time activation through Microsoft’s hosted activation services, with no renewals required.

In order to use KMS or MAK activation, you will need to obtain new keys from the VLSC.

The Microsoft® Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) is the online resource for Microsoft Volume Licensing customers and partners to view Licensing information, download Microsoft software, and manage Volume Licensing benefits and subscriptions.

If you are using a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 computer as your KMS host, you will also need to install a hotfix to enable Windows 8 Enterprise activation.

You can find out more information about volume activation at the Volume Activation Overview on Tech.

To help with the planning, image engineering, and deployment processes for Windows 8 Enterprise, some key free tools are also now available for downloading:

  • The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1 (MDT) automates and accelerates the deployment of Windows 8 Enterprise by integrating all of the ADK tools into a single, easy-to-use deployment process. By leveraging MDT, you can easily create your own custom Windows 8 Enterprise images that can then be deployed throughout your enterprise.
  • The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), which replaces the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7, contains many key deployment tools that are essential for IT pros, including new versions of Windows PE and the User State Migration Tool. Tools that used to be available separately, such as the Application Compatibility Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit, are now included in the ADK. Additionally, a new Windows Assessment Toolkit has been added to measure the performance, reliability and functionality of Windows in your lab environment.
  • The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0 can quickly and efficiently collect detailed infrastructure information you need for planning your migration to Windows 8 Enterprise. It includes detailed hardware and operating system information about each desktop, indicates which computers meet the hardware requirements for Windows 8 and also lists applications installed.

To find additional resources to help you plan for Windows 8 in your organization, check out Microsoft’s step-by-step Plan for Windows 8 guide.