Understanding Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)to Install Drivers to an Installation ISO

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In my work with Putnam County Schools, we purchased new laptops for specific groups of students and staff and prepared to provision these devices with a fresh install of Windows 11 Education only to find that there were not network adapters available on the initial install. Windows 11 lacked compatible drivers for the adapters in these new devices that would allow us to successfully complete our provisioning of the device using Windows Provisioning Packages.

To alleviate this issue, we needed to create a new Windows installation ISO with the drivers already installed. Below are the steps to complete that. This blog post dives into the intricacies of utilizing Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) to seamlessly integrate drivers into your Installation ISO.

Understanding DISM

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) stands as a cornerstone in the realm of Windows customization, offering a wealth of functionalities that go beyond the surface. As we delve deeper into this versatile tool, let’s uncover more facets that make DISM an indispensable asset for IT professionals.

1. Image Servicing and Management:

DISM operates as an all-encompassing command-line tool designed to service and manage Windows images. Its capabilities extend from preparing a Windows installation to integrating updates, drivers, and features seamlessly. Whether you are a seasoned IT pro or an aspiring technician, understanding DISM opens up a realm of possibilities in crafting tailored Windows environments.

2. Offline and Online Servicing:

One of DISM’s standout features is its ability to service both online and offline Windows images. Online servicing involves making changes to a running operating system, while offline servicing allows modifications to a Windows image that is not currently in use. This dual capability provides flexibility in addressing various deployment scenarios, making DISM a versatile ally in the IT toolkit.

3. Compatibility with Different Windows Versions:

DISM transcends Windows versions, making it a consistent and reliable tool across different iterations of the operating system. Whether you are working with Windows 7, 8, 10, or future releases, DISM remains a constant, ensuring that your skills are transferable and applicable to a broad spectrum of Windows environments.

4. Package Management:

DISM extends its prowess to package management, allowing for the addition or removal of features, updates, and drivers. This feature facilitates a granular level of control over the Windows installation process, enabling you to tailor the operating system precisely to your requirements. With DISM, you become the architect of your Windows deployment.

5. Error Remediation and Logging:

In the dynamic landscape of IT, error handling is paramount. DISM incorporates robust error remediation mechanisms, providing detailed logs and feedback to aid in troubleshooting. This transparency ensures that IT professionals can diagnose and resolve issues efficiently, reducing downtime and enhancing the overall deployment experience.

6. Integration with Windows PowerShell:

For those embracing the power of automation, DISM seamlessly integrates with Windows PowerShell. This synergy enables script-driven deployment scenarios, where repetitive tasks can be automated, saving time and reducing the likelihood of human error. The marriage of DISM and PowerShell empowers IT professionals to elevate their efficiency in managing Windows images.

Think of DISM as the maestro orchestrating the symphony of your Windows deployment. With its diverse capabilities, DISM ensures that every note (or command) contributes to the harmonious composition of a finely-tuned operating system.

Using DISM to Inject Drivers

Step 1: Acquiring Windows ADK

Before diving into the world of DISM, ensure that you have the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) installed. The ADK provides essential tools for customizing, assessing, and deploying Windows operating systems. Download the latest version from the official Microsoft website and follow the installation wizard.

Step 2: Mounting the Installation ISO

With ADK in place, it’s time to mount your Windows installation ISO. This step enables you to access and modify the content within the ISO file. Open a command prompt with administrator privileges and use the following command:

Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\Path\To\Your\Windows.iso /Index:1 /MountDir:C:\Mount\Point

Make sure to replace “C:\Path\To\Your\Windows.iso” with the actual path to your ISO file and “C:\Mount\Point” with the desired directory for mounting.

Step 3: Injecting Drivers with DISM

Now comes the exciting part – injecting drivers into the mounted image using DISM. Gather the necessary drivers and follow this command structure:

Dism /Image:C:\Mount\Point /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\Path\To\Your\Drivers /Recurse

Substitute “C:\Path\To\Your\Drivers” with the actual path to your driver repository. The “/Recurse” flag ensures that all subdirectories are included, providing a comprehensive injection of drivers.

Step 4: Committing Changes and Dismounting

Once the drivers are successfully integrated, it’s time to commit the changes and dismount the image. Execute the following commands:

Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\Mount\Point /Commit

Congratulations! You’ve successfully enhanced your Windows Installation ISO with the latest drivers. Injecting drivers is like giving your operating system a dose of vitamins – it runs smoother and adapts to new hardware effortlessly!

Step 5: Creating a New ISO

Now, you will use the Windows ADK to create a new Windows ISO incorporating the updates.

  1. Open the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment with administrator privileges.
  2. Navigate to the directory where the ADK is installed. By default, it’s located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\.
  3. Use the oscdimg tool to create the new ISO. Replace the paths accordingly.
oscdimg -m -o -u2 -udfver102 -bootdata:2#p0,e,bC:\Path\To\Boot\etfsboot.com#pEF,e,bC:\Path\To\Boot\efisys.bin C:\Mount\Point C:\Path\To\New\WindowsUpdated.iso

Additional Considerations

Handling Language Packs

If you are dealing with language packs, you can integrate them similarly using the /Add-Package command in DISM. This ensures that your customized ISO supports multiple languages.

Testing the Custom ISO

Before deploying your newly crafted ISO in a production environment, it’s wise to test it in a virtual machine or a controlled setting to ensure that all updates and customizations work as intended.

Conclusion

Rebuilding a Windows ISO with updates committed from DISM through the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit is a powerful skill for IT professionals. This process allows you to create a customized, up-to-date installation medium tailored to your specific needs. Embrace the control, flexibility, and efficiency that this approach offers, and let your deployments be a testament to your mastery of Windows customization. Cheers to building Windows your way!