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Imaging Toolkit 9 is coming soon! This is the first in a short series of preview blogs.

One of our key objectives for Imaging Toolkit 9 was to add deployment support for UEFI hardware using a single base image. In true ENGL style we also wanted to make the deployment process easy and seamless so that you don't need to know whether the machine being deployed is a UEFI machine or a BIOS machine.

You can deploy 64bit versions of Windows 7 SP1, 8, 8.1 and Server 2012, 2012 R2 to UEFI hardware using the same base OS image you would deploy to BIOS hardware. So as per normal ENGL best practice, you only have to update and maintain one base image for each version of Windows in the same way you do today.

The pre-requisites for UEFI deployment are:

  • ZCM 11.3.0 or later
  • SCCM 2012 R2

Deployment is supported using both ZENworks Linux/ZMG and ENGL WinPE/WIM based imaging and the Imaging Toolkit deployment process will automatically configure the GPT partition layout to support Windows running on UEFI hardware.

When using ZENworks Linux/ZMG based imaging a new option to create a UEFI boot image is available in the Build Console Deployment Wizard.

This only needs to be done once per version of Windows you are deploying, and once created will be automatically restored to UEFI hardware as part of the deployment process.

Note: ENGL WinPE/WIM based imaging does not require the UEFI boot image because we can create and configure the boot partition directly from WinPE.

In addition to supporting UEFI deployment we also had a requirement for the base image creation process to be supported on both UEFI and BIOS hardware. When you run the Build Console Deployment Wizard and select Base image preparation there is a new option to Install on UEFI hardware for the Windows unattended installation process:

Note: A base image created on BIOS hardware can be deployed to both BIOS and UEFI machines. A base image created on UEFI hardware can only be deployed to UEFI machines.

The final piece of the UEFI support was to enable creation of UEFI capable USB or DVD boot media using Ziminst. Many of our customers are using USB memory or disk devices for deployment where PXE boot is not available or network bandwidth is limited. We have updated Ziminst in Imaging Toolkit 9 so that the USB or DVD media created has both UEFI and BIOS hardware support built in. We can therefore deploy any machine from USB or DVD media without having to know whether the machine is UEFI or BIOS and without requiring different boot media for each hardware type.

For more information on Imaging Toolkit 9 please follow us on social media or keep an eye on the Imaging Toolkit product page.