This article explains the role of the Microsoft Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) in creating rescue media, when you should use it and how you can enable it.
Macrium Reflect version 5.1 running on Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 or later.
Macrium Reflect version 5.2 running on Windows XP or later.
About the ADK
What is the Microsoft ADK ?
The Microsoft Assessment and Deployment Kit is part of the Microsoft System tools. It is designed to give system administrators the ability to deploy Windows on a large scale with a number of custom tools for preparing their systems. For example, it might be used by the IT department of a large company to roll out pre-configured Windows Installs.
You may already be familiar with the Windows Automated Installation Kit, or Windows AIK. This is the previous offering for Microsoft that fulfilled a similar role.
Why does Reflect use the ADK or AIK?
Both the ADK and AIK contain a component called the Windows Preinstallation Environment, or Windows PE. This is a version of Windows contained in a Windows Image, or WIM file, which is cut down from the full install of Windows but contains sufficient utilities for building recovery, install and system preparation environments.
Reflect uses the base PE environment from the ADK/AIK and customises it with the Reflect tools. This gives Reflect a rescue environment with access to a range of common hardware drivers as well as native support for Windows File Systems and Windows boot management utilities.
What is the difference between the ADK and AIK?
The ADK is a newer version of the kit designed for Windows 8. Each Windows PE version is based on a version of Windows. In the case of PE 4 (available in the ADK) the environment is based on Windows 8. In the case of PE 3, the environment is based on Windows 7. As such, PE4 supports a number of enhancements to the Windows boot environment which arrived in Windows 8.
When should I use the ADK or AIK?
If you have Windows 8, you should use the ADK if:
1. You only have Windows 8 drivers for your hardware. As PE3 is based on Windows 7, it requires Windows 7 compatible drivers. If you do not have access to these, but do have access to Windows 8, you can use the ADK and Reflect will copy your Windows 8 drivers from your system (or search for Windows 8 drivers as needed).
2. You require support for UEFI Secure Boot when using Fix Boot Options. Windows 8 is the first version of Windows to support Secure Boot and the relevant support utilities are needed by Reflect to correctly fix a system using UEFI Secure Boot.
You should use the AIK if you only have Windows 7 drivers for your hardware. As PE4 is based on Windows 8, it requires Windows 8 compatible drivers.
Can I use PE4 (ADK) to back up/recover a Windows 7 or earlier system ?
Yes you can.
Can I create PE4 (ADK) rescue media on Windows 7 or earlier ?
Only if running version 5.2 of Macrium Reflect or later.
Enabling the ADK
You can enable the ADK for your install of Reflect in two ways:
1. Download using the Macrium Reflect Download Agent, prior or post install. During rescue media wizard creation, you will be prompted for the location of the PE component file if you choose not to download using option 2 below. This option is useful if you are creating rescue media on offline computers.
2. Download using the rescue media wizard. Required PE component files will automatically be downloaded as required if you are online. Offline installations will prompt for a previously downloaded PE component file.
If you have never created AIK/ADK rescue media before
Reflect will default to the most appropriate PE base for your current operating system. PE3 (AIK) for Windows 7 or earlier, PE4 (ADK) for Windows 8/Server 2012.
If you have previously created rescue media, or wish to change the type of media you are creating
To change to the ADK, or switch your rescue media type:
1.In the main window of Reflect, click the rescue media wizard icon.
2. On the first page of the rescue media wizard, select the Windows PE option and then Click Advanced.
3. Select the PE base to use for rescue media creation, Click OK.
Please view the tutorial below for an example of how to create a Rescue CD using the ADK.