Deploying Windows 8 to UEFI Devices

imageOver the last couple of weeks, I’ve received some inquiries on how to deploy a Windows 8 image to devices that are UEFI; especially if they are UEFI only like the Surface Pro.

Some of the challenges I am hearing are related to UEFI systems requiring the boot files residing on a FAT32 partition.  For some, this won’t be too big of an issue; however, others have image files that are much larger than the 4 GB FAT32 limitation.

The Microsoft technical team has posted some very useful documents and instead of recreating the wheel, I thought I would share a few links that may be of interest.

Article 1

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update1 Media Deployment USB drive for UEFI computer

This article provides information related deploying an image using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to UEFI images.

I am finding that some are still getting hung up on how to create a 2 partition USB drive.  Please read Article 3.

Article 2

Unattended Setup of Windows 8 to Surface Pro

Although titled for Surface Pro, the details provide information on how to prepare a USB drive for an unattended setup.  This works great if your deployment image and boot files are less than 4 GB.  If larger than 4 GB, refer to Article 3.

Article 3

Creating bootable USB drive for UEFI computers

As described in the article, this is the biggest issue I see people running into

UEFI based systems such as the Surface Pro or other UEFI systems require that the boot files reside on FAT32 partition. If they are not FAT32 the system may not see the device as bootable.

FAT32 has a 4GB individual file size limitation and 32GB maximum volume size. If any of the files are larger than 4GB you may have to configure the drive differently. Consider if you are booting Windows PE 4.0 and want to deploy a custom image using Dism.exe where the size of the image is 8GB. You would not be able to store the image on the FAT32 partition.

The article provides two options to get around this.

Finishing Touches

I will finish this post with two other posts that may be of value to you and a two videos from the recent Microsoft Management Summit 2013.


  1. Sample: Configure UEFI/GPT-Based Hard Drive Partitions by Using Windows PE and DiskPart
  2. Samples: Applying Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions by using a Deployment Script


MMS 2013:  What’s New in Windows 8 Deployment

Now that Windows 8 is generally available, it is important for enterprises to begin integrating it into their plans. In this session, we will dig into the technical aspects of Windows 8 deployment projects, including: changes in the tools, technologies, and processes used for deploying.

MMS 2013:  Real World Windows 8 Deployment with MDT 2012 Update 1

In this session, learn about the new features in MDT 2012 Update 1, including deploying to EUFI enabled hardware, work with drivers, updates, applications, configuring BitLocker, all for the enterprise network.

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