Get the tools needed to customize Windows

Here's what you'll need in your test environment to create customized versions of Windows for multiple PCs.

You'll need the following types of PCs:

  • A technician PC: A PC that is running Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7, on which you will install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK). If you're designing 32-bit or ARM-based PCs, you'll need a 32-bit version of Windows to use some tools.

    Install the Windows ADK together with the following features:

    • Deployment Tools

    • Windows Preinstallation Environment

    • Windows Assessment Services

    • Windows Assessment Services

    • Windows Performance Toolkit

  • A reference PC: A PC that represents all of the PCs in a single model line; for example, the Fabrikam Notebook PC Series.

    For this PC, choose a basic design that does not require special drivers or hardware configurations.

  • Model-specific reference PCs: PCs that represent the individual PCs that you intend to manufacture, for example, the Fabrikam Notebook PC Model 1024: Pro edition, 128GB SSD Drive with built-in webcam and fingerprint reader, for Spain and Portugal.

    You can use the same PC for both the reference PC and the model-specific reference PCs, or you can use different PCs for these roles.

You'll need the following additional hardware:

  • Two USB flash drives: one for Windows installation program (Windows Setup), and one for Windows PE. Format these drives using the FAT32 file system so you can boot PCs that are based on either the older, legacy BIOS or the newer, UEFI-based firmware.

  • An external hard drive, a network drive, a large USB key, or other file storage location that is formatted by using the NTFS file system. You'll need this storage device to store your Windows files, which can sometimes exceed the 4 GB file size limitation of FAT32. To connect to a network drive location, use the following command in either Windows or Windows PE:

    net use * \\server\share
    Where \\server\share is the path of the shared drive location.

You'll need the following software:

  • A copy of Windows.

  • Windows product keys.

  • Any drivers and packages that your PC needs to boot.

  • Any other software to add to the PC including apps, branding graphics, and languages.