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Adding DaRT to ConfigMgr Boot Images - And starting it earlier than early

Jun 20 2018

Here is a guide on how to add Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) to a ConfigMgr boot image so it starts first in the boot process, making it possible to remote into WinPE as soon as the boot image has loaded, even before the PXE password and ConfigMgr prestart commands.

Credits: Thanks to Alexey Semibratov who created the initial EnableDart.wsf script, and to Sergey Korotkov for the tip on using the /_SMSTSCurrentActionName variable.


Deployment Workbench showing the running ConfigMgr deployments (and a few finished ones).



Back in 2011 I wrote a blog post on how to add DaRT to a ConfigMgr 2007 boot image, a scenario that eventually made it into the MDT integration with ConfigMgr 2012 and continued for ConfigMgr Current Branch. The challenge with the implementation Microsoft decided on is that starts quite late in the process, in fact after you selected a task sequence. So various folks (like Alexey) started instead to launch the DaRT component via prestart command in ConfigMgr. But even that is quite late. For example if you have a password protected boot image, the password prompt is before the prestart command runs. I wanted it start even earlier, hence this blog post.



You need to have DaRT 10, MDT 8450 and the ConfigMgr console installed in order to modify the boot image. Earlier MDT versions should work since the DaRT code haven’t changed in a long time, but I haven’t tested. Monitoring needs to be enabled on your deployment share, and your CustomSettings.ini file needs to be configured for monitoring (EventService variable set).

You also need to download the sample files:

Note: Adding the solution will increase the boot image WIM size with about 7 – 8 MB (16.5 MB uncompressed), shouldn’t be a big deal :)


Step-by-step Guide

1. Copy the downloaded sample files to a folder, I used C:\Setup\EnableDart.

2. Modify line 13-19 in the Add-DaRTtoBootImage.ps1 script to fit your environment (boot image, sample scripts folder, site server, site code etc.)

3. Modify line 9 in the Unattend.xml file to fit your environment (server name, and monitoring service port)

4. Run the Add-DaRTtoBootImage.ps1 script from an elevated PowerShell prompt.

5. Done :)


The DaRT remote connection waiting in the lower left corner.

Happy Deployment, Johan

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