The Microsoft Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit is a set of tools IT professionals can combine to prepare, assess and launch image-based Windows deployments.
Windows ADK debuted in Windows Vista. The tools available in the Windows ADK have fluctuated through the years, but currently they include Windows System Image Manager, System Preparation, Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) and the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool (DISM). WinPE and DISM are included as part of the Windows OS.
When IT professionals download the Windows ADK they can pick and choose the exact tools they want to include in their toolkit. Other options they can choose from include:
- Application Compatibility Toolkit
- Imaging and Configuration Designer
- User State Migration Tool
- Volume Activation Management Tool
- Windows Performance Toolkit
- Windows Assessment Toolkit
- Microsoft User Experience Virtualization
- Media eXperience Analyzer
IT can use the different tools to test software, driver and hardware compatibility before moving to Windows 10. The Application Compatibility Toolkit, for example, lets developers and IT test how 32- and 64-bit Windows applications will perform on a new OS before they make the move. They can also use the Windows ADK to automate large-scale deployments of a Windows OS.
There are three versions of Windows ADK. One version is reserved for Windows 10 Insider Preview users. The other two versions, which IT can find on the Download the Windows ADK page in the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center, are for Windows 10 version 1703 and Windows 10 version 1607 respectively. No matter which version IT professionals pick, they get a specific downloader that is 1.7 MB or smaller.
Once the downloader picks the version of Windows ADK he wants, he can either download it to the device he is using or select another device to download it to. To use the Windows ADK, IT must agree to a standard End User License Agreement.