Microsoft Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

What is the Microsoft Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)?

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 they currently include Windows System Image Manager, Compatibility Administrator, Sysprep, 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 the following:

  • Windows Configuration Designer.
  • User State Migration Toolkit.
  • Volume Activation Management Tool.
  • Windows Performance Toolkit.
  • Windows Assessment Toolkit.
  • Microsoft User Experience Virtualization.
  • Application Virtualization.

IT can use the different tools to test software, driver and hardware compatibility before moving to Windows 10 or 11. 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 a few versions of Windows ADK. One version is reserved for Windows Insider Preview users. The other versions are publicly available for download in the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center. These include options specifically for Windows 11, Windows Server 2022 and several versions of Windows 10. No matter which ADK version IT professionals pick, they get a specific downloader that is around 2 MB in size.

After choosing the version of Windows ADK they want, the IT professional can either download it to the device they're using or select another device to download it to. To use the Windows ADK, they must agree to a standard end-user license agreement.

This was last updated in March 2023

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