SCCMSCCM Troubleshooting

MDT – Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB 3 Error Fix

In this article I will show you how to fix the error when you deploy OS from external hard drive on a USB 3 port, using the free tool MDT.

Many organizations for different reasons, use deployment from external media, for image created by MDT or SCCM. However this causes an error if the external hard drive is connected on USB 3 port.

First let us look at the difference between the USB drive and external hard drive.

Difference between USB drive and external hard drive

The biggest disadvantage for USB drive is storage space and price for extend capacity. In addition, the rate of Write/read is very bad compared to external hard drive.

A lot of USB drives gives 10 MO/s even in USB 3 against a much higher speed (about 100 MO/s) with external HDD. And (300 MO/S) for SSD, that give ability to benefit the USB 3.0 port.

Furthermore we can save time and productivity in this case go up to x10 installation time, which reduces the invoice when an IT is invoiced.

USB Device Speeds
USB Device Speeds

Why does the error occur on the USB 3.0 port ?

Suppose you connect an external hard drive to USB 3.0 port. The rate write turn is about 80 MO or more, the system considers the support as an internal hard drive. It grants the first logical partition which can distort the installation, boot partition will be installed on this support.

Note that the above case does not happen if the external hard drive is plugged into an USB 2.0 port. Let’s say you choose to directly upgrade from SCCM. With a computer that have an external HDD connected on USB 3, the system will be installed in this partition if the capacity is bigger that first drive.

Example: Upgrade Windows 10 version with (internal SSD 128 go and external HDD on usb3 with 1 TO), the same files will be copied in external hard drive caused an error and aborted setup.

So I will be using MDT which is a free tool that provides a huge scope of creating your own reference images and custom operating system. MDT can be integrated with SCCM to provide more rich features related to operating system deployment.

MDT – Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix

So before we deploy OS from external hard drive but look at solving this issue by following the below steps.

Step 1 – Detect the driver

First we will connect our external hard drive and launch CMD as administrator



As we can see from the output that the external hard drive has a driver name “External hard disk media“. You may find a lot of external drives with same driver, but you can just use this command.

Step 2 – Edit config file in MDT Scripts

Now we add the driver to the config file. This is to permit the MDT and SCCM to consider External Drive as a USB flash driver when connected on USB 3 port.

Go to your MDT installation directory. By default the location is : C:\Program file\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit\Templates\distributions\scripts.

MDT Scripts Folder
MDT Scripts Folder

And open file ZTIDiskUtility.vbs with Notepad++.


Step 3 – Add driver to code

From the ZTIDiskUtility.vbs, search this line with 1394.

Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix
Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix

And add your driver as shown in the below screenshot.

Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix Snap6

Step 4 – Build ISO Image and Deploy OS

Now launch the SCCM console. Create a Task Sequence Media. You must choose task created by MDT Sequence.

Create Task Sequence Media
Create Task Sequence Media

Select a task sequence.

Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix Snap8

Burn ISO on external hard drive. And install it from USB 3 port without any problem. This solution is also valid if you use only MDT.

Deploy OS from external hard drive on USB3 Error Fix Snap9

Dakhama Mehdi

Hello, I’m DAKHAMA MEHDI from FRANCE. I am currently working as a MICROSOFT consultant and trainer (infrastructure, cloud and server), and systems administrator for more than 12 years. I am also a developer desktop applications. I managed lot projects of different technology (SCCM, Server, MDT, ADFS, ADRMS, Security, Microsoft 365, Intune …). I like to share my knowledge and helping everyone through my articles and applications.

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