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Vista - Sysprep (WAIK)

Posted on 2009-04-16
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Hi all,

We are looking at doing some Vista deployments, In the past with XP we would sysprep a base image and include everything needed (drivers for multiple machines etc) in the sysprep.inf file. I am having a difficult time understand all this WAIK stuff and the WSIM. I have our XP image able to go on any hardware installation we have, Im very confused with VISTA however.

I have toyed around with WSIM making a simple answer file and plopping it into the sysprep folder, but Im completely lost on how this is actually going to apply to anything. The passes are confusing. We use a boot.wim for PXE environment on a network boot from our W2K8 WDS server. I have captured .wims of vista and xp but im completely LOST with Vista as far as sysprepping it and deploying it like we did with XP.

I've read all the technet etc on the deployment of vista but it seems to confuse me the more I read it. Maybe hearing it in a generalized term would help.
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Question by:BluJ
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by:merowinger
ID: 24165637
You have two possibilities.
Master Image: You install a reference computer with Vista install and configure anything you need and then make a image with imagex.exe
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merowinger earned 1000 total points
ID: 24165660
(clicked too fast) :)

befor imaging the reference computer you sysprep (paramter with unattend.xml possible)
When imaged the reference computer you include it in your environment.

The other possibility is to directly cusomize the original install.wim from vista and create a unattended.xml file for this with wsim.

So befor explain in detail...you first should define which method to use...
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by:BluJ
ID: 24166011
Ok I have the base ready to go, I used imagex from our WinPe and captured it as Vista.wim, I did sysprep it, but I didn't see any unattend.xml? do I have to create this with the WSIM? or is it manual?
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LVL 31

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by:merowinger
ID: 24166064
You have to create one :)
have a look at this website...it contains a very cool guide with many screenshots.
This should remove the fog ;)
http://firegeier.unattended-sponsor.de/en/introduction.html
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by:BluJ
ID: 24168081
Thanks mero I will get through this part if you don't mind I will leave this issue open, please check back on it and I'll post you an update, I really appreciate the help!
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by:BluJ
ID: 24168523
Also sorry, do I have to create the Vista.iso on DVD? can I not use different methods? I prefer keeping almost everything network based, we have the environment for it with PXE booting and a WDS server.

The configuration passes for some reason have me really confused still, however that site does clear some of the fog, I think part of the problem is I got so used to mastering the XP 1 image ordeal that Im not thinking outside the box here.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24168552
Dang I clicked to fast also;

here is another question. Isn't it possible to create different .wims from the main .wim? This might be a good option for me as well considering all the labs with specialty software and the mix of x86 and amd64.

I have been using the power of WinPe and created a menu within it so our tech's can quickly select and image and they really only have to make the selection. It should also be known that we usually throw manpower at re-imaging of labs every semester, I'd like to take that factor away as much as possible.
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by:Adam Leinss
Adam Leinss earned 1000 total points
ID: 24170884
WSIM requires that you have a Vista DVD so it can build a catalog with the specific features for that build of Vista.  Once it creates the catalog from the ISO, you do not need the Vista DVD anymore.
Take a look at http://www.leinss.com/vistadeploy.html
You'll mostly work in the OOBE stage and WSIM won't let you put a feature in a stage where it doesn't belong (stay away from the Audit phase...that is for OEMs)
I would make your own WIM instead of using the Vista one, as I believe that one has the system drive as D: instead of C:.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24171946
Alright, another good reference, he is my steps so far, see if I'm headed in the right direction;

I installed Vista fresh on a Dell Optiplex 760. I have it configured how we need it, a simple base image. I then F12,F12 and boot into our WinPE environement. I use imagex and capture a .wim from that. (I did not sysprep yet.)

Now I need to open the install.wim on the Vista DVD and put it into WSIM. What is the distribution point for?
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24172092
See the WSIM Help Topic : Understanding Distribution Shares and Configuration Sets
Basically, it's a store for out-of-box drivers (drivers not included with the original Vista DVD) and Windows updates.
If you are using Microsoft Deployment/SCCM, you won't need this as they provide their own distribution shares for handling this.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24172205
Will BDD work for the deployment of this? If so I can put it on the WDS server tonight and give it a look. This seemed much easier with Windows XP, Im sure its more streamlined now once you figure it out.
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24172280
Yes, you can hook the BDD right into WDS:
http://www.myitforum.com/inc/upload/12238WDS-BDD2007-LTI.doc
Do you have to?  No.  Depends on what functionality you want.
I personally don't use WDS, but just straight WinPE boot media and a plain old distribution share on a XP box.
Once you create the unattend.xml with WSIM, the process is very simliar to XP.  You can embed your drivers in the image, sysprep the image and then capture it to a WIM.
Or you can use WDS by itself.  Or you can use BDD by itself.  Or use SMS/SCCM by itself.  Or use WinPE+ImageX alone to deploy images.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24173682
WinPE+ImageX alone to deploy images

I would prefer to use this method, I dont see that in any of the above links? I see a lot of folks building WinPE, but mine is already in place on the WDS server as I stated we PXE boot to it.

I must be missing the concept completely. BTW I appreciate you guys being patient and helping me out with this, big time!
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24173853
http://www.leinss.com/blog/?p=173

In a nutshell, you can use any WinPE 2.0 distribution + GImageX + supporting files from the WAIK to push a WIM to a blank hard drive.

I actually dumped SCCM for imaging and went with WinPE/GImageX since it was much simpler for a multiple site setup.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24175614
Aleinss,

can you automate the Windows Welcome pretty well? The EULA, product key, etc?

I wouldnt mind if all my technicians had to do was name the pc properly, and join it to the domain. Thats all they have to do now on the XP image. Also do you go cross hardware platforms? Can I use one image for say a HP DC7700 and HP DC7800 or a more broad spectrum of say, all intel chipsets?
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24175665
Yes, all that is done in the unattend.xml file you create within the WSIM.  You can just use WSIM to create your own unattend.xml.  You do not need to do anything with the distribution share.

You can bring in this sample unattend.xml into WSIM to see what I am using for Vista: http://www.leinss.com/files/unattend.xml

Vista is hardware agnostic, so yes, you can use it on many models.  You can do the same with XP really: it just takes a lot more work.
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by:BluJ
ID: 24175680
Yeah I have our XP image working on all models in the buildings. AMD or Intel it doesn't matter. As soon as I get back in the office on Monday I will immediately start on this again and see where I can get with it.

I like the idea of being able to sysprep then capture the .wim in WinPE. Does the Gimagex run from WinPE(I see on the page it says it does) if I place it on a network share?
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24175736
Yes, it runs within WinPE and it will run from a network share.

Remember to set the "flag" to whatever version of Vista you are using.  If you use GImageX to capture the image, there's a drop down where you can select Enterprise, Business, etc.  Make sure you pick the version you are using.

Flags do not have to be set for XP.
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24619285
Point split between me and merowinger
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by:Adam Leinss
ID: 24673992
I believe post http:#a24170884 would be the candidate for the split
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by:Vee_Mod
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