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Creating a Pre-Configured Windows Image File

Hi Guys,

I have been asked by my boss to implement a solution where by I create a per-configured windows image. I need it so that I can build an windows image with all updates, software and settings. Then when I build a machine, I simple use this image file to install windows and then simply activate with the new serial for that pc and install drivers (if required). I assume this would be independent of hardware as machines would be different.

Can some please tell a step-by-step way of doing this or if there is a third party software that can do it.

Thanks in advance.
2 Solutions
Don S.Commented:
Look into the Microsoft deployment Tool Kit.  If you want this to work on most any machine, then you will need to have corporate licenses and the licensing Key.  Otherwise, if you are going to use OEM keys, then you will need a different base image built from and for each brand/model group of machine as each OEM install is keyed to that particualr manufacturers configuration.  - just as a note:  for 250 points, you won't get much in a way of step by step here.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
I use a combination of MDT/WDS and Vmware Workstation..
Build out the pc so it's fully patched and the base applications are there.
snapshot the virtual machine
c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown

PXE boot or use the windows pe, imagex to a .wim file and capture the system.
If I wanted I could take a standard windows 7 install dvd, and using a iso/dvd editor replace the install wim with my capture.wim and rename the capture.wim to install wim. and burn a new dvd, usb key to boot the new machines.

After I've captured the system, I restore the virtual machine back to the pre-sysprep configuration and delete the snaphot.

or simply boot the new machine via pxe or the winpe cd and use mdt to install the operating system I captured.
Use WDS, deploy the pre-built image  by PXE.
Sysprep /reseal the image before making it the "gold image"
Note that the pre-built images will only ncorporate the updates that were available when created, but if you enable automatic updates, newer updates shoud be installed during the install process or after the first reboot.
Some link to check:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766320%28v=ws.10%29.aspx  (this is for use with Windows 2003 but usinf Windows 2008 will be very similar)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd348502%28v=ws.10%29.aspx   (for Windows 2008 R2. Less a tutorial though)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771670%28v=ws.10%29.aspx  (Getting Started with WDS on Win2008R2)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770667%28v=ws.10%29.aspx   (WDS guide)
http://blogs.technet.com/b/danstolts/archive/2010/03/11/deploy-windows-7-the-easy-way-using-wds-mdt-and-aik-step-by-step-video.aspx  (very didactic blog article)

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