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WDS and Windows 7 Image - HELP

OK, I've been trying to make sense of this for a while, reading and reading.  We have a WDS running on 2008 R2 Server. This has been running for a year, but not updated as far as the Win7 image is concerned.  This system/configuration was put in place by my predecessor. I know nothing about how to modify it (it means the Win 7 image being deployed).

We actively use this WDS server to reinstall Windows 7 on a variety of workstations and it has served us well.  But it has gotten to the point that we have soooo many updates being pushed to these workstations that the time to Image and apply the updates is too long (several hours).

Now this is where my novice experience with WDS and Imaging comes in.  How in the heck do I get a new Windows 7 image into WDS?  I need to add Updates/Applications/Enterprise License - using Lite Touch (I think)


1.  How do I create the new image? (no confusing documentation nor web links - I've seen them all already, I promise)

2.  ?

3.  ?

4.  ?


Thanks in advance
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1 Solution
Pradeep DubeyConsultantCommented:
Servicing an Image Offline

Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, right-click the image, and then click Disable. This will allow existing installations to continue, but new clients will not be able to install the image.

Right-click the image, and then click Export Image.

Modify the image by using the tools included in the Windows AIK.

Assuming that all installations using it have completed, right-click the image and then click Replace Image. Then browse to the updated version and proceed through the rest of the wizard.
Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 support offline servicing of images that have been prepared with Sysprep, whereas earlier versions of Windows do not. You service images using the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK). The following are the four high-level steps you will need to perform to service an image offline.
1.Disable the current image. To do this, right-click the image and click Disable. This allows currently connected clients to finish applying the image, but it prevents new clients from starting an installation.

2.Export the image to a location outside of the image store. To do this, right-click the image and click Export. For install images, this combines the metadata in the install image with the resources in the Res.rwm file into a single .wim file and saves it to the destination location (see the following section for more information about how these files are saved). To save space, you can also use the WDSUTIL /Export-Image command to append the images to an existing .wim file. This is also generally faster than exporting it to a new .wim file. For more information about this command, see /export-Image.

3.Service the image. In this step, you update the image using the tools in the Windows AIK. Ensure that you are using the correct version of the Windows AIK based on the operating system of the image. You can mount the image to a folder, and then add the files and folders to the image. You can also load the registry hive to add, delete, or modify registry keys. After all your changes are complete, commit the changes to the .wim.

4.Replace the current image with the updated version. In this step, you add the updated image back to the Windows Deployment Services server. If the previous image is still in use, you have two options:

┬┐ Wait for existing installations to complete, delete the old copy, and then replace it with the new. To do this, right-click the image and click Replace. We recommend this method because any associated external data such as language packs, unattend files, or $OEM$ folder contents will remain associated with the image.

┬┐ Add the updated image as a new, separate image. You must also copy or associate any external data such as language packs, unattend files, or $OEM$ folder contents.

Sometimes it may be more efficient to redeploy and recapture an image to add applications, rather than servicing the image offline. You can perform this task using ImageX, or by creating a capture image. For more information about capture images, see Creating Custom Install Images.

Sajid Shaik MSr. System AdminCommented:
check this link for image capturing...  

and deploy the captured image to new machines


all the best
Pradeep DubeyConsultantCommented:
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lasthopeAuthor Commented:

Good information.  Is it possible to use a freshly installed image on which I have applied the updates and software to create my new Image for deployment?  

And a few follow-up questions:

1. Where do I install AIK? The workstion I want to capture the image from, or the WDS Server?

2. I want the new Image to have all updates - MS, Software, Java, ect.  How?

3. Can I use our standard update process (SCCM) to bring the machine up to date then remove it from the network to do the capture image process?

4. We have an enterprise license.  How is this handled?

5. Do I appear as totally confused as I feel?

Sorry for all the questions but this stuff is a mystery to me and documentation is scant.
Pradeep DubeyConsultantCommented:
Answers is given below :
1) AIK should be installed on the WDS server which will handle *.wim file for the updates.

2) If you want to deploy new image then i would suggest install OS and other applications with the latest update on one machine then use the windows disk to VHD tool and create VHD file of this machine (its very easy and can be done when machine is online). Use this VHD file to create new image in WDS.

This will be a simple process.

3) This is not required when you use 2) point later you can use this SCCM for all machines.

4) If you have volume license then no worry, it can be handled by the AIK.  If you have selected point 2) then its again easy to use same license only once you start the machine just connect it to MS activation server it will activated automatically.

5) Dont be confuse its so easy.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I disagree with pradeep08_81's methodology.  I've talked with a great many people at Microsoft including many Setup & Deployment MVPs - used to be one myself - and I've never heard people recommend capturing an image by using VHD.

I do agree the process is fairly easy IF YOU DON'T OVER THINK IT!

1.  Install a clean copy of Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise using a volume license media.  
2.  Upon the first graphical screen of the install AFTER the initial file copy, enter Audit mode by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F3.  (This reboots the computer and brings up a sysprep prompt on reboot - IGNORE the sysprep prompt UNTIL the image is ready - then use it).
3. Install your updates, software, etc.  DO NOT join the domain. (Sysprep just pulls it out and sysprep is REQUIRED)
4. When you've got everything installed and configured, use sysprep and seal the image - use the SHUTDOWN option and not the reboot. Option.  Upon reboot, it will be as if the image has been deployed - you need to capture it before that process starts.
5. Capture the image. The easiest way is to boot from WDS using a capture image.  If you don't have one, make one, it's as simple as right clicking a boot image and telling it to create a capture image and then providing a NEW name for the capture image.
6. When the capture image routine runs it will ONLY see SYSPREPd volumes.  Further, you must store the image locally - save it directly back to the C: drive.  You can optionally upload it to the WDS server (I've sometimes had problems with this - if it doesn't work, just import the WIM created to the WDS image store.
7.  Your image can now be deployed.

As for the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK/Windows AIK), it can be (and generally should be) installed on a workstation, NOT the SERVER!!!  The kit is used to build an answer file used with sysprep for customizations.  But unless you want to customize specific behavior, it's not really necessary.  A basic answer file can be used that just specifies your volume license key.

Finally, the blogs and posts and documentation made by others are attempts to answer this question because a LOT of people ask it.  If you haven't found one you understand, fine, but the answers provided here are ROUGHER than a fine tuned blog post reviewed and tested.
lasthopeAuthor Commented:
Leew - Thanks for provinding this info. Maybe I've understated the complexity of my situation. There is no way for me to get updates on the New image without joining the computer to the network. We do not, cannot, use Windows Update. Everything is done through SCCM. I can't explain all the details, but SCCM is not an option for deploying images  either. I must use WDS.

I won't be able to get a Clean copy of Windows 7. I have to use the Image we install now, then update it. Is this possible?

Is it possible to sysprep the image after the computer was joined then removed from the network?

How would any of the above change the steps you've outlined above?

If I understand you correctly there is no need for AIK. I am OK with that. Simplicity is what I'm after here.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The AIK/ADK is just helping you build an answer file (and providing a LOT of documentation).  It's not required for imaging.

I'm not sure if updating the image with SCCM while the machine is on the domain will be a supported configuration.

What you're asking is a LOT of non-standard things that are, as far as my experience goes, RARELY needed.  As such, I cannot say for certain how things will work.  

Using best practices is important.

If you cannot use best practices, then I would say you have to experiment and see what does and does not work and this means FULLY TESTING the end result.  If you follow best practices, the time spent doing this is less.  If you don't (or can't) this increases the time it takes and the costs involved.  

There is a limit to the number of times sysprep can be run on Win7 (I believe that limit is gone on Win8).  I would still find a way to capture a pre-sysprep'd image and continually use that for updates if possible.  

I can only speculate as to what might happen if you join the domain - and my speculation is that it will work, but sysprep will remove it from the domain meaning you'll have an orphan workstation in AD.

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