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Creating a Windows 7 image

Posted on 2013-12-20
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Last Modified: 2014-01-26
I have been trying to create a  Windows 7 image to be delpoyed to all the systems that we are upgrading from Windows XP to 7. I have tried to have follow the instructions at this link
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee523217%28v=ws.10%29.aspx
However when l try and To create a bootable UFD with Windows PE it fails. I am using a USB 500GB as a UFD, but when l try to run the command  format fs=fat32 quick it fails which leave me to use a 3rd party formating software found at this link http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm
However when l try and boot with the USB drive it does not work. I would apprecaite your assistance.
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Question by:Go-micro
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by:Norm Dickinson
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You may have to make a setting adjustment in the BIOS of the machine you are trying to boot to allow it to boot from the USB device, and / or to move the device higher in the priority of boot devices.
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by:Michael Machie
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I would use 'Sardu' to create bootable USBs for installing O/s's. I use this single flash drive (32GB) I created with Sardu for installing all my various Windows, Linux, and MAC O/S's, as well as my recovery and diagnostic programs - all on ONE USB drive!
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0CFUQtwIwBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoJTplfggWSc&ei=qoK0UpjyIJOrsQTu5oHgBw&usg=AFQjCNGurseeO2C6sTDCe9Zka6KRcmm-GA&sig2=6qnKhIBrFHlvk-IOdup2GA&bvm=bv.58187178,d.cWc

Next, make sure your BIOS is set to boot from USB devices. Also, sometimes some model machines do not see/access USB drives over 4GB in size properly (such as Lenovo X-series ThinkPads). Generally they will begin the boot process off the USB drive but then hang or error out.

You can insert the USB HDD in any windows machine and manually format it to FAT32 and perhaps that will get you past that issue.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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I wouldn't bother with that step.

If you have a Windows server (2003 or later) install the Windows Deployment Services and use that to capture and deploy the image.
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by:Go-micro
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Thank you for all your responses, tqfdotus l have changed the boot order to boot from USB but that still fails. leew I am not permitted to install the WDS as we that  would require a test server install.Machienet I will need to test out your solution and let you know if your suggestion works for me.
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by:Norm Dickinson
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Maybe try to boot from a different USB port? Sometimes there are only certain ones that are bootable.
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by:Go-micro
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Machienet, l have tried your method, however when l try and boot from the USB drive l get an error message that says Could not find the kernel image can you please advise. I also made sure that the USB drive was formated to FAT32
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by:Norm Dickinson
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See these tips for creating a boot drive: http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm and start with just a generic bootstrap without all the files you need, just to make sure you can boot from the device/pc combination. Then add what you need to narrow down the problem.
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by:Go-micro
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Anyway l have now managed to boot from the Usb drive. However when I use the free dos prompt in the trinity rescue kit and try and locate the c-drive of the computer l am trying to image, it cannot be found.  What can l do as need to run the windows commands that will allow me to image the computer. I would appreciate your assistance
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by:Norm Dickinson
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Perhaps you need a smaller partition on your 500 GB USB drive that is compatible with FAT32. The limits for FAT32 volume size is about 32 GB. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc938432.aspx. So maybe create a small boot partition for the drive and format it as needed? Then leave the rest of the drive unpartitioned so it doesn't eat up your drive letters and cause other issues.
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by:Go-micro
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Thanks Tqfdotus, l will try and it with a drive less than 32GB and get back to you.
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by:Go-micro
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Tqfdotus, I have tried using a 30Gb flash drive but it still fails.I can boot from the flashdrive  using third party software Sardu, however l cannot access the c-drive of the system  I am trying to image so that l can run commands to create the image. I am not confident that the Windows method that is in his link actually works http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee523217%28v=ws.10%29.aspx
Maybe a completely new method is required.
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by:Norm Dickinson
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Have you taken a fresh step-by-step strict approach to the directions? If so, what step failed? What message comes up when it fails? Do the steps on the technician computer fail or on the target computer? There are a lot of particulars in this article and each step is required in exactly the same format. Also, if you have encrypted the hard drive or a section of it, that may prevent access, as could some anti-virus software. Maybe you need to start again with a fresh installation in a test environment taking care to follow each step?
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by:Go-micro
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Hi Tqfdotus
The process fails in a few places when l start the Deployment tool command prompt and then run diskpart and then run the disklist command, it does not not list the 30Gb flashdrive. However when l insert the 500Gb USb external drive it is listed but it won't allow me to format it to FAT32 unless l use a third party software and when l add the necessary files on the disk to make it bootable, it does not boot. I have gone through the steps carefully but l am losing hope in the process
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by:Norm Dickinson
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Can you connect the 500 GB USB external drive to a working Windows machine, bring up Computer Management > Disk Management, and remove any existing partitions, then create a single new volume with FAT32 that is, say, 30 GB? Then try using that alone with no other partitions defined on the external drive? Just leave the rest of it as unallocated space.
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by:Go-micro
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Thanks Tqfdotus, l have found what is wrong with the process not working it's because  I  use  Windows XP as personal work computer, therefore the commands were not working via the Deployment tool command prompt. I have used a Windows 7 computer and it worked with the 30Gb flash drive. However l am still working on the image so wil update you on my progress
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by:Norm Dickinson
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That's a good step, and each step may have other little things that we can work thru as well...but I have faith in the process when performed from a clean test environment.
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by:Go-micro
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I have now faced with another problem,  when l run the command
 
F:\imagex /compress fast /check /flags "Professional" /capture D:  F:\install.wim "Windows 7 Professional" "Windows 7 Professional Custom"

After copying reaches 47%  I get an error that says :

Error imaging drive [d:\]

There is not enough space on the disk.

F is my 30GB usb drive and D is the  drive on the computer l am trying to image. I would appreciate your assistance
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by:Norm Dickinson
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If 32 GB is not enough space - and it appears that it is not - then FAT32 is out of the question, as that's the largest volume supported. Try this. Start the process over and this time create a 128 GB partition using NTFS to see if that works? The other problems you were having may have been unrelated to the type of file system you were using and more related to trying to run them from XP.
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by:Go-micro
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I am not sure if  that is the problem as l am now using Windows 7.
The reason for the error is most like due to the file size limitations of FAT32 files.

FAT32 partitions can only supports a maximum file size of 2-4GB depending on implimentation.  If the file exceeds this size it will produce errors.

Formatting as NTFS will allow the file size to be upto 16TB.  
 
I will test and see if this works.
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by:Norm Dickinson
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Yes, that is another limitation of FAT32. Also you may want to disable and delete swap and hibernation files prior to imaging.
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Go-micro earned 0 total points
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I have managed to create the image by formatting using  NTFS as opposed to using FAT32 as recommended by Microsoft using a 2x 30GB flash drives. Anyway thank you all for your assistance.
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by:Norm Dickinson
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You're welcome. We are here to help. Also just for the record, we are all volunteer experts here and the only incentive we get is the points you award us for trying to help you, so it would still be customary to award points to the most helpful answers that got you closer to the answer, but the choice is yours. You can read about it below by clicking "Point System" under "Our Community" to see that we get a free membership in exchange for accumulating points, and points are free to give as you see fit. Thanks and good luck!
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by:Go-micro
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Although Microsoft recommends that you create and the image by formatting using FAT32,  which is not sufficient when you addition programs to the image, because FAT32 partitions can only supports a maximum file size of 2-4GB depending on implementation. Therefore by formatting using NTFS allows files sizes of up to 16TB. However l have found that using external drives of more than 32GB  or 200GB did not work as the disk did not boot. However 2x 30GB were sufficient for this issue.
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