Windows 8.1 - Image / AIK

Hi All,

Our current standard desktop build is Windows 7 Enterprise (x64)

We have some exec machines that are running Windows 8.1 and our current corporate imaging/build method is via SCCM 2007 which does not support 8.1

My colleagues are in the process of rolling out SCCM 2012 but the OSD element of this is a few months off yet.

We are creating a bespoke build on W8.1 for one department and I'd like to identify an easy way to create an image of this build that we can use for rebuilds or additional machine deployments etc.

Someone has recommended the AIK but the only TechNet article I've been pointed to on this is focused on W7 rather than 8.1?
Stuart OramIT Technical Lead (Project Sites)Asked:
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
The WAIK was revised in April and the current download supports 8.1 with notes
Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:

First, I need to correct your opening statement. Configuration Manager 2007 supports the deployment of Windows 8.1 just fine. You just need SP2 or later (i.e. R2 or R3).


If you can't use 2007 and 2012 is not ready, are you asking for "another way" to create your Windows 8.1 image or am I mis-reading. Whether you have SP2 and can use CM after all, it's not the best way anyway.
The best way is:

MDT2013 + Windows ADK 8.1 Update + a VM for the capture of the reference image.

Note, you don't need the update WADK per se.

Note 2: It *is* the WADK not the WAIK. I know it's pedantic but they are totally different products and the WAIK cannot deploy Windows 8. Heck not even WADK 8 can. It has to be WADK 8.1. You have to use very specific versions for everything to work well.

As for your easy way: see this nice walkthrough. No ConfigMan involved.

You can import the WIM this generates into ConfigMan later and layer on drivers/apps/patches as you like. Make sure you integrate MDT too though. It lets ConfigMan use the 300+ features that are pre-written for you: logging, model type detection, app bundling, driver profiles...

Stuart OramIT Technical Lead (Project Sites)Author Commented:

Thanks for your input.

I need some sort of solution to get a deployment image for these machines rather urgently and can't wait until our 2012 deployment is ready. Our SCCM environment is not something I have any control over - this is dealt with by another team of colleagues and I have no more access to it than a standard user would besides a USB flash drive that has our SCCM 2007 images of our Win7 build.

I was pointed in the direction of the above tool by a consultant we have in working on our 2012 deployment but it's not something I've ever used before. Setting up VMs etc for this is simply not an option, so if I've been pointed in the wrong direction for what I need to achieve (quickly), do you have any other suggestions?

Essentially what I need is a stop-gap to cover me that I can rebuild a machine if we get a corrupt OS or hardware failure in the time between now and when we have our 2012 OSD in place. I'm only talking about 3 machines at the moment that could potentially increase to around 5-10 being required before we have OSD in place.
Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:

I see now. VMs are the best case scenario to avoid trouble with drivers. It's possible to do without the VM but needs care. Are you sure you cannot use the free Hyper-V for a single VM?

I guess in your case you need a smaller scale solution, still using MDT. You will need:

an admin workstation with Windows 7 or 8 installed
MDT + WADK installed
a target machine you use as reference
original build media (or ISO) for Windows 8.1

Install MDT and the WADK
Import the W8.1. If you have an ISO you will need to mount it to do the import. MDT needs all the files
Add any critical patches
configure steps for joining the domain etc as per the link I posted yesterday
Create a MEDIA deployment to build an ISO

You now have a bootable ISO you can burn to DVD and build a machine with Windows 8.1. It won't have any drivers on the build. Drivers are the real work. Depending on the model you might be lucky and not have any missing or you might have lots missing. W8.1 will be better than previous versions.

I talk about drivers again but the above is enough for you to do what you want for one (or all) of the 3 machines.

The key step I'm skipping above is the capture. Ideally you would use a VM, install the OS and tweak, patch and then capture that, to use as a blank foundation image. You then use *that* for mass deployment, layering further changes and apps on top.

Stuart OramIT Technical Lead (Project Sites)Author Commented:
Thanks, I will check this out. I'll leave the question open for now until I've reviewed.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Just a thought; for your stop-gap scenario would it not make more sense just to image the systems at risk?  The WDAK* solution would better suit a wide scale deployment which you seem to have covered.

*Thanks Mike - not pedantic at all :)
Stuart OramIT Technical Lead (Project Sites)Author Commented:
I take your point but we do not currently have a tool capable of capturing a W8.1 image to my knowledge. We've previously used Ghost & Acronis but I'm told the versions we have of those do not support W8.1

I am also trying to accomodate a possible requirement to deploy a few extra machines.
Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi Stuart,

Stay away from Ghost. It's scary. MASQ has a good point though. Imaging/cloning tools fit a specific need. They are different technology and only suitable to make completely identical copies of a machine. If you just want to rebuild 3 physical machines you can *still* use WADK. It comes with a command-line tool called DISM that does the capture and deploy. It's a replacement for imagex that came with WAIK and is faster too. The good news is it's free unlike Acronis etc.

The key difference is you need ONE image per model. If you have 3 identical machines but different apps, then you still need different images.

The difference is MDT is flexible and Ghost/cloning is totally inflexible which is why people have moved away from Ghost technology except for a few Luddites :).


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