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Custom Image for multiple company computers


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#1 chris1337c

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:10 PM

Hi I currently was assigned the project of creating a custom image to be deployed to salesman computers so that each laptop does not have to be configured one by one.  I have read a lot online about windows deployment toolkit and various other tools in order for this to be done properly.  Some needs that must be met are the following:

-Individual Computer Names

-Needs to be able to join a domain

-Needs an assortment of programs and printers installed

-Typically all laptops are used windows 7 or new laptops with windows 8 that need to be downgraded to windows 7

 

Any pointers, guides, and common problems anyone has run into while trying to implement this solution would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Chris



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#2 wpgwpg

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:19 PM

 Depending on the number of different makes and models you have to set up, you could use a backup/restore for all that are the same make & model.  You can't use that if they differ though because of driver incompatibilities which would likely cause BSODs.  The Easeus Todo Backup program would work well for the same make and model computers.  Once you get one system set up, you run the system backup to an external hard drive.  Then move the external hard drive to the next computer, boot from the backup/restore CD, and in 15 to 30 min., you'll have a working system on it.  I did this many times when I did volunteer work refurbishing old computers.  

 

 I hope this helps.  Good luck.


Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#3 chris1337c

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

The only issue is the make and the model of the computers are all over the place making this task harder.  I need it to be an image that reinstalls windows 7 ultimate 64, and then applies the list of specific programs, computer names, group updates, domains, etc.  Trying to lessen the work load off my shoulders per computer that I configure.



#4 wpgwpg

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:52 PM

 When downgrading from Windows 8 to 7 there're some significant gotchas to watch out for.  Since a lot of new PCs with 8 come with UEFI replacing the legacy BIOS, you have to be sure you can get the drivers you''ll need from the manufacturer.  You also have to be able to get around the way the drives hard drives are formatted because most older programs will see them as having ZERO free space.  Isn't that just lovely!  :dance:  And of course you'll need to be sure you have the ability to go back to a BIOS for booting.  All the new computers will need to have this checked before they're ordered or you'll be stuck with Windows 8.

 

 One thing that works for the apps that I've had success with is to create a folder on an external hard drive with a folder for each app, then make a .BAT file to issue a CALL for each app.  This doesn't work if you have real large apps that come on multiple discs (e.g. MS Office), but you can load it up with a lot, start it, and let it run.  You may need MS Office on these computers, so see if you can get it on a DVD or you might be able to use the free LibreOffice which is just over a 200 MB download.

 

Good luck.


Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:01 PM

I have never done it but you are going to use the Microsoft Deployment toolkit. Here are some links to get you started. There are a lot of other resources you can search for.

 

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

 

MDT 2012 Deployment Guide

 

Deploying Windows 7 using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit   (pdf)

 

#6 SleepyDude

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

Hi,

 

The only issue is the make and the model of the computers are all over the place making this task harder.  I need it to be an image that reinstalls windows 7 ultimate 64, and then applies the list of specific programs, computer names, group updates, domains, etc.  Trying to lessen the work load off my shoulders per computer that I configure.

 

Based on this information In my opinion you will need to do unattended windows installation and not hard disk images.

In theory it should be possible to create a "universal image" with sysprep but it will be hard to fine tune that for all different machines.

 

If you want to include free software Ninite can be useful.


Edited by SleepyDude, 07 July 2014 - 01:39 PM.

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#7 chris1337c

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

I researched sysrep is there a version available for windows 7 I seem to only find support for windows xp am I incorrect?



#8 SleepyDude

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:55 PM

I researched sysrep is there a version available for windows 7 I seem to only find support for windows xp am I incorrect?

 

Sysprep is now included on Windows 7.

 

Windows 7: System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows

Sysprep Windows 7 Machine Start to Finish


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#9 chris1337c

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:38 PM

ok thanks for the help guys



#10 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 07:07 PM

 

 I need it to be an image that reinstalls windows 7 ultimate 64

 

I am not quite clear what you mean when you talk about this in connection with computers running Win 7 and Win 8. I am not talking about the technicalities here but about the licensing implications. If you are planning on installing Win 7 on all these computers I think you would be best to check with Microsoft about any licensing cost implications before you go ahead with this.

 

Just something to bear in mind, especially as you are a commercial company.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#11 chris1337c

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 07:22 PM

I am trying to gain experience in this department I may not have labeled what I am looking for correctly.  The windows installation aspect of it I have a corporate license for so there are no implications there someone stated before that I may not need an image but an unattended windows installation with a customized sysprep injection.



#12 hamluis

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:33 AM

If you have a volume license...seems to me that the MS volume licensing support might be a way to go.  I'm sure they have handled all sorts of situations involving such.

 

Louis



#13 SleepyDude

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:00 AM

I am trying to gain experience in this department I may not have labeled what I am looking for correctly.  The windows installation aspect of it I have a corporate license for so there are no implications there someone stated before that I may not need an image but an unattended windows installation with a customized sysprep injection.

 

Just to clarify, I see two ways to do it...

- Windows unattended install + unattended install of applications and Drivers

- disk image with windows and all the software + SYSPREP + Drivers to create a "universal image"

 

From my experience SYSPREP will remove many settings so if you want to include customizations you need to do it thru Windows Domain (if available) or scripts launched by sysprep on first boot.

 

By the way when playing with sysprep make sure you image the system before and keep the image in safe place because if the sysprep fail it's very easy to kill the all OS installation also running sysprep multiple times will not have the expected results.


Edited by SleepyDude, 08 July 2014 - 08:00 AM.

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#14 WinOutreach2

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 06:00 PM

The right way to do this would be through the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). Some of the concerns in this thread regarding disparate hardware and the concept of different software for different machines are scenarios which MDT was created to address.

 

The general process would look something like this:

  1. Install MDT on the deployment server. This can be on a workstation, but with a full Server environment and access to Windows Deployment Services (WDS) you will be able to boot to MDT over the network via PXE rather than booting USB or optical media.
  2. Import the installation media into the MDT deployment share.
  3. Import application installers into the MDT deployment share.
  4. Create a task sequence to install the operating system of your choice.
  5. Generate media or a PXE boot image to boot to MDT on the remote system.
  6. Perform a bare metal deployment of the choice operating system to your reference machine, preferably to a virtual machine.
  7. Configure your reference image with software and configuration that will be the same across your organization.
    1. Note that you can skip this step entirely and deploy all of your applications, drivers, and settings to an unaltered image if desired. This helps to ensure widespread compatibility of the image, but some configurations may not be supported. For example, without a reference image and Sysprep, you cannot use the CopyProfile command to create a customized local default profile.
  8. Create a Sysprep and Capture task sequence and run it on the reference system, importing the base image to the deployment share.
  9. Import any driver packages required for the various hardware to which you will be installing.
  10. Create a new, production deployment task sequence with the applications and drivers available that are required in the final environment. You can specify which applications will be installed, or allow users to select from a list during deployment.
  11. Customize the deployment share to include the settings of your production network, such as domain join.
    1. Note that most experts agree that it can be easier to have two deployment shares, one for the lab to create images, and a second for production with the information to join a machine to domain, name it, etc.
  12. Launch the installation media or PXE boot target machines and let the deployment begin.

 

A good place to start is the Windows 8.1 Deployment Jump Start on the Microsoft Virtual Academy. This session includes some of the top experts in the field of deployment who do a deep dive into the technology and how to use it to make the task of deployment easier and more efficient.

 

Some other good links include the Deployment Day sessions and the Deploy Windows 8.1 page available on the Springboard Series on TechNet

 

Brandon
Windows Outreach Team- IT Pro
The Springboard Series on TechNet






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