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Fastest, Fattest/Thickest Image Deployment Possible? RRS feed

  • Question

  • We normally do an thin image that works for all our hardware and user groups that deploys custom drivers and apps as needed via a long task sequence with lots for wmi queries, app installs and driver injections.

    However, we have a laptop deployment  project that we need to get pushed out as fast as possible.

    We would like to get our hour long PXE boot network based deployments cut down to USB offline deployments of 20 minutes or less.

    All the laptops are near identical with identical apps that need to be installed.


    My plan is to install Windows from VLSC media, install all the apps and drivers and then syspep and capture this image.

    Unfortunately, there are some things that cannot be saved into the image such as BIOS updates, TPM firmware updates and AMT firmware updates. I also think software with unique GUIDs such as McAfee agent and SCCM client have to be added during deployment as they are not compatible with adding to a pre-sysprep master image.

    My plan is to install Windows from VLSC media, install all the apps and drivers and then capture this image.  Then deploy the image with USB offline media with a short task sequence that installs the thick WIM file, then runs steps to update BIOS and firmware, installs McAfee agent and SCCM client, join wifi and then join domain.

    Am I missing something? What can I do to make this process as fast and reliable as possible?


    Friday, May 11, 2018 11:39 PM

All replies

  • You got the jist of it: a thick image has it downsides as it needs to be updated frequently to include latest updates / new software versions /updated W10 base OS, but as long as you have your automation in place for quickly rebuilding the image, you are good to go. It is important to keep in mind that certain roles and features as well as software components may not be sysprep compatible or require additional steps to make them sysprep happy. Check the official documentation as it usually contains the necessary information. I worked with a customer a few weeks ago where we transitioned from a thin image to a hybrid / thick image and cut down install times from 1,5-2 hours to 30-50 minutes (depending on HW config) by including latest CU, language packs, features on demand, core applications in the image and only applying BIOS / TPM upgrades as well as some config stuff during target deployments.

    Cheers,
    Anton

    Vacuum Breather Blog | Wing Commander Saga | Twitter

    Note: Posts are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. If posts are helpful please don't forget to rate them as "Helpful" or as "Answer".

    Saturday, May 12, 2018 7:28 AM
  • It is important to keep in mind that certain roles and features as well as software components may not be sysprep compatible or require additional steps to make them sysprep happy.

    The only Windows 10 feature I plan to install for these systems is .Net Framework 3.5 as certain apps don't work or install without it (even some HP driver packages).  Don't know why since I thought the newer .Net Frameworks were supposed to be backwards compatible with older versions.

    One issue I had is that I noticed that when I captured an image from a VM and installed the latest Windows Updates, the cumulative update I just installed still required reinstallation at deployment time.  So, it didn't save any time preinstalling the CU.

    What is the supported way to add Windows 10 cumulative updates such as kb4103721 to the reference image so that downloading, installing and rebooting to apply CUs from WSUS or Windows Update during the deployment process can be avoided?

    Saturday, May 12, 2018 3:01 PM
  • Good question. Assuming you are not injecting language packs at deployment time, which would cause CU reinstall...I remember reading a tweet from @xenappblog he ran into this issue and could work around it by using my offline .NET Framework injection script (https://vacuumbreather.com/index.php/blog/item/40-add-net-framework-offline-using-mdt). Now, I do not remember the exact cause and I can‘t find the tweet in question right now, but it might be worth the try.

    Cheers,
    Anton

    Vacuum Breather Blog | Wing Commander Saga | Twitter

    Note: Posts are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. If posts are helpful please don't forget to rate them as "Helpful" or as "Answer".


    Saturday, May 12, 2018 3:26 PM
  • .Net Framework 3.5 installs and works fine after sysprep and there are no language packs.

    The issue I have had is installing Windows Updates in the reference image, then doing a sysprep and capture including those updates.  

    I would deploy this image, but when I check for updates on the new system, it would reinstall the latest Windows 10 CU that I had already installed in the reference image before sysprep.

    Do I have to inject the CU with DISM instead of adding it with Windows Updates, and if so, do I inject the update in the original Windows 10 ISO, then use that to create the reference image or should I create the reference image without the CU, then inject the updates with the DISM command afterwards?




    • Edited by Kalimanne Saturday, May 12, 2018 4:20 PM
    Saturday, May 12, 2018 4:17 PM
  • Like mentioned above, this guy had issues with update re-install and managed to fix it by applying .NET framework offline. Then again, I do not remember the exact cause so it is probably not applicable here. The most likely cause for a CU re-install is language pack installations (and sometimes, roles activation). Does this apply in your case?

    Cheers,
    Anton

    Vacuum Breather Blog | Wing Commander Saga | Twitter

    Note: Posts are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. If posts are helpful please don't forget to rate them as "Helpful" or as "Answer".

    Monday, May 14, 2018 6:55 AM
  • There a no language packs or roles installed in the master image and there are no issues with .Net Framework feature nstallation.
    Monday, May 14, 2018 3:58 PM
  • I am not installing Net Framework during deployment as the person you linked to seems to be doing.  Both .Net Framework and the latest Windows 10 CU are already added to the reference image prior to sysprep and capture.

    The problem is that when deploying this image to any system, the same CU that was installed prior to sysprep is downloaded and installed again.

    What can be done to prevent this from happening so we can stop wasting this time reinstalling the update on every system?


    • Edited by Kalimanne Tuesday, May 15, 2018 1:01 PM
    Tuesday, May 15, 2018 12:59 PM