Offline USB Capture Of Windows 8.1? RRS feed

  • Question

  • We just received new wireless Atom tablets (no Ethernet) running Windows 8.1 Update 1 Pro and we have only been deploying Windows 7 up until now.  It may be possible to get USB Ethernet adapters that would allow network deployment, but we would rather just do it all offline especially since we won't have a wired network available at the remote sites we will be deploying them to anyway.  Might as well just do everything offline from the beginning.

    I'm going to upgrade MDT from 2012 to 2013, manually set up a thick image of one of the tablets with all the apps installed and drivers persistently retained so the deployment task completion can be as fast as possible.

    I have deployed Windows 7 using offline USB before, but I have never captured an image to USB.  Don't capture sequences look for UNC paths to save the capture to?

    I'd like to set up a Sysprep and Capture task sequence for these tablets that can be run entirely offline via USB. 

    How do you configure a Sysprep and Capture task sequence to send the captured image to a folder on the USB stick rather than a network share UNC path?

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 5:17 AM

All replies

  • First off the device is most likely UEFI, which means you're going to need a two partition USB hard drive, or two flash drives.  First partition/flashdrive should be formatted FAT32 and have enough space to house the boot image.  Second partition should be formatted NTFS and should house the \Deploy\ folder.  MDT does not build them out like this so you'll have to manually configure it.  When the device boots it will ask for the path to the deployment share, you simply give it the local D:\Deploy path and continue.  This works for the Surface Pro 3 devices, though its almost always easier to just network boot and network deploy versus manually configuring these for every deployment technician.
    • Proposed as answer by Keith GarnerMVP Wednesday, December 24, 2014 5:40 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Keith GarnerMVP Wednesday, December 24, 2014 5:40 PM
    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 5:36 PM
  • The technicians need the ability to image and reimage the tablets at remote sites where there will be no MDT server available for them to PXE boot to.

    Even if I am able to do the capture of the model image in our office using the network, the techs are not going to ship the tablets back here to be reimaged in the future.  They have to be able to reimage anywhere they are. 

    Even if they have an expansion dock with Ethernet for these tablets at the remote site, there will be no MDT and WDS server for them to boot to at the remote sites.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 5:44 PM
  • So then create a deployment drive as I described above then.  You can also look at Windows 8 recovery toolset for reimaging of units in the field. 
    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 6:37 PM
  • If you mean DART, we don't have Software Assurance, so that tool is not available.

    What do you need to do to make it prompt for the path for save the capture WIM file and will it allow you to choose a local path and not a UNC path?

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 10:32 PM
  • The Sysprep and capture task sequence involves two components:
    1. Running sysprep.
    2. Booting into WinPE, and capturing the source drive to a target *.wim file.
    Do not make the assumption that booting into WinPE requires PXE, it does not, in fact for the Sysprep and capture task sequence MDT will typically attempt to copy the LitetouchPE_Xxx.wim file to local System Partition, assuming that you have enough space. Sometimes OEM configured machines are not given System partitions with enough size to hold the Boot.wim file.
    Secondly, once you have booted into WinPE, you should be able to target your USB drive as a target for the captured install.wim file. It has been a while since I have tried it, but I thought that there is some logic to auto-reconfigure drive letters in ZTIBackup.wsf to support this scenario, I could be mistaken however. Just specify the drive letter that exists when you launch the Sysprep and Capture Task Sequence. However, the most common scenario is to copy the install.wim file to a network share.
    If it does not work, please share the bdd.log file.

    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    • Proposed as answer by Keith GarnerMVP Wednesday, December 24, 2014 5:40 PM
    Wednesday, December 24, 2014 5:40 PM