MDT 2012 Capturing an Image of Target machine RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I am in process to create an image of server 2008 R2 with multiple application with multiple build. each build is different from other server. Hence my question is is there any way to capture an image from target machines instead of reference machine.

    I have already deployed reference computer image to multiple servers and manually installed different set of application in target servers. Hence my requirement is need to  capture an image from those target servers is this possible in MDT 2012.

    Also please advice me if we capture an image from target servers will crate any production issues ?


    Friday, July 19, 2013 7:13 PM

All replies

  • A Sysprep and Capture task sequence is designed for this sort of thing.


    Also, since you are typically going to capture an image with the intention of deploying (meaning you will sysprep), I highly advise against capturing something that is considered 'production.' You'll want some kind of test/build machine for capturing images.

    -Nick O.

    Friday, July 19, 2013 8:22 PM
  • Thanks for your reply.

    Several months back i have already syspreped and capture the image from multiple reference servers which was we already used in production environment. Hence i am going to deployed the existing captured image to new server, make application related changes on top it and plan to execute  sysprep and capture task sequence to capture the updated image from it.

    Is it right way to capture the image from existing gold load build or i need to build the server from scratch please advice. If you have any reference link please share with me that could be great help for me.



    Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:51 PM
  • A few thoughts on building (or updating) a reference (gold) image:

    • It's best done in a Virtual Machine.  This allows you to create Snapshots at different steps in the process in case something goes wrong or needs to be done manually, and allows easy return to a previous state.  It also ensures that no drivers or hardware specific components are part of your image and are only injected during deployment.
    • Don't use a current Production machine, you don't know where it's been.  It's best to build your reference image off of original Microsoft media and add the apps you want included and make your global configuration changes.  This removes the chance of "surprise!" moments when you later find out the machine you captured from had something odd done to it that you didn't know about that causes other issues.  It also enables you to fully document exactly what your reference image has (and just as importantly, doesn't have).
    • It can't be domain joined.  MDT 2012 will fail a Sysprep and Capture if it is still joined to a domain.  However, removing a Production machine from the domain just so you can capture it can cause negative and unexpected side-effects, which is another reason you don't use a Production machine.
    • Patch it up!  Make sure you update all Microsoft and third party patches when building or updating your reference image.  It will only slightly increase the size of your reference image, but will save a LOT of time for deployment (as well as improve customer experience).
    • Thick vs Thin.  Decide now what's in and what's not.  Does every machine require an app, 90%, 80%?  Where do you draw the line for what goes into you reference image and what doesn't (that you'll install/configure later)?  Also understand the implication and maintenance time, size, deployment time, and how often you are going to update the reference image.
    • To Apply Local GPO Package or not.  There are some best practice policies included in these... but if you don't know everything that's in them and/or already manage things via Group Policy, maybe you should disable this step (for both Capture and Deploy Task Sequences).  Nothing is worse then finding out a local policy has been set on all machines and the only way to "undo it" is via a script or application run on every machine.
    • Automate everything!  If you are still manually building a reference image, installing apps, and configuring settings, you are making life hard on yourself (as well as it difficult to be repeatable).  Try to move from using the "Sysprep and Capture" Task Sequence to using a "Standard Client Task Sequence" that installs from original media, runs all the installs and configs (as scripts, reg files, PowerShell, whatever it takes), and then syspreps and captures the image.  It will take a little extra time to do setup and do right, but it will pay dividends in the long run.  Additionally, you can often just replicate it for a new OS and then fix just what broke instead of re-engineering the entire process each time.

    David Coulter | | @DCtheGeek

    Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:11 PM