A perfect reference image for Windows is fast to deploy, contains all security updates and all other necessary patches and possibly also applications like Office and least but not last is fully automated to achieve the best possible stability and to avoid the potential of manual errors. This guide is intended to show you how to build the perfect reference image ever made!
 
There is no need to invent the wheel again as this can be achieved very easy in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Start by downloading Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and in the components section make sure to download and install Windows Automated Installation Kit. Start Deployment Workbench and off we go!

Note: This guide applies to everyone regardless if you are deploying Windows using SCCM, MDT or any third party deployment solution.

1. In Deployment workbench create a new share for creating the reference image so start by creating a new one and name it “Build and capture” or something of your choice.

2. Add the OS install files (from an extracted ISO for instance) and repeat for each OS you want to build a reference image for into the "operating systems" folder. Always include the setup files so never install just a WIM file at this stage. If you do not include the setup files you will not be able to deploy the image as it uses setup.exe to do the actual install.

3. Create a task sequence based on the Standard client task sequence (and repeat this step for each OS you want to build image for, leaving you with one task sequence for each OS).

4. For each task sequence edit the task sequence to enable the existing but disabled “Windows Update” step(s).

5. Edit the rules of the deployment share within deployment workbench by right clicking it and choosing Properties. The rules (customsettings.ini) should look like below. Replace the variables BackupShare and BackupDir with whatever the share name and directory to store the images are.

 

[Settings]

Priority=Default

Properties=MyCustomProperty

 

[Default]

OSInstall=Y

SkipAppsOnUpgrade=YES

SkipCapture=YES

DoCapture=YES

SkipAdminPassword=YES

SkipProductKey=YES

SkipUserData=YES

SkipTimeZone=YES

SkipFinalSummary=YES

SkipSummary=YES

SkipLocaleSelection=YES

SkipDomainMembership=YES

SkipComputerName=YES

SkipBitlocker=YES

SkipApplications=YES

ComputerBackupLocation=NETWORK

BackupShare=\\server\share

BackupDir=Captures

 

6. Modify the bootstrap.ini to look like the below information. Replace the variables according to what applies to your configuration.

 

[Settings]

Priority=Default

 

[Default]

SkipBDDWelcome=YES

DeployRoot=\\server\share

UserDomain=CONTOSO.COM

UserID=username

UserPassword=password

 

7. Now add to the Rules (customsettings.ini) a section named like below. This sets the Windows Update to point to your WSUS server, where you are in control of everything that is released by Microsoft and thereby staying 100% in control of what will end up in your image.

 

WSUSServer=http://nameofwsusserver

 

8. To make sure that you get a separate name for each operating system you are building a reference image for edit each task sequence to contain a Task Sequence Variable named for instance:

 

BackupFile=Windows7Enterprisex64.wim

 

9. Update the deployment share to get boot ISO which you use to boot your virtual machine and start the build process.

 

Remember to always build the reference image on a virtual machine to avoid potential problems related to hardware.

You could also add the Office as an application in the Deployment Workbench and to all task sequences that require it to make sure that you have a rapid deployment image ready to go.


References


This article was originally posted on The Experience Blog (www.theexperienceblog.com) - A blog for Windows ITPROs