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windows 7 noob imaging

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Well, I’m new to windows 7 imaging and now we just got in 12 dell 3550 laptops in that don’t come with windows XP drivers so now I have to start using windows 7. We currently use ghost to copy images up to a external HD. Does anyone have a step by step walkthrough on how to image the laptops with all the same settings and also copy the default profile. Yes, I’m a noob when it comes to windows 7 imaging and its nothing like XP use to be.

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There are a few tools you could use to create images and simplify your imaging and deployment process. Perhaps the best place to start would be on the Deliver and Deploy Windows 7 page on the Springboard site on TechNet so as to familiarize yourself with Windows 7 deployment.


The integrated Sysprep utility is perhaps one of the more commonly used options to automate a successful deployment. The official Sysprep utility is located in the folder C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep of the Windows 7 environment. There are some tips that I can give you to assist you both with the use of the Sysprep utility and creating unattend.xml files and then proceeding from there.


The first tip is to use the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK), which includes WSIM (Windows System Image Manager) to create unattend.xml files, or an answer file. The Windows Automated Installation Kit or Windows AIK includes several utilities that can help make using the official Sysprep utility easier than ever. Windows AIK also includes ImageX, which is the Microsoft cloning utility that creates file-based images (.wim) allowing the images to be modified after their creation to apply updates, new drivers, or applications. You can even automate the process of joining a domain. For more specific assistance on domain joining, please use the steps outlined in “Automating the Domain Join” from the TechNet site.

The second tip is to use Audit Mode to customize the system and perform customizations to the default profile. By allowing you to log into the system as Administrator, Audit Mode can significantly simplify the customization process. In order to customize the default profile in both Windows Vista and Windows 7 you will need to make your customizations in Audit Mode, and then run Sysprep with an answer file that has the copyprofile setting enabled.


The final tip I will leave you with is to use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) that combines all of the official tools above into a single workbench interface that can help automate the entirety of the process. Additionally, it is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008 R2, which means learning one utility to do all of your deployments. Furthermore, it is exceptionally useful in creating “universal” images as it can easily add or remove drivers or applications from the deployment images.


For a step-by-step guide to deploying Windows 7 I recommend this step-by-step guide from the Springboard Series on TechNet and the Build a better desktop image resource as it too is a great article with additional detailed information on desktop image management.



Windows Outreach Team – IT Pro

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