Windows 7 image deployment questions

ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
Hi guys what is the best way to deploy a universal windows 7 image across multiple different types of hardware. I am currently doing some volunteer work for a charity that refurbish computer equipment so access to hardware isn't a problem.

Basically I want to create a base image that contains all the latest windows updates / fixes for 7 and be able to roll in out to multiple different types of hardware in one hit.

I have access to a old Power Edge server and was thinking of setting up WDS in conjunction with Server 2008R2.

Would this be the best approach and what obstacles would I encounter.

Many Thanks
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Comments

  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,114 ■■■■■■■■□□
    So you want to push out this image from the server to several computers at once. Is this a lab environment or production. I would really hesitant to push a image out to a large number of production computers, what if something goes wrong, you could end up with a lot of headaches trying to fix so many computer to get them up and running. If this is a lab environment where your pre-staging the computers before deploying them, it might be helpful. but personally I rather deploy the image one computer at a time, to ensure there are no issues. You can make several image disks and kick off 5 or 10 images at a time, checking each one on there progress in a lab environment. If you don't have the luxury of having extra computers to pre-stage your deployment, I wouldn't try to image any more then on or two production computers at a time.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • ITSpectreITSpectre Member Posts: 1,040 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Rule #1.

    NEVER EVER under ANY circumstance push a image to multiple computers all at once without testing the image to make sure it works FIRST! Take it from me At a job I had the PC Deployment team ALWAYS pushed out new updates without testing it first and it was always a disaster..... then they had to patch the issue and fix it. Save yourself some headache and get it right first.
    In the darkest hour, there is always a way out - Eve ME3 :cool:
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  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    OP did mention "refurbish computer equipment " so these are not production computers.

    He still need to test out the image.
    WDS should work fine. Do remember to sysprep the image before saving it back to the WDS server.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Microsoft USAMember Posts: 884 ■■■■■■□□□□
    In addition to the sysprep, use the OOBE option if you want the refurb computers to have an "out of box experience". Meaning, the first time Windows boots you have to put in the owner's name, password, computername, etc.
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I need to explain the scenario better. The company refurbishes donated computer hardware for resell. In theory I wanted to setup a way of Installing Windows onto the donated computers faster.

    Instead of having to sit at a desk with a Windows Cd on each individual machine I wanted a way to setup 10 machines in one go on a switch and then pull down a windows image to the clients at the same time.

    Was thinking of going with server 2008r2 and WDS.

    Is this the best approach? How do computer manufactuers? Image there hardware quickly? I am frustrated with the time it currently takes and wish to make the process better by putting some of the donated server hardware to use.

    Many thanks for all input.

    We are a charity so you are providing me with excellent information.
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I think WDS is a good option. I am sure manufactures use either, WDS, or SCCM or just mass image the drives they put in their computers. There is also MDT. I can't remember if you can deploy multiple images at once with MDT but it will allow for a custom package install. There is also a program I used many years ago and not sure if it still is any good but here is the site for it: PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost). I still think WDS would be the easiest and quickest solution.
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The first challenge would be to somehow create a base image which contains the latest Windows updates / fixes intergrated.

    So I can save bandwidth without having to apply updates post install.

    Secondly how do you deal with different hardware / drivers?
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,114 ■■■■■■■■□□
    ally_uk wrote: »
    The first challenge would be to somehow create a base image which contains the latest Windows updates / fixes integrated.

    Look at slip-steaming to create a new image, there are several sites that explain how to do this. Integrated drivers is another matter, there are commercial tools that you can use, but I assume you don't want to spend a lot of money to accomplish this. Windows 7 does a pretty good job installing to several platforms, but you bound to run into issues were you have to hunt down drivers because you don't have a common platform.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    So looking at the project logically I need to accomplish the following.

    1) locate a Windows 7 all version iso that contains all latest updates.

    2) Ceate a base windows 7 image that has windows updates / diffetent apps installed.

    3) work out how to apply the base images to different hardware. Without encounterting Driver issues Bsod.

    4) Setup server and deployment option I will be using WDS and server r2 2008.

    (ideas)

    I was thinking on the deployment server of creating a share dedicated to drivers so I can pull them down once I have deployed a base image? Maybe eventually categorise by model of computer.

    Or if I have 50 computers all the same I could create a image using Acronis of one mschine fully setup and archive it by manufacturer on the server.

    My main concerns are working with diffrrent drivers / hardware I remember trying something similar with Xp and it was a nightmare.

    Thank you everyone for your input.
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you sysprepyour image, the PC will boot up and search for drivers. See https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd799240(v=ws.10).aspx

    It has been a while, but the basic steps are ...

    1) Setup Server 2008 R2 on your Dell server and install WDS. (I assume the server and PCs are in an isolated network)
    2) Add Windows 7 images to your WDS console
    3) Configure your PC to boot from network. Boot up and install Win 7 from WDS server
    4) Customize your Win 7 PC. Run Sysprep and shutdown
    5) Create WDS capture image.
    6) Boot up your Win 7 from the capture image. Capture your Win 7 image into the WDS server.

    Service your captured image; i.e. add patches, slipstream drivers in.....

    Start reading about WDS from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770667(v=ws.10).aspx
    For more info about WDS image, you can refer to https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc730907(v=ws.10).aspx
  • nascar_paulnascar_paul Member Posts: 287 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Mike7 wrote: »
    It has been a while, but the basic steps are ...

    Hit the nail on the head. Couple of suggestions for OP:

    1. Consider using 2012 R2 with a 90 trial. That will give you time to refine your base image(s) and driver load sets (2012 R2 will literally support THOUSANDS - as many as you have disk capacity to hold and they will apply after the base image install)

    2. Consider setting up an AD domain that you've got your deployment switch connected to. That will allow you to use multicast to "plug and play" ANY donated equipment, deploy the image and install whatever drivers are necessary from your repository of device drivers.

    3. Hit youtube for instructions. WDS image management is a DEEP hole, but you should only have to skim the surface to get what you're looking for.

    Happy labbing and PM me for costs of some of that surplus server equipment!
    :)
    2017 Goals: 70-411 [X], 74-409 [X], 70-533 [X], VCP5-DCV [], LX0-103 [], LX0-104 []
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  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hey I will be using server 2008r2 as we already have the donated hardware and license.

    I am a volunteer and the conpany is a charity so finances are not the greatest and I have to make do with what I can find :)

    Regarding drivers I was thinking of creating a share and archive drivers by model of computers. And a seperate share for images.

    The active directory thing sounds interesting do I really need this? Or can I just point each client to the relevant driver share on the deployment server.

    Obviously the whole setup is going to be seperate from the main network im in a small room as was told to get busy I figured there technicians take to long refurbishing and figured there has to be a easier way. :)
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • nascar_paulnascar_paul Member Posts: 287 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Noted: My suggestion may be slight overkill, but the point was to have an environment where you can plug in a machine (or two machines, or twenty), boot from PXE and go do something else. It'll just require some work on the front end, but you can scale from there. One server on your subnet can be your AD Controller, DHCP Server, WDS Server and you can have it going in a week.

    But if you want less configuration you can do something like this:
    Deployment Research > Research
    2017 Goals: 70-411 [X], 74-409 [X], 70-533 [X], VCP5-DCV [], LX0-103 [], LX0-104 []
    "I PLAN to fail!" - No One Ever
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Overkill is allgood :) I like to learn infact I usually dabble with Linux stuff so its kinda kool to see what Windows can do ive got 2 dell poweredges lol
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
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