One for the gods of Microsoft

ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
Is there a way to create a Universal XP Image which can be deployed on any hardware, I want the image to contain Driver packs, Windows updates straight out of the box no messing.
What are the downfalls? I remember trying stuff like this in the pass and ending up with numerous BSOD's on different hardware is there a easier way?

Same as above with Windows 7 covering all versions but allows me to create a universal image which contains all the drivers, Windows updates.

Secondly is there a easy way to setup a WSUS without using WSUS, We use a hell of alot of bandwith pulling down Windows updates and i'm thinking there has to be a easier way budget is limited so the cheaper the better / Open Source I was thinking about a Proxy server? i.e Squid good shout?
Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

" Embrace, evolve, extinguish "


  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    XP cloning is a nightmare. Each OEM manufacturer has their own set of OEM files on each XP installation disc. So if you clone from Dell to HP or Samsung or whoever they have different activation files that need to be used. The only easy way of cloning XP is to use VLK licensing which a lot of people don't use or use the same manufacturer.

    You could clone a standard installation and then replace the OEMBIOS files using a script but it's very messy. The files you need are at or on each manufacturers installation disc.

    For Windows 7 it's ALOT easier, just don't use a serial number and leave a copy of the files from and use DriverForge to root out the relevant drivers and copy them over to your fresh Windows installation. Clone the whole system with something like Acronis with Universal Restore and clone it to all your PCs.

    The alternative is to use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012, but I haven't played with that yet, so maybe others will suggest a better solution than what I have given. Deployment is a whole art in itself and it depends what you are deploying and what hurdles you need to overcome be it hardware, drivers, applications.

    As for WSUS are you using 1 server or multiple servers? cause you can point multiple servers to a single master server to save on bandwidth.
  • MrAgentMrAgent Member Posts: 1,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    AFAIK WSUS is a free tool from MS.
    Windows Server Update Services Home

    Unless youre not running Windows Server, why not just use WSUS?
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    Squid cannot "pull down" WSUS updates but it can optimize some of the traffic via caching, albeit not a whole lot. I've worked with Squid a good bit and have seen 3%-12% bandwidth utilization improvement, which any bit helps but it's not tremendous. If you're talking about internal pipe saturation you would want a device like a Riverbed Steelhead for flow optimization but those do not come cheap.
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    WSUS only costs the license of the server on which it runs and it's easy to set up - just use WSUS.

    To approach your Universal Image ideal, you will need to change how you think about your imaging process. A disk-based imaging solution, like Ghost, won't work because you will be constantly cracking open the image to add in the latest drivers and updates. The best I was ever able to do back when I used Ghost was 2 images, and we were standardized on one manufacturer. XP deployment had some extra challenges around support for newer, larger SATA disks, but most of my challenges all those years ago were around the chipsets on the different motherboards.

    Look into the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services. This changes the deployment from disk-based captures to file-based task deployments. The idea is that you use the simplest base image possible - even just the WIM off the Win7 installation DVD - and add in your customizations as tasks. You install model-specific drivers as a task, windows updates or software installation are also tasks. There are tasks for capturing and migrating user data since a file-based deployment does not destroy the existing data on the disk like an image-based deployment. The deployment process takes longer than a disk image, but it is much easier to update any part of the process. MDT is built off VB scripts so if you can script it, you can run it as a task. You can run separate customization tasks for laptop and desktop builds. MDT and WDS are powerful tools that are also free.

    If you want to take both WSUS and MDT/WDS to the next level, you need Configuration Manager. ConfigMgr uses WSUS and WDS but scales them up to what is required at the enterprise level, while adding in more overall management capabilities.
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Currently we do not have a server setup, We have plenty of hardware we can use but licensing is a issue. We refurbish alot of computer equipment, Often involves working on alot of equipment which is the same i.e I could have a batch of HP Laptops all with windows XP and exactly the same model and hardware.

    Currently I set one up sysprep it and create image and deploy using Acronis. We then have to pull down windows updates on each machine which is a pain. I have tried offline WSUS but it fails when downloading updates it gets to 97% and bombs out.

    So if the hardware is the same which is the fastest way of deploying XP on a mass scale, RIS? Acronis? obviously I need a Open Source solution.

    Back to the subject of Windows 7 creating universal images do you use tools such as Nlite to get the job done?

    Many Thanks Guys
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    For OEM installations you should use the generic OEM XP license code. I've never had any luck with nLite after awhile it got very messy with SP3 and subsequent updates it was easier to install all the updates and then clone and replace OEMBIOS files using a script which was equally as messy but at least I had a universal XP image.

    I cloned with Acronis and copied Mass Storage drivers from to the CD for when Universal Restore looks for drivers. That's why I say imaging XP is a nightmare, and I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore! Windows 7 is easy to create a universal image using Acronis &
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The thing with creating a universal windows 7 image that is confusing me is if I image a system and deploy it to different hardware won't there be driver conflicts? The original image would have different installed drivers already installed ( drivers which were automatically detected and installed during the installation process).

    So if the second machine I'm deploying to is different hardware wise does it override default drivers?

    As for creating the image best approach? Sysprep imagex or just use something like acronis.
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I wouldn't worry about the drivers, there are multiple drivers already installed in Windows that you never use. Your biggest problem with a Windows 7 image is getting it to work with SATA & ACHI bios settings (you use AHCI for SSD drives). That's where Acronis and Universal Restore comes in to play. But in saying that try and make as clean an image as possible.

    Don't install Windows 7 with a serial number and take a clone of the system. Clone it to your destination PCs and press Windows key + Pause/Break. Pop the serial number of the machine in and it should activate straight away. You are already using Acronis but does it have Universal Deploy? You can get more details on deployment using ImageX on the 70-686 CBT Nuggets if you have access to that. ImageX gives a cleaner image but Acronis has its strong points as well.. You achieve basically the same thing.

    EDIT - Check this YouTube video on using ImageX
  • RomBUSRomBUS Member Posts: 699 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I would go with WDS/MDT combo, it depends on what version of WDS you use though...the one supplied with Windows 2008 does not provide driver staging to store ALL drivers contained in your image installations while the R2 version does. If you're going to use Windows Server 2008 you're going to use MDT to deploy/stage drivers in your images (using the Task Sequences). Using Windows Server 2008 R2 you can perform this without MDT 2010.
  • ally_ukally_uk Member Posts: 1,145 ■■■■□□□□□□
    would this work? Install windows 7 don't enter product key, install all updates, and software required. Stick driver packs on the c:\ (there is a specific location windows scans I'm not sure what the directory is)

    Run sysprep and boot Acronis or imagex to capture.

    Question is this is flawed right? What about boot critical drivers for different hardware such as Sata drivers? Where does this fit into the process.

    Interesting thread I have started :) there appears to be many ways to get the job done
    Microsoft's strategy to conquer the I.T industry

    " Embrace, evolve, extinguish "
  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Yup, many ways to do it.

    1. Put Mass Storage drivers on USB
    2. Boot up Acronis CD with Universal Deploy - point towards the USB key when Universal Deploy kicks in for SATA drivers if required.
    3. Clone Windows over.
    4. Open up folder on the desktop with and DriverForge - run Driverforge which extracts drivers and installs relevant drivers only.
    5. Delete the folder on the desktop it's done its job.
    6. Windows Key + Pause/Break - enter the right product code for the version of windows you cloned over. It should activate no problem.

    SATA drivers are installed by Acronis only if they are needed. Most Windows 7 machines are running in SATA IDE mode unless you have an SSD in which case you are running in AHCI mode. If you clone in IDE mode and boot in AHCI mode you will have a problem (BSOD) so if you are using an SSD clone in AHCI mode and boot with AHCI.

    The WDS/MDT method is a bit more involved if you ask me but then it's free with Server license and you can create a seamless deployment method with it without much user interaction, but it usually doesn't like legacy OSs from what I've seen.
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