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Developing Disk Images : Manually Preparing Images, Customizing BDD 2007

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1. Manually Preparing Images

The distribution share and answer files describes to Windows Setup how to install and configure Windows Vista. It includes the settings (answer file) as well as device drivers and packages you want to add to the operating system. It might also contain applications that you want to install.

A common way to deliver operating systems to users is to create an image of the configuration. This is particularly true when the distribution includes other files, such as applications. Creating an image that you install on each destination computer is quicker and more efficient than installing the uncustomized Windows Vista image and then installing applications on each destination computer.

Sysprep prepares a Windows Vista installation for imaging or delivery to end users. Sysprep removes all user-specific information from a system and resets any system-specific security identifiers (SIDs) to allow the system to be duplicated. Once duplicated, systems using the duplicated image will register their own SIDs with the domain in which they are deployed. Sysprep has several command-line options to control its behavior. Table 1 lists the command options.

Table 1. Sysprep Command-Line Options
OptionDescription
/auditRestarts the computer into audit mode. In audit mode, you can add additional drivers or applications to Windows Vista. You can also test an installation of Windows Vista before it is sent to an end user. If you specify an unattended Windows Vista setup file, the audit mode of Windows Setup runs the auditSystem and auditUser configuration passes.
/generalizePrepares the Windows installation to be imaged. If you specify this option, all unique system information is removed from the Windows installation. The system’s SID is reset, any system restore points are cleared, and event logs are deleted. The next time the computer starts, the specialize configuration pass runs. A new SID is created, and the clock for Windows activation resets (if the clock has not already been reset three times).
/oobeRestarts the computer into Windows Welcome mode. Windows Welcome allows end users to customize the Windows operating system, create user accounts, name the computer, and other tasks. Any settings in the oobeSystem configuration pass in an answer file are processed immediately before Windows Welcome starts.
/rebootRestarts the computer. Use this option to audit the computer and to verify that the first-run experience operates correctly.
/shutdownShuts down the computer after Sysprep completes.
/quietRuns Sysprep without displaying on-screen confirmation messages. Use this option if you automate Sysprep.
/quitCloses Sysprep after running the specified commands.
/unattend: answerfileApplies settings in an answer file to Windows during unattended installation. You can create this answer file in Windows SIM.
answerfileSpecifies the path and file name of the answer file to use.

When you’ve created a Windows Vista installation that you plan to image, you then use Sysprep to generalize the system. The following command generalizes the system and prepares it to run the Windows Welcome Wizard on the next restart:

sysprep /oobe /generalize

You can also use Sysprep to create buildtoorder systems. The following command lets you place a system into audit mode on the next restart, wherein you can install additional applications and modify configurations:

sysprep /audit /generalize /reboot

The following command completes the customization and prepares the system to run the Windows Welcome on the next boot:

sysprep /oobe

When all system preparations have been made, the system is ready for imaging. You can load the image onto a DVD, copy it to a network share or distribution point, or leave on the system for use on the next system start.


2. Customizing BDD 2007

You can brand some components in BDD 2007. You can customize Deployment Workbench and the Windows Deployment Wizard. For example, you can customize Workbench.xml in C:\Program Files\BDD 2007\Bin to change the text displayed in the Deployment Workbench title bar and for each item in the console tree. While it’s generally safe to customize the <Name> tag in Workbench.xml, you should avoid changing other tags.

The LTI process is driven by .xml files called definition files. You can brand the entire LTI process by customizing the following files, which are in D:\Distribution\Scripts, where D is the drive containing the distribution share:

  • BDD_Welcome_ENU.xml Customize this file to change the text displayed on the Windows Deployment Wizard’s Welcome page.

  • Credentials_ENU.xml Customize this file to change the text displayed in the User Credentials dialog box.

  • DeployWiz_Definition_ENU.xml Customize this file to change the text for each page displayed by the Windows Deployment Wizard.

  • Summary_Definition_ENU.xml Customize this file to change the text in the Deployment Summary dialog box, which displays at the end of the LTI process.

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