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O/S Deployment Thread, Is it time to change our imaging method?? in Technical; Hi This our scenario. For system imaging we've traditionally built a hardware specific image and used 3rd party imaging software ...
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    Is it time to change our imaging method??

    Hi

    This our scenario. For system imaging we've traditionally built a hardware specific image and used 3rd party imaging software such as deploycenter or currently clonezilla. Its a very much hands on approach but has so far been a reliable if slightly labour intensive form of imaging.

    However.

    We are now using Windows 7 as standard. We've ran into a few issues, mainly regarding the sysprep utility. It would seem every time we try and 'sysprep /generalise' the image a second time, ie after modifying the image we're getting an error message and sysprep is not working. Its something we are looking into and suspect it could be something to do with KMS and licensing. Never had this problem with XP sysprep.

    It may be time though to start getting a bit more radical with our imaging process. I know Windows 7 has a built in imaging tool called ImageX and DISM etc. How many people on here use the Microsoft way of imaging? I am presuming you can have a single disk image that can be loaded up with applications that can be deployed to different hardware. I presume individual drivers for specific kit can be configured along the line? Or is it a case of only being able to push out a copy of windows to different types of hardware with applications being installed as packages afterwards?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    cheers

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I'd suggest searching edugeek for mdt 2010.

    Ben

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    Michael's Avatar
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    You can only run 'sysprep /generalize' command upto three times on Windows 7. You'll then reach the rearm limit as it's referred to and you'll need to start again. Some websites claim there are ways around it, but you're just as well to keep a non-sysprepped copy of an image.

    If you google rearm limit, you'll find more information on this. It's nothing to do with KMS or MAK licensing whatsoever I'm afraid

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    DrCheese's Avatar
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    eh, I cheat with the rearm limit :P

    I have my image on a VM, I take a snapshot just before I sysprep it. Once I've uploaded it to our imaging server, I snapshot it back to that point.

    Then I can run any updates on it future and just resysprep it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    You can only run 'sysprep /generalize' command upto three times on Windows 7. You'll then reach the rearm limit as it's referred to and you'll need to start again. Some websites claim there are ways around it, but you're just as well to keep a non-sysprepped copy of an image.

    If you google rearm limit, you'll find more information on this. It's nothing to do with KMS or MAK licensing whatsoever I'm afraid
    Cheers, keeping a pre-sysprep image sounds like a good idea. I guess its a case of then re-imaging, booting up, running sysprep, and then doing the usual. I guess the only thing to look out for here is not to boot it up plugged into the network as there will be some kind of network name clash if you do it withe multiple machines.

    Are we also safer taking the image as a workgroup PC rather than joined to a domain? Or does it really not matter.

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    As Michael said, you only get so many rearms on Windows 7.

    --
    From: Sysprep SkipReam - How many re-arms do I have left?

    You can follow these steps to check how many rearms you have left:
    1 Click “Start Menu”
    2 Input “slmgr.vbs -dlv” in the Search Box and press Enter
    3 After a few seconds, you will see a screenshot
    On this screenshot, you can find how many rearms you have left on “remaining Windows rearm count”
    --

    If the count is zero, when you try to sysprep it will bomb.

    We have started imaging on a virtual machine so we snapshot before we sysprep and can roll it back whenever we want to a non-syspreped image

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    eh, I cheat with the rearm limit :P

    I have my image on a VM, I take a snapshot just before I sysprep it. Once I've uploaded it to our imaging server, I snapshot it back to that point.

    Then I can run any updates on it future and just resysprep it.
    This is how I've been building our images too. Do it all in VirtualBox, snapshot regularly, and only sysprep once you have a snapshot sorted just prior.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superatticman View Post
    Are we also safer taking the image as a workgroup PC rather than joined to a domain? Or does it really not matter.
    Yes, keep it off the domain, MDT is a good call, we use this with a VM clean base image and it works well.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Yep as others have said, you should keep it off the domain, but it won't harm it to join the domain then demote it from the domain later on for example.

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    Second MDT. Would recommend you take a look at MDT 2012 now as its the latest version that has been released. The guides related to 2010 will work just the same, its just some functionality and the GUI within PE that has changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    eh, I cheat with the rearm limit :P
    I wouldn't call that cheating. If you are creating images directly on a real physical PC you are doing it wrong!

    Not only does it take a lot longer, but you are also going to include hardware-dependant drivers in your hardware independent images - 'IntelPPM.sys' being the best example.

    Btw, Windows 8 does away with the sysprep limit...

    You no longer have to use the SkipRearm setting to reset the Windows Product Activation clock when you run the Sysprep. In Windows 8, the SkipRearm setting is used to specify the Windows licensing state. If you specify a product key, Windows is automatically activated, and you can run the Sysprep command an unlimited number of times. (Source)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Btw, Windows 8 does away with the sysprep limit...
    That would be wonderful if Windows 8 wasn't horrible

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Moving to O/S deployment forum.

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