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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, VMware Player to create virtual machine for WIM deployment in Technical; I would normally use a physical machine to create a base image, sysprep and then use IMAGEX to get a ...
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    kennysarmy's Avatar
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    VMware Player to create virtual machine for WIM deployment

    I would normally use a physical machine to create a base image, sysprep and then use IMAGEX to get a WIM file which we then distribute using WDS. Works well.

    However I am attempting to try the same using a virtual machine as the base image rather than a physical which gives me the advantages of being able to take snapshots along the process of the build.

    Is there anything to watch out for that should be different?

    I know I will need to slipstream in the drivers to the image once created or install them post image.

    I do note that the windows 7 64bit install that I am almost finished with has VMWare tools installed. Can these remain on the image when I run the sysprep part or do I need to uninstall them, and if so does it matter when I uninstall?

    Any help or tips appreciated?

    Cheers.

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    kennysarmy's Avatar
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    OK I think I've hit on a problem!

    My notes for creating the WIM file after sysprep say:

    To capture an image of Windows 7 on the bootable UFD
    1. Insert the bootable UFD into a USB port on the reference computer.
    2. Turn on the reference computer, and then perform the following tasks:
    a. When prompted, open the boot device list. (In most cases, pressing F12 during the basic input/output system [BIOS] splash screen opens the computer’s boot device list.)
    b. From the list of boot devices, select the bootable UFD that you inserted in step 1 to start the computer using the bootable UFD.
    3. At the command prompt, identify which drive contains Windows 7—typically drive D in Windows PE. To verify this, type dir d:, and then press ENTER.
    If you see the Program Files, Users, and Windows folders, drive D contains Windows 7. Otherwise, examine each drive to determine which drive contains Windows 7.
    4. At the command prompt, identify which drive is the bootable UFD
    .

    I cannot see how I can boot from a USB stick and have access to the VMWare Windows O/S.

    I've found online some way to boot off a USB stick using Plop. Which works fine - but it obviously has no way to connect to the Windows 64bit o/s.

    Am I stuck?

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    In VMWare you need to connect the USB stick to the virtual machine; you can then use ESC to choose a boot option (may be easier to use F2 to change the boot option)

    You might find it easier to "snapshot" the physical machine - the easiest way to do this would be to use Mark Minasi's Steadier State setup (Steadier State) Essentially, you boot Window from a VHD with an attached snapshot file. After each change you want to keep you merge the snapshot into the master. Any time you want to roll back you just throw away the snapshot and you're back to the previously saved state.

    At the end of all this you have a VHD which contains your machine. You can either deploy that or you can convert to a WIM.

    One benefit of deploying using VHD is that you can have 2 copies on the machine; if anything goes wrong with the machine you just change your Windows PE loader to point to the non-broken copy and then replace the broken copy while the machine is running (it's just a file)

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    I'm not sure if you can do this with VMware Player, but in VMware Workstation you can map an offline VM's HDD to a drive letter which is visible from the host operating system. From there you can use ImageX to create the WIM image without booting into the VM itself. See steps 58-62 on this website for more details.





    Alternatively, you could run ImageX from a bootable Windows PE ISO and save the .wim to a network share. If you use Client Hyper-V in Windows 8 Pro, you won't need to inject drivers for the virtual NIC (as you would with VMware Player or Workstation).

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    In VMWare you need to connect the USB stick to the virtual machine; you can then use ESC to choose a boot option (may be easier to use F2 to change the boot option)

    You might find it easier to "snapshot" the physical machine - the easiest way to do this would be to use Mark Minasi's Steadier State setup (Steadier State) Essentially, you boot Window from a VHD with an attached snapshot file. After each change you want to keep you merge the snapshot into the master. Any time you want to roll back you just throw away the snapshot and you're back to the previously saved state.

    At the end of all this you have a VHD which contains your machine. You can either deploy that or you can convert to a WIM.

    One benefit of deploying using VHD is that you can have 2 copies on the machine; if anything goes wrong with the machine you just change your Windows PE loader to point to the non-broken copy and then replace the broken copy while the machine is running (it's just a file)
    F2 gets me in the boot options but there is nothing that I can see to allow me to choose a USB stick to boot from

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    I'm not sure if you can do this with VMware Player, but in VMware Workstation you can map an offline VM's HDD to a drive letter which is visible from the host operating system. From there you can use ImageX to create the WIM image without booting into the VM itself. See steps 58-62 on this website for more details.





    Alternatively, you could run ImageX from a bootable Windows PE ISO and save the .wim to a network share. If you use Client Hyper-V in Windows 8 Pro, you won't need to inject drivers for the virtual NIC (as you would with VMware Player or Workstation).
    Thanks - will download the 30day trial version and see if I can work out how to do it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennysarmy View Post
    F2 gets me in the boot options but there is nothing that I can see to allow me to choose a USB stick to boot from
    I don't think you can...

    communities.vmware.com/message/2124396

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Yea - I think I got that far too

    Hopefully VMware workstation will offer this facility or at least a way to create a WIM file from the virtual machine...

    The link posted above to :
    Ashley's Tech Blog: How to create a hardware independent sysprepped WIM image of Windows XP for deployment from Windows Deployment Services
    looks interesting...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    I'm not sure if you can do this with VMware Player, but in VMware Workstation you can map an offline VM's HDD to a drive letter which is visible from the host operating system. From there you can use ImageX to create the WIM image without booting into the VM itself. See steps 58-62 on this website for more details.





    Alternatively, you could run ImageX from a bootable Windows PE ISO and save the .wim to a network share. If you use Client Hyper-V in Windows 8 Pro, you won't need to inject drivers for the virtual NIC (as you would with VMware Player or Workstation).
    Getting somewhere but stuck again!

    Windows Explorer and DOS command prompts under the host can see the mapped drive OK.

    However when I open the "Deployment Tools Command Prompt" I cannot get the drive to open...


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    Quote Originally Posted by kennysarmy View Post
    when I open the "Deployment Tools Command Prompt" I cannot get the drive to open...
    IIRC, you need to create the registry value below (and reboot) to be able to connect to a drive which wasn't mapped via an elevated Command Prompt (as explained in KB937624).

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]
    "EnableLinkedConnections"=dword:00000001

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    IIRC, you need to create the registry value below (and reboot) to be able to connect to a drive which wasn't mapped via an elevated Command Prompt (as explained in KB937624).

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]
    "EnableLinkedConnections"=dword:00000001
    Thanks, but that registry was already set....

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    As a workaround I have installed the VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit which included the dos command "vmware-mount"

    I am able to open the "Deployment Tools Command Prompt" then change directory to the VMware Kit directory to run the "vmware-mount" command:

    vmware-mount W: "D:\VMs64\Windows7x64.vmdk"

    I can then change directory back to the PEtools area and run my imagex command:

    imagex /compress fast /check /flags “Professional” /capture W: D:\install.wim "Windows-7-64-2013-02"

    I could only get this to work if I replaced the spaces in "Windows 7 64 2013 02" with dashes as above.

    It's now sat at the ....Scanning files and directories part of the capture...so hopefully I've cracked it...

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    Sat at Scanning files and directories for ages but now it's capturing the image

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    What i need to do is capture an image from a VM (Win) to a virtual USB. After that we need to test and deploy the image to another VM.

    Is this possible?


    Please help.



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