Jump to content

Welcome to MSFN Forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. This message will be removed once you have signed in.
Login to Account Create an Account


Photo

Windows PE with ImageX vs. System Center Configuration Manager

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts
Hi guys,

I'm a total newbie around here so let me start by saying you guys have an awesome forum. Tons of great information here. I'm just posting this thread because I'm looking for some specific Windows deployment advice from people (like you) who are way smarter than me. Let me give you some background on my issue:

I was one of the first hires in a brand new IT department that was formed by my present employer 4 years ago. Basically they had experienced some phenomenal growth through acquisitions and brought my team in to clean up several messes that resulted from growing really big, really quick. Since then we've engaged in and had great success in a number of high-profile "clean-up" projects which has gained my group full support from upper management. Last year my company sent me to Tech-Ed on an "information gathering" assignment to help us better leverage some of the Microsoft products we purchase. One item in particular we were hoping to get a handle on was anything that would allow us to take a more automated approach to OS deployment. Needless to say I was pretty exited when I attended a session on Windows PE and ImageX because that looked like the exact sort of thing we were looking for.

I got back all supercharged to roll this out and it turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. Specifically I was having a real hard time finding documentation and online "How To's" to help me get this set up quickly. Thank God that I sumbled across this place and found IcemaND's *wonderful* guide to using ImageX:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=101383

IcemaND, you are a lifesaver. Anyway I was able to use his guide to set up disk imaging with Windows PE and ImageX at our company for the first time. Now using that as a foundation we want to take it to the next level. Our goal is to create a single "model independent" image that has all the necessary drivers and company apps rolled in, but I honestly have no idea how to do this. I am told that this can be achieved with ImageX, but I can't seem to find any guides or tutorials on how to do this. Also we are planning to roll out Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager later this year and I understand it has some sort of built-in imaging component as well. What I'm trying to ask is, are there any tutorials out there for making these single "base" images that can be used on any computer model and should I use ImageX to build these or the tools that come bundled with System Center? Anyone have experience with either or both that can advise?

Thanks in advance!


How to remove advertisement from MSFN

#2
jaclaz

jaclaz

    The Finder

  • Developers
  • 13,388 posts
  • OS:none specified
  • Country: Country Flag
Hmmm. :unsure:

Expecially in a Corporate Environment, I would DOUBLE check if you are allowed to "join two planks":
http://www.911cd.net...o...9355&st=134

Also, I think this KB is still valid. :unsure:

http://support.micro...kb/935467/en-us

jaclaz

#3
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts
Thanks for your response Jaclaz,

To answer your question "no" I am not asking how to use it as a backup mechanism. Rather I am looking to streamline deployment of new computers by automating driver and application installs to either run when a single image is loaded or to have those applications and drivers contained within a single image. This is "fair use" of ImageX as they were giving sessions on this very topic at Tech-Ed. To use their terms I'm looking to set up a highly customized "Lite Touch" or "Zero Touch" deployment.

Does that make sense?

-ZeusABJ

Hmmm. :unsure:

Expecially in a Corporate Environment, I would DOUBLE check if you are allowed to "join two planks":
http://www.911cd.net...o...9355&st=134

Also, I think this KB is still valid. :unsure:

http://support.micro...kb/935467/en-us

jaclaz



#4
Lasray

Lasray

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 20 posts
Let me see if I understand you correctly.

You are wishing to add drivers for all your tyes of machines in a single wim image file.
Place that wim image file on, say, a WDS server so that multiple PC clients can boot from it, enumerate its own drivers and then deploy applications to the machines?.

If so then there is documentation in the WAIK folder when you installed the WAIK tools.
The PEIMG /inf command will add the drivers to the wim image when mounted and once you finished with the wim file you could place it on a WDS server.
Once on the server you could stop/start wdsserver service and then PXE boot the client PCs to pick up the new image from the menu.
After the PC has booted and enumerated its onboard components with the drivers you could have a bat file to automate the application deployment.

I hope I got it right and been helpful.

Ray

#5
cluberti

cluberti

    Gustatus similis pullus

  • Supervisor
  • 11,247 posts
  • OS:Windows 8.1 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
From what you appear to want to do, you may have good luck using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, rather than hackery. There's a webcast available for it, and the help files installed with the product are INCREDIBLY useful. Plus, MDT is basically a subset of the imaging component of System Center, so working with MDT for a lite touch is easily transferred to SCCM (in fact, there's documentation on how to do it in the product). It can do things like drivers, apps, etc, and can be targeted as you want.

#6
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts
Lasray and cluberti, you nailed it. Both of you perfectly outlined what I want to achieve. I have to confess I'm a bit embarrassed that I do have the Windows AIK installed and did not check the help files. Honestly I'm so used to help files from Microsoft being extraordinarily obtuse and poorly written I usually hit the web for assistance before I ever even consider consulting help files. cluberti I'll be sure to check out that webcast too, because I really prefer watching a tutorial to reading through help files. I'll look at that first thing tomorrow. In the interim I have just a few more questions for you guys.

For cluberti:
I had a feeling the MDT was a subset of the imaging tool in SCCM (that just makes sense). You mentioned that "lite touch is easily transferred to SCCM" and "documentation on how to do it in the product". Where is this located? In the help files? Also I was hoping to convince my boss that SCCM and ImageX were closely related and Images built with one or the other were probably easily made interchangeable. You don't have a link to a KB article or something I could pass along to him to prove that point do you?

For Lasray:
Do all the drivers have to be in the form of an INF file? All our computers are HPs and we download the drivers from their site as EXEs then they get extracted to folders on the hard drive when we install them. Can I somehow move these folders somewhere and use the commands you outlined to add them to the image? Does the documentation you mentioned in the WAIK folder spell out how to handle scenarios like this in a clear an easy manner?

Sorry guys I know these questions may seem pretty basic but this is all totally new to me. I've been tasked with building this on my own and have no frame of reference for best practices or anything. So far everything i've done has been achieved through trial and error and I really wish I had one of you standing over my shoulder just showing me how to do this.

Thanks for all your help!

Edited by zeusabj, 26 January 2009 - 11:56 PM.


#7
cluberti

cluberti

    Gustatus similis pullus

  • Supervisor
  • 11,247 posts
  • OS:Windows 8.1 x64
  • Country: Country Flag

In the help files?

LOL - perhaps you should look? You seem to have learned your lessons :).

#8
jaclaz

jaclaz

    The Finder

  • Developers
  • 13,388 posts
  • OS:none specified
  • Country: Country Flag

Honestly I'm so used to help files from Microsoft being extraordinarily obtuse and poorly written I usually hit the web for assistance before I ever even consider consulting help files.


Well, there are exceptions needed to confirm the rule.....:whistle:

Just for your entertainment ;):
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=3541

http://www.jazzkeybo.../qarticles.html

:P

jaclaz

#9
Lasray

Lasray

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 20 posts
To zeusabj:

All our computers are HPs and we download the drivers from their site as EXEs then they get extracted to folders on the hard drive when we install them. Can I somehow move these folders somewhere and use the commands you outlined to add them to the image?

Yes, if you copy those drivers and place them into c:\drivers for example, then use the command
peimg.exe /inf=c:\drivers\inf_name.inf <your mounted image>\Windows

Does the documentation you mentioned in the WAIK folder spell out how to handle scenarios like this in a clear an easy manner?

In the WAIK manual there is a section "Walkthrough: Create a Custom Windows PE Image" that may be useful to you!


So far everything i've done has been achieved through trial and error and I really wish I had one of you standing over my shoulder just showing me how to do this.

Any jobs going there?

#10
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts
Guys,

Thanks so much for your patience and diligence in answering my questions. I just got through watching the webcasts cluberti linked to and they were *exactly* what I was looking for. A simple step-by-step tutorial that just spelled everything out. Honestly at this point I think the only thing I might be missing is a few custom scripts and some of those sweet custom commands he ran to do certain tasks but I suppose I can get that taken care of with time.

Thanks so much for all your help, I'll let you guys know how it goes!

#11
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts

So far everything i've done has been achieved through trial and error and I really wish I had one of you standing over my shoulder just showing me how to do this.

Any jobs going there?


Come on over!

:thumbup:

You'd have to move to the US though!

#12
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts
These are awesome! Passed those links along to some people in my group.
:lol:


-ZeusABJ

Honestly I'm so used to help files from Microsoft being extraordinarily obtuse and poorly written I usually hit the web for assistance before I ever even consider consulting help files.


Well, there are exceptions needed to confirm the rule.....:whistle:

Just for your entertainment ;):
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=3541

http://www.jazzkeybo.../qarticles.html

:P

jaclaz



#13
WreX

WreX

    Junior

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 84 posts

Do all the drivers have to be in the form of an INF file? All our computers are HPs and we download the drivers from their site as EXEs then they get extracted to folders on the hard drive when we install them. Can I somehow move these folders somewhere and use the commands you outlined to add them to the image?


If you don't see *.inf and other files in the folder structure of the driver download, you can usually launch the .exe and without going through its install and find the files in a temporary folder (i.e. \WINDOWS\TEMP, \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp, etc.). If all you have is a .msi file, you can usually extract its contents with the command "msiexec /a MSI_FILE_NAME.msi" and use the wizard to specify a folder. You can then look through the folder(s) for driver files.

#14
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts

Do all the drivers have to be in the form of an INF file? All our computers are HPs and we download the drivers from their site as EXEs then they get extracted to folders on the hard drive when we install them. Can I somehow move these folders somewhere and use the commands you outlined to add them to the image?


If you don't see *.inf and other files in the folder structure of the driver download, you can usually launch the .exe and without going through its install and find the files in a temporary folder (i.e. \WINDOWS\TEMP, \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp, etc.). If all you have is a .msi file, you can usually extract its contents with the command "msiexec /a MSI_FILE_NAME.msi" and use the wizard to specify a folder. You can then look through the folder(s) for driver files.


Thanks WreX,

Experience has shown me that HP drivers do extract to a folder named "swsetup" on the C:\ drive, but certain items seems to have installers associated with them even after extraction. Two examples are the HP Hotkey Utility and the Synaptics Touchpad. I'm wondering if I should just set these up as applications rather than drivers and just script the install.

Any thoughts on that?

#15
WreX

WreX

    Junior

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 84 posts
I'd have to see the specific downloads to say for certain, but I know for our Dell laptops with touchpads I have been able to either put the contents of the download in a driver folder for SysPrep to pick up or launch the installer and get the files from a temporary folder. Of course, if you can't get the goods that way, you'd have to script the install.

#16
zeusabj

zeusabj

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 34 posts

I'd have to see the specific downloads to say for certain, but I know for our Dell laptops with touchpads I have been able to either put the contents of the download in a driver folder for SysPrep to pick up or launch the installer and get the files from a temporary folder. Of course, if you can't get the goods that way, you'd have to script the install.


Yeah its frustrating because I'm basically having to build all this stuff from scratch with no frame of reference. I can read howto's on websites, but something this complicated tends to require a more hands on approach of "trial and error". Wish these was someone local that was on my level and could help me, but I'm the only game in town (as far as I know). Oh well, I'm making progress, its just slow going.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users



How to remove advertisement from MSFN