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Hardware Neutral Imaging...


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10 replies to this topic

#1
Dechy

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Again, unless I'm missing something from my reading up on things / my own testing, seems MS just can't totally do the whole neutral imaging thing with 100% success.

All I'm trying to do is see if they fixed the dreaded imaging between Intel & AMD based systems (usually intelppm.sys is the culprit, at least it was for XP).

Load up & configure W7 on an AMD system. Sysprep it. ImageX it. Apply it do an Intel system and it hangs 100% of the time, can't get past the Sysprep screens (more specifically, gets stuck on Setup is starting services).

This is even worst than the XP issue, because you COULD image from AMD to Intel, but not the other way around without disabling Intelppm.sys service, renaming it, or whatever.

Our department has 26000 users & 36000+ desktops / laptops, and the AMD/Intel imaging problems has always given us a problem... I had high hopes for the hype surrounding "Hardware Neutral Imaging"...

Anyone else with experience to this problem?


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#2
Tripredacus

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For generic images, I always install Vista, then do reg-tweaks or GP edits, then capture. I never install any software or drivers. And always use the generalize switch for sysprep. I then have hardware specific images for a couple setups.
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#3
Noise

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I've deployed literally over a hundred thousand WinNT/2k/XP/2003 systems using scripted deployments and they all worked perfectly. The same deployment works for Intel/Amd CPU's - Nvidia/AMD/Intel chipsets. As long as the drivers were in the OemPnPDriversPath. Using scripted deployments you can also easily modify the Default User profile. Sure, scripting a deployment is a pain compared to imaging - but the rock-solid, efficient Windows installation you get is worth the effort. I've been an adamant hater of using images for Windows deployments since 1994.

Now, I haven't had to do a Vista/2008/Win7 deployment yet. Is it true that you can ONLY deploy using imaging? Is there no scripted solution like in Windows 2003 and earlier? I can't imagine that Microsoft would screw up that bad... well, yes I can imagine that - but I hope it isn't true.

#4
cluberti

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I just took your challenge and it worked fine, and I was able to do it on a Vista image as well. sysprep /generalize is all that's needed for this to work, so if you're having issues it's probably not the fault of Windows.

Now, I haven't had to do a Vista/2008/Win7 deployment yet. Is it true that you can ONLY deploy using imaging? Is there no scripted solution like in Windows 2003 and earlier? I can't imagine that Microsoft would screw up that bad... well, yes I can imagine that - but I hope it isn't true.

Vista/2008/W7 are all images to begin with, so there's no "scripting" per se like the old NT installer the previous versions of Windows use - however, because the imaging is done from WinPE, you can drop the .wim image of a Windows install down onto a machine, and since you're still in WinPE, you can do whatever you'd like to it before it boots (and there are still methods using unattend and .cmd files to automate things once Windows reboots and starts applying). This is *far* more powerful than the old NT installer, not worse.
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#5
Noise

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Thanks for the info Cluberti. I'm intimately familiar with PXE booting and WIM images, so I guess I'm half-way there. A couple questions though...

How are drivers integrated (Updated NVidia Drivers, IntelINF, etc)? Do we peimg /inf or something similar?
How is the default user profile modified like at T-12 in unattended installations?

#6
cluberti

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Thanks for the info Cluberti. I'm intimately familiar with PXE booting and WIM images, so I guess I'm half-way there. A couple questions though...

How are drivers integrated (Updated NVidia Drivers, IntelINF, etc)? Do we peimg /inf or something similar?
How is the default user profile modified like at T-12 in unattended installations?

If you want an easy way to do it, look into the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. If you want the manual way to do it, drivers can be injected using the Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) via answer files (peimg is for modifying Windows PE images, not full OS images, although some drivers do actually inject into Vista WIM files via peimg - it's just not supported). As to default user profile modification, this can be done in the auditUser pass with the CopyProfile value. And, actually, there is some good documentation on these sorts of questions here, and two other places, as well:
http://www.msfn.org/...-s-t119440.html
http://firegeier.una...en/sitemap.html
http://blog.stealthp...lt-user-profile

Those are the best links I know of to modify the default user profile. Obviously you could just copy a stock profile over post-imaging, but as the links above show, it can be done other ways as well. I prefer using MDT and SCCM for my deployments, but I know a lot of people like to do it manually (either not a large scale, or want to learn "the nuts and bolts").
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#7
Dechy

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I just took your challenge and it worked fine, and I was able to do it on a Vista image as well. sysprep /generalize is all that's needed for this to work, so if you're having issues it's probably not the fault of Windows.


Could you tell me the exact steps you did? I quickly tried this again, following the same steps I posted, but I'll be more specific:

1) Install W7 build 7000 on Dell Optiplex 740 (AMD). No 3rd party driver/software installed, W7 detects everything correctly and system is very stable.
2) Run sysprep with generalize option
3) Boot on WinPE and run ImageX (imagex /capture /compress maximum c: e:\w7beta.wim "W7 Beta")
4) Boot on WinPE on an HP DC7600 (Intel) and run ImageX (imagex /apply e:\w7beta.wim "W7 Beta" c:)
5) Reboot to W7 trying to run Sysprep and reboots forever.

Tried on an HP DC7100, HP DC7700, Dell Optiplex GX270 and even a P4 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM clone... all reboot continuously.

Sadly, there are no other AMD systems I can base my tests on because they are the only ones we have in our department (to the tune of about 8000). At this point I'm just hoping it's a beta problem and anxiously waiting for the RC on may 5th (or before that for MSDN).

Although we don't have any licenses for Vista, I'll download an MSDN copy and try that and see if the sysprep works. If it does then it probably IS a W7 problem with the hardware (or whatever), if it doesn't work even with Vista I'll need to get my hands on another AMD system somewhere somehow to put the blame on the hardware itself and not the OS.

Thanks.

Edited by Dechy, 20 April 2009 - 10:43 AM.


#8
Dechy

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This is holy frustrating... even Vista won't work with generalized sysprep & imagex from the AMD to the Intel based computers!! Vista being different from W7, I get a "Installation could not be started" pop up on first boot from dropping down the image, then it reboots and it tells me the computer restarded unexpectedly and click OK... then it just contniously reboots with the same message everytime.

I've been doing our department's deployments since Windows 95 and never had has many headaches as the AMD->Intel and vice versa imaging problems.

So, until someone can shed light on the possiblity of my problems with these different platforms and imaging, I'll be trying to hunt down another AMD box...

#9
fizban2

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the question i would ask is will it work fine from an Intel to AMD machine? if so why worry about it? Just build on the intel machine and allow it to apply to everything. I am trying to find a AMD machine here to test with but stopped buying AMD machines awhile ago

#10
cluberti

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This is holy frustrating... even Vista won't work with generalized sysprep & imagex from the AMD to the Intel based computers!! Vista being different from W7, I get a "Installation could not be started" pop up on first boot from dropping down the image, then it reboots and it tells me the computer restarded unexpectedly and click OK... then it just contniously reboots with the same message everytime.

I've been doing our department's deployments since Windows 95 and never had has many headaches as the AMD->Intel and vice versa imaging problems.

So, until someone can shed light on the possiblity of my problems with these different platforms and imaging, I'll be trying to hunt down another AMD box...

That really is interesting. For what it's worth, this isn't normally how I install Vista or Win7 anyway - I use MDT and WDS to create the images and deploy them, which allows scripting, app install, driver injection, and some reporting as well. It's worth considering if you're moving to all Vista images (you can do it with XP and 2003 as well, but since most people at this point have a system they've used for many years it probably doesn't make sense to rip it out and replace it with MDT). Note that the original images you're using (Vista or Win7) are images to begin with, so the fact that they deploy to your hardware but yours don't again seem to indicate either a problem with your capture or a problem specific to your hardware. Remember, the Vista and Win7 WIM files are *already* images that were sysprep'ed on the media, so....

And honestly, I would still suggest not imaging if at all possible anyway, and using tools like Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, System Center Config Manager, and a decent Server 2008 box running Hyper-V (for testing and any imaging you really do need to do) for such a large deployment. You can do basically the same thing with smaller images and scripting certain things via MDT and/or SCCM, and it would be more "hardware neutral".
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#11
Netman66

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It almost sounds like you have a non-AHCI image and the BIOS on the targets have the SATA mode set to Native. See if setting it to combo or compatible solves it.


Let us know.




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