Windows 10: Modifying the hidden Recovery folder?

  1.    01 Aug 2017 #1

    Modifying the hidden Recovery folder?


    I work in IT for a higher learning institution. We deploy out about 210 laptops a year to students who lease the laptops and end up purchasing them after graduation. This creates some headaches.. To make a long story short, the laptops are basically the modified OEM image (I get the install media from the manufacturer and I boot into audit mode, make some changes, add some scripts, reseal and deploy).

    In Win 8/8.1 I was able to also modify the recovery/reset partition by overwriting the wim image with my own captured image.

    In Windows 10 the push-button reset doesn't seem to work this way. I researched some of my options and it looks like a 3rd party partition backup or setting up a provisioning package with ADT were my only real options.

    However, I did some digging and managed to find a way of overwriting the unattend.xml file and adding my own startup scripts by adding some files to the hidden C:\Recovery\OEM folder. This SEEMS to work exactly like I want it to. The computer does its reset process and when it boots it uses my unattend.xml and runs my configuration scripts.

    My question is... Is this an acceptable method? I seem to be coming up dry looking for official MS documentation stating one way or the other.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 37,567
    Dual boot Windows 10 FCU Pro x 64 & current Insider 10 Pro
       01 Aug 2017 #2

    Hi there, @TimTheEnchanter. Welcome to TenForums.

    Not sure, but you may want to post your question in the thread linked below. Kari does much work with Sysprep.

    Customize Windows 10 Image in Audit Mode with Sysprep Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    02 Aug 2017 #3

    TimTheEnchanter said: View Post
    I work in IT for a higher learning institution. We deploy out about 210 laptops a year to students who lease the laptops and end up purchasing them after graduation. This creates some headaches.. To make a long story short, the laptops are basically the modified OEM image (I get the install media from the manufacturer and I boot into audit mode, make some changes, add some scripts, reseal and deploy).

    In Win 8/8.1 I was able to also modify the recovery/reset partition by overwriting the wim image with my own captured image.

    In Windows 10 the push-button reset doesn't seem to work this way. I researched some of my options and it looks like a 3rd party partition backup or setting up a provisioning package with ADT were my only real options.

    However, I did some digging and managed to find a way of overwriting the unattend.xml file and adding my own startup scripts by adding some files to the hidden C:\Recovery\OEM folder. This SEEMS to work exactly like I want it to. The computer does its reset process and when it boots it uses my unattend.xml and runs my configuration scripts.

    My question is... Is this an acceptable method? I seem to be coming up dry looking for official MS documentation stating one way or the other.
    If it works fine - MS do not impose any restrictions on how to do something.

    It would be interesting if you could share principles of how you changed things for our education .
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    02 Aug 2017 #4

    cereberus said: View Post
    If it works fine - MS do not impose any restrictions on how to do something.

    It would be interesting if you could share principles of how you changed things for our education .

    It's ridiculously simple, so much so that it make me nervous... - In the C:\Recovery\OEM folder there's a directory structure as the computer will be when going through the reset process - a folder called C will be the root of the drive. It seems to copy over this structure even when creating reset media. Within the "C" folder there's a copy of a default unattend.xml - located at C:\Recovery\OEM\C\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml (there's not much in there and there was a reference to a startup script I wasn't sure what it did, but I just added it to my modified unattend, just in case). I simply overwrote this with my own unattend which includes references to startup scripts located at %localdir%\Scripts\* and I copied my scripts folder into the "root" folder... so C:\Recovery\OEM\C\Scripts\*.

    That's it. Now when I do reset/recovery it uses my unattend, creates my accounts and runs my scripts.

    I'm not fully read up on this stuff for windows 10 and I THINK that Windows updates can overwrite these changes.... so I made another quick script/package to set these things back to the way I like them so I can run that before running the reset process.

    My first go at it, I was taking ownership of c:\Recovery so I could make the changes and copy the files, but now I'm using psexec to run the script to make these changes so I don't have to alter any permissions - NT Authority/System still owns Recovery.

    I can't say that this will work with every OEM install of Win 10.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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