Windows 10: Best way to create W10 Pro reference computer and deploy the image
Yeah, I had some issues with Sysprep. It threw me an error, rebooted the system and then somehow undid all the changes I had made to the reference computer
Cliff S said:
Originally when I tried to do this on my own, I thought I would just get one computer setup the way I wanted it and then Sysprep it and then capture the image to distribute to my other computers. However, it seems that using the ADK may be the more recommended way of doing this now?
Last edited by ahelton; 13 Jul 2016 at 18:12.
My apologies- what is WDK? Isn't that just a driver kit, or did you mean Windows ADK (assessment and deployment kit). *Assuming ADK is what you meant*- Windows ADK is going to be crucial for doing this project as its going to come with the tools you'll need to accomplish this project as well as tools for further Windows customization. The very most important thing with ADK is its how you're going to get ahold of a bare bones copy of WinPE. Assuming you download the WinPE package (or whatever its called) when installing ADK, you'll be able to make WinPE media (say on a flash drive or a .iso image for testing purposes). ADK also comes with tools for you to create/ edit/ customize Windows images (.wim files). Most importantly- you'll need to edit WinPE's .wim if you want to stick a script on to start with WinPE for automating your imaging process (great so you don't need to keep remembering the DISM commands). You can also capture a Windows partition to a Windows image (.wim) which is what you'll be doing if you pursue this method of imaging (and then you can deploy it) both using DISM.
>>Now whats the point of WinPE? DISM is actually a native component on Windows 10- you can go onto your Windows 10 machines and they all will have DISM on them even if you didn't install ADK to them. So why would you want to go through the hassle of figuring out WinPE just to pass some commands with DISM when you could just do it all from Windows (DISM is also a native component on WinPE)? The reason you should use WinPE is to avoid file permissions issues in Windows. I have never tried it when Windows was running, but its my understanding that WinPE should be used to make sure you aren't creating corrupted images that are missing some things.
>>To which computer you install the Windows ADK- it does not matter. All that matters is that you have the Windows ADK for Windows 10 (where I work we have Windows ADK for Windows 10 on a Windows 7 machine so...) I just don't think you should install it on your reference machine since you would be copying that exact image and throwing ADK on all of the other machines, which I think is unnecessary. Also Windows ADK is a couple hundred MB's (I think) which would be unnecessary used space bloating the captured Windows image.
>>The reference machine ties into this since its that install of Windows, that very image of how Windows is installed that will be put on the other machines. I guess you kinda have to see it to believe it (using this technique, the other machines are going to be clones of the reference machine). You can take advantage of this opportunity to install light, not very large programs like a web browser, alternative text editor or maybe you want to set a specific start layout. All of that can be fine tuned on the reference machine and then copied to the other machines to avoid having to run to each computer and install programs after Windows is installed (why imaging is common place in schools and businesses with many many computers).
**I might be using a different definition of 'reference machine'. To me, the reference machine is the machine you want to 'clone' to the other machines.
*>>From what it sounds like, you're starting to get this. I would say hey- go and make a backup of one machine and try it out, see if you can get it working, see what problems you might encounter if any at all. I can help out too since I have done this method of imaging before on my own time.
Yeah, when I was looking to make some sort of imaging solution or unattended installer I found that all of the 'conventional' ways of doing this (sysprep, answer file, etc..) all were a huge pain in the rear and never worked. That's why I'm sort of pushing using DISM and other ADK tools with this- DISM is easier to use and has always worked for me.
Whoops! I meant ADK but wrote WDK by mistake.
The main purpose of having some volume licensing solution is to, yeah make deploying Windows on many computers easier. If your organization gets more than 20+ computers it will be far more efficient and convenient to install one product key to activate Windows that gets deployed on all machines than having to go around and swap off product keys for each individual computer.
>>Say your organization invests in a KMS for Windows, you should be able to purchase then hundreds of more computers and all have them activate off of your KMS server within your network. A KMS would be ideal for like 20+ or so computers (you'd have to check with Microsoft) but there is usually a certain amount of machines that have to be using it in order for the KMS to work. There are other volume licensing options available.
>>I guess kinda yeah you're paying for something you already have, if you want to look at it like that. Whether or not is ideal is going to depend on the situation and budget. Frankly, and the way I look at it, with volume licensing you're just paying for the convenience of using the same key on many different machines. If you don't have a lot of computers and don't mind going around to all of them and swapping out product keys then you might not want to go with volume licensing. However, its VERY convenient and efficient. Using an imaging solution and volume licensing will reduce the amount of time you spend setting up the computers.
Thanks for such a thorough explanation! I'm going to get to work on this today. Not sure if I'll have time to get entirely through the process, however. If I run into any problems/questions, I'll be sure to report back.
Will I need to go ahead and configure my reference machine before booting it up using the USB?
Get your reference machine exactly how you want it.
*>>If you're just doing a test then it is going to be up to you whether or not you want to totally configure it. If you're just testing, don't load any extra software on just yet as it will make the process take a little longer.
*>>At the very least have Windows installed and one account on the machine
When you go and do this for real, you'll want to totally configure it to exactly how you want it.
Ok. I had already installed google chrome and ccleaner on it before I saw your reply, but will hold off on installing anything else.
Also, whenever I ready to really go for it I assume I can edit various settings in the Group Policy Editor and those setting will be a part of the clone, correct?
And should I just install MS Office manually on each one?
1>>Group policy settings should carry over
2>>When you're ready to actually do this, install office on the reference machine along with all your other softwares and stuff you want. Make the reference machine exactly the way you want the others. Yeah- all the software is going to bloat the image a little bit (my 'base' .wim image with all of the softwares I wanted was ~8 GB) and all this will slow things down a little bit when applying the image but its convenient and will save time.
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