Windows Operating System Deployment, Vista, Windows 7, XP

by Theodore Zuckerman

  1. For description of refurbishing procedure used at CyberPals, see this.
  2. There are 3 types of installation, setup from a DVD or CD, installation from an image on a hard drive, CD, or usb drive, and remote installation (usually from an image also) over a network, from a network server.
  3. Any of these can include unattended installation Unattended installation is where the setup information, such as language, keyboard type, time zone, etcetera, is already selected, and the installer doesn't have to enter it into prompt screens.
  4. For unattended installation, Vista and XP are installed using setup.exe and an answer file. XP uses setupmgr.exe to create an answer file. Not sure what Vista uses. Textbook erroneously implies that unattended installation and answer file are 2 distinct installation methods. The answer file itself, when made with Vista, has a default name of unattend.xml (or you may name it [anyname].xml), as distinct from XP where the default name of the answer file is unattend.txt, and is a text file. The name to use for the answer file if it is going to be part of an XP installation from an image (as opposed to from a setup DVD) is sysprep.inf. In XP, setupmgr.exe will query you as to whether the answer file is going to be used with a setup.exe installation, an image (sysprep) installation, or a network installation, and suggest the appropriate name.
  5. That is the file name created by setupmgr.exe for simple unattended installation; for imaging a reference OS, and installing the OS onto target computers, from an image (cloning), the file created by Windows XP setupmgr must be called sysprep.inf, which is also a text file. Note that even though the filename is called sysprep.inf, it was not created by sysprep.exe, it was created by setupmgr.exe. In XP, setupmgr will automatically make the appropriately name answer file, once you choose either windows unattended installation , sysprep install , or remote installation services. Or you could simply make the answer file directly, without sysprep, but you'd have to know the codes. Sysprep install is the choice to make, if you are going to clone the OS – despite the fact that the setupmgr gui help page says nothing about using sysprep for this purpose, and only discusses using sysprep.exe for a mini-setup. To clone, after running setupmgr.exe, you will have to run sysprep.exe on the reference computer.
  6. Remote installation means installation over a network. Uses Windows Deployment services (WDS) which is a server on Windows 2003. A component of WAIK, called Remote Deployment of Unattendeded Installation, does remote installation. This is an updated version of Remote Installation Services, RIS. RDUI is compatable with RIS.
  7. Disk imaging. Saves time when a rollout of many computers is needed. Called “target” computers. If computer has a problem later, you can re-image quickly. In the help file deploy.chm, see “sysprep and disk duplication.” Also see Deploy.chm in Windows XP seems to be the best source of information about remote installation, unattended installation, and preparing a reference computer for cloning. Deploy.chm is installed onto hard drive from Windows CD along with sysprep and setupmgr. See below for how to install them.
  8. If you want to clone a fully installed and configured operating system, along with its installed application software, from a reference computer, before making an image of the reference computer you must use System Preparation Tool. sysprep.exe. In XP you will find it, along with setupmgr.exe and deploy.chm, in the windows distribution CD at d:\support\tools\ Or find updated version for your service pack; see web page link further down. Create c:\sysprep and then you will generally want to extract the entire contents of into it. How? Select them all, R-click, and select extract.
  9. In Vista, sysprep is already on board, in c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe.
  10. In either OS use it after you have installed windows, and applications too, onto a reference computer whose image you are going to use, on other computers with the same or similar hardware.
  11. Sysprep.exe strips the SID from the reference installation on the reference computer. A prompt comes up that says “when you have finished testing, or installing applications, click the Reseal button below.” Apparently doing reseal, later, would restore SID's. But why is reseal needed? Then the computer shuts down. Then, with xp using third party imaging software, you can make an image from that the reference drive. Question: can you also make an image from a single partition on a partitioned disk? Then, from the image, install files onto another hardrive – using the same imaging software or hard drive duplication hardware you used to create the image, extract the image into files on the new hard drive. Then put duplicated drives in the new computer. See the section in the deploy.chm file where after the drive is installed in a new computer, and the user turns the computer on
  12. A machine SID is a unique identifier generated by Windows Setup that Windows uses as the basis for the SIDs for administrator-defined local accounts and groups. If two machines have the same machine SID, then accounts or groups on those systems might have the same SID. It's therefore obvious that having multiple computers with the same machine SID on a network poses a security risk, right? At least that's been the conventional wisdom.
  13. Sysprep removes SID from reference computer, and restores a custom SID to computers cloned from the ref computer's image.
  14. I'm confused about what sysprep –nosidgen does. It is said to run sysprep without generating SID's. It is also said that you need to run it to restore a reference computer to an end-user ready state. But I thought that end-user ready computers needed SID's, and the sysprep you ran earlier, had removed them. Best info seems to be
  15. You may want to take out the harddrives you have set up as a reference computer, and use special hardware to duplicate its image to other harddrives, or another comptuer with special software, for use in new computers with similar hard drive controllers.
  16. You can also use sysprep, with the –nosidgen switch, for “auditing” and “automating mini-setup” Auditing means checking a cloned computer for correct operation. Use sysprep after auditing to return computer to “end-user-ready” state: when the user starts it it will run windows welcome or mini-setup , again. Use sysprep to reseal? What is factory boot, start “factory session”?
  17. The auditing process is what you use to verify that a computer is functional before it is delivered to the user. See the deploy.chm file.
  18. New notes 2012 Sep 28: the help file for setupmgr.exe says talks about unattended installation, remote installation, and sysprep installation. However it doesn't say anything about stripping the SID or cloning a reference operating system. It just talks about automating a mini-setup. Deploy.chm , however, does talk about using sysprep installation for disk duplication. See “sysprep and disk duplication
  19. XP requires a third party imaging program. With Vista, WAIK can be used for imaging. It needs to be downloaded from MS; it is not on the Vista DVD. See . Intall WAIK image you donwloaded, onto CD or DVD, Then boot from the CD.
  20. ImageX included with WAIK, is the new Microsoft imaging technology that is designed specifically for op sys deployment. ImageX supports the latest Windows image (.wim) file format used in Windows Vista. ImageX is a command-line tool built on the Imaging APIs for Windows.
  22. XP had Window OPK (OEM Preinstallation Kit) in, on installation CD. Vista has same set of tools, in WAIK, which you download.
  23. 2012 sep 28: deploy.chm talks about using winnt32.exe from command line to start windows setup with Win XP and some earlier OS's. Winnt32.exe is in i386. setup.exe is in root. Read about winnt32.exe in deploy.chm, find it in the deploy.chm index.
  24. Systems Management server (SMS). You can download this from microsoft. Next release entitled System Center Configuration Manager 2007. Comprehensively assesses and deploys servers, clients, and devices, across physical or virtual environments.
  25. Answer Files can be used with all of the first 3 automated deployment methods, unattended, remote via network, disk imaging (or other sysprep install).
  26. With Windows Installer packages, applications can be installed automatically at the same time as the op sys.
  27. Unattended: Can be used with either a clean install or an or upgrade installation. Can be used over a network share. Media initiated from the network share.
  28. Remote installation (means installion over network), WDS plus RIS. W indows D eployment S ervices plus R emote I nstallation S ervices. Requires PXE technology on client and server and on NIC's.
  1. Install WDS on server computer (WDS is included with WAIK). Configure. Start WDS on the server.
  2. Config WDS to respond to client computers (if not config during installation).
  3. WDS server requirements: the server must be a domain controller or be a member of an Active Directory domain. WAIK must be installled on it. One partition or more must be an NTFS partition. RIS installed but not configured.
  4. NIC's on workstations to have OS's installed on them over the net, must have PXE on them.
  5. TCP/IP info: Have a DHCP server configured on the server, to assign addresses to the WDS clients. Have DNS server on the server, which is used to locate the AD controller. Have AD, which is used to locate WDS servers and WDS clients, as well as to authorize WDS cleints and manage WDS config settings and client installation options.
  6. First install WAIK, then the WDS update package. WDS package includes TFTP, WDS service, WDS MMC snap-in and other WDS management utilities.
  7. On Win server Use Windows Deployment Services Config Wizard or on command line use WDSUTIL.
  8. Create a shared folder on the server to store Vista images, Windows PE (Windows Pre-Installation Environment) boot image, and files needed to boot using PXE.
  9. Created the PE and Vista images and put them in the shared folder.
  10. Config PXE listener.
  11. PXE requires in a folder that is indicated by WDS. The WIM image file will allow you to create the file.
  12. On the server click start > administrative tools > windows deployemnt services
  13. Add server
  14. select "local computer"
  15. expand servers node
  16. r-click and select "config server.”
  17. configure the remote installation folder location (c:\remoteinstall)
  18. Config WDS server to respond to client requests
  19. PXE allows the client to remotely boot and connect to a WDS server.
  20. client must have a PXE-capable network card.
  21. Start the client computer that you want to install Vista on.
  22. At prompt hit F12 for "network service boot"
  23. You'll see the windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), then the Welcome Screen.
  24. You'lll need to enter a username and password for a account (Active Directory user account) that has been given permssion to access and install images from the WDS server.
  25. You'll see a list of available op sys images that are on the WDS server. Select the image for the Vista OS that you want.
  26. Enter key number when prompted.
  27. System will partition and config disk
  28. Then copy and install vista image.
  29. Ted: The remaining text below needs to be reviewed and edited!!

Sysprep, image

  1. In Window Vista sysprep.exe is found in %windir%\system32\sysprep
  2. As with Windows XP, you run it on sample computer that you want to copy an image of. Strips out SID and other stuff that must later be returned, as unique identifiers to other computers. Once sysprep is run, then you can make an image. Later you will be returning the SID
  3. See command-line options
  4. Run sysprep and you'll see a dialog box.
  5. You can install applications and configurations after you install the OS, and image the whole thing.
  6. You'll need WAIK (download it) and ImageX.
  7. WAIK is “Windows Automated Installation Kit” Download is an .img file. Burn it to a DVD.
  8. Compare deployment of xp and Vista
  9. Deploying Vista with sysprep and ImageX
  10. Deploy Vista with Sysprep
  11. ImageX works with Windows image (.wim) files for copying to a network, or it can work with other technologies that use .wim images, such as Windows Setup, Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS), and the System Management Server (SMS) Operating System Feature Deployment Pack.
  12. ImageX is distributed as part of WAIK.
  13. Vista Deployment step by step
  14. Why you should not "duplicate" an op sys intallation without using sysprep in the process of creating an image.
  15. Using sysprep to prepare a computer for cloning.
  16. You can get to sysprep from start > run or cmd prompt. From the cmd prompt you can use switches. If you try that from the start > run box windows explorer will open to the folder that sysprep is in. Dble-click sysprep.exe to run it. Unless you put the whole uri (Uniform Resource Identifier) in the start > run box.
  17. Switches on cmd line will show up in drop-down boxes in initial dialog box.
  18. You can also run it from an answer file.
  19. Do this : Start with the "white paper" lab guide at C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Docs\Whitepapers\getting_started_itpro.htm. You'll need install.wim from the vista DVD.
  20. Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) creates and manages unattended Windows Setup answer files in a graphical user interface (GUI). Dif than ImageX?
  21. Technologies related to windows sim:
  24. Installing windowsPE
  25. Guide to encryption. Explains EFS, DRA, and cipher command.
  26. In addition to installing an image to a hardware-matched computer, you can also use tftp, pxe, and i386 on a network share hard drive, or even a network share dvd. Boot to pxe by pressing f12 during boot. Use appropriate program to see where i386 is, on the network share, and then find setup.exe or winnt or winnt32.exe or whatever.