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Windows Vista Deployment

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2007
=?Utf-8?B?TWFydGluIEhlYWx5?=
 

Posts: n/a
Windows Vista Deployment
Having looked at the windows vista deployment procedure on the official
Microsoft website @
http://technet2.microsoft.com/Window....mspx?mfr=true,
I have some queries that need to be clarified. The imageX tool was used to
capture and apply an image in steps 4 and 5 respectively in this procedure.
On starting the destination computer with the loaded or previously applied
image, does the image run fully automated without any user intervention? In
other words, does the applied image consist of an answer file or is this not
relevant in this case.

Would it be possible to deploy Windows Vista without using ImageX and
WindowsPE? Is it possible to use Setup Manager in Vista in order to create
an answer file or is Setup Manager replaced by System Image Manager in WAIM.
Alternatively, would it be possible to create an answer file using System
Image Manager (SIM) from a master or reference vista computer. Then saving
the answer file to the hard drive of the reference computer and running
sysprep -mini like in the case of Windows XP. If this was possible, would I
need to save the answer file generated from SIM to a specific directory on
the hard drive as this was required with sysprep.inf in XP/2000? If
permissible, lastly I could just create an image of the Vista reference
computer and burn it to a CD. This CD could then be used to deploy Vista on
the destination computers.

I would appreciate any response to these queries.

Thanks,

Martin
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2007
JRB Associates
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Windows Vista Deployment
Martin,

You posted many questions for a potentially quite complex , yet quite
flexible topic. The specific answers depend on exactly what is desired. Like
most things, there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. Following are
some answers which may or may not be what you are looking for.

The process for Vista, while conceptually similar to previous operating
systems, is technically quite different. While some of the Microsoft tools
have the same names, and basic intended purpose, their use is different. Add
to that, there is a whole new stable of tools available. No doubt, there are
third-party vendors of tools, personally I have not used any with Vista.

A big question which needs to be answered is, just what is trying to be
accomplished. For example: building a few new computers (bare metal),
deploying (as updates) throughout an enterprise organization while
preserving existing settings, or any of countless scenarios. That said...

The last question regarding burning a CD of a reference computer is
essentially a non-starter for many reasons, among them Vista is far too
large to fit on a single CD (it needs a DVD or many spanned CDs).

Unless the image is for internal use, then it can't really be hands-off at
the first-boot, because the end-user needs to be able to accept the license
agreement, at a minimum. Not to mention entering the Product ID, and many
other configuration items.

That said, the document you referred to provides one example of deployment,
there are many others depending on what is desired. It is possible to do
everything from having an autounattend.xml file on a floppy on USB memory
stick and boot from the Vista DVD supplied by Microsoft; or follow the
document you mentioned, and boot from a created PE disk, and use ImageX to
apply from a mapped network share; to having multiple images on a WDS server
and PXE boot the new PC, and select which image to apply. I have used all of
the above three and they work well. Microsoft provides the tools and they
have worked well. There is a HUGE amount of documentation beyond what was
mentioned, and a great deal to learn.

Best wishes,
John Baker


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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-19-2007
=?Utf-8?B?TWFydGluIEhlYWx5?=
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Windows Vista Deployment
John,

Thanks for the detailed reply and my apolgies if you thought the query was
not specific enough in this wide scope area. You mentioned in your response
that you actually used the imageX utility along with Windows PE to deploy
Vista. But once the image has been applied to the destination computer or
customer computer; does the image run automatically without any user
intervention when the customer/destination computer starts or loads up for
the first time. In other words did you have to agree to the license
agreement, insert the product key, regional settings etc. It looks like it
doesn't from your response. Normally, as you know, you can create an answer
file that will answer all these wizard questions such as product key etc and
thereby automating the installation setup for the user. If the applied
imageX does not run fully automated on the destination computer or customer
computer, would it be possible to use a floppy disk containing an answer file
to fully automate the imageX on the destination computer? Although it would
be better still to use an answer file that is saved on the hard drive.

It would be my intention to deploy a clean install of Vista on approx 300
identical new computers on the local area network. I would have a preference
for the new ImageX and WinPE method as it allows you to apply an Image from
a mapped network resource over the network. The WinPE interface also
supports the TCP/IPV4 stack which is important for connectivity reasons when
applying an image over the network. The one concern that I would have with
the ImageX/WinPE2 method is that it will not allow for an unattended
installation at the end of the day when the destination computer is loaded up
with the applied image from the master or reference computer. It seems that
this ImageX/WinPE method found @
http://technet2.microsoft.com/Window....mspx?mfr=true
is more geared or directed towards a customer/OEM manufacturer environment,
whereby on receiving the destination computer, the customer has to agree with
the license agreement, enter the product key etc. My objective would be to
eliminate this and hopefully to use an answer file with the applied image on
the destination computers over the LAN. I'm not keen on the idea of just
using an answer file saved on a floppy disk or any external device either as
I would have a preference of creating an answer file on the master computer
and saving it to its hard drive and then incorporating the answer file into
the applied image if it was possible. If it is possible to create an
unattended clean installation of Vista using the ImageX tool and WinPE with
the use of an answer file incorporated into the disk image - then this is the
most efficient method in my view. I like the fact you can apply the image
over the network in Vista's Preinstallation environment but can anybody tell
me if you can automate this method with the use of an answer file saved on a
hard drive rather than one saved on an external device.
The setup manager utility in XP allowed you to saved the answer file on the
hard drive of the master or reference computer prior to imaging or cloning
but can a similar technique be used in Vista w.r.t. ImageX/WinPE in order to
fully automate the installation or rollout of PCs in an internal network?
This would definitely save time on the internal network.

I would appreciate any suggestions again.

Thanks,

Martin

"JRB Associates" wrote:

> Martin,
>
> You posted many questions for a potentially quite complex , yet quite
> flexible topic. The specific answers depend on exactly what is desired. Like
> most things, there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. Following are
> some answers which may or may not be what you are looking for.
>
> The process for Vista, while conceptually similar to previous operating
> systems, is technically quite different. While some of the Microsoft tools
> have the same names, and basic intended purpose, their use is different. Add
> to that, there is a whole new stable of tools available. No doubt, there are
> third-party vendors of tools, personally I have not used any with Vista.
>
> A big question which needs to be answered is, just what is trying to be
> accomplished. For example: building a few new computers (bare metal),
> deploying (as updates) throughout an enterprise organization while
> preserving existing settings, or any of countless scenarios. That said...
>
> The last question regarding burning a CD of a reference computer is
> essentially a non-starter for many reasons, among them Vista is far too
> large to fit on a single CD (it needs a DVD or many spanned CDs).
>
> Unless the image is for internal use, then it can't really be hands-off at
> the first-boot, because the end-user needs to be able to accept the license
> agreement, at a minimum. Not to mention entering the Product ID, and many
> other configuration items.
>
> That said, the document you referred to provides one example of deployment,
> there are many others depending on what is desired. It is possible to do
> everything from having an autounattend.xml file on a floppy on USB memory
> stick and boot from the Vista DVD supplied by Microsoft; or follow the
> document you mentioned, and boot from a created PE disk, and use ImageX to
> apply from a mapped network share; to having multiple images on a WDS server
> and PXE boot the new PC, and select which image to apply. I have used all of
> the above three and they work well. Microsoft provides the tools and they
> have worked well. There is a HUGE amount of documentation beyond what was
> mentioned, and a great deal to learn.
>
> Best wishes,
> John Baker
>
>
>

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-19-2007
JRB Associates
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Windows Vista Deployment
Martin,

Thank you for clarifying, it is so difficult to know where to go; and so
much that can be said.

The reason for my (somewhat weazly) answer is that I am primarily in the OEM
realm, and need to create bare-metal systems with different software on them
(as needed). They will be distributed, and the final end-user will
experience the OOBE on first-boot, and enter a Product key as well as other
information. They will also Activate. I can create a pre-Activated system if
required, but they still need to accept the license during the OOBE.

Although I tested the autounattend.xml on a memory stick at boot method,
using the Vista dvd, as well as the boot from a PE disk and map a network
drive, then ImageX; that is not the approach I use on any regular basis.
They are really just stepping stones to the final PXE boot approach, with
multiple images on the server. Once setup and configured it is so much
easier and more flexible at build time. Essentially once the system is
installed by PXE, it merely needs to be sealed, and is ready to go. The
end-user then gets the OOBE.

From what you have now said, it really sounds like you are looking at the
zero-touch (or possibly lite-touch) method. They are alternate approaches
which allow Vista to be deployed with little or no user involvement. They
require much more planning and configuration (don't forget testing!) but are
intended for the enterprise. They can use SMS to "push" out Vista. It is
very flexible, and can do everything from a clean install, to an in-place
upgrade maintaining the user settings. Essentially a user can go home one
evening, with XP on their desktop, and come in to find Vista, complete with
all of their old programs and settings (assuming that they are
compatible...).

The programs you need to do this (and what I also use to create images) are
the WAIK (Windows Automated Install Kit), BDD (Business Desktop Deployment)
and WDS (Windows Deployment Services). They contain the tools required, such
as SIM (System Image Manager). BDD contains an overwhelming amount of
documentation on the process (be prepared for eye strain). It will no doubt
be overwhelming at first, there is just so very much, but it is all there.
Be prepared to make a whole lot of mistakes, it took me several months to
put all of the pieces together, but it really does work. There are a few
mistakes and contridictions in the documentation, as well as some omissions,
but...

Best wishes,
John Baker


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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-23-2007
=?Utf-8?B?TWFydGluIEhlYWx5?=
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Windows Vista Deployment
John,

Just to say thanks for clarifying my queries in this broad complex topic.

"JRB Associates" wrote:

> Martin,
>
> Thank you for clarifying, it is so difficult to know where to go; and so
> much that can be said.
>
> The reason for my (somewhat weazly) answer is that I am primarily in the OEM
> realm, and need to create bare-metal systems with different software on them
> (as needed). They will be distributed, and the final end-user will
> experience the OOBE on first-boot, and enter a Product key as well as other
> information. They will also Activate. I can create a pre-Activated system if
> required, but they still need to accept the license during the OOBE.
>
> Although I tested the autounattend.xml on a memory stick at boot method,
> using the Vista dvd, as well as the boot from a PE disk and map a network
> drive, then ImageX; that is not the approach I use on any regular basis.
> They are really just stepping stones to the final PXE boot approach, with
> multiple images on the server. Once setup and configured it is so much
> easier and more flexible at build time. Essentially once the system is
> installed by PXE, it merely needs to be sealed, and is ready to go. The
> end-user then gets the OOBE.
>
> From what you have now said, it really sounds like you are looking at the
> zero-touch (or possibly lite-touch) method. They are alternate approaches
> which allow Vista to be deployed with little or no user involvement. They
> require much more planning and configuration (don't forget testing!) but are
> intended for the enterprise. They can use SMS to "push" out Vista. It is
> very flexible, and can do everything from a clean install, to an in-place
> upgrade maintaining the user settings. Essentially a user can go home one
> evening, with XP on their desktop, and come in to find Vista, complete with
> all of their old programs and settings (assuming that they are
> compatible...).
>
> The programs you need to do this (and what I also use to create images) are
> the WAIK (Windows Automated Install Kit), BDD (Business Desktop Deployment)
> and WDS (Windows Deployment Services). They contain the tools required, such
> as SIM (System Image Manager). BDD contains an overwhelming amount of
> documentation on the process (be prepared for eye strain). It will no doubt
> be overwhelming at first, there is just so very much, but it is all there.
> Be prepared to make a whole lot of mistakes, it took me several months to
> put all of the pieces together, but it really does work. There are a few
> mistakes and contridictions in the documentation, as well as some omissions,
> but...
>
> Best wishes,
> John Baker
>
>
>

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-2007
Pat2me
 

Posts: n/a
RE: Windows Vista Deployment
Hi John and Martin

Would either of you know whether it is possible to use WAIK to build Vista
Business images specifically for the OEM license model?

Basically the senario is this:
We have & will be purchasing multiple machines with oem licences.

Our intention is to build an image with the additional applications to be
deployed to these machines.
On start up, the user must be prompted for the Oem license, additional setup
information should be as automated as possible. The Vista activation process
should be as seamless as possible.

I have ploughed through plenty of documentation but can't seem to find
anything helpful.
I'd appreciate any help.
Regards

Patrick


"Martin Healy" wrote:

> Having looked at the windows vista deployment procedure on the official
> Microsoft website @
> http://technet2.microsoft.com/Window....mspx?mfr=true,
> I have some queries that need to be clarified. The imageX tool was used to
> capture and apply an image in steps 4 and 5 respectively in this procedure.
> On starting the destination computer with the loaded or previously applied
> image, does the image run fully automated without any user intervention? In
> other words, does the applied image consist of an answer file or is this not
> relevant in this case.
>
> Would it be possible to deploy Windows Vista without using ImageX and
> WindowsPE? Is it possible to use Setup Manager in Vista in order to create
> an answer file or is Setup Manager replaced by System Image Manager in WAIM.
> Alternatively, would it be possible to create an answer file using System
> Image Manager (SIM) from a master or reference vista computer. Then saving
> the answer file to the hard drive of the reference computer and running
> sysprep -mini like in the case of Windows XP. If this was possible, would I
> need to save the answer file generated from SIM to a specific directory on
> the hard drive as this was required with sysprep.inf in XP/2000? If
> permissible, lastly I could just create an image of the Vista reference
> computer and burn it to a CD. This CD could then be used to deploy Vista on
> the destination computers.
>
> I would appreciate any response to these queries.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Martin

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