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Episode 12 – MDT 2012: Sysprep and Capture

In episode #12, I begin by creating a reference computer. You can do this either by manually installing Windows 7 and the needed applications, drivers and software updates on the reference system, then capturing the reference computer with MDT 2012.

Now you are ready to capture an image of your reference computer. To do this, you are going to use the Sysprep and Capture task sequence template, a new type of task sequence template included in MDT 2010 and still continue to be in MDT 2012. This task sequence does not install Windows on a computer. Instead, it syspreps an existing Windows installation on a computer, reboots the computer into Windows PE, captures a *.wim image file of the installation and uploads the captured image to a network share you specify.

Finally, got the time to create a video with sysprep and capture and keep the customize settings as is. check out Episode 39 & 40.

if you enjoyed the blog or video. please the time to +1 it, comment or rate it.

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About BjTechNews (867 Articles)
An IT guy trying to learn everything about technology and sharing it with you all. I'm a blogger and video blogger who highlights daily news in the tech industry, promoting tips and hacks for fellow techies.

16 Comments on Episode 12 – MDT 2012: Sysprep and Capture

  1. For your customizations to the wallpaper or Start Menu to persist, they would need to be copied to the default user profile in the reference image. You were right that the system would need to boot into another mode to make these changes, Audit Mode. To boot into Audit Mode, you can simply press Ctrl+Shift+F3 when the reference system is first booted to mini-setup, where you would be prompted to accept the licensing agreement or enter a product key. Once in Audit Mode, you will be logged in to the reference system as the Administrator where you can customize your reference image with software, updates, and customizations. To exit Audit Mode, you will need to run Sysprep to put the reference image back into the Out of Box Experience (OOBE). You can find out about Audit Mode here in the TechNet article for Customizing Windows in Audit Mode:
    technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722413(v=ws.10).aspx

    In order for your customizations to the Administrator profile to be copied to the default user profile, an Answer File must be used with the copyprofile setting. In MDT, you can enter your Sysprep task sequence, select the OS Info tab, and find the button “Edit Unattend.xml” which will launch the Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) where you can simply click the magnifying glass icon, or press Ctrl+F, to search and type in copyprofile to find the setting for your appropriate architecture, 32 or 64 bit, and double click to add it to the Answer File. Once added, you will find the setting under the Specialize pass under Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup, where you can set the CopyProfile setting to true. There is a step by step article from Microsoft Support here:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973289

    • this makes sense. when I was doing my research on it I did come across the audit mode feature to create the user profile. but what are your feelings on pushing out GPOs on the user machine to configure it the way you want it?

      • winoutreach2 // May 30, 2012 at 9:58 am //

        Whether customizations are deployed in the reference image or in Group Policy really depends on what the organization is trying to accomplish. Customizations to the default user profile will be present when any new user account is created on the local computer and when the first user account is created. This can create a very professional looking reference image with corporate wallpaper, user logo*, and corporate applications on the start menu. Yet when the user logs in, they can still change these settings, for example their wallpaper, and have their own customized setup.

        On the other hand, organizations who seek to set these configurations permanently and prevent their users from altering them would be better served by Group Policy. Furthermore, as the default user profile configuration is only deployed when each system is deployed, but Group Policy is updated regularly. Group Policy is also much easier to manage. You can make the tweaks and apply them to any group of computers or users from one central location.

        These are some of the most basic configurations, you can also set up a network default user profile for the domain to prevent having to customize each reference image yet still use a default profile which can be then edited by each user, or a mandatory profile which forces all users to use the same profile, or even get into roaming profiles and offline files where profiles are stored on a central server for access anywhere on the network but cached on the local computer for optimal performance and non-network connected access.

        *Just a side note, the default user image is not modified using the copyprofile setting. The default images for user accounts and the guest account can be found in c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures.

    • I’m trying to copy the Admin profile to Default User using MDT2012 and i’m with you up until i hit the edit unattend.xml button. when i hit that it goes through it’s process and take a while and ultimately fails. it has some error messages that i forget now (and sorry about that – i hate when my users dont jot down errors) but then i get a dialog saying that there’s no catalog. does this make sense or have you seen this? i’ve been trying to find a way to edit the unattend.xml that mdt uses and your comment here was the best i’ve seen.

      • The error i get:

        Performing operation “generate” on Target “Catalog”.
        The operation failed to complete.
        System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. —> System.ArgumentNullException: String reference not set to an instance of a String.
        Parameter name: source
        at System.Globalization.CompareInfo.IsPrefix(String source, String prefix, CompareOptions options)
        at ?A0xfe36268f.ConvertToNtPath(String path)
        at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.CbsSessionAdaptor..ctor(String bootDrive, String imageWinDir, String servicingPath)
        at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.OfflineImageImpl.InitializePackages()
        at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.OfflineImageImpl..ctor(OfflineImageInfo imageInfo)
        — End of inner exception stack trace —
        at System.RuntimeMethodHandle._InvokeConstructor(Object[] args, SignatureStruct& signature, IntPtr declaringType)
        at System.Reflection.RuntimeConstructorInfo.Invoke(BindingFlags invokeAttr, Binder binder, Object[] parameters, CultureInfo culture)
        at System.RuntimeType.CreateInstanceImpl(BindingFlags bindingAttr, Binder binder, Object[] args, CultureInfo culture, Object[] activationAttributes)
        at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.Cpi.PlatformImplementation.CreateOfflineImageInstance(OfflineImageInfo imageInfo)

        Then i click “Finish” and i pops up a dialog box that says:

        Unable to edit the unattend.xml for this OS because no catalog could be located or generated.

      • i seen this twice. corrupted WAlK install or something went wrong when importing the OS in the Operating System node. normally, removing the OS and importing it back fixes the problem.

      • mdt files are in the deployment share; for the os its in the operating system folder. check for the unattended file in the operating system folder.

    • Louisville Systems Jockey // December 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm // Reply

      I am not sure that Audit Mode is Necessary. Per the link at the end(same as above), there is no mention of Audit mode. I performed the steps as indicated and was able to copy over the profile just fine. I used the MDT, so I didn’t have to run sysprep manually (used a capture TS). The only thing I had to do is modify the Unattend.xml for the Capture TS, then the unattend.xml for the Deployment TS that I deployed the Capured wim file to include the “CopyProfile=True” setting. Worked like a charm. This is the 4th reference I have seen/heard of Audit mode. But as you can see below, what you need is to only have the builtin Administrator account and remove all others. I will continue without Audit mode.

      http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973289

  2. My guess as to why Chrome did not stay in the image has to do with how Chrome is installed. Normal Chrome is installed in the user profile, and it does not require admin privileges to install. I would suggest using the enterprise MSI file to install Chrome and that should fix the problem. For most of my software installs I use ninite, and it downloads and installs the files for me, but you can’t use it for Chrome because it does not install the MSI version. I usually never sysprep and capture, I also prefer using MDT to install the software. I only need sysprep and copture to cut down the time to install legacy non msi programs. You can include the ninite installer in your image and run it to ensure that the most up to date versions of each program are installed.

    • thanks for the comment. but i still rather download the software and push it out during the software deployment stages of MDT or even SCCM. It’s cool that an application will keep stuff up to date, but sometimes it cool in getting your hands dirty once in a blue and testing stuff out first before deployment. it’s best to test it out first rather then have an application do it all for you. If not, us IT guys won’t have a job LOL.

      thanks for post and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/alucardkakashi

      • I prefer to deploy software with MDT as well. I use ninite in my MDT sequence. Over the next week and a half I will probably be deploying to 120 computers all with MDT.

      • wow! good luck. done that, been there. make sure to enable multicast within MDT only if you are using WDS.

  3. I always use WDS. I just wish SCCM was as easy to use. For some reason I am fighting with my software being available on my distribution share.

    • this is my guide for SCCM 2007 and software:
      – create the package
      – create a program for the package
      – Advertise the package
      – create and update the distribution point

      actually going to create a video on this, this weekend. so stay tune 🙂

  4. I can answer the Google Chrome conundrum if you still were curious. The default Chrome install from their website is user profile specific and is entirely loaded in the user profile.

    If you want a version which behaves more like an ordinary application and installs under program files, download the enterprise version. https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/browser/#utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-ha-na-us-bkws&utm_medium=ha

    Good stuff and thanks for the video.

  5. I love reading through your blog content! Consider yourself added to
    my faves!

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  1. MDT 2012: Capturing a Reference Image – Part II « BJ's Technology News Blog

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