by January 1, 2007 0 comments

One of the most challenging tasks for any IT manager is to install or upgrade
operating systems across hundreds of desktops. It can be a nightmare. With
Windows Vista just round the corner, IT managers need to be ready to face this
challenge again. Thankfully, Vista has a feature that will make the job easier.
Let’s see how.

Before you start mass OS deployment, on a barebones machine, you need a few
things in hand. You need one machine configured with Vista and all commonly used
software in your organization. We call this the built machine.

Next you need Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK), which you can
download from
Setup a separate Windows 2003 server with RIS services enabled. You also need
another machine with Windows XP or 2003 Server, having a CD-writer (we call this
the administrator’s machine). In this machine, we will do script coding and
other raw work.

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The entire deployment process would be like this. We first create a Window PE
CD, which will be used to create an image of the OS & apps on the built
machine. Then the image of the built machine will be transferred to common
storage (NAS or SAN). Then we port the Windows PE CD to the RIS Server so that
the new-built client machine can be booted via RIS. On the new-built machine, a
partition would be created and formatted automatically. Then the old built
machine image, that we copied to the NAS, will be transferred to the new-built
machine and deployed.

Creating Windows PE CD
On the Administrator machine install the downloaded Windows Automated
Installation Kit (Windows AIK). To create a Windows PE CD, open a Command
console and go to the Program Files\ Windows AIK\Tools\ PETools\directory. Issue
the command: ‘Copype.cmd x86 C:\WinPE.’
This will copy Window PE files to the c:\winPE folder. Now give the commands
given below to copy the imaging utility to winPE \iso folder.

Copy C:\Program files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe

You can see the IMAGEX command running in a Windows PE command shell and the status of the image captured. The command scans the source and builds a WIM image file of your source 

After this open a notepad on your machine and add the following lines:

"System Volume Information"

Save this file as ‘wimscript’ in c:\winpe\iso. You can even put a script
to capture the image of the built machine. For example, we are creating a batch
script to capture image. Plus, we also created a batch file to prepare a fresh
partition on a new-built machine, finally deploying the captured image on it.

Once RIS is installed, you need to enable ‘Respond to client computers requesting service’ in the RIS Setup Wizard. This option enables RIS to respond back to client

In order to create the image capturing batch script, you can use the script
given below. This script takes the image of the built machine and moves it to
the network storage.

set echo off
Echo “——–Capturing Image from the Built- Machine—-“
Echo “———Press any Key to Proceed———“
Imagex /capture C: C:\vista.wim "Vista image" /verify
Echo “Connecting to NAS or File Server and maps network share with drive
letter F: ”
Net use f: \\server_name\share
Echo “Copying……..Captured image to the NAS or File Server”
Copy c:\vista.wim to f:
Echo “ Captured image has been moved to the network storage successfully”
—-image.bat ends—-

Save this file to C:\WinPE\iso\location.

After this you need to create another batch script, which will create a fresh
partition on the new-built machine and format the disk. Then the script will
move the captured image of the built machine from network storage to the
new-built machine and apply the image on it. The batch script for deployment is
given below.

set echo off
Echo “——–Deployment from the WIM Image to Deployment Machine —–“
Echo “———Press any Key to Proceed———“
Echo “Creating New Disk Partition”
select disk 0
create partition primary size=20000
select partition 1
Echo “Connecting to NAS or File Server and maps network share with drive
letter F:”
Net use f: \\server_name\share
Echo “Copying…….Captured image to the NAS or File Server”
Copy f:\vista.wim to C:\
Echo “Applying the WIM image to the new built machine “
Imagex /apply C:\vista.wim 1 c:
Echo “Image successfully Deployed
–end deploy.bat—

Install RIS on your server from Windows Components under Add/Remove Programs menu. Select ‘Remote Installation Service’

Save this file to C:\WinPE\iso location.

Next, you need to create an ISO image of Windows PE distribution (C:\WinPE\ISO).

For this we use an OSCDimg tool, which will create a Windows PE ISO, and
contains all the changes. To create an ISO Image, issue the following

Cd Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\
Oscdimg -n —bc:\WinPE\ c:\WinPE\ISO c:\WinPE\winpe.iso

You will get winpe.iso in c:\WinPE\ location and then burn this ISO image to
a CD. One can use this CD on a built or new-built machine to capture and restore
WIM images. To capture an image, boot the built machine with this CD and from
the Command Prompt use image.bat script. To restore back the image on the
new-built machine, just boot it from this CD and use the deploy.bat script. If
you have already created the WIM image of a built-machine using the process
mentioned above, and you want that all new or old new-built machines, should
boot from this CD ISO via network, and WMI Vista image gets applied to the
new-built machines. For this you have to tweak your RIS server a wee bit. The
next part will show how this is done.

Preparing RIS server
Here, we’ll configure the RIS server in such a way that it can boot the
new-built machine Windows PE. On the RIS server, first locate the \RemoteInstall\Setup\
english\Images folder. Then create a subfolder for Windows PE (\winpe). After
this, create another subfolder in the \Windows PE folder named \i386.

Now copy the customized winpe.iso image that we have created above to
\RemoteInstall\Setup\english\Images\ winpe\ i386\. Again create a subfolder
named ‘templates’ inside \RemoteInstall\Setup\ english\Images\winpe\i386
named \templates.

Then from the Windows PE CD, copy and Startrom. com to the \RemoteInstall\Setup\english\Images\winpe\
i386\ templates folder. Finally, from the Windows PE CD, copy \i386\Setupldr.exe
\RemoteInstall\ Setup \english\Images\ winpe\ i386\ templates folder, and then
rename Setupldr.exe to Ntldr. After this restart the RIS server and you can test
RIS server by booting the new-built machine using PXE network boot.

Note: After restoring back the WIM image on the new-built
machine, you might get errors while booting it. So to avoid such errors, it is
advised to run repair option from a VISTA CD.

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