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While participating in a discussion on LinkedIn (http://linkd.in/r3WJPl) where we were discussing what are the different processes\habits that people have in order to setup a newly acquired machine, i decided to document my own process. I personally use a mix of WinPE and ImageX to image the machine and that way preserve that new PC smell.
Here are the details:
to create the WinPE disk, Download the Windows Automated Install Kit from here (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=136976) and install in on a workstation.
On that computer, click Start, All Programs, Windows AIK, right-click Deployment Tools Command Prompt, and then select Run as administrator.
In the command prompt type “copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86” to prepare the staging area.
In the command prompt type “copy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim” to copy the boot image to the staging area
In the command prompt type “copy "c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\*.*" c:\winpe_x86\iso\” to copy all the tools for manipulating the wim files to the staging area.
Now you need to create a Bootable a USB key. you can refer to an old post of mine that explains and shows the video on preparing the USB stick here (http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/archive/2009/02/16/windows-7-on-a-stick.aspx) or folow the steps below.
To prepare the USB key using the diskpart utility built-in to Windows 7.
now that the key is ready, copy the staging area to your key “Copy C:\winpe_x86\iso\*.* /e D:\” D: being the drive letter assigned to the USB key.
Your key is now ready. so boot your newly acquired PC (or any PC you need to capture) with the USB key we just created and once booted connect to the network share you want to use as your repository for the image.
in my case i use my home server so the command will be as follows “net use z: \\home\public” you should be prompted for credentials, and once supplied the drive Z: will be mapped.
once mapped, it’s as simple as using the ImageX utility to capture your system partition to the network drive. the command line in my batch file looks like this, “imagex /capture d: z:\newpc\lenovox61data.wim "lenovo x61" /verify”
you can find more information on the ImageX command line structure here.
Once the process is finished, i have an image i can restore at any point should i need to.
I hope this helps.
Pierre Roman, MCITP, ITIL | Microsoft Canada | Senior Technical Account Manager | email@example.com phone: 613-212-2370 | mobile: 613-715-2311
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Obviously you can use a big USB key and save the image locally which would be faster than over the network.
You’re right. I actually keep my "as delivered" images. Just in case I need to restore it. And the cost/gigabyte is lower on large drives than it is on USB keys. 90$ for a 1TB drive or 60$ for a 32Gb USB key.