How to stage Task Sequence Prestaged Media on a hard drive in Configuration Manager 2007

How to stage Task Sequence Prestaged Media on a hard drive in Configuration Manager 2007

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toolsignNote: There is an updated version of this walk-through over at the Configuration Manager OSD Support Team Blog which covers multi-partitioned scenarios for both BIOS and UEFI PCs in ConfigMgr 2007 and ConfigMgr 2012. For the latest version, please visit the below article:

How to apply Task Sequence Prestaged Media on multi-partitioned disks for BIOS or UEFI PCs in System Center Configuration Manager
http://blogs.technet.com/b/system_center_configuration_manager_operating_system_deployment_support_blog/archive/2014/04/02/how-to-apply-task-sequence-prestaged-media-on-multi-partitioned-disks-for-bios-or-uefi-pcs-in-system-center-configuration-manager.aspx

When booting into a PC that has had Task Sequence Prestaged Media staged onto it, the Task Sequence may fail almost immediately with the following error message:

Unable to read task sequence configuration disk. For more information, please contact your system administrator or helpdesk operator.

Usually this error message is associated with no network connectivity in WinPE. Bringing up a command prompt in WinPE and running IPConfig confirms that there is no network connectivity, however NIC drivers have been loaded into the Boot Images. Furthermore, the same Task Sequence and Boot Images work fine when not being used with prestaged media (e.g. via PXE or boot media).

Trying to obtain the wpeinit.log from X:\Windows\System32 while in WinPE from the failed deployment to determine why the NIC drivers are not loading reveals that the log does not exist.

Cause

Instructions on how to create Task Sequence Prestaged Media are listed in the below TechNet documentation:

How to Create Task Sequence Prestaged Media : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg294170.aspx

However, once the prestage media is created there is no further instructions on how to stage the Task Sequence Prestaged Media onto the hard drive.  If the Task Sequence Prestaged Media is not staged correctly to a hard drive on a PC, strange behavior may occur when the Task Sequence is started, including the error described above.

Resolution

There are two ways to properly stage a Task Sequence Prestage Media on a hard drive:

  • Manually
  • Via A Task Sequence

Manually Stage A Task Sequence Prestaged Media On A Hard Drive

The following steps will manually stage the Task Sequence Prestage Media onto the hard drive of a PC:

1. Copy the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file and ImageX.exe to a USB Flash Drive. Make sure that both the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file and ImageX.exe are in the same directory. Connect the drive to the PC where the Task Sequence Prestage Media needs to be staged onto.

2. On the PC where the Task Sequence Prestage Media needs to be staged onto the hard drive, boot into WinPE 3.0 or newer. The method by which booting into WinPE (PXE, USB media, CD/DVD media) does not matter.

3. Once in WinPE, at the command prompt, type in:

DiskPart

This should give the DISKPART> prompt.

4. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in:

List Volume

Determine what the drive letter is assigned to the drive from Step 1.

5. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in:

List Disk

Determine what disk number is for the hard drive on the PC (usually 0).

6. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in:

Select Disk x

where x is the disk number determine in Step 5. Make sure to pick the appropriate disk number as choosing the incorrect disk number could cause the wrong disk to be wiped, resulting in data loss.

7. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in the following commands in the following order:

Clean
Create Partition Primary
Select Partition 1
Format FS=NTFS Quick
Active
Assign

8. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in:

List Volume

Determine what drive letter was assigned to the hard drive in Step 7.

9. At the DISKPART> prompt, type in:

Exit

This should exit DiskPart and return back to the X: command prompt.

10. At the command prompt, using the drive letter determined in Step 4, switch to the drive from Step 1.

11. At the command prompt, switch to the directory that contains the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file and ImageX.exe.

12. At the command prompt, type in the following command to stage the WIM file onto the hard drive:

imagex.exe /apply <wim_name>.wim 1 <drive_letter_of_hard_drive>

where <wim_name> is the name of the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file and <drive_letter_of_hard_drive> is the drive letter of the hard drive as determined in Step 8. Do not include the brackets (<>) in the command line. For example, if the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file is called prestage.wim and the drive letter determined in Step 8 is C:, the command would be:

imagex.exe /apply prestage.wim 1 C:

The amount of time it takes to apply the WIM file to the hard drive can vary and depends on the size of the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file. Expect for it to at least take several minutes.

13. Once the WIM file is finished being applied to the hard drive, shutdown the PC by running the following command at the command prompt:

wpeutil shutdown

Once the PC is shutdown, the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file has been successfully applied to the hard drive of the PC and is ready for delivery to the OEM. Unless in the testing phase, do NOT turn the PC back on before the necessary materials have been delivered to the OEM.

Notes:

1. In Step 1, ImageX is part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). The WAIK is installed on the ConfigMgr 2007 site server. ImageX can be found under the directory Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\amd64 or Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86. Make sure to choose the appropriate version based on architecture.

2. In Step 1, a DVD disc or network share can be used instead of a USB Flash drive. If a network share is being used, make sure that the appropriate NIC drivers are loaded into the WinPE being used in Step 2. Additionally, in Step 3, use the "net use" command at the command prompt to connect to the network share.

3. To create a WinPE bootable disk for use in Step 2, use the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). The following guides step through on how to create a WinPE bootable disk:

Walkthrough: Create a Bootable Windows PE RAM Disk on CD-ROM : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd799303(WS.10).aspx
Walkthrough: Create a Bootable Windows PE RAM Disk on a USB Flash Disk : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744530(WS.10).aspx

The WAIK should be installed on the ConfigMgr 2007 site server.

As an alternative to manually creating a WinPE boot disk, one of the ConfigMgr 2007 Boot Images can be used to boot into WinPE via any advertised Task Sequence to the PC. Just make sure that in the properties of the Boot Image in the ConfigMgr 2007 Admin Console,  the option Enable command support (testing only) is checked under the Windows PE tab. Additionally, make sure that the advertisement for the Task Sequence(s) are not set to mandatory. When booting into the Boot Image, when the Welcome to the Task Sequence Wizard screen appears, do NOT click on the Next > button. Instead, hit F8 to bring up the command prompt, then proceed to Step 3.

4. The drive used to boot into WinPE in Step 2 can be the same drive that hosts the WIM file and ImageX from Step 1.

Stage A Task Sequence Prestaged Media Via A Task Sequence

1. In the ConfigMgr 2007 Admin Console, navigate to Computer Management --> Operating System Deployment --> Operating System Images.

2. Right click on Operating System Images and choose Add Operating System Image.

3. Follow the Add Operating System Image Wizard and add the Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM file as an Operating System Image.

4. Once the Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM file has been added as an Operating System Image, under the node for the newly added Operating System Image, add it to distribution points (DPs) by right clicking on Distribution Points selecting New Distribution Points, and follow the New Distribution Points Wizard.

5. In the ConfigMgr 2007 Admin Console, navigate to Computer Management --> Operating System Deployment --> Task Sequences.

6. Right click on Task Sequences and then choose New --> Task Sequence to open the New Task Sequence Wizard.

7. In the Create a New Task Sequence window, select Create a new custom task sequence and then click on the Next > button.

8. In the Task Sequence Information window:

- In the Task Sequence name: text box, give the Task Sequence an appropriate name, such as Stage Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM File

- Next to Boot image:, click on the "Browse..." button and select an appropriate Boot Image.

9. In the Summary window, click on the Next > button.

10. In the Wizard Completed window, click on the Close button.

11. On the right hand pane of the ConfigMgr 2007 Admin Console, right click on the newly created Task Sequence and choose Edit.

12. Click on the Add menu and choose Disks --> Format and Partition Disk.

13. In the Format and Partition Disk task, next to Volume, click on the yellow star button to bring up the Partition Properties window.

14. In the Partition Properties window:

- Next to the Partition name: text box, if desired, give the partition a name such as OS or Windows. (Optional)

- Under the Partition Options section, click on the option Make this the boot partition.

- Under the Formatting options section, click on the Quick format option.

- Leave all other options at their default, and then click on the OK button.

15. Click on the Add menu and choose Images --> Apply Data Image.

16. In the Apply Data Image task, next to the Image package: field, click on the Browse... button. Select the Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM file imported in Step 3 and then click on the OK button.

17. Click on the Add menu and choose General --> Run Command Line.

18. In the Run Command Line:

- Next to the Name: text box, type in: Shutdown

- Under the Command Line: text box, type in: wpeutil shutdown

19. Click on the OK or Apply button to save the Task Sequence.

20. Using normal procedures for advertising Task Sequences, advertise the Task Sequence created in Steps 6-19 to the PC where Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM file needs to be staged on.

21. Once the Task Sequence has been advertised, run the Task Sequence on the PC where Task Sequence Prestaged Media WIM file needs to be staged on.

Once the Task Sequence completes on the PC, the PC will shutdown. Once the PC has shutdown, the Task Sequence Prestage Media WIM file has been successfully applied to the hard drive of the PC and is ready for delivery to the OEM. Unless in the testing phase, do NOT turn the PC back on before the necessary materials have been delivered to the OEM.

Hope this helps,

Frank Rojas | System Center Support Escalation Engineer

Wilhelm Kocher | Senior Premier Field Engineer

The App-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/appv/
The WSUS Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/sus/
The SCMDM Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/mdm/
The ConfigMgr Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/configurationmgr/
The SCOM 2007 Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/operationsmgr/
The SCVMM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/scvmm/
The MED-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/medv/
The DPM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/
The OOB Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/oob/
The Opalis Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/opalis
The Service Manager Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager
The AVIcode Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/avicode

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  • When I use the manual way, the machine won't boot at all (Error 0xc000000f The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible). The same media wim file on the same machine works when applied via task sequence. What might be the problem?

  • Well, I found what was causing my problem, it may be useful to others:

    One of the folders in the media wim file (containing the boot image referenced in BCD) is \Sources. This folder wasn't getting applied and the reson is that I was using Imagex.exe from the MDT Deployment Share \Tools folder. In that folder there is a wimscript.ini folder that excludes \Sources folder.

    So if you are following instructions from this blog post with prestaged media wim, make sure not to use imagex.exe from MDT Deployment Share \Tools folder.

  • Grat job Frank, worked perfectly.  Thank you!