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Prestaged Media in Configuration Manager 2007 R3

Prestaged Media in Configuration Manager 2007 R3

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Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is now in beta.  Click here for more information on the open beta. 

Here is more information on the new Configuration Manager 2007 R3 feature, Prestaged Media:

Prestaged media is an alternative way to deploy an operating system to computers. Prestaged media is a Windows Image (.wim) file that can be installed on bare metal computers by the computer manufacturer or at an enterprise staging center. This media includes a boot image and an operating system image that an administrator can predeploy to a hard disk prior.  Prestaged media reduces network traffic and the time required to provision a computer.  Prestaged media works with existing task sequences to provide a complete operating system deployment. 

Prestaged media is suitable for use in environments where you would want to deploy content to a computer, but do not want to or are unable to have the computer fully provisioned, for example during the computer manufacturing process or at an enterprise staging center.  Computers are distributed within the enterprise with the prestaged media already loaded. When the computer starts for the first time, the computer will boot into WinPE and connect to the Configuration Manager site management point to check for available task sequences. 

When creating prestaged media, ensure that the boot image you are using has the appropriate network and mass storage drivers need for the system to complete the provisioning process.


Creating a Task Sequence for use with Prestaged Media:

Prestaged media is designed to work with your current task sequences.  When Prestaged media is created it will have a built-in read-only variable _SMSTSMediaType = OEMmedia.  This can be used as a condition throughout the task sequence.  This value is also used when the Apply Operating System task sequence action is run.  If _SMSTSMediaType is set to OEMmedia, the task sequence action will bypass the disk wipe and deploying the .wim because the disk is ready.  It will perform some configuration to the operating system based on you Configuration Manager environment.


If you are using the default task sequence you created by selecting the “Install from existing image package” in the New Task Sequence wizard, you will need to include additional conditions to prevent the files prestaged on the drive from being removed.  To do this you can add the following condition:  _SMSTSMediaType = OEMmedia.


Note:  A special task sequence is not required.  Since the operating system and boot image are prestaged on the hard disk, but not configured, you need to use a typical task sequence.  Apply OS is required to finish configuring the imaged based on your environment, it will detect it is running prestaged media and configure the system (not apply the operating system).   Setup Windows and ConfigMgr will finish the client registration and full operating system provisioning.


How to Create Prestaged Media

1.     In the Configuration Manager console, navigate to System Center Configuration Manager / Site Database / Computer Management/ Operating System Deployment / Task Sequences.

2.     To launch the Task Sequence Media wizard, select the Actions menu and then select Create Task Sequence Media. Alternatively, you can click Create Task Sequence Media in the Actions pane.

3.     On the Select Media Type page, select Prestaged Media and click Next.

4.     On the Media Properties page specify the Created by, version and comment to associate with the wim file.

5.     Specify the name of the media file that you are creating on the Media file line. The media file is where Configuration Manager 2007 will save the wim file to.

6.     On the Security page, you can specify a password to protect the media or require that the media request a selfsigned certificate. You can import an existing certificate by selecting Import Certificate and clicking the Browse button to locate the certificate you want to use. You should always assign a password or request a certificate to protect the bootable media and your Configuration Manager 2007 site.

7.     Specify the boot image that will run from the boot media on the Boot Image page. The media you specify will be used to boot the new computer, therefore the boot image specified must be of the appropriate architecture (x86, x64) and include the appropriate device drivers for the target computer. To view distribution points from child sites, select the Show distribution points from child sites check box.

8.     Specify the operating system  image that will run from the boot media on the Boot Image page. The media you specify will be used to boot the new computer, therefore the boot image specified must be of the appropriate architecture (x86, x64) and include the appropriate device drivers for the target computer. To view distribution points from child sites, select the Show distribution points from child sites check box.

9.   On the Confirmation page you can view the summary and click Finish to complete the wizard.

Using Configuration Manager to deploy Prestaged Media:

To deploy a prestaged media .wim file, you will need a special task sequence.  As the .wim file is not a typical .wim, you must apply the file to ensure the system will reboot into the bootable media.  Complete the following steps to deploy prestaged media from Configuration Manager.

1.     Import the prestaged media file (.wim) into Configuration Manager.

2.     Create a new task custom task sequence.

3.     Attach the appropriate boot image to the task sequence.

4.     Add the following actions to the task sequence:

·          A step to partition the system as needed.  Note: A 100MB partition is required for Bitlocker.

·          Format the newly created partitions.

·          Run command line “x:\boot\Bootsect.exe /nt60 C:” where [C:] is the partition that will be the system drive.  This will create the BCD store for the system.

·          Apply Data .wim.  Use the prestaged media .wim you imported into Configuration Manager. Important: You must apply the prestaged media as a data .wim because the task sequence is not completing a standard operating system deployment but rather just staging the files.

·          Run command line “Shutdown /f /s” to shut down the computer and exit the task sequence. 

Completing a computer deployment with Prestaged Media:

The next time the computer starts, it will boot from bootable media on the hard drive.  The bootable media will connect to the Configuration Manager management point to retrieve policy and start the task sequence.  The computer will skip certain actions based on media type because of the specified conditions.  When the task sequence has completed successfully the freshly installed computer will be up to date with current applications, security updates, etc. for your environment.

Note:  Prestaged media needs to reference the same boot image package as the task sequence.  If the boot image package is different the task sequence will fail to run.

These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights.

Updated 20-June-2011



  • Hi John

    Had a question regarding the BCDBOOT. According to the technet article ( ) there are not command line options as you specifiy above. Did you mean Bootsect.exe instead?

    Also, could you not just initialise the disk by running command?

    "bcdboot C:\Windows"


  • Thanks.  Corrected the article.  Bootsect is correct.  

    We don't want to do BCDBOOT c:\windows as the wim is designed to boot to WinPE, not the Full OS.

  • Hi John, what if I want to apply the prestaged media manually (i.e. not using a specific task sequence)? Shall I just expand the WIM file?



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