There are three basic actions that you must take when you use System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to deploy an operating system image to destination computers:

Create the Image and Distribute it to Distribution Points

Operating system images are .WIM format files and represent a compressed collection of reference files and folders that are required to successfully install and configure an operating system on a computer. The operating system image is built and captured from a reference computer that you configure with all the required operating system files, support files, software updates, tools, and other software applications. You can build the reference computer manually, or use a task sequence to automate some or all of the build steps. For more information about how to capture the operating system image, see Planning for Capturing Operating System Images in Configuration Manager.

Create and Configure the Appropriate Deployment Task Sequence

After you have created the reference computer and captured an operating system image from that computer, you can use a task sequence to configure how to deploy that image to your destination computers. For information about how you can use deployment task sequences, see Planning a Task Sequences Strategy in Configuration Manager.

Deploy the Task Sequence

After you create your task sequences, you can deploy the task sequence to the collection that contains the destination computers. For information about how to deploy a task sequence, see the How to Deploy a Task Sequence section of the How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager topic.

Creating Packages for Operating System Deployments

You must create several Configuration Manager packages to support the building of a reference computer and the deployment of an operating system image to a destination computer.

The following packages are required to build a reference computer:

  • Operating system installation package

  • Configuration Manager client installation package

  • Sysprep package (Windows XP SP3 and Server 2003 SP2 only)

  • Driver packages

  • Other packages

Use the following table to find more information about the packages used to support building the reference computer.

Package More information

Operating System Installation package

The Operating System Installation Package must contain all the files necessary to install the desired Windows operating system on a reference computer. You create this package as you would any other Configuration Manager package. The task sequence will reference the source files as needed.

Sysprep package

Sysprep is a Windows system preparation tool that facilitates image creation, and the preparation of an image for deployment to multiple destination computers. If the operating system version you are running is Windows Vista, Sysprep is already available on the computer and you do not need to specify a package. If the operating system version you are running is Windows XP or earlier, you must specify a package that contains the version of Sysprep and all its support files (no subfolders) that are appropriate for that operating system version. This package does not require a program. Configuration Manager uses the Sysprep files contained in the package.

For more information about using Sysprep, see the Sysprep documentation for the version of Sysprep that supports the version of the operating system running on the reference computer.

Driver package

If the reference computer requires device drivers that are not included with the operating system, you must create the packages that contain the necessary Windows drivers to support hardware on the reference computer. Typically, a manufacturer supplies an INF file and other supporting files for a device driver, and sometimes an installation script as well. Refer to the documentation supplied by the manufacturer of the device driver to ensure that you create a package that includes all supporting files.

You can use the following sets of task sequence steps to install driver packages:

The following packages are needed to deploy an image to a destination computer:

  • Operating system image package

  • Configuration Manager client installation package

  • USMT packages (for user state backup and restore only)

  • Other packages

See Also