Boot images are used to install the operating system on the destination computers in your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment. They contain a version of Windows PE that installs the operating system, as well as any additional device drivers that are required. Windows PE is a minimal operating system with limited components and services that prepare the destination computer for Windows installation. Configuration Manager provides two boot images: One to support x86 platforms and one to support x64 platforms. As a best practice, use these images when you deploy an operating system unless you have specific device drivers that are required by the boot image.

Distributing Boot Images

Boot images are distributed to distribution points in the same way as you distribute other content. Consider the following factors when you deploy boot images:

  • When deployed as part of a task sequence to a Configuration Manager client, the image is copied to and booted from the hard drive of the destination computer. For information about how to create task sequences, see the How to Create Task Sequences section in the How to Manage Task Sequences in Configuration Manager topic.

  • When deployed by using bootable media, the destination computer boots from the media and loads Windows PE on the destination computer. For information about how to create bootable media, see the How to Create Bootable Media section in the How to Deploy Operating Systems by Using Media in Configuration Manager topic.

  • It is important that the boot image contain any network adapter (NIC) drivers and mass storage drivers that are required to successfully run on the destination computer.

  • Boot images are stored as WIM files. Ensure that they are always stored in a physically secure location.

  • CMTrace is added to all boot images that are added to the Software Library. When you are in Windows PE, you can find CMTrace in the following locations:



Updating Boot Images

You can update boot images by adding or removing device drivers to the image or by editing the properties that are associated with the boot image. The device drivers that you add or remove can include new network adapters or mass storage device drivers. Consider the following factors when you update boot images:

  • Device drivers that you add to a boot image must be imported and enabled in the device driver catalog before they can be added to the boot image.

  • When you update a boot image, the boot image does not change any of the associated packages that the boot image references.

  • After you make changes to a boot image, you must update the distribution points that contain a version of the boot image so that the most current version of the boot image is available. For more information, see Update Content on Distribution Points.

    You cannot schedule an update of the distribution point. You must update the distribution point manually.

Creating Boot Images for Computers that Boot in UEFI Mode

When you create a boot image for computers that boot in UEFI mode, use a boot image that matches the architecture of the computer (x86 for x86-based computers or x64-based computers). You cannot use an x86 boot image for both architectures for computers that boot in UEFI mode.

Locating Boot Images

The boot images that you can use to deploy operating systems are located in the Boot Images node of the Software Library workspace in the Configuration Manager console. It is available in the Software Library workspace of the Configuration Manager console. For more information on boot images, see How to Manage Boot Images in Configuration Manager.

In addition to the tasks that you can perform from the Boot Images node, such as adding a new boot image and distributing a boot image to a destination point, you can use the Properties page of each boot image object to perform the following tasks.

Task Tab reference

Change the name, version, or comments that are associated with the boot image.

General tab

View the properties of the boot image that are defined by the boot image file.

Images tab

Add or remove the device drivers that are used by the boot image.

Drivers tab

Enable command prompt support, enable prestart commands and specify the files associated with the command, and change the Windows PE background.

Customization tab

Change the image index and content setting.

Data Source tab

Specify how the boot image is stored on the distribution points where the image is deployed.

Data Access tab

Specify how the boot image is distributed to sites from distribution points.

Distribution Setting tab

View the locations where the boot image is assigned.

Content Locations tab

View which administrative users have permissions on the boot image.

Security tab

See Also