If you have already created and customized your primary deployment image, and discover that you need to apply an update, add a new driver, change the settings, or support multiple languages, these changes can be made without deploying the image and recapturing it. This is known as offline servicing. Offline servicing is an efficient way to manage existing images that are stored on a server, because it eliminates the need for deploying and recapturing the updated image. In addition, when you service an image offline you are not required to run the Sysprep tool, and therefore you are not required to use a rearm.
To start implementing offline servicing, you can:
- Use several master images.
Corporations might maintain several images to minimize deployment
time. For example, you might have a different image for each
region, office, or department within your corporation. Over the
course of time, new drivers and other updates need to be applied to
those images so that any new computer that is built has all the
- Use a single master image.
Corporations might create just one master image so that several
variations do not have to be maintained. For example, they might
have one image that contains all the language packs that they
support. If you have an image like this, you can apply updates to
that single image and all the updates will be applied to each
language in the image. Then, before you deploy the image, you can
use offline servicing to remove unnecessary language packs.
- Use a Windows PE image. If
corporations need to change a Windows® PE image, they must use
offline servicing. For more information about Windows PE
offline servicing, see Windows PE Customization
The following definitions will help you understand the terminology used in this scenario.
The computer on which you install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) and where you create answer files.
A Windows image that you want to update.
A distribution share is an optional storage location for third-party drivers, language packs, and other update packages.
The following illustration shows the work flow for this scenario.
When you service an offline image, you use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to mount the image, service the image, and then unmount the image and save your changes.
Why use DISM?
In Windows Vista®, you used the ImageX tool to mount or apply images, and the Package Manager tool to service images offline. For Windows® 7, you can use the DISM tool to mount and service images. DISM can also be used to create a report about the state of the drivers, applications, language settings, and packages that are installed.
Before you begin, make sure you have the following:
- A technician computer with the
Windows AIK tools installed, and enough available space on the
hard disk drive to mount a Windows image.
- A Windows image (.wim file) that you want to
- The drivers (.inf files), update packages
(.cab or .msu files), and the language packs (.cab files) that you
will use to service the image, stored in an accessible
Use the following table to find the step-by-step instructions and information that will help you complete this process.
For more information
Gather and store your update packages, drivers, and language packs in an accessible location.
You can create a central location or you can create a distribution share. When you are servicing your offline image, you will point to the location where you have stored the files that will be used to service your offline image.
Copy an instance of your master image to the technician’s computer.
The image you are servicing must be in a location that you can access when you mount the image. We do not recommend mounting an image from a network share.
Service the image.
Use DISM to mount and service your Windows image. You can also use DISM to verify that drivers and other packages were added and removed from the image. Save your changes and unmount the image.
Create scripts for regular maintenance tasks.
If you service your master image on a regular basis, you can create a script using the DISM command line options.
The following list provides additional options to consider as you develop your image management and servicing strategy.
- Service a Mounted
This walkthrough describes how to use DISM to mount an image, and add and remove packages from the command line.
- Walkthrough: Service an
Applied Windows Image Offline
This walkthrough describes how to use ImageX to apply an image, and then add drivers and other packages by applying an unattended answer file using DISM.
- Walkthrough: Service a
Virtual Hard Disk Image Offline
This walkthrough describes how to prepare an offline Virtual Hard Disk, and then use DISM to modify it.