This walkthrough describes how to deploy a custom image using Windows® Setup. This method provides several benefits over applying an image using the ImageX tool. For example, Setup supports:
- Applying another answer file for additional
customizations during deployment.
- Reconfiguring disk configuration.
- Adding additional drivers.
- Replacing a product key.
- Selecting a different language to
- Selecting from a list of images to install,
if your image file contains more than one image.
- Installing to a different drive location.
- Upgrading an existing Windows
- Configuring the computer to dual-boot
- Ensuring that the hardware can support
There are some limitations to installing a custom image using Windows Setup. For more information, see What Is Windows Setup?
In this example, you will create a reference installation, capture an image of the installation, and rerun Windows Setup with an answer file that points to your custom image.
To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:
- A technician computer, which provides all of
the tools and source files. For more information, see Building a Technician
- A Windows® 7 product DVD.
- A master computer on which you will install
and capture your custom image.
- Bootable Windows PE media with the
ImageX tool. There are several types of Windown PE media that
you can create. For more information about these options, see
- Access to a network share to store your
custom image and Windows 7 Setup source files.
Step 1: Copy the Windows product DVD source files to a network share
On your technician computer, copy the entire content of the Windows product DVD to a network share. For example,
net use N: \\server\share\ xcopy <drive> N:\\WindowsDVD\ /s
Where <drive> is your DVD-ROM drive on your local computer.
Step 2: Create a master installation
- Create a master installation by using one of the following
- After the installation is complete, shut down the computer.
Step 3: Capture an image of the installation
In this step, you will capture an image of the reference installation by using the ImageX tool and then store the custom image on a network share.
- Boot the reference computer by using your bootable
Windows PE media.
- At a command prompt, capture an image of the installation. You
specify a name and description as part of your image capture. All
values are required by Windows Setup. If a .wim file does not
include these values, then the image will not install properly. For
imagex /compress fast /check /scroll /capture C: C:\myimage.wim "x86_Ultimate" "My x86 Ultimate"
- Replace the default Install.wim on the network share with your
custom image. The image must be called Install.wim. For
net use N: \\server\share\ copy C:\myimage.wim N:\WindowsDVD\sources\install.wim
Step 4: Create a custom answer file
In this step, you will create an answer file that points to your custom image. This step assumes you have already built an answer file and have a working catalog.
- On your technician computer, open Windows System Image Manager
(Windows SIM). On your desktop, click Start, point to
Programs, point to Microsoft Windows OPK (or
Windows AIK), and then click Windows System Image
- On the File menu, click New Answer File.
- In the Windows Image pane of Windows SIM, expand
the Components node to display available settings.
- Add the following components to your answer file by
right-clicking the component and then selecting the appropriate
Component Configuration Pass
Expand the component list until you see the lowest setting listed above, and then add that setting to your answer file. This shortcut will add the setting and all parent settings to your answer file in one step.
- All of the settings that you added must appear in the Answer
File pane. Select and configure each setting as specified
WillShowUI = OnError
DiskID = 0 WillWipeDisk = true
Extend = false Order = 1 Size = 300
Type = Primary
Extend = true Order = 2
Type = Primary
Active = true Extend = false Format = NTFS Label = System Letter = S Order = 1 PartitionID = 1
Extend = false Format = NTFS Label = Windows Letter = C Order = 2 PartitionID = 2
WillShowUI = OnError
DiskID = 0 PartitionID = 2
- Copy the answer file to a network location. For example, in a
Command Prompt window,
net use N: \\server\share\ md N:\AnswerFiles copy C:\deploy_unattend.xml N:\AnswerFiles\
Step 5: Deploy the image by using Windows Setup
In this step, you will deploy your custom image from a network share onto a destination computer.
- Boot the destination computer by using your bootable
Windows PE media.
- Connect to your network share specified in "Step 4: Create a
custom answer file," and then run Setup with your answer file. For
example, in a Command Prompt window, type:
net use N: \\server\share N:\WindowsDVD\setup /unattend:N:\AnswerFiles\deploy_unattend.xml
You can further customize your answer file to include additional options. You can also build a DVD deployment media that contains the same content that you placed on the network share. A single deployment DVD provides a portable installation solution that requires no network or any additional resources. The process includes building a configuration set and recapturing all source files into a single DVD.
The DVD media that you create is for internal deployment use only. You cannot redistribute this media.