I've been reading a lot on itninja.com that people are a little confused about imaging and the tool sets build by Microsoft so hopefully this post can clear up a few things using Kace 2000 and Microsoft Tools in your environment.

First thing first let’s talk about Scripted Installations I'm assuming that you have some understanding of Kace and KBE's.

Kace built a nice tool for building images with the Kace 2000 appliances or VM you can create a nice answer files and use those answer files for other installations like system images, etc.

Under Deployment, Scripted installations tab click on "Choose Action" and "Add New Scripted Installations". From here you can enter a name for your Scripted Installation and select your source media i.e. Windows 7.

Tip: Please download the Media Manager under Library and Source Media found under Choose Action to upload Source Media i.e. Windows ISO to the K2.

After you have walked through the added new scripted installations screens you should have a new scripted installation for that source media. Here you can add post install tasks, etc. But before we even do that lets make sure our answer file under Setup Configuration is correct. Here is a good time to copy the information from the Setup configuration into a text file.

Tip: You might see a section that shows your Product Key at the top of the Setup Configuration please delete those small few lines from the setup configuration and click save. If you don't you might end up with a problematic answer file.

Under Preinstallation Tasks drag over Create Single Partition, Form C: as NTFS and Install Vista/2008/7/8/2012 MBR. Click save at the bottom. 3 items.

If you want to try and image using your Scripted Installation please do so. Test and see what results you come up with. See what you are missing like drivers, etc. I personally use PXE and boot into the KBE but your environment might be different. Again I'm assuming that you have some understanding of Kace and how KBE's work.

Tip: If you end up imaging and don't see drivers you might want to add a Mid-Level Task to install drivers and image again.

Moving on..

Most of the time using Scripted Images can be daunting task because you have to image, test, test, image, etc. So building a quick and dirty scripted image and then syspreping that image into a System Image usually is a lot quicker in my opinion.

In a perfect world you could build out all of your Postinstallation Task and run those to install a perfectly installed copy of Windows with all your applications but usually that doesn't happen. So Kace created us a nice system image module.

Remember that text we copied out of the Setup Configuration into a text file well we are going to use that to create a syspreped image so we can capture it using the KBE.

Since you have tested the Setup Configuration and you know it works. You can put the answer file under c:\windows\panther directory and point sysprep.exe using command prompt to the answer file. Example: sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:c:\windows\panther\answer.xml

Tip: This will shutdown the computer after the sysprep happens so the computer doesn't reboot and you have to start over.

After the computer shuts down boot into the KBE and capture the image using WIM. Depending on the size mine usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes.

Tip: After the capture finishes use a test machine to test the image so you don't blow up your capture machine.

Again I'm assuming that you have some understanding of Kace and how KBE's work.

The other day I was asked how to add stuff to the WIM file after the capture. Well that a great question here is where the Microsoft tools come in.

I wrote a post here explaining how imagex.exe works. http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/using-imagex-exe

So in a nut shell here is a basically 10 thousand mile view of imaging & syspreping using Kace 2000. If the community wants more I will write another post about petemp and preinst WIM files but please image, test, and play and see what happens to the images to learn the basics.

Sorry for no pictures.