I work at a large college I have been given the daunting task of consolidating our 37 + images for all the different hardware we have in house, into a handful of images. To get the job done I plan to use sysprep to make a universal base image which will contain all the drivers we have for our current hardware we have. Once I have verified the base image works on all the hardware we have in house these are the next steps I plan to take.

1.Make a base universal image of all the apps I know that goes on every computer we have in the building. I plan to make this image as "thin" as possible. After this is done I plan to script the installations of the unique applications needed after the base universal image has been laid down.

I have a few questions and concerns that I am hoping someone here can answer.

1.To script the applications after the thin universal image has been laid down, what kind of server would I need?, will it take an absorbent about of bandwidth to pull what I am planning off.

2.I am planning to build all my reference image using virtual machines is this a good idea, is there a down side?.

Thanks for anyone help or advice you can pass my way before I begin this daunting project.
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Two key pieces of information you left out....
1. What operating system are using talking about? XP and Win7 are two very different beasts.
2. What are you using to deploy your OS? Are you using SCCM/SMS, MDT, DVDs? Altiris, or so on and so forth...?

Typically the deployment methodology will largely impact everything you do. And with most of them you build a driver repository so that the drivers are not built into the image file.
Answered 01/27/2011 by: Lucid
Purple Belt

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Yes I current use ghost solution suite 11.5 My plan is to build a thin image with all the base applications that I KNOW is on every machine in house. We have maybe 10-15 types of hardware in house. The 37+ images is basically because of different software needs. How I plan to rectify this is to script the installs of the unique software applications after the thin image has been laid down with ghost.

Currently we do not have a software deployment solution in house, it is my job to currently asses what is out there and recommend the best and most efficient solution to the bean counters, while meeting our needs. I have heard that Microsoft SCCM is the way to go for delvering softwareto clients after the universal base image has been laid down. I have not heard of Altiris NS but I assume it does the same thing as Microsoft SCCM? What is the difference between SCCM and SMS?

I plan to make a universal image using sysprep and the same method you have used "aka the drivers folder" to make a thin universal image and script the unique installs and settings needed after the fact. The OS we will be deploying is going to be mainly Windows 7 with a sprinkling of XP here and there.

Regarding the building the image on a virtual machine, some people say yay and some say nay, I guess I have to find out if it works for me in the long run.

Thanks for your reply and hopefully you can answer some mpre of my questions in this post.
Answered 01/28/2011 by: clivebuckwheat1
Purple Belt

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SMS 2003 was the previous version of SCCM 2007. So same stuff, just LOTS of improvements in SCCM

If you shift to SCCM I'd strongly recommend creating a Build and Capture task sequence to be run from a virtual machine - to be used to capture your image. And also being employed by a large university, I'd suggest trying to focus on where you want to go instead of nailing down existing processes. For example, no sense in getting XP all tightened up with Ghost if you're going to shift to something like SCCM and Windows 7. Focus on the future :)

If you're doing Ghost, in the past what I used to do was install all the apps we'd need, and then capture the huge image. Then, when we deployed the image I had a VBScript that ran and uninstalled apps that weren't supposed to go on a particular machine (it's usually easier to script a removal than an install on some niche apps).

Hopefully that answered some of your questions (if not, let us know and I'm sure someone will chime in)...
Answered 02/09/2011 by: Lucid
Purple Belt

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I did all of this in June 2010 and it is a lot to tackle. Though we use a Universal Imaging Tool (UIU) from Binary Research (http://www.uiu4you.com/). This tool allows us to create a hardware independent image and will tackle all of the drivers that you can manually enter in Sysprep. If people have had success with Windows 7 Deployment Tools I be interested in that, but due to the time constraints I didn't want to have to worry about this piece. We then used WPKG to be our free deployment tool for third party packages and are customizing scripts. Our hope to one day have all packages deployed through this mechanism. So far it has worked really well and is scalable/customizable to your environment. Oh, and WPKG is free. We also use WSUS for all Microsoft Updates. Part of this as well included the end-user only having User rights on the workstation instead of Admin rights. We needed a way to push out updates and packages so the end-user doesn't have to. Feel free to ask me any questions, hope this helps!
Answered 03/18/2011 by: sjeffers
Yellow Belt

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