TechEd: Building Windows 8 Image Engineering (WCA-B351)

This session covered the process of building a Windows 8 image. There are a variety of ways to build your image, which could range from custom built scripts to using MS provided tools. The big takeaway from this session was to use MDT 2012 Update 1 (or later) to create your customized Windows images. The resulting WIM and ISOs can be used with any MS or third party deployment product. MDT can inject drivers, software, and run custom scripts. It can even inject Windows update patches, using a repeatable and automated method. This would enable you to product frequent Windows images, that follow your business process.

Imaging Process

  • 1) Identify requirements for the master image – Use the new PoC offering to capture requirements
  • 2) Create automated image engineering task sequences using MDT 2012 U1 deployment workbench
  • 3) Automate as much as possible using MDT functions and scripting
  • You can fully automate the WIM build process and even bake-in Windows update patches

Identify Requirements

  • 32-bit or 64-bit or both? Look at both hardware and software compatibility. Best bet is to do both.
  • Thick, thin or hybrid images? Thin image is just the base OS with only minor changes/additions. Thick image is packed with applications and changes. Thick images are good for call centers or training labs.
  • Deployment – How will the image be delivered to client machines? MDT can create images used for any deployment method be it MS or third-party tools

How about Office?

  • Recommend to bake Office into the image.
  • Able to automate the Office installation through transforms

Proof of Concept Jumpstart Kit (Free)

  • Proof of concept jumpstart offer on connect. Lots of documents and pre-created scripts. Download: Windows 7 kit Windows 8 kit
  • Hydration kit creates 5 pre-configured VMs for a DC, MDT, and other services with pre-created customized settings and eval OS images
  • Contains infopath form to walk you through the configuration requirements gathering process
  • Solution Kit for Win8 adds a lot of custom tasks not in the base MDT kit

Deployment Basics

  • Build a reference image answer file (XML file) – Windows SIM (system image manager)
  • Create Bootable Windows PE Media – Windows ADK
  • Build and Capture a reference device – WinPE/DISM/ImageX
  • Build a deployment answer file – Windows SIM
  • Migrate data and settings – USMT
  • Deploy reference image – WinPE/DISM/ImageX

MDT 2012 Update 1

  • Basically just a file share with all the components needed to build the image
  • MDT is a platform that simplifies and automates the build process

Image Engineering Process

  • Install the vanilla operating system (Windows 8) – Use a VM for this
  • Customize the OS and install core applications/utilities
  • Sysprep and capture the machine with imagex (creates .WIM)

Other resources: Deployment Guys blog

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