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Windows 7: Easy Custom image + custom recovery OEM like system?


View Poll Results: is a open source solution worth a few dollars?
sure but I will end up using it as is, for free as most of us do 3 75.00%
hmm, maybe. Depends if it works or I get support for my case to make it work. 0 0%
no, sorry mate 1 25.00%
write it up in c++ or something, and if it turns out to be good, release it on a commercial license 0 0%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

04 Dec 2009   #1

Vista U32 , now Win7 64
 
 
Easy Custom image + custom recovery OEM like system?

Ok.. I'm just throwing this out here...it's darn late hihi

I have written a 'program' (script), which will automate a recovery system for windows 7, full with a working bootmanager, (custom) partitioning, ramdisks, custom environment (winre/pe), and backup imaging , all legal and licensed according to microsoft as long as its not distributed (aka single computer [home] end user).

I decided after hourrrrssss and weeeks of reading, researching, testing, failing, testing again, reading again, installing F amounts of programs, running sysprep, MDT2010, WAIK, dism, imagex, winpe, winre, bootsect, bcdedit, you name it, I came to the conclusion.. I gotta write something up for the other poor souls around out there.

I'm not going into more details now, but I was thinking of writing this up in c++ or so and asking for donations, which will entitle support in the odd event it would not* work in your case.

However, to just test it all that it works, I wrote it in scripts (batch and vbs) which I realize now I never shall do again :P (more an OOP man myself)

I write programs normally so dealing with exceptions extensively in batch is just .... well about as time consuming as 20 % of the time I spent on R&D on all this.

Anyway, I am wondering, given I always been used to the share way, if there are people who actually are willing to donate 5 bucks or so, on a script which would take about 2 hours max to execute to set up a total personal home recovery partition system. This method, lets you use a totally customised win 7 image (yours), and any programs, tweaks, settings, customisations you desire, still will work fine.

It does not however as it stands on version 0.5b or so, help with default user profile copying (although you might have this sorted already), nor customising your base install DVD for now. That is basically why I am asking this.

If I'd know some of all these hours in delivering a 'complete' solution gives a bit back from donations, I would be willing to make the whole she-bang... meaning the whole slipstreaming (or rather stripping), customisation, possibly the sysprepping (this does raise many other issues lol.. good ol' microsoft ;p) and guide to customisation , with finally the recovery system setup too with a so-called mikepe (custom 'winre').

Im just saying, I would rather make this vigourously with a far more elegant and rigid exception handling and GUI (sufficiently basic probably), rather than relying entirely on my batch exception handling.

(it should be pretty fool-proof in fact for all normal users) as long as one can read english (as it's mainly text-based now).

Anyway, if there are not people who have enough to donate that or rather are willing to do research for weeks, I guess I'll just keep on doing this silly script method and prolly drop it in here in some weeks anyway

I have never asked for anything before, when it is not work related or so, so I don't know if this is breaking some forum etiquette but it's just a sincere question, not some demand or advertising. I started this to be honest to give it in here and saw other guides really tend to forget things, break dependencies or create forums with more pages of 'this didnt work, why does that fail' than tanks man, brilliant..etc. I realized even Microsoft's own documentation could be off in so many simple things, enough to create hours of headache for a user new to these things sigh. (Reagentc.exe docs as an example, kind of are intermixing the methods when storing a recovery image on a partition or applying a recovery image on a partition, etc.). Anyway, this is in no way an ad for selling something.. it would be semi so if I actually had enough people stating donations and even pre donated for support for a proper program.

Else I will just keep at this script crap and finalize tests and documentation in some days or a week and then I will think about what to do.

Anyway, I been scripting for hours and soon off to work and it's 7 am so hopefully this made some sense, even if was not so informative. Again, this is not some ad like : hey , i got some software that does this or that.

It's simply a guided interface which allows you to just blatently know nothing, yet through reading the small help docs in each step, will be able to perform a full recovery partition set-up like the OEMs pretty much.

the interface is just that, an interaction with these tools:

your DVD/ISO Windows 7 source files, Windows AIK/OPK, oh hey, that's it!

This excludes for now customisation (which would then further require vLite, WAIK 1.1).

my guide, script(s) and files do DELETE any recovery partition you would have from an OEM (unless you choose another setup than full format... C: (partition 1) has to be formatted no matter what; however not whole disk 0 necessarily.
(you do not even have to know what this means, as the interface explicitly will guide any english proficient illiterate like a baby donkey to a stable of hens). Right, geeky weird comments /off

This method allows you to update windows, install language packs, drivers, programs, anything as much as you like up till the point you create the partition system. if you feel for updating the system recovery image, you can as well. So much easier than trying to slipstream it all into an auto-unattend for example.

It's all possible as its for home user's and NOT distribution deployment.

I call it (and would keep the name for a full native application) SUCK (Single User Custom Krap)

Anyway, leave thoughts if you wish..

solar.

Point with this is , that if I see a positive feed-back , I don't really mind sharing the source as scripts, as then people can help with extending it/testing. I been only testing on the x64 even if x86 should be fine. And even if it isn't , it wouldn't take long to fix issues as I started my experience of all this with vista 32 bit. Anyway, thats the point of asking if willingness to any small donations as a appreciation factor, as then I am willing to put in those extra minutes/hours to solve related issues. I know most people would say ye sure.. and most will be happy to have it as a tool and have it free.. no problem.. but just 10 people out of the many many giving 3-5 bucks , just something lil as that is enough to think well, at least it's some form of giving thx

Anywayyyy. Off to the real job now, as if I haven't been in front of this screen long enough.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Dec 2009   #2

Vista U32 , now Win7 64
 
 

OKi.. update. I see now more how this program will work. shame its all working fine with .hta, .vbs and .bat.
ANyway, a full gui app will be present in windows 7 and lets a person set up all his wishes and desires for how he wishes ot have his recovery partitions system set up, incl. the option of other partitions to include in this.

When everything is done, a mikepe disk is created (a custom recovery disk which inclues a wimpe native application of this program ) which will run the precompiled settings from win 7 and will rebuild the partitions, all ready to go. It will also link this system to one single computer only (due to licensing issues and piracy protection.. I'm guessing the latter is easily hacked lol). Anyway, after that, it's all just some hours of installoing, setting up, and voila off to go.

A base windows 7 installation (no extra programs), will create a recovery partition of ~ 3 GB and will be redeploiyed all set to go with your own old account and password in less than 5 minutes.

If you add all your own programs etc, the rebuild can take up to 1 hour.

Still much faster than installing windows, changing all your settings, creating yoru account, installing all those programs... etc.

Will also I think add several boot options, as to recover damaged boot loaders, including support for adding boot entries and back up of linux, vista, xp any OS partitions. You will also be able to give the boot entries any name u fancy like:

my fancy Windows 7 box
my rusty xp box
my crappy vista nostalgia
my lovely linux flavour
my recovery partition (SUCK)

What this program WILL NOT support (at least in 1st release) is:

support for dynamic disks
recovery of OEM partitions (well, only if it is intact, but only boot entry is corrupted, else this partition will be REMOVED, FORMATTED and REPLACED by your home recovery system).

pros: no need to pay lots when warranty has expired to reinstall a working recovery system
rebuild your boot manager
save installation time.. a one time configuration is all
option to use as a backup system of any or all partitions
rename drives and letter assignments consistently and safely
have ALL your custom programs installed in yoru recovery image instead of OEM defined layout and programs

(this is both a con/pro depending on which camp you are in?):
accessing low level kernel system, like antivirus progs, meaning meddling with the protection might lead ot serious damage of system (aka tampering with it/cracking it might be risky)

ps. ask hackers, I don't know how to hack and they seem to know it all so


cons
erm, I don't really know hmm, not compatible with OEM recovery system?
but then again, if you still have the recovery discs form OEM, they should be able to recover their system and
overwriting your own so no worries.

PPS. I have written to Microsoft to see if any licensing options to include a binary with this program, in which case, no need for WAIK either which is a bit annoying for an average home user (an additional 1.3 GB download just to get this all to run seemlessly)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2011   #3

windows 7 ultimate 32b, xp pro sp3
 
 
I am interested

so are you still active on here?
also do you still have the scrips you wrote and did you ever get them to work completely? i have simply just stayed out of vista (after a horrid month of anguish) and 7 until recently and am looking for the custom recovery partition it looks like you figured out how to do . . . originally i was looking into running a custom installed version of the standard ubcd freeware with a full image backup in it, but your method seems . . more elegant
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Feb 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

No they are not still active, they haven't been here for over a year.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Easy Custom image + custom recovery OEM like system?




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