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Windows 7: Hardware Independent Image with limited resources

30 Sep 2010   #1
devincco

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 
Hardware Independent Image with limited resources

Hi all

New member here and hope people can point me in the right direction. I have been tasked with trying to create a hardware independent Windows 7 image for our organization. Having separate laptop and desktop images would be fine, 1 image for laptops, 1 image for desktops. The person I have replaced created an image, but every time I drop down the image I spend 20-30 minutes installing the necessary drivers from a thumb drive on most of the machines. I don't have too much experience with imaging and I don't have too many resources available. I have a PC with Symantec Ghost server and a few different kinds of desktops and laptops. The models of machines that we have are all Dell's. Laptops are D620, D630, E6400, E6410, E6500, & E6510. Desktops are Optiplex 620, 745, 760, 780, and 980's. Is it possible to create 1 image (at least 1 for laptop, 1 for desktop) that will have all the proper drivers installed when the image is brought down to the machine so I'm not spending 20 - 30 minutes installing drivers each time I drop an image down?

I have done a lot of google searching and have found a ton of websites. All of which are making me more confused and a lot of them are referencing technology I don't have access to like WDS and such. So any links or steps that members can provide would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!!!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Sep 2010   #2
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Welcome to SevenForums.

The path you have been assigned to travel is rough and wrought with danger.

Familiarize yourself with WAIK, Windows Automated Installation Kit. Pay particular attention to DISM and WIM files.


Assuming you have a TechNet or a MSDN subscription, then just go to the download site. If I remember correctly, TechNet sticks the WAIK at the end of the OS downloads.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #3
WindowsStar

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by devincco View Post
Hi all

New member here and hope people can point me in the right direction. I have been tasked with trying to create a hardware independent Windows 7 image for our organization. Having separate laptop and desktop images would be fine, 1 image for laptops, 1 image for desktops. The person I have replaced created an image, but every time I drop down the image I spend 20-30 minutes installing the necessary drivers from a thumb drive on most of the machines. I don't have too much experience with imaging and I don't have too many resources available. I have a PC with Symantec Ghost server and a few different kinds of desktops and laptops. The models of machines that we have are all Dell's. Laptops are D620, D630, E6400, E6410, E6500, & E6510. Desktops are Optiplex 620, 745, 760, 780, and 980's. Is it possible to create 1 image (at least 1 for laptop, 1 for desktop) that will have all the proper drivers installed when the image is brought down to the machine so I'm not spending 20 - 30 minutes installing drivers each time I drop an image down?

I have done a lot of google searching and have found a ton of websites. All of which are making me more confused and a lot of them are referencing technology I don't have access to like WDS and such. So any links or steps that members can provide would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!!!
The short answer is yes this can be done. However with a heavy price to pay.

1) You will have a bloated image with drivers for all these machines so the image will be large. (You will need to remember to disable services for things that are NOT on some machines or you will slow down the machine with stuff that is running and NOT needed)
2) It will require a lot of up front work from you. You will need a good week to make the image, and I would make sure you block that week out so you have all the time to make everything work correctly.
3) You MUST use Windows 7 Enterprise, it will re-activate via MAK or KMS automatically.

Here are the steps if you wish to take this on.

1) Pick your fastest machine, say the 780 or 980 and install Windows 7 Enterprise. Install all the software you need etc.

2) Use Ghost to make an image.
3) Put the image on the next machine say the 780 if you use the 980 to create it.
4) Update all the drivers, etc.

5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 until you have the image on all the machines.

Now that you have had the SAME image on all machines it will work on all machines.

Catch 22, you will need the RAID drivers for 780 and the E6510 and you will need the SATA drivers for the others, and then the ATA drivers for the 620 and such.

Good luck, this is a lot of work. -WS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Oct 2010   #4
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
1) Pick your fastest machine, say the 780 or 980 and install Windows 7 Enterprise. Install all the software you need etc.

2) Use Ghost to make an image.
3) Put the image on the next machine say the 780 if you use the 980 to create it.
4) Update all the drivers, etc.

5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 until you have the image on all the machines....
Or just using the imaging capabilities that are builtin Windows 7. On the DVD Windows 7 is already in a hardware-independent image (install.wim) You install Windows modify it installing all the required drivers/software then capture a new image using WAIK. You actually don't even need to install it to add new drivers, WAIK can do that offline as well.

This will probably help one to get started: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/art...s-7-Part1.html
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #5
WindowsStar

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
1) Pick your fastest machine, say the 780 or 980 and install Windows 7 Enterprise. Install all the software you need etc.

2) Use Ghost to make an image.
3) Put the image on the next machine say the 780 if you use the 980 to create it.
4) Update all the drivers, etc.

5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 until you have the image on all the machines....
Or just using the imaging capabilities that are builtin Windows 7. On the DVD Windows 7 is already in a hardware-independent image (install.wim) You install Windows modify it installing all the required drivers/software then capture a new image using WAIK. You actually don't even need to install it to add new drivers, WAIK can do that offline as well.
This will make a single image that works on all of his machines??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #6
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
This will make a single image that works on all of his machines??
If done right it most certainly can. It infact already does, for millions of people that have installed Windows 7. The Windows 7 installer is using this very means to install itself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #7
WindowsStar

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
This will make a single image that works on all of his machines??
If done right it most certainly can. It infact already does, for millions of people that have installed Windows 7. The Windows 7 installer is using this very means to install itself.
How long from start to finish to put the FINISHED image on a new machine. Is this like doing a fresh OS install? In other words is it about the same amount of time to install from DVD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #8
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
How long from start to finish to put the FINISHED image on a new machine. Is this like doing a fresh OS install? In other words is it about the same amount of time to install from DVD?
Pretty much like a fresh install of Windows. Of course, it does depend on how much extra applications and other peices of data you pack into it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #9
Tews

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

This can be easily done with Acronis, using their universal restore option.. It allows you to restore an image on dissimilar machines ...

Quote:
Acronis Universal Restore lets you restore an image of Windows operating system to different hardware environment; Acronis Universal Restore allows to change Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer and install HDD controller and NIC drivers]
source
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #10
WindowsStar

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by WindowsStar View Post
How long from start to finish to put the FINISHED image on a new machine. Is this like doing a fresh OS install? In other words is it about the same amount of time to install from DVD?
Pretty much like a fresh install of Windows. Of course, it does depend on how much extra applications and other peices of data you pack into it.
That is the problem with doing images the MS way TIME.

Please note: I am not agreeing with the way the OP wants to make an image. We do it a different way.

If I build a Ghost Image, with all the drivers in it. I can ghost a machine in 4 minutes and 34 seconds. Reboot and add to the domain. I have a machine up and running completely in 5 minutes flat. Working with thousands and thousands of machines we could never deploy with the normal 30 minute OS install and then the 45 minutes of applications. That just takes too long.

I think this way of installing (the Microsoft way) died because RIS works the same way and is why enterprise never adopted it.

Is there a way to make that time much shorter??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Hardware Independent Image with limited resources




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