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Posts posted by Dechy

  1. This one is odd. Ever since I've been playing with WAIK & Windows 7 I've slowly (but surely) seen my HD space shrink in size. Didn't care because I was obviously doing a heck of a lot of testing with DISM/MDT/etc... and used quite a few different distribution folders. Now I want to wipe the slate clean, something XP doesn't seem to do; it's become quite attached to what looks like a massive amount of temporary Windows 7 files/folders (~3GB)

    All these files are under Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temp\winsxs\windows\extremely_huge_folder_name_with_windows7_version_info. I thought at first it was just a stupid case of path too long... renames winsxs & windows, but was still getting access denied on all child folders & files. To top it off the Security tab is non existant to any type of admin account and even the System account.

    Can't delete from recovery console/WinPE/Safe Mode. Access denied all the way. chkdsk scan for errors & fix them revealed no problems.

    I know of the winsxs in Vista & W7, and how they are much better off left alone, for good reasons... but at least they don't appear in the damned TEMP folder.......

    It seems they appeared from trying to catalog a new WIM folder in WAIK and it crashed... it also crashed my WAIK completely because it won't catalog ANYTHING in XP anymore. Uninstalling didn't fix that issue.

    If it was a few MBs, sure, don't care... but 3GB?? HDs at work are small enough as it is, and I only noticed it because I really needed some space (was down to under 4GB left).

    Anybody know of a way to get rid of those or at least a tool that will circumvent NTFS to some degree on file deletion? MS really shouldn't of put these insane barriers around that **** winsxs folder... TEMP folder or not.

    Decided to put this here, as it's directly related to Windows 7 & the WAIK being the cause, maybe someone else ran into this while trying to create an XML. Or maybe can check that folder specifically if it exists (hoping someone uses XP & WAIK and not just Vista/W7 & WAIK)


  2. Well, I just took my modified WIM, removed the RC RSAT, added the RTM RSAT and re-installed after re-doing the Foundation package in my autounattend.xml and everything works perfectly fine.

    I don't want to accuse anybody of anything, but you did get your RTM off MS's website right? Not some leaked torrent?

    Did you customize something on your image? Have you tried on a clean install of an unmodified image? Simply can't recreate the problem.

  3. Holy hell, my RSAT tools I downloaded for the RC are 24MB!!! They work perfectly with the RTM too. I had found them just by doing a search for "Windows RSAT" on Google and most websites pointed me to what I have now... (which was a direct download from MS)

    I do the same now and the links are either dead or send me to that insanely massive download. Really don't understand why it's so big... going to have to download those and test... here's hoping I won't get the same error you are, but I use DISM to modify an offline image and then use the MS-Foundation package in WSIM to enable the features. Works great.

    There a particular reason why you want to use DISM to enable stuff on a running OS instead of just doing it through the Programs Add/Remove Features? (aside from curiosity)

  4. I've tried replacing my method of installto/installfrom with yours and mine craps out as well. Mine doesn't specify an "install to" parameter (as in which disk/partition) but it does contain an install from, without it install gives me an error.

    <MetaData wcm:action="add">

    I'm guessing with the installtoavailablepartition set to true, one doesn't need to specify disk ID & partition, if you had it set to false, then you would need those.

    I remember when I was trying hard to get the HD configuration working, I had to use a different XML file with JUST the HD parameters until I got it right, just to make sure nothing else was getting in the way.

  5. This is the one I've been using (we recently decided in our department to do away with partitions, so makes my job easier)

    <Disk wcm:action="add">
    <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
    <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">

    Took me a few reboots to get the correct parameters, the disk configuration portion is definitely a finicky one. From looking at your code, the first example creates a partition, but doesn't have the portion to modify it (with the file system type, label & active) and it definitely needs that. The second example has one of headaches I had as well in figuring it out a while ago; double "extend" parameter; if you already have it in the createpartition portion, you can't have it again in the modifypartition or it craps out.

  6. From a corporate point of view: Vista < XP < W7

    We did an analysis on Vista after SP1, and even though there was some pros we could of definitely used (biggest one was probably Switching Users in a Domain environment; impossible in XP, have to log off completely), the strain on the hardware and some lack of deployment tools just didn't help... it's very bad reputation was also a very big factor in why our computer illiterate "morons-for-bosses" wouldn't even hear of it. Didn't matter how we spun it; with the correct hardware & SP1, Vista was a different beast from release, they just didn't care.

    Windows 7 on the other hand, as a MUCH better reputation already. BitLocker, Switching Users in domain environments, SuperFetch (our users are like drones, same apps loaded in almost always same pattern), XP Mode possibilities for our really crappy in-house apps, IE8 (forces us to get the #$^$#%@# off IE6!!), improved Gadget handling (for RSS feeds mainly), more granularity in key LPOs/GPOs (USB and time/date control for example) and a needed revamped UAC compared to Vista are pretty much the biggest interest points from a business point of view (ours anyways). Offline image modification using DISM, easier package/driver integration and VHD are quite interesting as well... sick of the messy $OEM$ folder (can still use in W7, but officially "legacied" by Microsoft lol)

    From a client point of view, revamped taskbar & tray, slideshow background (that was probably the thing users cried the most about when we left 95/98SE, they could install anything they wanted back then and lose their slideshow applets), Aero (yeah, our users are demanding on the bling) and better Accessibility tools and probably some of the most needed/wanted features.

    Using a tweaked Windows 7 Enterprise with quite a few disabled services/removed features, and the difference between it and our corporate XP really isn't that bad. We've got 2 big different "pools" of computer hardware in our environment; P4 3.0/3.2GHz, 1GB RAM & 128MB VRAM & C2D 2.2GHz, 1GB RAM & 128MB VRAM / Athlon X2-4800+, 2GB RAM & 256MB VRAM. The difference in performance between W7 & XP on the Athlons is barely noticeable, on the C2D Aero is a wee bit laggy when too many apps are running, the P4s are noticeable, but nothing outrageous, especially considering most will be replaced before Windows 7 hits our production network. As long as there's 2GB RAM & video cards that make sense, W7 will run quite well, and that slideshow background option will win the heart of 75% of our 26000 users lol!

    I've been selling Windows 7 HARD to my superiors ever since I installed beta @ home & got a hold of how DISM/WAIK/MDT work. Oh, and with the new UAC, I too have been pushing W7 to relatives as much as possible and NOT given then the admin password!!! I actually remote desktop to them when they need something installed. They thought I was being a nazi at first, but they've been having near ZERO issues since then. If I was being paid for every call though, I'd turn UAC off completely :P

    TL:DR version? Windows 7 brings too many new features out-of-the-box or revamped old things from Vista CORRECTLY that it's definitely an XP killer, as long as you or your business aren't penny pinchers and still trying to run it on hardware that came out when XP was released. The time to move on is NOW!

  7. Yep, you can still use $OEM$ folder just fine ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library...265(WS.10).aspx ), it's just that it's all considered legacy now.

    I've used the $OEM$ method for YEARS with XP, but never really like it... it ended up being pretty darn messy on the mdeium/distribution share.

    I'm really starting to get the hang of offline image modifications/DISM/WSIM and I really don't see why I'd go back to using legacy stuff anymore.

  8. Yeah, I had rebooted a few times, logged in locally as admin instead of my network admin account and I even uninstalled completely and re-installed with luck on resolving this issue. When I downloaded RTM, I downloaded the new WAIK as well to make and re-created my autounattend.xml from scratch to make sure.

    I was able to get it working a few hours ago this morning by installing WAIK on the Windows 7 platform I was actually working on and it was able to generate a new catalog just fine. Seems my XP + WAIK is now screwed up with no solution on how to fix it aside from a format or maybe using a VM... sucks, but WAIK is an easy & fast install on W7, even if I have to re-install it everytime I re-test deployment heh.

  9. I haven't tried doing it after sysprep myself, but why do you say adding them with DISM is a pain? Seeing as you can add any number of drivers (and patches while you're at it) in one fell swoop thanks to the possibility of recursing all the folders, I'm not sure why you refer it as a pain to do so.

    I'm still in the "early" stages of developping an image for my department, but one thing I've done a LOT is having to recreate the .WIM file from scratch a lot, because of too much tampering and errors on my part. I've got 2 big folders; 1 for drivers & 1 for patches/other packages and with 2 DISM commands (/add-package & /add-driver) over 20 items get added in no time recursively.

    Hopefully, it's just that you don't know of the /recurse switch, like me back then (lack of documentation for that switch). If that's not the case, I've never tried to add drivers after sysprep, so can't help you there.

  10. - Install Windows 7 "normally"

    - Copy install.wim from the Windows 7 media somewhere on the HD (if it's already on a USB stick/HD then you can skip this part)

    - Run cmd as an administrator

    - Create a folder for temporary offline modification (I just call mine OFFLINE)

    - Run the following: dism /mount-wim /wimfile:[path to install.wim] /index:[index of your image inside the .wim file] /mountdir:[path to offline folder]

    - Use Windows Explorer to copy your executables whereever you want under the OFFLINE folder (in your case, [path to offline folder]\users\default\desktop)

    - Run the following: dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:[path to offline folder] /commit

    - Burn/copy the modified install.wim back to the bootable installation media under the sources folder

    I'm not 100% sure that this will work, as anything to do with the Default user folder is a hit or miss in my case, but for ANY other folder in the offline modification portion, I can copy absolutely anything and it will be there on next install.

  11. Searched a bit and only found errors pertaining to this & WDS/MDT, and the fixes didn't make sense for my scenario. All I did was take RTM, add RSAT MSU file as a package using DISM (/add-package) & add a file under the %windir%\security\templates. Ummount & commit and then try to open the image with WSIM and it always gives the same error with the following log:

    3:57 PM : 
    3:57 PM : Windows SIM was unable to generate a catalog. For troubleshooting assistance, see the topic: 'Windows System Image Manager Technical Reference' in the Windows OPK or Windows AIK User's Guide.
    3:57 PM :
    3:57 PM : System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The interface is unknown

    Server stack trace:
    at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.WimImageInfo.PreCreateCatalog()
    at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.OfflineImageInfo.CreateCatalog()
    at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.CatalogCreatorImpl.CreateCatalog(OfflineImageIn
    fo offlineImageInfo)
    at System.Runtime.Remoting.Messaging.StackBuilderSink._PrivateProcessMessage(IntPtr md, Object[] args, Object server, Int32 methodPtr, Boolean fExecuteInContext, Object[]& outArgs)
    at System.Runtime.Remoting.Messaging.StackBuilderSink.PrivateProcessMessage(RuntimeMethodHandle md, Object[] args, Object server, Int32 methodPtr, Boolean fExecuteInContext, Object[]& outArgs)
    at System.Runtime.Remoting.Messaging.StackBuilderSink.SyncProcessMessage(IMessage msg, Int32 methodPtr, Boolean fExecuteInContext)

    Exception rethrown at [0]:
    at System.Runtime.Remoting.Proxies.RealProxy.HandleReturnMessage(IMessage reqMsg, IMessage retMsg)
    at System.Runtime.Remoting.Proxies.RealProxy.PrivateInvoke(MessageData& msgData, Int32 type)
    at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.ComponentPlatformInterface.ICatalogCreator.CreateCatalog(OfflineImageInfo offlineImageInfo)
    at Microsoft.ComponentStudio.CatalogGenerator.CreateCat(ProgressDialog pd, Object o)

    I can open the original RTM file fine and force a catalog generation on it... but the new install.wim just won't work. All I wanted to see is if the new features would appear in the Foundation package since DISM added that package under the Windows Foundation...

    I know I could just as easily enable them all using the /enable-feature of DISM, but I was curious.

    I know WSIM can open custom images & catalog them (conclusion reached from my searches), I've just never gotten it to work on any custom images myself!

    Any ideas?


  12. Could you explain a wee bit what you do with the NTUSER.DAT? I was using that for years in 2K & XP, and it worked so friggin' well, even if M$ didn't "officially support" it. That's actually the very first thing I did before finding out about the CopyProfile in Sysprep, but I was getting some pretty interesting results; permission problems, background not "sticking", some pinned applications wouldn't "stick" either.

    I'm guessing you're doing it the long way; i.e. loading up the Default User hive manually and editing everything by hand? I think that's the only one I haven't tried, because I thought there had to be a more automated way of doing this. I've tried using the other old school method using the Copy To in the User Profile settings tab, but that's greyed out now, I've tried modifying any account to the standards and then copying the NTUSER.DAT, that also didn't work out very well.

  13. Yeah, caught that one, and I even indirectly made reference to finding it in my first post... but for some ungodly reason, it doesn't work all the time (actually, rarely is more like it).

    The CopyProfile information from the WAIK & TechNET site clearly state you can run it from any account, but that's not true by a longshot. So I did try the Administrator account, and well, it worked the first time I used it (re-enabled built-in account, customized wallpaper, desktop icons, start menu pins and syspreped). The Sysprep documentation also clearly state that the built-in admin account gets zapped on every use, which isn't the end of the world, because the CopyProfile also states that it goes through the copy phase well before the account gets zapped. No problem right?

    Well, I've tried around a dozen time now and am unable to replicate the working conditions on what happened exactly when the CopyProfile worked.

    Hell, I've actually gotten it to work from another account in the administrators group more often, but again, 100% random results even using the EXACT SAME unattend.xml for Sysprep. (worked 3 times out of 10).

  14. Ok, does anybody have a working unattend.xml (or whatever they named it) for a working Sysprep using the damned Copyprofile option? I've tried about 2 dozen scenarios & methods and it's worked TWICE in 24 times, and I have no clue what I did exactly in those 2 times because Sysprep destroyed my OS after re-trying, so I had to re-install the OS and try again. Even when I thought I had the correct XML, I used it again and it didn't work whatsoever anymore.

    Copyprofile, from what my searches have returned, is probably the most flaky option in sysprep, TONS of people having huge issues with it not working whatsoever and the threads sort of die out.

    It's pretty bad when it's been an option since the Vista beta and STILL DOESN'T WORK CORRECTLY.

  15. Ok, tricky one. We know SkipUserOOBE isn't used in W7 anymore, and that SkipMachineOOBE is deprecated. There's even a nice how-to in WSIM on which settings to configure to effectively skip the Welcome Screen, and it works well. Only problem is the fact you absolutely HAVE to create an account to skip it, which makes no sense whatsoever why MS would push this, but MS making sense on some of their stuff would = the world is flat right? On top of that is automatically disables the Administrator account.

    Now, I can get the security aspect of creating a completely new account & disabling the built-in Administrator one, and I'd go for it is if wasn't for the next problem which is directly tied into this: Sysprep using an unattend.xml file with CopyProfile set to TRUE.

    The ONLY account CopyProfile will work on is with the built in ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT!!! It doesn't matter if I sysprep from that "forced creation" one, a completely different local account or a domain account (with all admin privileges and UAC turned off for image configuration phase), CopyProfile would never work... so after reading through the line of people who had success and who didn't on forums/posts all over the internet, I decided to re-enable the built-in Administrator account, set my desktop, icons, start menu options, etc... and then use the same sysprep as the other tests under different accounts... and it worked.

    So, I'm guessing I'm looking for the middle grounds here; being able to do an unattended without having to create a friggin extra account or being able to use sysprep on ANY account and the darned CopyProfile working.

    I usually don't follow MS recommendations to the letter, but in my organization (26000 users, 36000+ desktops/laptops) the whole "don't EVER EVER EVER use SkipMachineOOBE outside of testing" didn't only catch my attention, but others in my group. Used it for XP, worked perfectly fine, but with the warning messages, I'm weary of using this only to find out later down the road (when it's all deployed) that something that we install/set needed the whole darn Welcome Screen settings to be inserted correctly and not just skipped.

    Anyone have any insight on this? (and I blame my french if I didn't explain things correctly, heh)

  16. Indeed I did, there's no "install-package" or "enable-package" or something that would tell the OS on first boot (or any pass) to kick off those installs.

    I just find it odd, that like you, not all my drivers work, but the ones that do, once "slipstreamed" into the .WIM using DISM, they actually "work" right away, or at least the OS is quite aware of them... but doing the same type of procedures for packages gives completely different results...

    Ok, I don't find it odd, I find it frustrating.

  17. Ok, back on this project again... god love the govt; getting pulled from projects and thrown onto other things only to get pushed back onto what you were oing from the get-go...

    Anyways, I'm back with the damned DISM / MDT 2010 thing, seems I was wrong about MDT taking in the drivers and not DISM; when I hit the Update on my deployment folder, I get the same errors. But I'm going to leave that one alone for now.

    I'm seriously lacking basic knowledge on how DISM & package integration works... but anyways; this scenario is simple! Mount WIM image, add-package for 2 tiny MS updates (KB971180 & KB970858) and the french language pack. No errors, I do the /get-packages and clearly see them there, but with the mention "install pending".

    I unmount & commit changes. I then re-mount & re-check /get-packages and yep, they're definitely there. I check WAIK after reloading the WIM and I don't see the packages in there anywhere. Ok. So I copy that WIM file to my USB key & re-install from scratch. The WIM was ~125MB bigger, so another clear indication that the packages are there.

    The question: how in hell do I get them to install now? Even after W7 is loaded, it didn't install them automatically (which I thought that's how it was going to do them) and they don't appear anywhere as an option to start the installs...

    So yeah, there has to be something basic I'm missing here, like either in my autounattend to tell it to do the install or before closing off the offline image.

    The lack of documentation on how DISM works from MS is ridiculous, I'm about to just plug in every darn thing I want to install in the offline image, close the WIM & create a big old ugly script that installs everything instead of using these new "automation tools" :realmad: It just really sucks coming from a standpoint where XP tools had no secrets to DISM/WAIK/MDT. :wacko:

  18. Simply because government departments aren't the rest of the world, sadly. They are stuck in the stone ages, well, maybe not the small depts., but the massive ones take FOREVER to go ahead with ANYTHING.

    I need to use something that has "payable support" or at least an enterprise sort of support structure with manuals that could resemble "grub4dos for dummies" lol.

    Basically, anything that doesn't have a Microsoft, McAfee, etc... can't be used. Open source stuff like Lunix is to be avoided like the plague, in this department anyways.

    Another 5-10 years and the dinosaurs will have left the building, hopefully.

  19. Already am using the latest WAIK for W7 RC with a clean slate XML answer file. The only deprecated setting that I'm currently working my way around is skipmachineoobe by entering all the needed infor spereratly as per the "Automate Windows Welcome" help file.

    Used bootsect /nt60 on the USB stick, copied the full DVD content of W7 on stick and popped the autounattend.xml on the root and it all works fine (aside from some afformentioned settings that don't seem to "stick").

    But if I leave the USB stick in with USB -> HD in boot sequence, it'll always loop and redo the PE Pass (partioning, copying, expanding, etc...), so I had to revert back to HD -> USB and make sure I hit the F key and force a USB boot.

  20. I'm having an old problem I used to have with XP, where you could potentially remove the "boot from CD" option if you weren't careful (or if that WAS your intention).

    I never really had that problem with Vista before because work here didn't have USB sticks big enough so I had to use DVDs, but now with 7 we're doing it with flash drives and I'm bumping into the problem where it constantly loops the PE pass because there's no "boot from USB/media/whatever" message, it just goes there automatically and resets everything.

    Holy annoying, as I'm 100% sure if I release something of the sort, I'll have techs in the field forgetting their sticks and wiping disks clean by mistake. There has to be an option right? I'm definitely missing something or overlooked something, at least I hope so.

    Any insight on this? Thanks.

  21. I had to rebuild my XP machine a while back, so I haven't used it for creating "vlited" unattended installs in a bit. I knew about the wimgapi that had to be copied to the vlite folder in order to get past the damned WAIK install nag screen from vlite, but now that doesn't work.

    From what I could find out, seems that I might also be missing the wimgfltr.sys file... never had a problem with that before... does anyone know if the latest version of WAIK doesn't include it anymore??

    I've tried everything, really can't make vlite work at all now, and all the damned links to the wimgfltr that existed are either dead or were removed (as per the forums rules I guess)

    Is my only option to try to download an old version of WAIK and hope what I'm missing is in there? (I'm sorta close to my limit this month... the thought of maybe wasting another 1.5GB download for nothing is bad enough).

    Any info on this would be great, thanks...

  22. This is holy frustrating... even Vista won't work with generalized sysprep & imagex from the AMD to the Intel based computers!! Vista being different from W7, I get a "Installation could not be started" pop up on first boot from dropping down the image, then it reboots and it tells me the computer restarded unexpectedly and click OK... then it just contniously reboots with the same message everytime.

    I've been doing our department's deployments since Windows 95 and never had has many headaches as the AMD->Intel and vice versa imaging problems.

    So, until someone can shed light on the possiblity of my problems with these different platforms and imaging, I'll be trying to hunt down another AMD box...

  23. I just took your challenge and it worked fine, and I was able to do it on a Vista image as well. sysprep /generalize is all that's needed for this to work, so if you're having issues it's probably not the fault of Windows.

    Could you tell me the exact steps you did? I quickly tried this again, following the same steps I posted, but I'll be more specific:

    1) Install W7 build 7000 on Dell Optiplex 740 (AMD). No 3rd party driver/software installed, W7 detects everything correctly and system is very stable.

    2) Run sysprep with generalize option

    3) Boot on WinPE and run ImageX (imagex /capture /compress maximum c: e:\w7beta.wim "W7 Beta")

    4) Boot on WinPE on an HP DC7600 (Intel) and run ImageX (imagex /apply e:\w7beta.wim "W7 Beta" c:)

    5) Reboot to W7 trying to run Sysprep and reboots forever.

    Tried on an HP DC7100, HP DC7700, Dell Optiplex GX270 and even a P4 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM clone... all reboot continuously.

    Sadly, there are no other AMD systems I can base my tests on because they are the only ones we have in our department (to the tune of about 8000). At this point I'm just hoping it's a beta problem and anxiously waiting for the RC on may 5th (or before that for MSDN).

    Although we don't have any licenses for Vista, I'll download an MSDN copy and try that and see if the sysprep works. If it does then it probably IS a W7 problem with the hardware (or whatever), if it doesn't work even with Vista I'll need to get my hands on another AMD system somewhere somehow to put the blame on the hardware itself and not the OS.


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