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Image Deployment from HDD


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Hi Guys,

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct location but I have been tasked with create a Hard Drive base image depolyment solution.

I currently deploy my images using two Dual Layer DVDs, yes I know quite large.

My current solution is an End User Installation process and I need to port it over to a hard drive solution. Has anyone written a 'How To' for deployment from a HDD?

Here is how my DVD solution works:

1. System boots and using a WMI call identifies one of 21 supported platforms through system ID (good call tag to use just go to scriptomatic and under the 'Baseboard' call you find the SYSID). If you system platform is not supported you are told so and asked if you wish to install the base image of which it is password protected.

2. Once system is identified you are asked if you wish to image PC and if you choose yes are given a warning that the HDD will be wiped.

3. Once wiped I call an install HTA file that goes through an interview, Name, Language (we support 8), location (Worldwide) and keyboard.

4. Once you choose the 'Install OS' button then the install.hta file lays down the drivers, additional software, image, and antivirus location files. Then the sysprep.inf file is created using the above information. The cd key and admin password are encrypted until the sysprep.inf is created.

5. Lastly I call the wpeutil reboot command and sit back and watch the system fly. Good system takes about 40 minutes to complete. :thumbup

Now I need to port this imaging structure to a hard drive base install at this point I'm just a little confused :unsure: as I can create a ram disk WinPE 2.0/3.0 boot for booting and can even run my install.wim but I'm not sure how to remove the ram install partition during the reboot to allow the ExtendOEMPartition=Yes to function.

Anyone have any ideas or is there a 'HowTo' out there that I've just not found?

Thanks for your help guys...

Edited by randalldale
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I stated earlier that I already using a DVD solution. Since this is a large deployment the powers that be are requiring a Hard Drive solution for what use to be DVD based. So I'm just trying to fiure out how to make it work from a HDD boot and clear all partitions except the OS once finished and since it is being put on at the factory for end user deployment there can not be anything externally used. If it was Vista or Windows 7 I could create the WinRE environment, but since it is XP I have to just live with a building an HDD solution and not worry about a recovery environment.

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Ah well, I guess I don't quite understand what you mean when you say HDD install. Are you physically opening up these systems you are building and installing a hard drive with the deployment system on it? Then booting to the deployment hard drive to install Win7 to the originally installed hard drive? Because if that's the case, then wow... I can see why you're having problems.

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I believe what he is after is having a machine built at an OEM (like Lenovo or Dell) and having them put their base system build image on it. Which by the sound of it is pulling the image from somewhere on the hard drive or is it going to come down over the network?

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Close to the IcemanND, the system I explained above needs be ported to a HDD to run the install instead of DVDs. It is windows XP otherwise I would be able to build a WinRE solution if it was Vista or Windows 7.

In other words the whole install from boot up to login must run from the same HDD.

Once completed this image will be copied/ghosted/cloned to HDDs in PCs leaving the factory. Similar to an OEM build that you would buy.

Anyone done such a thing?

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Tripredacus, thanks but it is not covered in the WAIK. It has to run from the HDD becasue these are new PCs shipping from the factory to the end user. Most people don't know that your large manufacturers will actually load your image on new PCs at the factory if you are willing to pay. That is why I need to port my installation files to the HDD and run the install from the HDD. Once finished I will clone it and deliver it to the manu for deployment on our new PCs. Only problem is I only have until Nov 13th to get finished. The one saving factor is I have the image on DVDs and just need to convert it.

So this is much like a OEM release except that this is Windows XP therefore not supported anymore and I can not use the winRE.wim function built into winpe 2.0/3.0 as I saw you attempted earlier because it fails randomly with XP and I can not afford any failures.

Basically I need to boot the system to a ram drive create an OS partition then using my HTA files do the interview process and apply WIM files from another partition. as I begin the reboot process delete the installation partition and the winpe ram disk partion reboot to the windows install. Simple... I just haven't figured out how to remove the winpe ram disk on reboot. With Winpe 1.5 you could add the Minint folder and it would do it automatically at least that is what I read as I can't find a whole lot of information about that either.

Anyone have any ideas? When I figure it out I will post the results here in case someone else needs it in the future.

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Ok, let's get some more details on what customizations are done to a machine when delivered to the end user and they answer your pre-deployment questionnaire. So what questions are asked and what possible changes are done as a result of the answers.

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My questionaire is a simple HTA file that asks the following:


Language (we support 8)

Timezone (Worldwide company)

Keyboard (Worldwide Support)

Location (due to SEP considerations I need the location so that I can set one of three SEP server sites with a wim file)

Determine platform with a WMI Call.

This information is used to dynamically create a sysprep.inf file and apply different WIM files do deploy the image.

My current DVD design process:

1) The image system is large and requires two Dual Layer DVDs and one standard DVD, 15+GB due to applications and OS language MUIs.

2) First the system boots using WinPE 2.1

3) During the boot process I set the DVD drive letter to 'Z' using diskpart.exe.

4) I then call an HTA file that runs and determines if the PC is a supported product and a set of FE tools becomes available if the PC is a supported product. The code I use is a WMI call to the baseboard for a SYSID. I use the SYSID call because it then doesn’t matter if a different PC name is used since the SYSID is constant across the platform.

5) Once a PC is approved for imaging the HDD is cleaned using diskpart.exe I then call an HTA file that does an interview. This interview requests, name, language, keyboard and location. Once the interview is complete then the HTA file using VBScript and batch files using this input I create the sysprep.inf dynamically.

6) Using the SYSID I apply the drivers from the drivers.wim file.

7) Using the SYSID I apply the Roxio and WinDVD files from the roxio.wim file.

8) The install.wim is split into seperate swm files I copy the parts of sWinXP.swm to the HDD under the $OEM$ directory swapping out the two DL DVDs in the process.

9) From the last DL DVD using the language input I apply the appropriate base image from the sWinXP.swm file

10) Once applied the system is reboot and completes its install Zero Touch.

I now have to port this over to an HDD design so that the image can be applied at the factory the following are my thoughts on design changes.

HDD install base design:

1) Create two partitions:

a Partition 1 size=512 label=WinPE (512mb boot)

b Partition 2 size=20480 label=image (image structure is over 15gb and is seems growing)

2) Copy the WinPE structure under partition 1

3) Copy the imaging structure under partition 2

4) During the boot process assign drive letter 'Z' to partition 2

5) Create the OS partition and assign the letter 'S'

6) Run the installOS.hta as the DVD structure and using all same processes install OS as before.

7) During the reboot process delete partition 2 and add 'ExtendOEMPartition=1' to the sysprep.inf this would use the additional 20GB of space.

8) Boot up installing the OS as before under the DVD structure style. This is the part that I have issues with how do I now let the system know to use the sysprep'd image partition instead of the WinPE boot system under partition 1?

On another note once I created the 20gb imaging partition in part 'b' the boot partition quite working and the system no longer boots. :realmad: Fixed it, was a sequence thing make sure to do active and assign in diskpart on your boot partition last. :whistle:

Let me know your thoughts as I'm open to about anything involving HDD installation that can get this done since I only have until the 13th of Nov to make it happen.

Edited by randalldale
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Actually guys I may have figured out the issue and solved it my accident.

It will be a while before I will know whether it works or not as I have a lot of scripting to finish yet.

Here is what the issue is, I was not sure how I could get the system to reboot upon image install and recognize the OS partition as the one to boot. In fixing my problem of creating multiple partitions and loosing the original WinPE boot partition I corrected it by setting the WinPE partition as active last since the MBR sees the last Active partition as the boot partition. So that being said when I create the OS partition and make it active then run my installs upon reboot the system should already know to use the OS partition and I should be able to delete the WinPE partition in fiinshing.

More to follow...

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How many times does the process boot to WinPE?

If only one boot to WinPE - the first boot - it seems to me that the WinPE partition, including the WinPE boot structure can be deleted with diskpart as soon as WinPE is up and running in RAM. Do it before starting to install another OS.

If WinPE and the Imaging stufF are combined into a single partition, then they can be deleted at the same time ... possibly ... After installing XP? There might be a trick to intalling XP on a machine already booting with Vista's (WinPE 2.x's) Boot Manager.

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Ok guys, I have figured it out.

It's all about sequence:

First you have to create your OS partition I chose 20GB becasue my install is a little over 16GB at the moment.

Then you create a WinPE partition, you can stop here or do what I did and create a third partition that holds your install files. I did this becasue I didn't want to change my install files scripts because my DVD install forces the dvd to the z: drive.

the sequnce goes as follows:

1. Create OS partition, format and assign letter (do not make active yet)

2. Create WinPE partition, format, set active and assign drive letter, I chose 200MB for just booting.

3. Create third partition format and assign letter for installation files.

Here is my diskpart.txt file for building the HDD structure.

select disk 0


create partition primary size=30725

create partition primary size=200

create partition primary size=20480

select partition 1

assign letter

format quick fs=ntfs

select partition 2


assign letter

format quick fs=ntfs label=WinPE

select partition 3

assign letter

format quick fs=ntfs label=image


4. xcopy WinPE files to the WinPE partition to boot the system.

5. Upon reboot I then run another diskpart.txt file to set drive letters here is that code.

select disk 0

select partition 3

assign letter=z

select partition 1


assign letter=s


6. I then call my install.hta file and do my installation. This HTA file does an interview that queries name, language, timezone, keyboard and location.

7. as I close and reboot I run the following diskpart.txt (note: these files are not all called diskpart.txt I just call them that here so that you understand what they are doing)

select disk 0

select part 2

Delete part

select part 3

Delete part


8. upon reboot your system will boot to the sysprep.inf and make sure you have included OEMExtendPartition=1 under the [unattend] section then all the HDD will be used.

On a side note you can use the WInPE boot as many times as you need if you need to do things and reboot to WinPE just don't set the OS partition active (partition 1) until you're ready to reboot to the install.

It's that simple...

Thanks all,


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