How to edit files in an image without deploying...

  • Is this possible? I made a booboo in my unattend.xml file, and now I get an error during setup. 😞 I know exactly what I did, I just need to get into the image and modify the unattend to fix this. I know ghost has a program that allows you to open up an image and modify the contents. Is there anything that Linux has that can do this too?? I really hope so…

  • I like your idea of booting into a pre-boot environment to do minor changes; however it seems like you are taking are hard approach at doing this when you could be creating your image with virtual box using snapshots at each major step so if you miss something or mess something up you can just revert the snapshot. Its still a timely and daunting process to create an image this way but it takes out the headaches of having to start from scratch each time. Then each time you think you have it right or after each modification you simply upload your new image over your old one.

  • That may be the NFS adjustments I made. I’ll try removing the “tweaks” to the upload side as it may not work as well when writing vs deploying.

  • I’m in the process of re-uploading a new sysprepped image now. This image is weird though. It seems to take forever to upload. Every other image I’ve uploaded, runs at a rate of around 2-3 GB/min, but for some reason, this specific image is only running at around 250-350 MB/min. It pushes out at 2.5-3 GB/min though… so weird.

    Also, I already have a copy of the fixed unattend.xml saved on my desktop.

  • Did you reupload it once it was fixed so you don’t have to do all of that again?

    Also you can scp the unattend file that’s fixed back to your FOG Server or whereever so you have the “good” one when you’re recreating images as well.

  • Yep! That was it. I just modified the unattend.xml in the Panther folder, and it’s fixed! ! !

    Whew!! Close call there. That image took 2-3 days to build.

  • Developer

    Yes, windows makes a copy of the sysprep file to C:\Windows\Panther. This is the file actually used by the OOBE process after imaging.

    I believe it is copied from the sysprep folder during the sysprep process, if memory serves me correctly.

  • I’m still running into this same issue… I noticed that the setup error was pointing to C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml and not the original file, C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\unattend.xml. I guess when you actually run sysprep, it copies your unattend to that location. I tried to modify it after the error popped, but still getting “The computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error…”.

    Going to re-image one more time, and try to edit the unattend.xml located in the “Panther” folder. If this doesn’t work… I may have to re-build the image from scratch… :mad:.

  • Developer

    Keep us posted on your journeys, I love to hear about all the cool stuff fog can do for FREE that other softwares can’t 😉

  • I understand that… I have right around 180 machines. My ultimate goal is to get a “System Center-like” setup… minus the $10k plus pricetag. 😄

    And honestly, FOG is the first software I’ve found, that can even come close to this goal!

  • Developer

    That sounds like it can be very tedious, glad you found a work around for you… but personally I aim to fix issues so that when I deploy I don’t have to touch 200+ machines.

  • I just thought of another way!

    You can use a Windows 7 recovery CD right after downloading a fresh image.

    In my case, I have a Win7 boot USB stick. You load into the Recovery Console and run Command Prompt.

    Next, you just type notepad.exe to bring up the notepad GUI and just navigate to the unattend file.

    It should be located in “D:” drive. Not sure why, but WinPE gives the local disk, letter “D”.

    NOTE - You have to do this process before the first (setup) boot, or it breaks.

  • Oh, thanks… Didn’t see your steps until I posted my last reply…

  • I meant, can I open up and modify the saved, “d1p2.img” file that is saved on the FOG server? Ghost has “Ghost Explorer” which allows you to open up and modify files that are stored in the image, without pushing it to a machine.

    I understand your view on using a virtual machine, but the initial image has to be set up on the final machine that it’s going on. We pre-load all driver software for a specific model that the image is being pulled for. In this case, it’s an HP laptop.

  • Lol, not showing off, just pointing out the facts.

  • Developer

    Tom is always showing off 😛

    Thanks for the step by step tom I know this will help others.

  • I know you don’t want to deploy the image, but set the task up as Download - Debug. This way you get Command line after the imaging is complete.

    Once the you’re back at the command prompt, you can mount the /dev/sda2 partition to a folder.

    So you may have to make the /ntfs directory, though not so if you have Hostname_Early enabled.

    [code]mkdir /ntfs[/code]

    Then mount the System partition:
    [code]ntfs-3g -o force,rw /dev/sda2 /ntfs[/code]

    Then cd into the location of the unattend file.

    [code]cd /ntfs/Windows/System32/sysprep[/code] or where ever it’s located.

    Edit the unattend file using vi, sorry I didn’t add nano or pico to the init.gz.

    [code]vi unattend.xml[/code]

    After you make and save your edits, you’ll have to re-upload the task, but as long as you know it works you should be good to go.

    Before rebooting unmount the /ntfs directory.
    [code]cd /
    umount /ntfs

  • Developer

    It doesn’t matter where you mount the image, on the fog server on a laptop, on a desktop; but yes it needs to be done in linux.

    Just to note the FASTEST way to image is with a virtual machine, you can take what are called snapshots that save the state so you can return to them later. I do so after installing windows, installing updates, adding software, and right before sysprep incase I have issues, or like you, had an issue with the unattend.xml file.

    This way you don’t have to fumble around and try to fix an issue an have to make a whole new image, or mount and fix and upload, instead you just load up your snapshot, make your fix, upload the image again.

  • … I’m not sure where to start here… so I can’t open the actual pulled image file that is on the fog server? The original Win7 install that I pulled to the fog server, was on a laptop. Do I need to run some sort of linux on the laptop, in order to mount the ntfs volume?

  • You will have to reupload the image once complete, but it should work afterward.