Windows 7 image prep: Tips for the first-timer



  • I’ve been working at creating Windows 7 images for the first time and have been having a lot of…fun. Since others have been down the same road, I’m betting they can save me, and anybody else who reads this thread, a bit of frustration.

    I’ve been using Windows 7 Enterprise but have ran into a problem where it asks which network location to use (ie. Home, Work, or Public). So I’m trying Windows 7 Professional SP1 instead. Hopefully, the problem doesn’t exist with 7 Pro. Anyone care to confirm?

    The following links have been really useful as I try to wrap my head around Sysprep in a Windows 7 world. In order of decreasing value:

    [url]http://blog.ibuddy.info/index.php/2011/05/fog-29-my-windows-7-guide-3264-bit-docv1/[/url]
    [url]http://www.fogproject.org/wiki/index.php?title=Create_a_windows_7_image_for_many_different_hardware[/url]
    [url]http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/2224[/url]

    Also, I can’t stress how important it is to use some sort of virtualization environment, and one that supports snapshots. This is a huge time-saver and also a way of avoiding a silly arbitrary limit to the number of times you can run Sysprep on a workstation.

    As I write this, I’ve figured out the basics of Sysprep and configuring Windows 7 similarly to how we’ve been using Windows XP. Still have a way to go, but progress is occurring.


  • Moderator

    Hi there Russell, if you were talking to me then I’ve figured out my problem, it was related to a badly written program that changes the startup sound for windows 7. I never should have put in it was only for a laugh, and was meant to take it out. I figured it out by rebuilding the image one things at a time, process of elimination. I got it on the 3rd or 4th time as I had a feeling it was the culprit.



  • When logged in as a domain user, have a look in the registry. I’m guessing that some AD group policy is changing the location of the desktop of other required system folder and that path doesn’t exist for the Windows7 machine. Or possibly that there is some access problem for the paths they specify. Compare them to a local user.

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
    and
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    The User Shell Folders are expanded (environment variable expansion) into the Shell Folders. So really you only need fix user shell folders then log out and back in.



  • Andy, I wish I could help you, but I have no idea what could be causing your issue other than a problem with redirecting directories in profiles. If you are using an old Windows Server or Samba file-server, it may be unable to authenticate and the profile can’t be transferred. But that is just a wild-ass guess.

    As for my annoying Network Location issue, I used Kyle Wadman’s unattend.xml (available [URL=‘http://blog.ibuddy.info/index.php/2011/05/fog-29-my-windows-7-guide-3264-bit-docv1/’]here[/URL]) and it went away.

    Of course, now I’m noticing that Microsoft Security Essentials loses it’s configuration (and malware database) after a Sysprep.


  • Moderator

    [quote=“RuralIT, post: 1123, member: 155”]Thanks Matt. Ya, I’ve read through that blog. And it was helpful. I should have included it in my list above.

    However, I do have the network set to “Work” in unattend.xml. That’s what really irks me. That and the fact that it is the one remaining problem that makes my unattended install need an attendant.[/quote]

    Yes you can set that network location in the XML file, my problem is totally different. I’m at the pointy end of the process, or so i thought, I’ve figured out how I’m deploying drivers and it works well.

    But my problem now is related to joining the domain. For some mysterious reason, the deployed image works brilliantly, but once I join it to the domain I get “the page failed to load” error from control panel/printers etc. All the icons in my computer have dissapeared. But then when you log on with a local account the problem goes away!

    So strange… no idea how to fix!

    I will do a write up/guide though for how I did drivers with win 7 because it was one of the most painful parts of the process.



  • Thanks Matt. Ya, I’ve read through that blog. And it was helpful. I should have included it in my list above.

    However, I do have the network set to “Work” in unattend.xml. That’s what really irks me. That and the fact that it is the one remaining problem that makes my unattended install need an attendant.



  • I think for the home/work/public thing you can set that option in AIK as you’re builidng your unattend.xml file for sysprep to use.

    Here’s the guide that got me mostly on my feet when I was in your shoes (May 2001 I created my first image for the college where I work)

    [url]http://blog.brianleejackson.com/sysprep-a-windows-7-machine-–-start-to-finish-v2[/url]


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