Best guide for Windows 7client preparation (and 8/10)

  • There are a few guides here and on the wiki and elsewhere for setting up a Win7 client. Some are for older FOG versions, some seem to be for recent ones but are tricky to follow etc (that might be just me).
    Can the experts here please point me to the best/simplest one to start out with ? I seem to to spending a lot of time reading different guides that take different approaches. My time is limited and it would be great to get a bump in the right direction.

    This one? (Which seems to start on page 1 and then continue from the last page backwards?)
    And some others…

    I’m basically at the point of having a PC with Win7 just installed with all updates done and a couple of drivers.
    I also have a VMWare VM 9in the same state, but I just read in one of the guides that you are supposed to get windows in Audit mode before the first boot after install… which means I have to start again ?
    Any help will be greatly appreciated !

  • also if you are creating a “universal” image and can spare an extra 10gb or so then look at “snappy driver” for deploying drivers. That is what I use for my “universal image”.

    for our Windows 7 image I did the following:

    *set up our “unattend.xml” using a workstation.
    *from within a hyper-v guest, install fresh W7 and boot into audit mode.
    *install base software (office, serif, any other site licenced products).
    *install FOG client
    *copy snappy drivers and download the packs.
    *configure setupcomplete.cmd to run my snappy driver .bat. This BAT autoruns snappy driver to install MISSING drivers, then deletes the folder of drivers when completed.
    *windows update
    *copy the unattend.xml created earlier.
    (I then “backup” my VM at this point so I can come back to it later)
    *sysprep shutdown and generalise
    *capture the image into FOG then restore VM from backup ready for the updates next time.

    To get snappy drivers to install, simply open it, update the packs, then in your setupcomplete.cmd call

    SDI_x64_Rxxx.exe -autoinstall -autoclose -license

    The batchfile also cascades into an RD and shutdown reboot at the end of it so it is self cleaning. NOTE I also shutdown the FOGClient service in my setupcomplete.cmd as I DONT want it to join the domain as soon as it sniffs the network! It will join the domain (and rename etc) AFTER the drivers have been installed and rebooted. The batch file also ensures our KMS key is added and I run slmgr /ato. I also add the office KMS key and activate that at the end too, whilst there are default KMS keys when products are installed, I have other images with MAK keys as some of our machines are destined to be unplugged from the network (exam machines etc).

    My image is a monster, weighing in at 40gb but works on every single machine I have thrown it on and they are pretty much ready to go (WSUS always has more updates on first boot)

  • Moderator

    @Jbob said:

    @Rusty This is the best guide that has been written so far. It does include some text on fog server setup, so skip to the “WORKSTATION IMAGE CREATION” section

    I second this. Although if you’re not using AD you need to change a few things.

  • Senior Developer

    @Rusty This is the best guide that has been written so far. It does include some text on fog server setup, so skip to the “WORKSTATION IMAGE CREATION” section

  • Senior Developer


    Here’s my two cents. When it comes to software, have general software pre-installed, and then use snapins to deploy specialized software.

    When it comes to the universal image, I have made an image which was only 5GB or so larger that included a lot of drivers. It worked on all the models I had at my disposal (ranging from netbooks, to laptops, to desktops). If you are interested I could try helping out making this image (its been ~1-2 years since I have done so). And if the image works then I’ll write up the steps for the driver packs / configuration I use as an actual guide. However, there is no guarantee that this image would work on all your models. It would need to be tested and probably refined a little.

    If you’re interested PM me.

  • @Wayne-Workman Thanks very much!
    So what would you do with say 20 different models of computer, at best 2-3 of each type and plenty of unique models ?
    I don’t have to re-image often.
    Also can it all be built from the same source image, install common software and then specialize from there ?

  • @Rusty My understanding for creating an image that works with multiple hardware makes/models is to include every driver you can (around 75GB worth I think), sysprep the machine, and then capture your image as a single disk - resizable type.

    It’d be benificial to setup a Windows KMS server for windows activation, meaning you’ll need to setup your image to activate through this using a unattend file. There are various driver packs on the web, I think @Jbob knows of one that is pretty good.

    But you must also consider that making images that work on almost everything is going to result in an image that is 100+ GB in size, and will be substantially slower to deploy.

    I build an image for every model of computer in my building, my images on the host average about 40GB (for windows), and when captured and compressed are about 16GB on the fog server. It takes me 5 minutes to deploy an image to a single host.

    My images are lean and mean, they deploy fast, boot faster, and run good.

  • @Jbob I have a high mix of machines. It needs to be a hardware independent image. Ill also be doing the same with Win8/10 and maybe XP.
    Many are dell laptops, but also Dell desktops and some other brands.

    This website is responding very slowly…

  • Senior Developer

    @Rusty how many different computer models are you going to use the image for? Are the models similar?

    There are different guides because depending on the answer to the above question, different approaches can be taken.