The bits I’m going to cover here are the general outline of what needs to be done to create and deploy a hardware independent image across your fleet of computers. In this tutorial I’m going to discuss how to do this with Dell computers. I know this process works with Lenovo, Intel NUC, and a few others with some caveats. I’m going to touch on some steps that you need to do in MDT to build your universal reference image, but I’m not going to discuss how to setup MDT to create your reference images. There are plenty of examples on the internet on how to do this.
This process makes use of a custom script that gets executed post image deployment but prior to the reboot of the FOS client. This step is vial since we need to make some tweaks to the windows environment pre first windows boot. This is the key. I can’t/won’t share that script I created because of my contract with my employer, because it is derived work because of my employment. So that script is intellectual property of my company. I’ve held the job title of unemployed, its not a great title. The pay stinks, the stress level is high, but the hours are great. I don’t plan on going there any time soon, so no script for you. BUT, sitting here on my zorin (ubuntu) dell laptop I should be able to reverse engineer the important parts to give the crafty scripters here the tools they need to create their own post install script.
Our master image is created following the standard Microsoft SOE guidelines, meaning MDT to build the reference image, sysprep to reseal the image, use a custom unattend.xml file (required to make this process work for Win10) and some disk imaging tool to capture and deploy the image to the target hardware. In this process sysprep is mandatory since we want to create a single image that can be deployed to any hardware. The generalize process of sysprep removes all hardware references (for the reference image) so that when windows first boots it goes through the hardware discovery process. Without sysprepping the image the process I’m going to discuss will not work. So use sysprep.
When I started out creating this process for FOG, I began with the process we created for deploying Windows XP from a usb stick using Ghost. In that process we would automate the image deployment with ghost to lay a hardware independent image onto the target hardware and then detect the current hardware using a DOS program that would query smbios to get the target hardware. Then once the target hardware was known we would move the correct driver pack into a location where windows would find it on the first boot. This worked extremely well with Windows XP. So I took the knowledge that I had from that process and tried to do something similar with FOG.
I do have to say I did not think up this entire process all by my self. I did start the design base on the information found on this wiki page. https://wiki.fogproject.org/wiki/index.php?title=Auto_driver_Install This page and associated scripts gave me just what I needed to take our xp/ghost process and covert it to windows 7/FOG. So without that wiki page the remainder could not be possible.