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I would like the image to detect and install storage controller and video drivers for a limited but varying set of machines, known ahead of time. Windows 7 x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

I would like to activate each restored instance separately.

I have a developer MSDN subscription, if that helps. We commonly use Acronis Server.

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have you tried deploying vhd's, if needed you can inject your drivers for storage and video but typically thats not necessary. –  tony roth Apr 28 '11 at 16:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Setup a machine with Win7 or Server 2008 the way you want, install various software, clients, updates, whatever. This can be a VM (my preferred method), so you don't need to use physical hardware for the reference machine.

  2. If you require drivers which are not already installed in Windows, you'll need to stage them with dism /online /add-driver (run dism /online /add-driver /help from the command prompt and it will give you the details, easy stuff really).

  3. Run sysprep and do not generalize the image.

  4. Capture the image. I know Acronis has this capability at some level, I don't know the software though. I use SCCM which has it's own proceedure. I've also used WinPE and ImageX to capture images.

  5. Deploy the image, same idea as the previous step, whatever technology you use, keep using it.

  6. Use VAMT (part of Win AIK) to activate the machines across the network.

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Can you explain better point 3 "do not generalize the image" . I'm about to start a sysprep now and the most part of forums says to generalize it. If i use 3rd part software filezilla and computers will be on a Domain should I generalize or not? –  emirjonb Sep 17 at 9:18
Generalizing an image removes any drivers and related software, allowing the image to reinstall them on "first boot". If you do not generalize, it will retain those drivers and the configuration associated with those drivers. In most cases it's going to be easier to build images per machine model, than to build a single image that gets installed to many different models. It depends on your environment of course. Filezilla will not be affected by generalization either way. The same with domain membership, which will be removed either way. To auto-join a domain you'll need an unattended.xml. –  Chris S Sep 21 at 17:53
Even that I have the same machines I did the generalize and using HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Setti‌​ngs\sppnp set PersistAllDeviceInstalls to 1; the process kept the drivers but lost the Administrator account and the product key, and i did the manual join to domain. I give a try to unattended.xml –  emirjonb Sep 22 at 7:18

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