I am trying to deploy some new machines with windows 7 for the first time in our computer labs. We used to use third party imaging software and then run sysprep after the image was copied(XP), but it seems you can't go that route with windows 7. We set up a new imaging server with the windows system image manager, but when we try to multicast the image it pretty much takes down our whole staff and faculty network. I heard you can turn on a multicast feature on our cisco switches to help with the issue, but that it also slows the switches to a crawl. Another idea we have tried was pulling the the computer lab switch off the main network and plugging the imaging server directly into the computer lab switch so the multicast doesn't take down our network, but it doesn't seem to work without being able to hit a domain controller. Is there a way to multicast without taking out the network? I feel like I am missing something... Thanks in advance
Multicast is a feature of WDS (Windows Deployment Services) on Server 2008. So if you do not have that set up, then you are not multicasting, and you would definitely slow your network to a crawl while attempting multiple deployments at the same time. A brief description can be found here. This article might also be helpful: Performing Multicast deployments I would also like to recommend that you use MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) with your deployment stragety. MDT will integrate with WDS and links all of Microsoft's deployment tools together (WSIM, WAIK, etc...). Lastly, could you explain this comment: "We used to use third party imaging software and then run sysprep after the image was copied(XP), but it seems you can't go that route with windows 7" Is this something that is done with your 3rd party imaging software, or are you having trouble running sysprep on your master machine before capturing the image?