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We use WDS to image and reimage (refresh) computers (WDS only, no MDT). A technician can PXE boot to WDS and essentially lite touch the image.

What is the best way to achieve this from a remote location on a PC that already runs Windows 7, without using PXE boot if we want to avoid a human visiting each machine?

  • I have various methods of remotely invoking scripts/programs on a PC whether someone is logged in or not.
  • We have a WIM image already to go.
  • We have a custom WinPE image, which we can add any kind of scripting to get the job done.

I am thinking of the following:

  • Deploy WinPE boot/source files to computer from remote location.
  • Invoke script to modify BCD to modify the Boot Loader to point to the WinPE boot (Note, if this will not work directly I could potentially shrink the disk, create a new partition, copy the WinPE stuff to the partition and then modify BCD to point to that).
  • Reboot and machine will boot to WinPE which will have a ZTI style script to do the imaging work.

How does this sound? Have you done it a different way? Is there already a way out there?

  • What you said sounds about right. I would personally look into what MDT does for its live system refreshes. It does something of what your would like. It executes the wizard from over the network and it executes itself. MDT might be a good idea for you. – Elliot Labs LLC Sep 5 '14 at 15:36
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The solution I proposed works fine for me.

Copy Sources and Boot directories down to a new folder (probably just need Sources/boot.wim) BCDEDIT to add a ramdisk pointing to the WIM file.

That's it. Setup can run fine and format the disk as it's running in RAM.

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