Deployment Image Creation (Windows 7)

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Create Image with Default Profile

Procedure to create a Windows 7 image with a customised default profile. The instructions here are based on document linked from this forum post - http://www.sevenforums.com/customization/26099-windows-7-default-profile-how-can-i-edit-10.html#post1044804.

  1. Perform a base install of Windows 7 on a machine
  2. On completion of the install, follow the prompts to create a user (eg Default-User)
  3. Log in and enable the Administrator account (and give it a password)
  4. Log off, and log back in as Administrator
  5. Install all required applications, for example...
    • Anti-virus
    • Office
    • Windows Updates
  6. Restart the machine and log back in as the user (eg Default-User)
  7. Customise the profile, for example...
    • Background
    • Login screen
    • Screensaver
    • Internet Explorer home page and favourites
  8. Save and apply the customised theme as the new default
    1. Right-click over the desktop and select Personalization
    2. Right-click over the Unsaved Theme and select Save theme for sharing
    3. Save the file (eg as Default-Theme to C:\Temp)
    4. Click on another theme, so you can then right-click over your customised theme and select Delete theme
    5. Locate the saved theme and double-click to apply as default theme
  9. Perform a final tidy up (prior to sysprepping), remove anything you don't want on the final image
    • Delete any temporary files
    • Delete unnecessary user accounts/profiles
  10. Restart the PC and log back in as Administrator
  11. Make user profile (eg Default-User) the default
    1. Make all files viewable
      1. In Explorer, go to Organize | Folder and search options, and then the View tab
        • Check Show hidden files, folders, and drives
        • Untick Hide protected operating system files
      2. Click on Apply
    2. Rename C:\Users\Default to Default.orig
    3. Copy the new profile (eg C:\Users\Default-User) to C:\Users\Default
    4. Update NTUSER.DAT
      1. Start regedit, select HKEY_USERS, then go to File | Load Hive
      2. Open C:\Users\Default\NTUSER.DAT, and profile a (temporary) name (eg Default-Profile)
      3. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\Default-Profile\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell
      4. Delete all values except...
        • (Default)
        • !Do not use this registry key
      5. Select Default-Profile and go to File | Export... and save (eg C:\Temp\Default-Profile)
      6. Edit the file in Notepad, and perform a Find and Replace, replacing the user (eg Default-User) with Default
      7. Save the file, and merge (double-click on file), then delete it
      8. In regedit, ensure Default-Profile is selected and go to File | Unload Hive...
  12. Delete any files in C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Protect

The machine is now ready for Sysprep and cloning, to Sysprep open a command prompt and type...

cd C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep
sysprep /oobe /generalize /reboot

...when the machine reboots it needs to boot into the clone or image taking software.

Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK)

Allows you to tinker with install images and create unattend.xml answer files to customise deployments.

  1. Download from http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=5753
  2. Extract the ISO (using WinRAR for example), and install

Create Unattend Answer File

  1. Run the Windows System Image Manager
  2. Open OS Catalog
    1. Go to File | Select Windows Image...
    2. Open the Catalog file from the OS install CD
      • EG \sources\install_Windows 7 ENTERPRISE.clg
  3. Create answer file
    1. Go to File | New Answer File...
    2. Go to File | Save Answer File As...
      • EG unattend.xml