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MDT 2012: Capturing a Reference Image – Part II

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I was asked if there was another way to do the sysprep and capture process within MDT 2012. I said to myself, Heck! Yeah! There are several ways to do this, so this blog is a part II of Episode 12 on my BJTechNews Channel.

While you could use MDT 2012 to install all the software needed, or even group policy, imagine the time this would take and therefore the amount of time that PC would be sitting there installing software rather than using it . The simple way around this is to create a reference image of a PC and then capture an image of it to install onto all your other computers [lazy; but it works ]. With MDT 2012 this is a very simple task and here’s how to do it.

Deployment Share Rules

Right click on the Deployment Share and select Properties

Select the Rules tab and ensure that the Skip Capture rule is set to NO

If you have to change this rule then you need to update the deployment share. Once the update has completed then you will need to replace your current boot images in Windows Deployment Services with the newly regenerate *.wim file.

Capture Task Sequence

The next step is to create a task sequence that will capture an image from your reference computer

Right click on the task sequence node and select New Task Sequence

Complete all the information to identify this task sequence

Select Sysprep and Capture from the drop down menu

Select the operating system that will be used (this will not affect the image being captured)

After accepting the defaults on the next screen complete all the relevant details on the OS settings screen

Enter a password for the local administrator and click Next

At the last screen check the summary and click Next to complete the task sequence

Disable Sysprep Task Sequence

In my experience the execution of the sysprep command from the task sequence is patchy, so to get around this issue you can follow these steps to disable the sysprep command in the task sequence and run it manually before capturing the image of the reference computer.

Right click on the task sequence you have just created and select Properties

Click on the task sequence tab

Click on the Execute Sysprep option and then click on the Option tab on the right hand side.

Now click on the check box next to Disable This Step and click OK to complete the configuration

Capturing The Image

On the reference computer install all your necessary software and then run Sysprep, the sysprep application can be found in the C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\ folder

Select the options for OOBE (Out Of the Box Experience) and tick the Generalize option

When the PC reboots ensure it boots to the network

As it boots up you will now have another task sequence to choose from as well as your original Windows 7 deployment one, selecting the capture task you have created will start the process of capturing an image of your reference computer and uploading it to your deployment share

In some network scenarios you can get an error message when capturing the image that references a blank UNC error. To solve this error right click on the task sequence and select properties and then select the task sequence tab

You now need to add a variable into the sequence with these settings

  • Name: Set Image Folder
  • Task Sequence Variable: ComputerBackupLocation
  • Value: \\SERVERNAME\deploymentshare$\captures [this could whatever you want it to be, make sure that the share has the correct permissions and enough space]
To add the variable select Add || General || Set Task Sequence Variable and use the details above to complete the fields

Use the arrow buttons to move it to the top of the sequence

Last edited by Admin on Fri May 10, 2013 10:05 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : formatting was not correct)

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2 XML on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:21 pm



Where can i found the XML file you used in sysprep capture?

can you email it to me?


Hi BJ. I'm repeatedly capturing a slightly outdated image and I need to get past this.
I'm not fully versed in all the tools but I know enough to be dangerous, bear with me....

I deployed my golden/light image.  I then ran a few updates, and made a few changes.  THIS is the image I need to capture.  Here's where I'm stuck. I can't seem to capture THIS newly updated image.  Where in MDT2012 do I do this?  Each time I run Sysprep and Capture, it uses a slightly older WIM file that I'm choosing.
So is that my issue?  That I need the newer golden/light image to be the WIM I can choose and build?

You in NY? I'm just over the Hudson in Jersey.. Cool 


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Hey I'm new here!

I have been having such a hard time capturing images that I have reverted back to doing the following:

1. building up the image manually
2. using Hirens boot disk in "mini-xp" mode and capturing the image with gimagex (in WIM format)
3. importing the image to MDT Deployment workbench

I though the ability to automate image creation was a good idea, but ultimately gave up on it. I always get some sort of error. I still use MDT to deploy, inject drivers and software... but I do the creation myself (only takes about 20 min).

Mad I'm on the westcoast - Cali

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