Deploy Windows 7 custom image

We have a modified ISO of Windows 7, used to deploy a customized Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. We have a number of Toughbooks that need the operating system installed. We can currently install it using a DVD. I'd like to install it using a switch we have, using one of the laptops we have to automate the install process to the other laptops. I've tried Serva, but because of the modified structure of the ISO, it will not work. I've tried using WAIK and MDT to assist, but I've yet to find a way to due it.

Another way I've seen is using the current install of the OS on an updated toughbook to create a VHD, and use WinPE to make the VHD bootable once its been copied to the other computers. Would this way be quicker and more efficient?

Quite frankly, the VHD approach would be the same as the ISO approach, in my opinion.

The WAIK/MDT approach takes the WIM file (which is basically an image of a C:\ drive) and applies it to a hard disk, then makes it bootable. To use this approach, you can use WAIK to capture an "image" of the modified OS (after its been installed) with anything else that happens to be on the drive, and dumps it into a WIM file. Then, MDT packages this WIM file into Windows Setup, in which you can deploy attended or unattended. However, I don't see what the point of this is when you already have the modified ISO.

The VHD approach, from what I think you're saying, is that you place the VHD on each workstation of laptop and then boot from it as a virtual hard drive. Copying the VHD over to each device will take a while, not to mention that the client then has to be configured to boot from the VHD, which takes a little longer, while Windows Setup does it all automatically on the ISO approach.

I've tried using the ISO approach to deploy my own Windows installation, but ran into some hiccups, so I'm not quite clear either exactly how well it works.

Have you had any success using the WAIK/MDT approach? I'd like to use this method. Quite frankly, I'm irked I haven't been able to successfully do it.

Can you recommend anything, aside from Google, that would help me familiarize myself with this method?

I have tried using the WAIK/MDT approach, without success though. :redface:

The only time I've tried it was inside a VMWare setup and I was deploying a custom build of Windows Vista, but every time the Setup DVD booted up, the setup kept asking me for drivers. Eventually, I got irked with Windows Setup and just tossed it out the trash, and considered building my own deployment methods off of Windows PE and the .NET framework, but I never got to it. So that's my story on that. :cool:

There appears to be a step-by-step deployment guide available here: Automated Installation to Upgrade to Windows 7: Step-by-Step Guide

That works for creating it and using a CD to boot. I'd like to keep it all done via PXE/netboot if possible. The ISO is finished, I'll see if I can simply import it and use something like TFTPBoot to push it out.

I've tried that before, but I always got an error about the WIM size being too large.

Ah. Okay. Didn't know you wanted it over PXE. These are waters I haven't treaded on, but you can try looking here: Windows Deployment Services Deployment Guide

(Look under the "In This Guide" section, the rest of the page is just scenarios)

This looks like it will be an immense help.

I've used Serva to do automated Windows 7 install before, but that only works with a traditional operating system, not this modified ISO

This looks like it will be an immense help.

I've used Serva to do automated Windows 7 install before, but that only works with a traditional operating system, not this modified ISO
What did you use for creating that custom ISO?

Have you e-mailed Serva's coder?
Serva Contact

I myself didn't create the image used. As far as I can tell, it was created using Microsoft's deployment tools. A workaround for this issue was deploying a standard Windows 7 image, and booting a VHD sent over the network and attached to the new computers.

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