Part I – The fully automated Capture and Deployment Setup

(Last updated on August 2, 2018)

Purpose: Create a fully automated Capture process and Deploy that image automatically to clients on a regular basis. For example, update the client images once per month with the latest security patches. Or you can use parts of this to get a semi-automatic capture process.

Part I – Introduction
Part II – Automatic Base OS installation
Part III – Automatic Capture and Import of Capture
Part IV – Automatic Reinstall of Clients
Part V – Application Deployments

In our Specops Deploy Demo and Test environments, we have got around 70 clients running XP, Vista and Windows 7 with a combination of x86 and x64 clients. They are being reinstalled regularly (some are reinstalled a few times per week, and all of them at least once every third week) so I want as much as possible to be fully automated. I’m using GPO’s and Scripts to automatically carry out both small and big tasks. Even though something is easy to do by yourself I’m still using scripts to automate it. Which means, these things can be carried out anytime of the day and I don’t have to babysit it. Also, don’t forget, it’s done in the same way each time and nothing is forgotten.

Since these scripts, setups, screenshots etc are from our internal environment it’s a somewhat controlled environment so the scripts does not have any error handling and are doing some assumptions (for example using a specific ComputerName syntax etc). Plus, when I wrote these script and setup the solutions, I didn’t have any plans on making them public, so it’s not very good looking code and I’m sure there are thousands of ways to improve them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comments field or send me a mail.
I would be really happy if you would like to share any solutions you have done yourself or ways to improve this setup and theses scripts.

Note: You might not want to do all the steps or exactly as I have done it, but I hope it can give you some ideas and help on the way. Also, some of these scripts have been covered in previous blog posts but I figured it could be good to “tie it all together”.

We are using Microsoft Hyper-V with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) so the virtual machine related (powershell) scripts are obviously for that kind of setup.

When you create an image, there are basically three ways to do it. Thin, thick and hybrid images.

  1. Base OS + Patches
  2. Base OS + Patches + Line of Business Applications (apps that everyone should have)
  3. Base OS + Patches + (a lot of) All Applications that you have site licenses for.

They all got their pros and cons and you can use any of them in this solution, though I will be using just a Base OS + Patches (thin image) which I strongly advice most customers to use.

I prefer the Base OS + Patches because it gives a great granularity of who should get which app, and I don’t have to rebuilt the image and do a lot of testing when some applications are updated, and I won’t run into having various different images with different versions of my apps included.

You should also always use a virtual machine (Hyper-V, VMWare) to create your images in to reduce the driver footprint as much as possible.  If you make a capture on a for example HP Laptop, that image will contain a lot of HP related drivers, which could cause problems on other models.
Always, always, always use a virtual machine. No excuses!

I will start this blog series with Part I and Part II (tomorrow).
The rest will be published later.

Part I – Introduction
Part II – Automatic Base OS installation
Part III – Automatic Capture and Import of Capture
Part IV – Automatic Reinstall of Clients
Part V – Application Deployments

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