Q. How can I use the PQIDeploy tool to capture an image?

A. The PQIDeploy tool (originally provided by PowerQuest, which was acquired by Symantec in late 2003) lets you capture and restore disk images from the command line--a capability that's a core part of Microsoft's new zero-touch deployment initiative. (Microsoft elaborated on this initiative at its 2004 Worldwide Partner Conference in mid-July.)

To create a new image file that you can deploy in a zero-touch deployment scenario, you need to run the pqideploy.exe utility and a short PowerQuest script that contains the following lines:

// Capture first partition on first disk
// diskcapture1.pqs
Select Drive 1
Select Partition 1

After you've created the script, boot Windows from a medium other than that which contains the OS you want to capture--for example, a Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) boot CD-ROM or WinPE through Remote Installation Services (RIS). Connect to a share that contains the .pqs file (diskcapture1.pqs in our example) and the pqideploy.exe program, then run the command

pqideploy /img=m:\images\winxppro.pqi /log=diskcapture.log
/cmd=diskcapture1.pqs /cmp=high

(The command wraps to two lines here because of space constraints.) The command creates an image file called winxppro.pqi in the m:\images folder, creates a log file of the capture's progress in diskcapture.log, and runs the diskcapture1.pqs script. The /cmp=high parameter tells the capture process to use high compression to conserve disk space.

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