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Q. How can I capture an OS image by using the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) OS Deployment Feature Pack?

A. To capture an OS image, you must first prepare the reference computer (i.e., the computer being captured) by copying Sysprep into the C:\sysprep folder and installing the SMS Advanced Client. Then, perform these steps:

  1. Insert the SMS OS Deployment Feature Pack Capture CD-ROM into the machine to be captured. You create this CD-ROM via the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Systems Management Server Administrator Console. Open Site Database, Image Packages, All Tasks, then click Create Operating System Image Capture CD.
  2. The SMS 2003 Image Capture Wizard launches. Click Next.
  3. Enter a name for the image being captured, a location for it to be copied to, and the name of an account that has Write access to the specified share, as the figure shows. Click Next.
  4. The wizard prompts you to add the Sysprep parameters, as the figure shows. These parameters are filled in by default according to the installed version of Windows that the wizard detects and should be left as suggested. Click Next.
  5. At the next screen, you can enter comments and other optional information for the image that's being captured. Click Next.
  6. A confirmation screen is displayed, which states that actions might take a few minutes and that you must ensure that the computer is configured to boot via CD-ROM before booting from the local hard disk (you set this in the computer's BIOS boot order). Click Finish.
  7. The screen displays a notice that Sysprep is working. When the process is finished, the computer shuts down. Ensure that the OS Deployment Feature Pack Capture CD-ROM is still inserted and restart the machine. The computer will boot from the CD-ROM into the SMS customized Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE).
  8. WinPE initializes, then launches the Image Capture Wizard.
  9. The wizard begins the capture process by checking the entire file system, which identifies duplicate files, then copies the files to the .wim file on the remote share, as the figureshows.
  10. After the capture is complete, you'll see a "Capture Complete!" confirmation screen. Click OK.
When you check the share, you'll see a new .wim file. In my test, a 1.86GB Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2) installation was stored in a 695MB .wim file.
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