For the past several months we have received several mass deployment related queries for EWF. Many customers had skipped or were unaware of the Sysprep requirement. To help customers we have compiled a checklist for use during mass deployment of images containing EWF. Hope it helps!
1. Install and fine tune the master image. Disable HORM and EWF. Restart the machine.
2. Sysprep (available in %WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep directory) the image by running <sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown>. This will generalize the image and render all system components (including write filters) and settings suitable for mass deployment. Upon completion the machine will be shutdown.
3. Boot the machine into WinPE and use ImageX to capture the image -
a) If C: contains the installed operating system image, run <imagex.exe /capture C: os.wim "C drive">
b) If your active partition (also called BCD partition) is different from OS partition, then you need to capture the active partition as well. This is necessary since the active partition contains the HORM configuration file and the BCD store among other files. Write filters, during installation, update the BCD store with a modified boot status policy. This prevents Windows from incorrectly displaying "Launch Startup Repair" / "Start Windows normally" messages at each reboot when Write Filters are enabled. If you do not capture and apply the active partition you will see this error message on the target. (PS: Using BCDBOOT.EXE will create a default BCD store which will not contain any customizations from master image. It is NOT an alternative to this step)
c) If D: is your active partition, <imagex.exe /capture D: active.wim "D drive">
4. Store the wim files at a convenient location such that it is accessible from target machines.
5. On each target machine, create a disk layout identical to the master machine (Ex. number of partitions). If you are using RAM mode, please make sure to leave un-partitioned space necessary to recreate the EWF partition.
a. Apply the wims to their respective partitions. Mark the appropriate partition as active if necessary.
<imagex /apply os.wim 1 C:>
<imagex /apply active.wim 1 D:>
b. Reboot the target machine. It will go through specialize phase and upon completion all EWF settings from the master image will be available on the target machine.
c. Enable EWF and HORM as applicable to your scenario.
6. If you have followed all the steps above and yet see discrepancies, share all the logs in the following locations with your bug report.
7. Additional information including overview of mass deployment for write filters is available in a previous blog article.
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