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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Building a Standard Image of Windows 7

Step-by-Step Guide

Installing a custom image is similar to installing the Windows® 7 operating system from the Microsoft® Volume Licensing or retail media, but it uses an operating system image that includes your customizations and applications. This process takes a bit more time to set up but can save you time in the end.
The guidance in section is designed specifically for small and medium business that may not have prior experience with Windows deployment or do not have enterprise deployment infrastructure.
Watch the companion video tutorial for more information.
Also see the following related documents:
For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.
For a downloadable version of this document, see Building a Standard Image of Windows 7: Step-by-Step Guide in the Microsoft Download Center (
Creating a custom image for the Standard Image method has seven major steps. You need two computers to build the custom image for this method: You configure your tools on the technician computer and customize your image on the reference computer. Table 1 has a column for each computer. You complete steps in the On the technician computer column on your own computer. You complete steps in the On the reference computer column on the computer that you are using to build the custom image.
Table 1. Steps for Creating a Custom Image


StepOn the technician computerOn the reference computer
Install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK).
Create a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) startup disk.
Install and customize Windows 7.
Start the reference computer in Audit mode to clean the image.
Generalize the reference computer to prepare the image for duplication.
Capture the reference computer to an image file by using ImageX.
Create new Windows 7 installation media for the custom image.

The following sections provide detailed instructions for each step. To use these instructions, you must have the Windows 7 Volume Licensing media, two USB flash disks (UFDs) that you can use to start computers (8 gigabytes [GB] or larger, depending on the size of the Windows 7 image you create), and a reference computer on which you can build and customize the standard image. You will be formatting the reference computer’s disk, so make sure you back up important files if you are using an existing computer for this purpose.

Install the Windows AIK

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