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I've finalized the process of how to create a self-healing windows 8 image. This means: The image already has a refresh image with all the applications you've deployed (which the user could update with theirs if you tell them the recimg command to do it) The image has a custom install.wim file with all your applications (in case the user wants to wipe the system out to "factory defaults", this will restore the image) Users have the choice between restoring the system but keeping their files OR wiping the system to the same stage as when you first deployed it. I am willing to have another seminar or would visit your campus to help understand the process / create your image. Don't hesitate to contact me... Creating the image (overview): NOTE: I've put a * around terms which are a process not described here but are required for this to work properly. 1. Boot from a *WinPE* USB stick 2. Run a *diskpart script* to create the required partitions; there will be two primary partitions: one for the Windows OS, the other for "recovery" purposes NOTE: make sure you name the recovery partition the same as what it will be when the system is complete (In my case it was D:) 3. On the recovery partition copy your Windows 8 install files 4. Run setup from the recovery partition (\Sources usually) 5. On first boot (also known as the *OOBE*) go into *Sysprep* *Audit mode* (press ctrl-shift-F3) 6. In *Audit mode*, run windows update, configure your system, install drivers and applications NOTE: Do not install Office 2013 in Audit mode at this time if you are planning on generalizing the image and using the copyprofile option in the *unattend.xml* file; I've encountered an issue if you do. 7. When complete, run *sysprep* process to get out of *Audit mode*: sysprep /oobe /generalize /shutdown /unattend: (path to unattend.xml) 8. Boot the master image; when the *OOBE* comes up, enter *Audit mode* again (ctrl-shift-F3) 9. Install Office 2013 10. Run Windows updates again to include Office 2013 updates 11. Install Windows 8 license key from an elevated command prompt (but do not activate) 12. Install Office 2013 license key from an elevated command prompt (but do not activate) 13. (Optional) inject script to run when user first logs in by mounting the DEFAULT USER (ntuser.dat) in the registry and adding the RunOnce variable 14. Run the *sysprep* process to get out of *audit mode* (but do not generalize or use an unattend.xml file again 15. Boot master image into *WindowsPE* 16. Create image files for both C: and D: partitions using *imagex* command to a large USB drive At this point, grab another device of the same hardware 17. Boot 2nd device into *WinPE* 18. Using the same *Diskpart script* as the master image, create the required partitions 19. Using *ImageX*, apply the C: and D: images 20. Delete D:\Sources\install.wim and replace with C: image (renaming the c: image to install.wim) 21. Use *bcdboot* command to set boot files 22. Use *reagentc* command to set the WinRE and OSImage locations 23. Boot into *OOBE*; create a local account NOTE: if you've created a script to run at first logon, you'll need to exit out of it 24. Modify your start menu as needed (with tile placement, grouping, group name, etc) 25. Create a folder: C:\Refresh 26. Run refresh creation using *recimg* command: recimg /createimage C:\Refresh 27. Copy C:\Refresh folder (containing *CustomRefresh.wim* file) to large USB drive 28. Shut down 2nd device 29. Boot 2nd device into *WinPE* 30. Copy C:\users\administrator\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\Appsfolderlayout.bin and defaultappsfolderlayout.bin (if it exists) to large USB drive 31. Run *Diskpart Script* NOTE: you have to do this or you will not be able to complete the next few steps (mounting and unmounting the images) 32. Make a directory on the OS partition \Mount 33. Using *ImageX* command, mount the C: image 34. Copy Appsfolderlayout.bin (and defaultappsfolderlayout.bin if it exists) to \Mount\Users\Default User\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\ 35. Copy \Refresh directory (containing CustomRefresh.wim file) to \Mount\Refresh 36. Using *ImageX* command, unmount the C: image committing the changes 37. Mount the D: image to the same \Mount folder 38. Delete the existing \Sources\install.wim file and replace it with the C: image file you just unmounted (again, renaming the image file install.wim) 39. Using the *ImageX* command, unmount the D: image committing the changes 40. The images are ready for deployment Deployment: 1. On a large USB stick, copy to it: deploy.bat, C drive and D drive images 2. Boot into WinPE; remove WinPE USB drive and insert large USB drive with batch file, support files, and images. 3. Navigate to the USB drive letter 4. Run the batch file: Deploy.bat 5. The device will create the partitions, image the machine, create the bcdboot files, and point to the winre and os image files 6. When completed, the device will boot into OOBE; at the OOBE screen go into Audit mode (ctl-Shift-F3). 7. In Audit mode, let system re-detect drivers 8. Set up wireless (if necessary) 9. At an elevated command prompt, point the refresh to the C:\Refresh folder: recimg /setcurrent C:\Refresh 10. At an elevated command prompt, run sysprep: C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep /oobe /shutdown 11. Device will shut down and be ready for deployment to user Again, don't hesitate to contact me with questions or to schedule a visit/remote session Joseph Lorenzatti, Master Jedi The Williston Northampton School (413) 529-3246 ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at


I added Joe's detailed directions above to the end of the edACCESS 2013 peer session notes on Windows 8 imaging.   The group in that session decided the notes were public so anyone can access Joe's directions using the link in this email as it is a public Google document.   I assumed this was ok with Joe since the archive for this listserv is public.  (Also, anyone can comment/question but not edit.)


Bill Campbell
Academic Technology Coordinator  |  Dwight-Englewood School
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