using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager – Part 7. Build and Capture Windows 7 X64 SP1

In Part 1 of this series we created our new LAB, we got the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager ISO and extracted it, then copied it to our Active Directory server. We then created the System Management container in AD, delegated permissions to the container, extended the Schema for Configuration Manager. We then opened TCP ports 1433 and 4022 for SQL replication between sites, installed some prerequisites like .NET Framework 4.0, added some features and then downloaded and installed SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU6. We then configured SQL Server using SQL Server Management Studio for security and memory configurations prior to running the Configuration Manager 2012 setup to assess server readiness. Finally we installed a central administration site (CAS).

In Part 2 we setup our Primary server  with SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 CU6. We then installed Configuration Manager 2012 on our primary server (P01) and verified that it was replicating to our central administration site (CAS) server. Then we configured Discovery methods for our Hierarchy and then configure Boundaries and Boundary Groups. In Part 3 we configured Discovery methods and configured boundaries and created a boundary group, we then configured them for Automatic Site Assignment and Content Location.

In Part 4 we added the Application Catalog roles to our Hierarchy. We then configured Custom Client Device Settings and then deployed those settings to the All Systems collection on site P01. After that we created Custom Client User Settings and deployed them to the All Users collection in order to allow users to define their own User and Device affinity settings.

In Part 5 we installed the WSUS server role (it is required for the Software Update Point role). We then installed the Software Update Point role on our CAS and Primary servers and we configured the SUP to support ConfigMgr Client Agent deployment which is a recommended Best Practice method of deploying the Configuration Manager Client Agent. In Part 6 we prepared our server for the Endpoint Protection Point role, and installed that role before configuring custom client device settings and custom antimalware policies. We then deployed those custom client device settings and custom antimalware policies to our newly created Endpoint Protection collections.

Now we will add operating system deployment ability to our hierarchy, starting by adding Windows 7 X64. We will use the Build and Capture process to capture a WIM  image which we can later deploy to targetted computers using network boot (PXE). PXE boot requires specific settings on our distribution points and the boot images used to deliver the operating system WIM images must also be enabled for PXE support.

To get an overview of the Operating System Deployment process please review the following on Technet, and to see what’s new is Operating System Deployment in Configuration Manager please see the following from Technet.

Step 1. Enable PXE support on the distribution point
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

In the ConfigMgr console, click on Administration, Site Configuration, Servers and Site System Roles, select our Primary Server (P01) as it is the site server hosting our distribution point role.

Distribution Point on P01.png

double click on the Distribution Point role listed, select the PXE tab and place a checkmark in Enable PXE support for Clients, answer Yes when prompted about firewall ports (UDP ports 67, 68, 69 and 4011 ).

Enable PXE Support for Clients.png

next place a checkmark in the following options

  • Allow this distribution point to respond to incoming PXE requests
  • Enable unknown computer support
  • Require a password when computers use PXE

These options allow this distribution point to respond to incoming PXE requests and allow unknown computers to be supported, this is important as it allows you to do bare-metal deployments on unknown computers. That said, you should always think about the what-if scenarios, what-if someone PXE boots their computer by accident and sees the F12 menu, do you want them to automatically gain access to any deployed task sequences or protect yourself from possible damage, if in doubt, enable the password option for added security.

enable unknown computer support.png

When you choose to enable unknown computer support, you’ll get a warning popup about required task sequences, take note of the warning and add a PXE password. Adding the PXE password does not prevent systems from being imaged but it does provide one additional layer of protection to stop systems getting imaged by unauthorised users. In addition, if you plan on using User Device Affinity select your UDA settings from the drop down menu.

PXE password and UDA options.png

Note: If you want to do Zero Touch deployments then having a PXE password will involve someone having to be present at the computer in order to enter the password (in other words it won’t be zero touch anymore…). Having this PXE password prompt is for your security, you do not want to be the one who has to explain to your CTO that all your servers have been imaged with Windows 7.

By clicking on Apply you will add PXE support to the distribution point on the Primary server P01. If windows deployment services are not installed on the primary server then that service will be automatically added to that server as part of this configuration. If you have a primary server with multiple partitions and want the windows deployment services RemoteInstall folder to be on a specific drive then you’ll need to manually install it prior to enabling this option.

Tip: Monitor distrmgr.log on the P01 server to review installation of windows deployment services to support PXE boot on the distribution point on P01. See the screenshot below.

installation of WDS on the primary.png

Step 2. Distribute both boot images
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

PXE support requires boot images on our distribution points, therefore we need both of our boot images distributed to the distribution points. On the CAS browse to the Software Library workspace, expand Operating System Deployment and locate the boot images. Right click on the X64 boot image and select Distribute Content.

Distribute Content.png

the Distribute Content wizard appears

review selected content.png

click Next and in the drop down Add menu select Distribution Point, select the distribution point listed (P01)

dp added.png

continue through the Distribute Content wizard to completion.

distribute content wizard done.png

You can review the distrmgr.log file on CAS to see where it mentions that it is sending the boot image to our Primary server.

sending a copy of package.png

Note: Don’t forget to repeat the above process for both the 32 bit and 64 bit boot images, we need both Architecture boot images (x86 and x64) distributed to our distribution points.

Step 3. Enable PXE support on both boot images
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

In order for our computers to boot over the network we must also enable PXE boot support on our boot images. Failure to do so will mean that windows deployment services (which answers the initial PXE requests from the client computers) will fail to find any boot images and PXE boot will fail.

On the CAS browse to the Software Library workspace, expand Operating System Deployment and locate the boot images. Right click on the X64 boot image and select properties.

boot image x64 properties.png

Select the Data Source tab and enable the following option Deploy this boot image from the PXE service point.

Deploy this boot image from the PXE service point.png

while you are there, select the Customization tab and enable command prompt support (this gives us the ability to troubleshoot deploying images by pressing F8 during deployment, having this functionality will bring up a command prompt once the F8 key is detected, this will allow you to browse the computer in question and locate the SMSTS log files for troubleshooting.)

enable command support.png

Click Apply when ready, and answer Yes to the distribute images prompt.

Yes to Distribution Point Update question.png

you will see an update distribution points wizard appear, click Next through the wizard until completion. This takes some time to complete, therefore give yourself some time to complete this task.

update distribution points wizard.png

Note: Don’t forget to repeat the above process for the both the 32 bit boot image and the 64 bit boot image. We need both Architecture boot images (x86 and x64) distributed to our distribution points with the PXE options enabled on them.

The boot image has been successfully updated.png

Tip: you can open the SMSProv.log file in CMTrace to review the progress of the boot image changes being made, infact in that log file you can even see that the CMtrace tool itself is now being copied into our boot images by default.

Step 4. Enable the Network Access Account.
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

The Network access account is needed during operating system deployment in WinPE to access content on the network which is referenced by the task sequence. In the ConfigMgr console, select Site Configuration, then click on Sites and right click on our Primary site P01, choose Configure Site Components, Software Distribution (alternatively in the ribbon click on Settings, Configure Site Components, Software Distribution)

software distribution.png

Click on the Network Access Account tab to specify your Network Access Account user, choose new user, input the user credentials and test the connection (point it to the primary server as a connection test as that’s where it will be getting content from)

set network access account.png

click apply and you are done.

Step 5. Add the Windows 7 X64 operating system
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager RTM we use the Setup.exe method of deploying Windows which involves using the entire operating system image media (operating system installer). There are changes to this method in Service Pack 1 but as that has yet to be released we will use the Build and Capture process based on an operating system installer image (Setup.exe).

In the Operating System Deployment section of the Software Library workspace, select Operating System Installers and right click, choose Add Operating System Installer

Add Operating System Installer.png

point to the path where you have previously extracted your Windows 7 X64 files (I mounted the en_windows_7_enterprise_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_677651.iso and extracted it to \\cas\sources\os\OS_Media\Windows7x64SP1)

add operating system installer wizard.png

fill in some details about the image

details about the image.png

and click next through to completion of the wizard.

add operating system install package wizard completed successfully.png

Step 6. Distribute the Windows 7 X64 operating system
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

In order to access any content it needs to be on a distribution point (which is essentially a network share). Right click on our newly added Operating System installer image and choose Distribute Content,

distribute windows 7x64sp1 operating system installer image.png

add the P01 distribution point in the Add drop down menu, and continue through the wizard until completion

image added to our dp.png

Step 7. Create some folders and collections
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

In order to simplify our operating system deployment process we will create some folders and collections in the following format, one Folder with two or more collections limited to All Systems within.

Operating System Deployment (Folder)
|___Windows 7 (Folder)
|__________________Build Windows 7 (Collection)
|__________________Deploy Windows 7 (Collection)

The collections do not need any membership queries and will be empty, below is a sample of what to create in Assets and Compliance workspace, Device Collections. You can create them all manually in a couple of minutes or use a powershell script.

Operating System Deployment collections.png

In Addition to the above, browse to Software Library, Operating System Deployment and select the Task Sequences node, create a similar set of Folder names to further categorize your task sequences, this is optional but recommended as it will make it easier to work with task sequences in the future.

folder names in task sequences node.png

Step 8. Create a Build and Capture Task Sequence
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

Navigate to the Windows 7 Build folder in Task Sequences and Right click, choose Create Task Sequence

create task sequence.png

choose Build and Capture a reference operating system from the choices

build and capture.png

fill in some details about the image, make sure to select a 64 bit boot image when build and capturing a 64 bit image, it is fine to deploy a 64 bit boot image with a 32 bit boot image but for the capture process you need to select a 64 bit boot image.

build and capture details.png

for the Install Windows step, select our previously added operating system installer image and specify a local administrator password

local administrator password.png

for the Configure Network step, choose Workgroup and enter a workgroup name

configure network.png

for the Install Configuration Manager step select the built in Configuration Manager client package,  for installation properties fill in the FQDN of our primary site so that it knows where the Management Point is if you want to install applications or windows updates.


Tip: you could create a Configuration Manager Client Package from Defintion if you want to have control over the abilit to access this content directly from a distribution point. The built in package does not give you this flexibility as all options are greyed out.

smsmp in installation properties.png

however in this example we will not be installing any windows updates or applications until later in the series, so go ahead and click through the next three screens without selecting anything

  • Install Software Updates
  • Install Applications
  • System Preparation

and then fill in some properties about the image you are about to capture

build and capture image properties.png

At this point you are ready to PXE boot your computer.

fill in the Capture image settings and make sure that the user specified has appropriate access to the share specified otherwise the capture will fail

capture details.png

continue the wizard through to completion.

task sequence wizard done.png

Step 9. Deploy the Task Sequence
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

Locate our newly created task sequence, right click and choose Deploy

deploy task sequence.png

select the Build Windows 7 collection and click ok to the message (we will add our client in the next step)

build windows 7 collection.png

for Deployment Settings keep the deployment as Available (optional) and make sure to select Make available to boot media and PXE,  that makes it three places that you need to select a PXE option:-

* on the PXE tab of the distribution point properties
* on the Data Source tab of the boot image
*on the Deployment Settings of the task sequence deployment

continue through the rest of the task sequence deployment wizard  until completion.

Deployment Processing complete.png

Step 10. Import computer into the Build Windows 7 collection
Perform the following on the CAS server as SMSadmin

Next you need to import a computer into our Build Windows 7 collection so that it will have the Build Windows 7 task sequence made available to it. To do this click on devices in Assets and Compliance, and in the ribbon click on Import Computer Information.

import computer information.png

select the second option, import single computer

Import Single computer.png

enter the name and MAC address for this computer (for name you can call it whatever you want, for MAC address use the MAC address of the Network card used to PXE boot the computer.)


review your data in the Data Preview

data preview.png

for the Choose Target Collection step enter the Build Windows 7 collection

choose target collection.png

and then click through the rest of the wizard until completion.

import done.png

The above creates a Direct Membership query in the membership rules tab of the Build Windows 7 collection. Refresh the collection so that you can see the imported computer before continuing, if it doesnt appear ty to update membership then refresh.

buildwin7 in collection.png .

Step 11. PXE boot our computer
Perform the following on the virtual machine used for build an capture

On your virtual machine, PXE boot and you should see the standard F12 menu for PXE boot. You did set the network card as the first boot device didn’t you ?  😉 If you don’t see any PXE messages then check bios boot order on your Virtual Machine (use Legacy Network cards in HyperV) and reveiw the SMSPXE.LOG.

Tip: To troubleshoot PXE issues open the SMSPXE.log file located on D:\Program Files\SMS_CCM\SMSPXE.LOG on your Primary server P01 using CMTrace to get a live scrolling view of whats happening.

SMSPXE log file.png

Notice that the PXE boot screen gives you a lof of information which can help with your troubleshooting, such as the Client IP address and ip address of your DHCP server. Press F12 when prompted…

f12 boot menu.png

enter your PXE password

PXE Password.png

select your Build and Capture Task sequence

select your build and capture task sequence.png

and off it goes, time for a well deserved break while Configuration Manager automatcially does it’s thing and captures your master Windows 7 image.

Tip: if you want your Organization name listed instead of IT Organization change it in Computer Agent section of the Default Client Device Settings.

apply operating system.png

and that’s it, the image gets deployed to our virtual machine and finally captured to our network share that we specified in the task sequence

capturng image.png

in a later part of this series we will deploy the captured image using a separate task sequence, and customize it to work with different hardware, add some applications and windows updates.

This entry was posted in ConfigMgr 2012, Windows 7. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager – Part 7. Build and Capture Windows 7 X64 SP1

  1. robmo says:

    I completed all of the steps up to where you create your capture and build task sequence. When I click Browse in an attempt to select the OS Installer that I added, the window is blank. There is no OS to choose from. I did Distribute Content so I’m not sure what I might be missing.

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