We all need some time saving tips. I want to share a couple of time saving tips that I have developed while working with Smart Deployment Enterprise. The tips alone are not revolutionary, but they are valuable and will help new SDE adopters get even more out of an already valuable imaging suite.
Part of being super efficient in image development is to use a virtual reference computer for gathering your base image (see my earlier post and Devon's post on creating a reference VM). I have a simple shortcut to share with you. I use a specific technique to capture and deploy .WIM files from my host computer while developing my OS images using Smart Deployment Enterprise in combination with VMware Workstation 7.
In this scenario, I have just captured a newly minted Windows 7 SYSPREPED image from a VM using the SDE Capture Wizard. Next, I want to test deploying the image to a VM to verify SYSPREP works as desired. After creating a blank (image-less) 40 GB VM file to test my Windows 7 image, I use the following steps:
- I boot my blank (imageless) 40 GB VM with my SmartDeploy Enterprise PXE Media ISO
- At the SDE Splash screen I enter Shift + F10 for command prompt (per on-screen instructions)
- Using the net use command I map a Z: drive to my local machine using the computer name
Net use Z: \\ocoitpc224c\B$
Enter the user name for ‘ocoitpc224c’ : Workgroup\Administrator
Enter the password for ‘ocoitpc224c:
**Also, the command line netuse functionality is available using a GUI from the Deploy Wizard. Click on the 'Advanced' button. Then click the 'Browse' button located on the 'General' tab. On the 'Open' window you will see the 'Network' button in the bottom right. Click the button to bring up a standard windows Map Network Drive windows. Then map a network drive to your local system using your local computer name.
Note: I have to use the local admin account instead of my current user session for the drive mapping to complete successfully. Since I am not copying images back and forth to a network server and just using my local resources this useful shortcut saves me valuable development time with faster copy speeds. I have a 1.5 TB ‘B’ drive on my local computer which offers plenty of space for testing capture and deployments of my OS images. After my image testing is complete, I will copy my image to my network file server for added redundancy.
My second tip suggestion is to use solid naming conventions so you can easily identify your .WIM files completely from the file name. I enjoy using the image description field to help describe my images, but you need to use the SDE Deploy wizard to view that info. Of course, you could use the IMAGEX /INFO command to view the architecture type (x86 or x64) of the image file which is an additional step.
My naming convention is as follows: Windows Version + Architecture + Image Acronym + Date.
For example: Win7_x64_GI_2-1-10.wim or XPSP3_x86_BI_1-1-10.wim
The image acronym GI and BI stand for Generic or Base Image. I can quickly and easily identify if it is the base vanilla Windows image with no add-ons or my 'generic' image that has all of my company specific applications installed. Furthermore, I can read the Windows version, processor architecture type, and the date I created the image file all from my file name. I used to add the computer model to the file name, but SDE enables me to have hardware agnostic image files which I can blow on a variety of platforms as previously discussed in an earlier post.
Overall, I think you will find that using the net use command for capturing .WIM image files locally and applying a solid naming convention will help you be more efficient in rapid Windows XP-7 image development with SmartDeployment Enterprise for your IT organization. Stay tuned for how to use differencing images for even more efficiency gains in my next post.