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I have an idea but im not sure whether it is possible and looking for advice on how to accomplish this.

If i was to try and deploy Windows XP Sysprepped image from a Lenovo Thinkcentre 6073-CTO and tried to drop it onto a Dell Optiplex for instance I would get a BSOD due to the hardware change.

What im looking to do is create a few images like so:

  • Windows XP x86 SP3 (Sysprepped)
  • Windows XP x64 SP3 (Sysprepped)
  • ...

So that we can use throughout the organization without having to create individual images per computer type.

Is there anyway's to accomplish this such as some modification of files pre-ghost, removal a certain drivers pre-sysprep

Any advice is appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

Yes, that's possible. The main offender is the HAL type used by the Windows installation - if you create a Sysprep image on a single core processor and try to deploy it on multi core, you'll geht the BSOD.

The way out is creating an sysprep answer file that tells Windows where to find the appropriate DLLs if need be. Here's a write-up of what to do: http://blog.case.edu/djc6/2005/09/22/imaging_machines_using_different_hals_wsysprep

THere's another issue, and that's notably mass storage controller drivers. Windows XP has no built-in generic SATA/AHCI/RAID controller drivers. You can deploy them in much the same way, but it's a bit more complicated since you need the appropriate drivers for every controller built into a PC you want to deploy to. If you can go withouth AHCI or hardware RAID, I'd recommend installing the original Windows XP in standard IDE mode.

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Not easily, Sysprep works well for Windows Vista and Windows 7, but Windows XP's driver architecture is significantly different and whilst sysprep generalise works to a degree, it certainly does not have the same level of control/flexibility as later versions of Windows.

The only thing I can really advise is to either look in to going the whole hog and getting the Symantec Ghost Suite that enables this sort of features, or getting a Windows Server and taking a look at the free Microsoft Remote Installation Services, or if you have a spare Windows 2003 machine, Windows Deployment Services.

Personally, when I did this a few years ago and needed many different images, I had many unattend files (made with the deployment tool kit), and put them on different floppy disks, used a USB floppy drive. I had one disk for every configuration and simply used the original cd along with the correct disk and they built fine. Not the best modern way (I think even with SP3, it still only supports floppy drives for unattend), but it worked well.

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Thanks for your answer, A few questions, Firstly is Windows Deployment Services a free product, if not what's the costs? –  RobertPitt Jan 13 '11 at 12:00
    
It is a free and comes with all editions of Windows Server (not sure about web) . –  William Hilsum Jan 13 '11 at 12:03

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