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Here is my confusion. All the tutorials I have read on sysprep, imagex, and answer files lead me to believe that you need an image to create and answer file, then you use that answer file with sysprep so you can then create the image.

I am at the point of having my reference computer all configured and ready to image, however I need an answer file before I sysprep it.

I didn't use an image to load the machine before I configured the reference machine. It is an HP. I just turned it on and configured it.

To create my answer file for the sysprep, can I just use a stock windows 7 dvd image to make the answer file? Will this then work with the configured computer to tie it with the sysprep?

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2 Answers 2

The Windows DVD is only needed for one file. The "best" way to create an answer file is with the Windows System Image Manger...which is part of the Windows Automatic Installation Kit. Which is kinda big, but necessary, even if just for imagex.

http://theitbros.com/sysprep-a-windows-7-machine-%E2%80%93-start-to-finish

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349343(WS.10).aspx

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I ended up using the stock Windows 7 install.wim image to make the answer file. I then used that answer file in the sysprep command on the configured computer. I then booted into WinPE and got an image using imagex. The answer file didn't automate the things I wanted 100%. How do I "try again" with the image I captured using a modified answer file? –  lross1309 Nov 15 '11 at 20:31

Do NOT build reference images from physical hardware. In fact, I'm not sure you're even allowed to do so via the OEM EULA. Get your hands on the DVD and use the image that's on there. You're looking for the install.wim file. That's a sysprepped and ready to go image.

Use the stock install.wim file, that's fine, but to be safe, make sure the reference image, and the answer file were built from the same intall.wim file. If you build your image in a VM, it will run on all hardware, all makes and models. I recommend using MDT 2012 to build, capture and deploy your images. You can use LTISsuspend to pause your task sequence, so you can add whatever you need to the baseline image, and then install everything else (drivers and most other apps) at deploy time.

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