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My goal is to deploy Windows 8 via USB to several computers. The systems I'm working with have come with GPT parted HD's. I have set up one the way I'd like it, sysprepped and captured the install.wim. However the file size of the .wim is over 9 gigabytes.

The problem seems to have several "sticking" points.

  1. With GPT partitions only FAT32 can be used on the USB media
  2. With FAT32 I can't put a file larger than ~4GB on the drive. My .wim is 9+ as stated above.
  3. I don't want to erase all the other volumes within the HD, I just want to install what's on my USB drive over top of the current OS volume.

I don't have a problem creating a bootable usb drive for gpt and uefi mobo's I just can't get past the issue of the large .wim file.

share|improve this question
Are you using MDT 2012 Update 1? – MDT Guy Jun 17 '13 at 14:50
I guess if you really wanted to, you could keep these massive images on a deployment share and just pull them across the network? – MDT Guy Jun 24 '13 at 18:18
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You need to keep applications out of your image. If your .wim file is that big, you're doing it wrong. Use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 to deploy a thin image and push all applications, drivers, and updates at deploy time, its actually pretty easy. MDT 2013 will even build a bootable iso file you can load to USB via Microsoft's iso to USB install tool. I suspect you're actually making this process more labor intensive than it needs to be.

Another option is to use a deployment share like I'm suggesting, but for now push these massive images across the network. Use multicast in Win2k8 if you can w/ WDS. But that's really a Band-Aid, I say you still just rebuild the image, but keep it as thin as possible and This way your image is kept lean, clean and mean. You can use always use MDT 2012 to install all apps at deploy time. If your image is way too "thick" try to keep images as lean as possible.

Always, Always, ALWAYS, build your images in VMs, to keep them hardware independent. MDT will do drivers at deploy time , so there's no need to put drivers in your image.

If you're really just trying to capture a modified OEM image, understand OEM licensing doesn't include "reimaging rights" while that's legal issue, technically, you may get away with building a capture task sequence in MDT that will do the capture for you, and you could get away with pushing that captured image with standard client deployment sequence.

  • First off, you need to get MDT 2012 Update1 and the Win8 ADK installed.

  • Create a VM. Next you need to set up a VM we can use to build the image in. I prefer HyperV, but if you’re broke and/or cheap, virtualbox will work just as well. Some of my earliest images were built using this. Regardless of how you build the VM, allocate 2 gigs if you can for the VM.

  • Find a copy of Windows8. You’ll obviously need a copy of Win8. As of now, you’ll need either a retail ISO or find the wim file somehow. If you have a TechNet subscription like me, you’re in business. In your case, see if you can find one in the recovery partition or recovery media.

  • Build Your Share. A Standard Client Task Sequence is Fine. If you plan on putting office in the image, add Office into applications, and configure it for an unattended install if you can, if not you may get away with doing that when lite touch suspends.

  • Import the OS. In that share you import the .wim file into operating systems. You don’t need setup.exe files for Win8. DISM handles it.

  • Build a task sequence. Set capture=yes in your customsetting.ini file and customize your unattended.xml file.

  • Configure your share. Remember, if we’re building a reference image, we want it up to date, so turn on updates in the task sequence before and after applications.

  • Update the share. Right click the share in the left menu and select update. This takes some time, so go watch some lite touch unleashed in the meantime.

  • Load the litetouch.iso file in the boot folder to USB using the Microsoft tool. Boot to USB, and away you go!

Check out my guide here : Build a Windows 8 Image in MDT 2012

share|improve this answer
I'm not familiar with this yet but I'll check out your guide. This is a very small deployment. I only setup 3-4 computers at a time so my old way of doing it, via sysprep->usb drive, was great for just whipping that out and installing everything I needed without a lot of fuss. – Vontech615 Jun 17 '13 at 15:08
Even more so of a reason to use MDT, don't use stand alone ADK or AIK, use MDT+ADK, you really can't have one without the other. – MDT Guy Jun 17 '13 at 15:49
Ok. I'll look into this. So, basically the old way of sysprepping after customizing windows is pretty useless with GPT paritions? – Vontech615 Jun 17 '13 at 16:03
The stand alone imagex process is depreciated. MDT uses DISM to do everything now, it's a much simpler process... – MDT Guy Jun 17 '13 at 16:23
@MDTGuy: "Always build your images in VMs, to keep them hardware independent" - Can you elaborate on this statement a bit? Don't VMs (especially non bare metal hypervisors) have virtual hardware too, with emulated/synthetic drivers to match? – Karan Jun 18 '13 at 5:30

Split WIM to 600Mb SWM:

Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:C:\data.wim /SWMFile:D:\imaging\install.swm /FileSize:600
share|improve this answer
I tried splitting the image using imagex and when I initiated the install it kept popping up seperate install windows on top of each other. I'm assuming because I had multiple .swm's. – Vontech615 Jun 17 '13 at 14:37
-1 because Windows 8 doesn't support split WIM files. – magicandre1981 Jun 17 '13 at 14:47
@Vontech615 imagex /ref source*.swm /check /export source.swm 1 target.wim "WimUniqueName" – STTR Jun 17 '13 at 14:53
Windows 8 Setup doesn't support split WIM files, but you should be able to manually apply a split image to a drive with Dism. – WinOutreach4 Jun 17 '13 at 14:54
@Vontech615 Dism /apply-image /imagefile:install.swm /swmfile:install*.swm /index:1 /applydir:D:\ – STTR Jun 17 '13 at 14:59

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