Best of Questions and Answers from the TechNet Webcast: Automating Windows 7 Deployment Using System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 SP2

Click to view the recorded webcast. Greetings!

As promised, here are the best of the questions (with answers) from our November 11, 2009 “TechNet Webcast: Automating Windows 7 Deployment Using System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 SP2

BIG THANK YOU to John Weston, John Baker, and Dan Stolts for handling the Q&A during the live event.  Most of what follows started with their answers to these very good questions.

I hope you find these resources useful!


PS – The resources, including links to screencast recordings I did of the complete demos for this content, are available HERE.

Questions and Answers

“Is it possible to manage Blackberry devices with SCCM?”

No. Only the following devices are supported: Windows Mobile 2003 Smartphone Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 5.0 Windows Mobile for Pocket PC Phone Edition 5.0 Windows Mobile 6 Standard Windows Mobile 6 Professional Windows Mobile 6 Classic

“How well does this integrate into MDT 2010?”

The two actually share some technology. Both use tools from the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for portions of their solution. Both create and drive task sequences.

But as far as integration, they are different tools. The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is free, and is purely for addressing the creation and management of Operating System deployment. System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM) is not free, but does deployment of applications, updates, operating systems, as well as collection and management of computing inventories (hardware and software) and licensing. SCCM is also scalable to support the largest of any businesses out there, with an architecture that lets you define and distribute roles across large geographic boundaries.

So.. if you are a small-to-midsized business who just need a toolset to drive deployment, and if you don’t already have SCCM, you’ll want to look at the MDT.

“How do you capture an image?”

You can capture images using ImageX, which is a part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit. Instructions are here:

You can also use SCCM 2007 to build a deployment of your “reference computer”, so that your task sequence will install the OS, install apps, drivers, packages, and then capture the image for you. A description of this, plus instructions, can be found here:

“Can you have a SEPARATE server added into SCCM that can host the PXE environment… we have a separate MDT2010 server stood up today…”

MDT and SCCM can be integrated in the sense that you can use either to build deployments, and to take advantage of the same capture, PXE, WDS, and image tools. They also natively support the same boot and os image files (.wim files – the first containing WinPE, and the second having the captured OS).

At the end of the session, could you go over implementation costs for this new system before logging off? Also could you address user licence agreements. I have three office locations in the US and Canada with 15-20 computers.

These webcast are so packed full of information, and with one hour to fill, we really can’t get into these kinds of details. Certainly this information is available either online, or from your local reseller or Microsoft Partner.

If you only have a total of 15-20 systems, you might want to just use the MDT 2010. ( )

Here’s the licensing information for SCCM:

“Why is he using a winpe boot.wim made from build 7100? doesnt sp2 install a boot.wim that build 7600?”

These images were created before RTM occurred.

“How do you find the smbios guid on a machine?”

“Where does SMBIOS GUID come from? How do you know it from a bare metal ws?”

“Where did he get the guid for his bare metal pc?”

“How did he come up with an SMSBIOS GUID for the machine provisioning when it is bare metal system and has never been an SCCM client? I can see how you can give it a NetBIOS name and a MAC address but how do you pre-determine an SMSBIOS GUID?

One way against a running machine would be to use WMI and the .rootcimv2 namespace “Win32_ComputerSystemProduct” class. Or using PowerShell, you can run this command:

Get-WmiObject Win32_ComputerSystemProduct uuid

But if, as in the example I demonstrated, the machine doesn’t have an OS installed yet, that’s not going to help much. What you’ll do in that case is boot into the system settings. You should be able to find it there. (On my Lenovo, the UUID is right there on the first screen in the BIOS info.)

“In SCCM 2007 R2 SP1, you could also advertise the task sequence and packages to unknown computers. Is this option still available in SCCM 2007 R2 SP2?”

Yes. Here’s a really good post on how to enable and use this:

“What are the options for advertising a task sequence via PXE to all KNOWN computers without advertising the task sequence to a collection?”

SCCM advertises to collections only, but that certainly that collection could contain all of your KNOWN computers.

“If the image is captured using standard TS, the Configmgr client is installed into the WIM image. Why therefore does the deployment TS install the client if it is already there?. I believe the capture TS “prepares” the SCCM client i.e. removes sitecode, stops ccmexec service and removes cetificates so I would expect the deploy task sequence running ccmsetup to realise client is already present and just activate it – instead it does a reinstall which wastes time – why?”

Good point. If your captured image already has the client, then I don’t see why another install would be necessary. My image didn’t have it.

Remember also that you could use the ‘intall.wim’ file directly off of the Windows OS DVD, which has absolutely nothing in it. In that case your deployment would include the ConfigMgr Client, as well as any-and-all other drivers, updates, and applications.

“Is there any advantage to importing the computer information vs. using R2’s ‘Unknown Computer’ support?”

The only advantage I can see is to restrict just anyone from being able to start an installation.

“I missed the first part. Did he talk about configuring WDS and the PXE for SCCM?”

Yes, I did briefly. Basically I just showed where in the Server Manager you add the WDS server role. I took the defaults. And then I showed where I added the PXE Service Point site server role in SCCM.

“What version of WinPE are supported with SCCM?”

Configuration Manager 2007 requires Windows PE 2.0. Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 requires Windows PE 2.1. Configuration Manager 2007 SP2 requires Windows PE 3.0.

“For WDS, do we need to configure it to reply to PXE boot? Do I need to configure any options in WDS or i just install the feature and only do the configuration on the PXE site system in SCCM?”

The default in WDS it to respond to Known and Unknown computers. But in my demonstration, I didn’t do anything at all in WDS, other than add the role. The PXE Service Point, and allowing only known or unknown computers support, is where this happens in SCCM.

“Where do i get the USMT for windows 7?”

It is part of the Windows AIK

“Where does USMT store the data it gathers? How do you set that up?”

Here is the User Guide:

“Can you use the SCCM tools to add an image to an existing wim or do you have to use something else for that?”

I don’t think there is a way to have SCCM do that automatically for you – unless perhaps you could add a custom step to a task sequence that drives the ImageX tool to merge a newly captured image into another file. (“I’ll leave that for you as an exercise.”)

“How do i install USMT on Windows XP?”

You can install the WAIK on Windows Vista and later, and then copy the USMT files over. NOTE that you can only run the ScanState utility on XP. You can’t use LoadState. (And why would you?)

Check out Dan Stolt’s excellent blog post and video:

“Can you put the Product Key in there? Do you need KMS server?”

You can do either.

“Can i use the USMT if i have a x86 XP but want to image/migrate over to x64 Win7 PC?”

Yes. You can use USMT to migrate x86 to x64. You can’t go 64-bit to 32-bit, though.

“What does the USMT4 Hardlinking feature do with the data on disc during the OS installation?”

It simply keeps it in a folder that it doesn’t touch during the installation. Starting with Windows Vista, these “image-based” installations are non-destructive by default, as a benefit of the fact that the image is a file-based image and not an image that simply throws bits on a disk. So if you don’t partition and/or format the drive, and if you have sufficient space on the disk for the installation files on top of your existing disk, then you can keep the data on the local disk.

“For OEM editions that do not require a product key (Dell DVD’s for example), does licensing carry over in the imaging process?”

You don’t have a distributable OS with just the copy that comes on your computer. The OEM copy is firmly linked to the hardware it was sold on. To do what we’re discussing here, you have some kind of volume licensing on top of this that allows you to create and deploy OS installations onto those boxes.

“Do I need to configure any options in WDS or i just install the feature and only do the configuration on the PXE site system in SCCM?”

The WDS role is simply added to the server. You’ll do all you configuration from within SCCM.

“Do we install the PXE role on secondary servers and primary servers or just the central server?”

PXE service point is configured on a site system. It doesn’t have to be a primary or secondary site server and definitely shouldn’t be put on the Central Site server. It will however, be servicing a primary or secondary site.

“Leveraging the new Virtual Windows XP Mode available in Win7 Pro and Ultimate, would it be possible to deploy that along with the Windows 7 image, and simultaneously create a virtual machine running Windows XP for legacy applications?”

It would be a rather fat image, but I don’t see why you couldn’t build a reference system that included the XP mode .vhd, and Windows Virtual PC already configured. There’s nothing special about the XP machine (it’s just a .vhd after-all). Don’t boot it before capturing the image. Leave it be in a pre-run state.

“Where do i get the Windows PE 3.0?”

Windows Automated Installation Kit

Where does USMT store the data it gathers? How do you set that up?

Two choices: You can point the scanstate tool to the destination using command-line parameters, or you can configure the appropriate .xml files to make these designations.

See the User State Migration Tool “components” page for more details:

“Where can you configure USMT like what files,settings get backed up?”

See the User State Migration Tool “components” page for details on how you can specify such things:

“Does the USMT copy all the multiple users info?”

It can, yes. In my demo, it did (though I only had the one user).

“Can i have your email?”

Can I have yours?

“How do you capture data and save it locally instead of on the server?”

In my last demo that’s exactly what I did. I configured the task sequence to store the users settings locally. If you’re just using USMT from the command-line, you can do that in options for the scanstate tool.

“The last demo – Was it using USMT hard links”

Yes. It’s a very fast restore.

“Is SCCM SP2 supported in windows 2008 R2?”


“How to you create a wim image for Windows 7”

See the WAIK and the documentation on the ImageX tool. But if you simply want to have an OS image to deploy (with nothing extra installed within the image), you can just use the install.wim file found on the Windows 7 DVD, or in the Enterprise installation you got with Volume Licensing.

“What is the difference between SCCM and MDT 2008?”

“When the LTI deployment fails, where are the log files stored?”

A list of the log files in SCCM and where they’re found can be found here:

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