SCCM-Based Imaging

The process of OS deployment in SCCM is much like it is for WDS. Users will still create images, upload them to the staging location, and email the WDS admins about the new image. The main thing you have to keep in mind is when to use which type of imaging.

For a majority of people they will continue to use WDS like they always have. WDS will still be used for bare metal installs and reinstalls when necessary.  SCCM imaging will only be used for reinstalls. The main reason being it has to already have the SCCM agent on the box in order to work.

In SCCM there are two types of OS deployments, package based and image based. A packaged based install is much like installing an OS from disc. The package in SCCM is pointed at a folder full of files (copy of the DVD) that your client will download and then run. You can have all the OOBE questions answered automatically like you do now. This will give you a base install of Windows. An image based install is more like WDS. You point your package in SCCM to a WIM file that the client will download and apply to the hard drive.

The OS deployment process is coordinated  by a Task Sequence. A Task Sequence is a step-by-step script/program that the client runs. In a Task Sequence you specify everything from how your hard drive should be partitioned, should my Windows setting be capture, should I migrate the profiles off the box, to which drives to install. They can be as simple or complex as you would like.

Task Sequences can only be created by the WDS admin. When you submit an email to the WDS list ( you should mention if you want your image added to WDS since they are not created by default.

One of the main things that make SCCM deployments better than WDS deployments is the ability to schedule them. Between the schedule on the OS deployment advertisement and the maintenance windows set on your collections you can have boxes reinstalling over night when users will not be logged in.

To make the process of deploying OS’s in SCCM as easy as possible we have created three root level NCSU groups.  These groups will allow you to install Windows 7 SP 1 Enterprise 32-bit and 64-bit as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Enterprise (coming soon). You can find these groups in your OU under <OU>/Software Packages/OS Deployment. By placing a computer in one of those groups you will be added to a collection. This collection creates a Self-Service advertisement for those machines. What that means is the next time someone logs in, they do not have to be an administrator on the box, they will get a pop-up from the status bar saying they have a new Operation System Deployment. If they click on that notification or go to  the Control Panel -> Programs -> Run Advertised Programs they will see they OS deployment listed. Once they click on the OS deployment they will be given a warning message saying they are about to reinstall their machine and they have to click OK. The NCSU level groups do not force a reinstall on users. They have to be put into a group and they have to agree to the install after being warned.

At this time the OS deployments that are currently available do not employ User State Migration (USM). Users will have to save anything from their local machine somewhere else if they want it kept. We are looking into USM  and once they is available the corresponding groups will be made in Active Directory.

If you have questions you can email the Active Directory list ( or the WDS list ( You can also join the Active Directory chatroom on the EOS Jabber server (room activedirectory server  If you do not have a Jabber account you can request on by emailing

User State Migration Tool

Current version of USMT is 4.0. USMT scans a local computer for folders and files determined by three configuration files (MigApp.xml, MigDocs.xml, and MigUser.xml) and copies them up to the SCCM State Migration Point to be used on the same computer or a different one. By default USMT 4.0 migrates the following folders, files, and settings. The following source OS’s are supported by USMT 4.0: Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Professional x64, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows 7 (All 32-bit and 64-bit editions). Supported destination OS’s include Windows Vista and Windows 7 (All 32-bit and 64-bit editions). You can migrate from 32-bit to 32-bit, 64-bit to 64-bit, and 32-bit to 64-bit. You cannot migrate from 64-bit to 32-bit.

User state migration is done using a Task Sequence. There are two types of migration. The first is an in place migration. In this situation you are reinstalling a box for whatever reason. As a part of the OS deployment Task Sequence USMT will scan the box and copy up to the state migration point the predetermined files and reinstall the OS. After the OS and SCCM Agent is installed the USMT will copy back down the files.

The second option is a side-by-side migration. In this senerio you create a Computer Association in SCCM under Operating System Deployment. Currently only SCCM administrators and OS deployment administrators can create a Computer Association. Once the association is created you would run the Capture Task Sequence on your source box. Once the capture is complete you would start the Restore OS deployment on your destination machine. This will install the OS as well as download the saved profile data. After you have verified the data migrated successfully the Computer Assoication in SCCM needs to be deleted.

If for some reason the OS deployment fails or the profile information is not migrated, an SCCM administrator can copy your saved data from the State Migration Point and provide you with the encryption key so you are able to restore the files by hand.