Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image using MDT – Introduction

The release of Windows 10 1703, dubbed the Creators Update, is nearly upon us and I’ve been hard at work testing my OSD scripts and processes using the last couple of Insider Preview builds of the OS (since build 15048). I’ve also taken great strides in automating my build and capture process, which makes sense considering Microsoft is releasing new Windows 10 builds twice a year. This is the first introductory post in a 5-part series on automating the process of building and capturing Windows 10 reference images. 

The image I will build in this series will be what I think of as a “hybrid” reference image with a few things baked into the image to begin with. I’m going to use a Build and Capture task sequence to:

  • Install Windows 10 1703
  • Install the latest Windows 10 cumulative update
  • Disable Internet connectivity (to prevent Windows Store apps from being updated, which ends up breaking Sysprep)
  • Install Office 2016
  • Install .Net Framework 3.5 and 4.6.2
  • Install Visual C++ runtimes
  • Install English UK Language Packs
  • Install Windows, Office and security updates
  • Customize the Windows reference image like below:
    • Set Explorer to launch to This PC
    • Put the Computer icon on the Desktop
    • Create a local account and add it to the Administrators group
    • Create a “mni-utils” folder on the C: drive
    • Remove Windows features (Windows Media Player, XPS Viewer, XPS Services)
  • Run clean up to reduce the image size
  • Re-enable Internet access
  • And finally, Sysprep and capture the reference image, ready to be deployed using SCCM

Automating the above tasks as part of building our reference image requires a few things in place to tie everything together, which includes customsettings.ini, unattend.xml, registry edits and PowerShell.

Here are the posts I have planned for this series:

  • Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image: Populating the MDT Deployment Share
  • Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image: The Task Sequence (Customizing the Reference Image Before Capturing)
  • Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image: The CustomSettings.ini Rules (Skipping the MDT Deployment Wizard)
  • Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image: Automation Using PowerShell

I assume you already have Microsoft Deployment Toolkit up and running. If not then check out my post on Installing and Configuring MDT 2010 From Start To Finish. I know it’s a few years old but still works – just be sure to download and install MDT 8443 and give yourself security and share permissions on the Deployment Share. 

I’ll hold off publishing the next post until the Creators Update is officially released by Microsoft so I can do some final tests using the RTM build/ISO.

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