Automate the Process of Building and Capturing a Windows 10 1703 Reference Image: Building the Task Sequence

We’ll continue this series by creating a Build and Capture Task Sequence in this post and then adding the steps in our task sequence to add our applications, packages and scripts to customize the reference image.

(In the previous post we populated our MDT deployment share with our applications, packages, scripts and the Windows 10 1703 image we’re going to need for this post.)

Open up the Deployment Workbench and let’s go ahead and build our task sequence.

Create the Build and Capture Task Sequence

Right-click on the Task Sequence node and select “New Task Sequence”. Go through the Wizard and enter/choose the following options:

  • Task Sequence Id: buildw10-1703
  • Task sequence name: Build and Capture Windows 10 Reference Image (1703)
  • Template: Standard Client Task Sequence
  • Select OS: choose the Windows 10 1703 OS you imported in the previous post
  • Specify Product Key: Do not specify a product key at this time
  • Full Name: Naz (change to your liking)
  • Organization: Me, Myself and IT (change to your liking)
  • Internet Explorer home page: emeneye.wordpress.com (change to your liking)
  • Enter an Administrator password

What we have now is a pretty bare-bones task sequence which will only install Windows and nothing else. We need to edit it to add steps which will turn this Windows installation into a reference image.

Customize the Task Sequence

1) Right-click on the task sequence you created and choose “Properties”. On the “OS Info” tab click on “Edit Unattend.xml” which will Windows System Image Manager.

Expand Components > 7 oobeSystem > amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral > select OOBE. Enter “3” (without quotes) next to “ProtectYourPC” in the Properties pane (on the right).

Close the Windows System Image Manager window.

2) Back on the properties of the task sequence click on the “Task Sequence” tab. Here you will edit the task sequence to add the applications and packages to install and the scripts to customize our reference image.

Expand the Pre-install group and select the “Apply Patches” step. From the selection profile choose the profile you created which includes the language packs and cumulative update for Windows 10 1703 (this was covered in Step 4 in the previous post).

3) Expand the “State Restore” group and note that all your applications, packages and customisation steps should be added AFTER the “Tattoo” step.

I’ve got a before and after screenshot to show what you should currently have and what it should look like after adding our steps to the Task Sequence to customise our reference image. Use this screenshot and the notes that follow to add your steps.

Here’s the before and after screenshots (sorry it’s a bit :

Before adding customisations After adding customisations
image Picture2

Notes on Editing the Task Sequence

It may be easier to keep the above screenshots in sight while going through the following notes so you have both side by side for reference.

You should group your custom steps so your Task sequence is organised. If you’ve followed my previous post then you will have most of the applications already added to MDT so you just need to add them as steps to the Task Sequence. Use the Up and Down buttons to change the order of the steps if you have to (use the Add menu to find you applications and steps).

a) The very first step I’ve added is Action – Disable Internet Access.

As explained previously this is to stop Windows Store applications from updating which causes Sysprep to break.

b) Enable both the Windows Update steps (Pre- and Post-Application Installation)

c) Add your Application Installation steps in between the two Windows Update steps

d) For the Office 2016 step

Add a Restart Computer step right after the Office 2016 application

Then add a Run Command Line step to re-arm Office with the command:

"%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPPREARM.exe"

e) Add the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.6.2 application, then add another step to enable .Net Framework 3.5 as follows:

Click on Add > Roles > Install Roles and Features. Check .Net Framework 3.5

f) Add each of the Visual C++ redistributable packages

g) Add the applications to set Explorer to launch to This PC and to put the Computer icon on the Desktop

h) The steps to create a local admin account and creating a folder on the C: drive is unique to my requirements so I don’t think there’s any need to expand on it (but simple enough to do if you wanted to using Run Command Line steps)

i) I’m removing Windows Media Player, XPS Viewer and XPS Services. If you want to do something similar:

Click on Add > Roles > Uninstall Roles and Features and select the features to remove

Add a Restart Computer step straight after

j) Add the application to run clean up to reduce the image size

This one is highly recommended. Note that this step appears to hang at 100% for up to 45 minutes. In my case this script reduces my image size by about 800MB so it’s well worth it in my opinion.

k) Lastly, add the application to Re-enable Internet access before the Task Sequence proceeds to capturing the image. Make sure this is the very last step (but before the Imaging group) so as not to give Windows a chance to update the Store apps which will end up breaking Sysprep.

Generate the MDT Boot Image

Before we move on to the next post right-click on your deployment share and select “Update Deployment Share”. Choose “Completely regenerate the boot images”. Click Next and wait for the wizard to finish.

The boot image, called “LiteTouchPE_x64.iso”, will be created in the “Boot” folder in your deployment share directory.

We now have our boot image and a task sequence which installs Windows, installs our applications and runs a few steps to customize the reference image. You’ll need the boot image ISO to boot a virtual machine which will launch the MDT Deployment Wizard where you can select the Task Sequence we created in this post.

In the next post we’ll take a look at using the CustomSettings.ini rules to eliminate the manual step of having to select the Task Sequence and choosing to capture the image in the MDT Deployment Wizard.

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