Imaging Hard Drive 1

This is the basic process for reimaging a single hard drive.  Technology Services now uses a more sophisticated system, but the manual process is still a good reminder.


Use Google to fill in the gaps in my guide. :)

Windows Vista and 7 use "bootmgr" instead of "ntldr" to boot the windows partition. Computers that are preloaded with the operating system have a separate 200mb partition with the boot files that is normally hidden. When imaging, it is easier to put all of the files on one partition.

  • bcdedit is a command line tool that lets you configure how the boot files work.
  • easybcd is a gui tool that simplifies bcdedit.
  • bootsect is a command line tool that lets you fix/create Vista / 7 Bootsectors.
  • WIM is a windows image file. It is generally used with imagex/gimagex.
  • imagex is a command line tool create and apply images.
  • gimagex is a third party tool to create and apply images.

How to Create a bootable HDD/flash drive

  1. Format a USB/HDD drive with the NTFS partition and set it active. (Use an 8GB or larger drive if you wish to store images on it.)
  2. Use bootsect /nt60 to make the USB drive properly bootable.
  3. Download Windows AIK (KB3AIK_EN.iso).
  4. Install Windows AIK.
  5. Open Windows AIK Command Prompt.
  6. Type the following commands.
    1. copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86
    2. copy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim
    3. xcopy C:\winpe_x86\iso\*.* /e G:\ //G is the usb drive

Many portable programs work in the PE environment:

  • Unstoppable Copier / Rawcopy
  • autoruns
  • cpuz
  • orthos
  • FreeFileSync
  • Keyfinders
  • imagex / gimagex
  • 7Zip
  • DiskCheckup
  • Notepad

Before doing anything in windows PE, use diskpart to find out what hard drives and volumes are on the system:
Diskpart Commands:

  • list disks
  • list volumes
  • select disk 1
  • list partition
  • select partition
  • active
  • assign
  • help

Creating an Image

  1. Setup a computer with the proper programs, local group policy, security settings, updates, etc:

Install all Windows Updates.

Install Microsoft Office.

☐ Turn on MS Updates.

☐ Install Office Updates.

☐ Activate Office.

Install the following software:

☐ Firefox

☐ Chrome(Pack)

☐ 7zip

☐ CCleaner

☐ Filezilla

☐ ImgBurn

☐ K-Lite Codec Pack

☐ iTunes

☐ Adobe Reader

☐ Flash(2)

☐ Java

☐ Sophos ESC




Setup local Group Policy Settings

☐ Setup Firewall

☐ Dis. Autoplay

☐ Auto. MS Updates

☐ Show Tray Icons

☐ Dis. System Restore

  1. Delete temporary files (run ccleaner) to keep the image smaller.
  2. Turn off System restore.
  3. Run sysprep from the command prompt.
  4. Check the generalize box (to make it work on any machine).
  5. Select Shutdown and hit OK. (Do not allow the machine to boot until you have created the image.)
  6. Boot the computer with a flash drive or take the hard drive out and attach it to another machine.
  7. Use imagex or gimagex to create an image.
  8. Store this image on a bootable flash or HDD.

Sys Prep Screenshot