Windows PE Automation Using WAIK
To simplify the tasks of capturing and applying images, two special scripted Windows PE boot images can be created which automate these tasks. These scripted Windows PE boot images are created using the Windows Automated Installation Kit, in combination with Windows 7 installation media containing the source WIM images, and then added to the WDS server's boot image repository. The Windows PE boot images may be either 32- or 64-bit, but 32-bit tends to be more universally compatible across all potential hardware types.
A difficulty of Windows PE booting is that it needs to include network drivers and disk controller drivers intended to work with the target hardware to be imaged. The process of adding drivers to the Windows PE boot image can be automated using the WDS server console:
- Select the source WIM image, which may be either a new one created from original Windows 7 installation DVDs (32- or 64-bit), or a previously configured WIM.
- Select the drivers to install into the WIM
- WDS mounts the WIM to a virtual path, adds drivers to the virtual path, and generates a new WIM
- The updated WIM image is added to the boot image section of the WDS repository
This process can be repeated at a later time when a new system type needs to be captured but the current Windows PE Capture boot image does not include network drivers for it. The boot image is updated with the additional drivers using the WDS interface and automatically re-added to the WDS boot image collection to replace the original.
For specialty one-off systems this WIM driver update process is not necessary if the hard drive of the target system to be captured is removed from the source system after sysprepping, and is either installed in a computer with supported network drivers, or attached to the supported system using an external "USB to hard drive" adapter.