64 bit Native VHD Deployment [3]

I have just completed making our laptop image (also 64 bit) and that is to be tested shortly. I used MDT to make the previous deploy but now I am switching to native VHD as well. It looks like the laptop VHD is OK and there are no problems. So this means we can ditch MDT altogether and just use native VHD for everything (as we don’t use MDT for XP) except older Ghost stuff (XP). MDT is much more complex. It has its place if you do a lot of imaging and want to have fewer images with customisations to various types of hardware handled automatically. If you have only a few images and just want a simpler deployment method then nVHD is just an update on Windows AIK that means your deployment is just a simple file copy of the VHD file instead of applying a WIM. So updating the image is a much simpler process overall of just replacing the VHD file with the new one. At some future point I will detail how to do this practically as we do it.

The laptop image was deployed successfully although there seem to be issues with x64 Sysprep with the answer file because that wizard that comes up at first boot has six pages now instead of three. In the process of testing the laptop image I updated it to add the recently released SP1 of Windows 7 and had to install an additional software package. The deployment of the computer suite image has also been successful and it also is being updated to SP1 at the moment along with some minor tweaks.

When we transfer staff from their old laptop to the new one we make a complete image of the hard disk of the old laptop as a backup and then extract their personal files (My Documents etc) from the image. In the past I have used Ghost for this. However these days it is just easier to use the Disk2VHD tool released by the Sysinternals group of Microsoft to make a VHD backup of the HDD instead, which is done online by running it from within Windows. Then there are various ways to open the VHD. My preference is to use the latest version of 7-Zip which can open all sorts of useful formats like VHD, WIM and ISO among others, and it is freeware.