Automating Windows Vista Installations – 4

After capturing our new Vista image using Ghost and ImageX, the reference PC was rebooted to effectively apply it. A second PC of identical hardware configuration had the image applied to it using Ghost. First time startup with the image takes around 20 minutes to complete before the normal Windows logon comes up.

Issues found for this specific installation:

  • Still asked for a user account and password to be created. In future we may specify a dummy account and a very long gibberish password so the account doesn’t have to be deleted later.
  • Still asked for a network location to be specified
  • Display drivers were not installed
  • Domain was not joined (Error 0x5 was recorded in the Setup logs, this translates to “Access denied” which could mean a million things in this context)
  • And of course, the Tablet PC input panel came up again.

In other words, the only change that has been applied is that the administrator account is enabled with its password set. As I had researched the other changes or checked the existing settings were correct, I don’t know what else I can do at this stage to rectify the above issues. They are minor points but it is quite annoying to have gone through this amount of work so far and done everything supposedly “by the book” yet have the issues unrectified. The display drivers, of course, might require Intel’s custom setup application to be run, and so may have to be automated a different way.

The Tablet PC input panel, of course, is not being affected by Sysprep. It is just a default setting for newly installed PCs and is a trivial matter to disable. This time around the Language Bar didn’t open so that is one less thing to do.

At this time I am still using Ghost but have decided to install WDS on one of our servers and then skill myself in the techniques. I like the PXE based solution because you can eliminate the manual step of having to start up Ghost before each installation and don’t need a working CD drive on the target machine. We also don’t have enough Ghost licenses at present. So if WDS works out I will be using it to deploy Vista and later, while still using Ghost with our legacy XP images.