Native boot VHDs and MDT [2]

Continuing on from yesterday’s post, I did some thinking about this overnight and have made enquiries on Technet as well. I think the best scenario for creating your own native boot VHDs using MDT is to deploy an OS to a VHD using a standard deploy sequence. You would then run a sysprep only task sequence from it on MDT, using the LiteTouch script in the deployment share. What is particularly needed is to be able to provide or inject custom drivers before sysprepping, rather than this being done in a setup task, because we aren’t going to deploy using a deployment task sequence in MDT. The basic situation is that we are going to sysprep the OS installation in the VHD, and then deploy the VHD to platforms just by copying it. The platform is then native booted from the VHD and it runs through the normal first time startup sequence and finalises installation.

One possibility for the driver injection is to see if it can be added to a sysprep task sequence (it has to be done before the sysprep task is executed). When you look at the standard sysprep and capture task sequence in MDT you will see a task that adds mass storage drivers to sysprep.inf for Windows XP and 2003. However I’d presume in Windows 7 it is correct to use the Inject Drivers task sequence, the question is to whether this would actually work or not, and exactly where you would put it.

The second option is to use the Driverspath variable or Devicepath registry key. There are a few relevant posts listed below:

Obviously my preference would be to leverage MDT and get the drivers injected via a step in a Sysprep task and so I am trying to find out if this is possible. It should be because my experience with Sysprep is that the unattend.xml file contains the information for all of the Sysprep passes, of which the relevant one here is the specialise pass and offline servicing pass, hopefully I do not have to hand edit the xml file and hand run Sysprep, it should be possible to either use a inject drivers task or some means of customing unattend.xml before Sysprep executes and hopefully we don’t run into a lack of drivers.

There are a number of manual tasks to get the VHD able to be booted on a target system, so I’d be looking for some means of automating these to an extent, and buying a 16 GB or larger pen drive for the copying, otherwise I can use an external HDD.