Adding manual customizations to your BDD image capture

I recently worked with a school district to walk through a full setup and capture using BDD.  This was a really nice experience for me since in technical sales you sometimes spend too much time talking about a solution and not enough time working with it to flush out the details and questions that only come up in the real world.

In the old BDD there was emphasis on automating your image build process which was an interesting topic since the focus of most deployment projects is to automate the deployment, not the preparation for the deployment.  In BDD 2007 the process of building your images is very well integrated in LTI so even if your imaging environment is not all that mature, you now can take it to the next level without spending a lot of time and resources.  This means you can walk through a wizard, pick an OS and applications, and BDD will build your image for you start to finish with no need for interaction until your image is on a file share and ready to go.  Nice!

During the capture, we agreed it would also be nice to have the option to interact with the process after Vista has been installed and autologon has completed but before sysprep runs.  This would allow you to make custom changes, install applications that you were not able to automate, etc.

I sent out this discussion point to others interested in BDD and Ben Hunter, a consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services had a great solution.  He adds a new item as an application but the application "install" is actually just having notepad open a text file.  In the file, he lists out the procedures to complete any manual customizations, and then when the technician has finished and closes notepad, BDD takes over and finishes the capture.  This is really clever and as he says "the simple solutions are the best"!

Here is the command and working environment to setup as an application:

Command:                          c:\windows\notepad.exe tasklist.txt
Working Directory:          .\Applications\ManualTasks

Thanks for the idea Ben!  Another application I'd like to test would be an .hta file in IE7.  That would allow for a more graphical interface and custom scripting.

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