Capture a Windows® Image from a Reference Computer Using Capture Media—for IT Pros

(This post courtesy of Simone Pace)

In order to use System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to distribute the Windows 7 operating system to our managed clients, we need to provide to the OS bits somehow to the site server. One of the methods we can use is capturing a Windows 7 WIM image from a previously prepared reference computer.

System Center Configuration Manager 2007 offers standard and easy ways to deploy software in our IT Infrastructure. One of the most relevant features we can take advantage of is the highly customizable Operating System Deployment capability built in the product.

The Windows Vista® and Windows 7 new WIM image format further simplifies OS distribution by being independent from the destination client system’s hardware, so that we can use a single image to target different computers and keep our image repository less complex and more easily managed. This post shows an example of steps we can follow to successfully capture a WIM image of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64 from a reference computer.

Note: Further posts will follow that illustrate the specific tasks required to upgrade a Windows XP computer.

Testing lab description screenshots and computer names used in this article refers to a Virtual scenario running on a Hyper-V R2 host:

  • Domain: (single site)
  • All Servers are Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise servers.
  • Server CON-001
  • SCCM with almost all roles installed
  • SQL Server 2008
  • Windows Automated Installation Kit 2.0
  • WDS Transport Server role installed
  • Server CON-002
  • Active Directory Domain Controller role installed
  • DNS Server role installed
  • DHCP Server role installed
  • SCCM Primary Site: C01
  • Reference client is a Windows 7 Ultimate edition x64 clean setup

1. Create a Capture Media iso file.

The iso image we are creating in this section will be used to boot the reference machine and start the OS wim image creation sequence.

a. Log on CON-001 and open the Configuration Manager console.

b. Go to Task Sequences node.

c. Click on “Create Task Sequence Media” in the action panel.

d. Select Capture Media and click next on the welcome page.


e. On the “Media file” click Browse, select the folder where you are going to save the media iso file, and give it a name (for example MediaCapture), click Next.clip_image004

f. On “Boot Image” click Browse, and select the boot image suitable for your reference computer.

Note: Two boot images (x86 and x64) are automatically added when you install WDS role in the system.

g. On Distribution Point leave \\CON-001 (or select you preferred DP), click Next.clip_image006

h. Review the summary and click Finish.

i. The server starts building the iso image.


j. Click Close to close the wizard.

2. Prepare the reference computer.

a. Log on CON-Ref7Client with user Administrator account

b. Check the following requirements

i. The computer must be a workgroup member.

ii. The local Administrator password must be blank.

iii. The local system policy must not require password complexity.

iv. Apply the latest Service Pack and updates.

v. Install the required applications.

3. Capture the image using the Capture Media.

a. Capture the MediaCaputer.iso you created in Step 1 in the Virtual DVD of the reference PC (if is a VM), or

b. Burn the MediaCapture.iso on a DVD and insert it in the computer.

c. Boot the reference computer normally.

d. Start the autoplay DVD and launch the Capture Image Wizard.


e. Click Next.

f. Set the path where you want to save the wim file, give the image a name, and insert the appropriate credential to access the path and write on it.

g. Click Next.

h. Fill in the required data in the Image Information window.


i. View the summary and launch the capture by clicking Finish.


j. The program will start executing the sysprep phase.


k. After sysprep, the computer will restart in WinPE to start the capture.


l. (Reboot).


m. Computer restarts in WinPE and starts the Capture.


n. Capturing first Partition (1-2)


o. And capturing second partition (2-2).


Note: The number of partitions captured depends on the reference PC’s disk partitions. In the case shown, the VM had a 100Mb partition for BitLocker® capability (Partition 1 of 2).

p. When finished, press OK to quit and restart.


q. On the Server we can see the captured image file.


4. Add the file to the image repository in SCCM 2007.

a. Share a folder and move the image file (example \\ServerName\Images).

b. Open the SCCM console, navigate to Site Database > Computer Management > Operating System Deployment > Operating System Images.

c. Import the image by clicking Add Operating System Image in the task panel.

d. Type or browse the network path to the image you want to import, and click Next.


e. Fill in the required information, then click Next.


f. Review the summary and complete the wizard.



5. Distribute the image to Distribution Point.

a. In the SCCM console, navigate to the image you uploaded in step 4 (Site Database > Computer Management > Operating System Deployment > Operating System Images) and select it.

b. Click Manage Distribution Points in the action panel.


c. Click Next on the wizard starting page.

d. As DP doesn’t have the image deployed yet, leave the default selection (copy) and click Next.clip_image037

e. Select the DPs where you want to deploy the image to and include their PXE DP’s hidden share.clip_image039

f. Click Next and Next again in the Completion page.



g. Check the copy progress in the Package Status folder until you see it is Installed.


h. You are now ready to distribute the Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Image to client computers, either by upgrading or installing new machines.

Comments (6)
  1. sgislain says:

    awesome, I fund this post by accident, I wish I had found it before! nice work

  2. Rajat Saxena says:

    Good Post, just one thing! We do not need to add the captured image on the PXE share. We just need to add the image on the standard distribution point. Thats it !!

  3. susaa says:

    Thanks – I have been scratching my head for so long on how to do this and ultimately found you post. Thanks a million.

    Just one question, How, do I distribute, is there an option in SCCM for distributing the image to other client PCs as I have 25 PCs which I need to distribute the reference image with all the apps.

  4. Dewayne Cutchember says:

    Also Make sure the time zone is set the same as your domain controller before capturing the *.win file

  5. paul says:

    Nice posting. However I agree with Rajat there is not need to update this image into the PXE distribution point as you only want to use the for boot images.

  6. jas says:

    hi, can we create a reference pc from an old imaged computer?

Comments are closed.

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