OEM Preload with ConfigMgr 2007

In ConfigMgr 2007 R3 Microsoft added a new OEM preload scenario in addition to the OEM preload for ConfigMgr SP2 (and R2) added by MDT 2010. This article explains the different options.

The whole OEM Preload idea is that you should prepare an image in-house and send it to an OEM. They will then preload your image on the machines you buy, before shipping the machines to you. When you boot up the shipped machine, it does the final configuration, join your domain etc.

In ConfigMgr 2007 R3 Microsoft called it Prestaged Media. In previous versions – ConfigMgr 2007 R2 or just ConfigMgr 2007 SP2 – Microsoft added the OEM Preload support via MDT 2010 Zero Touch.

The ConfigMgr 2007 R3 OEM Preload (Prestaged Media) scenario

First, let’s be clear on one thing – the ConfigMgr 2007 R3 OEM scenario is by far the better option. Only go back to use the "old" MDT 2010 OEM preload scenario if you cannot upgrade to R3 just yet.

First some background info: A normal network based deployment with ConfigMgr 2007 with works like this:

  • You start on a boot media via CD/USB or PXE
  • You get connected to the Management Point
  • A Task Sequence is selected either manual or automatically
  • Then the task sequence deploys the operating system image and other packages by downloading them over the network. If you are lucky from a local Distribution Point 🙂

How is the Prestaged Media scenario different?

In ConfigMgr 2007 R3 you can now use the Create Task Sequence Media wizard to create a (large) wim image that contains both the boot image and an extracted OS image package. This content can be staged on the hard drive, so when you boot from the drive, the following will happen:

  • The boot image starts from the hard drive instead of via CD/USB or PXE
  • Connect to the Management Point
  • The Task Sequence is selected
  • When the task sequence deploys the operating system image, it knows that the operating system is already on the hard drive, skips the network download, and continues.

Please note that this is still an in-house deployment, but the obvious benefit is that you don’t kill your network by downloading large images. The image is already staged on the drive by the OEM.

Step-by-step instructions for the ConfigMgr 2007 R3 Prestaged media

  1. Start the Task Sequence Media wizard, and complete it using the following settings:
    1. Select Media Type
      1. Prestaged Media
    2. Media Properties
      1. Media file: D:\W7X86-Prestage.wim
    3. Security
      1. Password and confirm password: [email protected]
    4. Images
      1. Boot image: Zero Touch WinPE 3.0 x86 en-US
      2. Image package: Windows 7 Enterprise Eng x86 Custom image en-US  
  2. Send the wim file to the OEM (The OEM will then stage the wim on the drive)
The new Task Sequence Media wizard in ConfigMgr 2007 R3

What happens when the OEM ships the computer to you?

Well, the next time the computer starts, it will boot from bootable media on the hard drive. It will then connect to the Management Point to retrieve policy and start the task sequence. 

As we learned before, when the task sequence deploys the operating system image, it knows that the operating system is already on the hard drive, skips the network download, and uses the image already on the drive.


Playing the OEM Game

What if you want to test what it feels like to be the OEM, or test the result?  Just do the following.

  1. Create a custom WinPE image
  2. Boot a virtual machine on it
  3. Partition and format the drive
  4. Connect to the server where you have the W7X86-Prestage.wim file
  5. Using ImageX, apply the image

    ImageX.exe /apply W7X86-Prestage.wim 1 C:
  6. Using bootsect.exe, create a boot sector (Bootsect.exe /nt60 C:
  7. Reboot the virtual machine

The "old" ConfigMgr 2007 SP2 with/without R2 OEM Preload (MDT 2010) scenario

Since ConfigMgr 2007 SP2 with/without R2 did not have native support for OEM Preload, the MDT 2010 team came up with two Task Sequence templates that added that support.

The first Task Sequence template – Preload OEM Task Sequence (Pre-OEM) – is used to set up the disk image. Shorthand story is that the task sequence partitions the drive, applies the OS image, and then stores the task sequence variables values so they can be restored later by the second task sequence.

The second task sequence template – Preload OEM Task Sequence (Post-OEM) – so that the second task sequence can work, recognizing what’s already on the drive.

Step 1 – Prepare the virtual machine with your custom image

  1. Create a virtual machine with minimum 2048 MB RAM and 60 GB Hard Drive
  2. Using the Create Microsoft Deployment Task Sequence Wizard, create a task sequence using the Preload OEM Task Sequence (Pre-OEM) task sequence template.  Make sure to select a custom image (captured reference image) as the operating system image package.
  3. Advertise the task sequence to All Unknown Computers. If you don’t have R2 installed, or haven’t enabled unknown computer support, create a new collection, add the virtual machine mac address as a direct member, and advertise to that collection
  4. Start the virtual machine, boot on your ConfigMgr boot media (ISO or PXE), and select the previously created Preload OEM (Pre-OEM) task sequence. The sequence will now do the following:
    1. Format and partition the disk.
    2. Apply the OS image.
    3. Backup various task sequence variable values to be restored later
  5. When the Task Sequence is complete, the machine will reboot and then stop. The machine is now ready to be duplicated by the OEM.

Step 2 – Create the task sequence to be executed when the machine is delivered from the OEM

  1. Using the Create Microsoft Deployment Task Sequence Wizard, create a task sequence using the Preload OEM Task Sequence (Post-OEM) task sequence template. 
  2. Advertise the task sequence to All Unknown Computers. If you don’t have R2 installed, or haven’t enabled unknown computer support, create a new collection, add the virtual machine mac address as a direct member, and advertise to that collection


What happens when the OEM ships the computer to you?

After receiving the machine, you boot the computer on your normal boot media, but this time select the Preload OEM Task Sequence (Post-OEM) task sequence. This task sequence starts the deployment, and since it knows that the operating system is already on the hard drive it simply uses the image already on the drive. The task sequence will now do the following

  • Restore the backed up variables
  • Apply patches and drivers offline
  • Customize the OS settings (computer name, domain, etc.)
  • Install applications, software updates, etc.
  • Restore user state (for a computer replacement)

Resources

Article by Chris Nackers – Configuration Manager R3 – Prestaged Media Setup and Walkthrough (web archive)

Article by Michael Niehaus – MDT 2010 Update 1: Added Support for ConfigMgr R3 Prestaged Media (web archive)

Article by John Vintzel – Prestaged Media in Configuration Manager 2007 R3 (web archive)

/ Johan

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Johan Arwidmark

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Admin
Admin
10 years ago

Use bcdboot instead.

/ Johan

jpbreton
jpbreton
10 years ago

No matter what I try, I alwayd end up with a Windows Boot manager error on startup. (When I try the Playing the OEM game) Followed eac step: 1.Create a custom WinPE image 2.Boot a virtual machine on it 3.Partition and format the drive 4.Connect to the server where you have the W7X86-Prestage.wim file 5.Using ImageX, apply the image (ImageX.exe /apply W7X86-Prestage.wim 1 C: 6.Using bootsect.exe, create a boot sector (Bootsect.exe /nt60 C: 7.Reboot the virtual machine But no luck. 0xc000000fThe boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible. Try the bootsect /nt60 c: command but no luck…. Any… Read more »


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