How To: Use ImageX with LANDESK Management Suite

Version 20

    Verified Product Versions

    Endpoint Manager 9.6Endpoint Manager 2016.x

    Introduction

    LANDESK Operating System Deployment has been created in such a way to allow users to utilize any imaging tool they would like. There are a number of imaging tools available for use on the market and LANDESK users can determine which of these tools is best suited for their needs.

     

    LANDESK Management Suite contains the LANDESK imaging tool ImageW as a starting point, or basic option for customers to use.  It is a sector based imaging tool, meaning it captures and stores the image based on the sectors on the disk, ignoring what those sectors represent, be it OS files, data, applications, etc. The image is then deployed back to machines by laying the same data back onto the hard drive, sector by sector

    What is ImageX

    Microsoft also has developed an imaging tool called ImageX. This tool is a file based imaging utility. This means it captures and stores the data on a file level instead of a sector level. Files captured by ImageX will have the file extension of .wim. This provides some additional functionality that is usually not afforded in a sector based deployment. For example, ImageX uses single-file instancing, meaning if a file is present in more than one location on the hard drive, it will only be captured to the image once, saving space. When deployed the file will be copied to all original locations. Microsoft uses ImageX for all OS installations starting with Windows Vista. More information about ImageX can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722145%28WS.10%29.aspx


    Using ImageX

    Because ImageX uses an entirely different type of technology for imaging, there are a number of important differences to consider if ImageX is to be used with LANDESK Management Suite:

    • ImageX images must be targeted to an existing and formatted partition.
      • With sector based imaging, the partition table is put down with the imaging process. However ImageX must be targeted to an existing partition. One particular benefit with ImageX is that it can be put onto a partition of any size regardless of the size of the partition it was captured from. With sector based imaging, the image must be deployed to a disk of equal or greater size that than what it was captured from. With ImageX, the only restriction is that the partition must be large enough to contain all of the data that is to be deployed
    • Multiple images can be stored in a single file.
      • This is most evident in the Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Server 2008 and 2012 installations. The image file (.wim) is the same for all versions of these products, and the correct version (Ultimate, Datacenter etc) is pulled from the image. This process again utilizes the single file instancing. This means that a file that is part of all 3-4 images in the .wim file is only present in the .wim file once, but deployed as needed for each distinct image.
    • Images created with ImageX can be edited, added to, or modified after image capture.
      • This is a very compelling feature available from ImageX. After an image is captured to the .wim file, it can be mounted into the file system and navigated as if it were a normal folder. This allows for the extraction and addition of files to the image as needed allowing updates to be applied to the image without deploying and re-capturing the image as is required with sector based imaging.
    • ImageX is a command-line only application.
      • This means there is no GUI or interface for ImageX. All commands must be run from the command-line.

     

    It is very important that if ImageX is going to be used to capture and deploy images with LANDESK Management Suite, the ImageX documentation and information should be carefully reviewed. You can find this information on Microsoft's web site.

     

    ImageX Technical Reference: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc748966%28WS.10%29.aspx

    What is ImageX: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722145%28WS.10%29.aspx

    ImageX Command-Line Options: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722145%28WS.10%29.aspx

    Windows Imaging File Format (WIM): http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749478%28WS.10%29.aspx

     

    ImageX and LANDESK Management Suite

    Using ImageX as part of and Operating System Deployment (OSD) script is quite straight forward. From the OSD script in the Image information screen, select the image type as ImageX, and provide the path to ImageX and the image store location

    ImageX OSD screen.JPG

    LANDESK will then generate a basic imagex command line to capture or deploy the image. Please note that LANDESK creates a BASIC command line and does not add any advanced or complex ImageX functionality.

     

    Default capture command line:

    imagex.exe /compress fast /capture C:  i:\%Computer - Device Name{8}%.wim "Drive C"

    • This will create an image using the Fast compression algorithm (not Maximum), captured from drive C, to the file I:\(Final 8 characters of the device name or MAC).wim and name that image file inside the .wim "Drive C"

     

    Default deploy command line:

    imagex.exe /apply i:\filename.wim 1 C:

    • This will apply the image in spot/ID 1 inside filename.wim to an already partitioned and formatted C: drive

     

    If you need to use any additional options or settings when capturing or deploying the ImageX image, you will need to add these using an "Advanced edit" of the script. For more information on using "Advanced edit" please see the following article: Advanced edit of OSD scripts

     

    Getting ImageX

    ImageX is contained in the Windows AIK.  This can be downloaded freely from Microsoft.  It is typically located in \Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86 after the Windows AIK is installed.  Once the ImageX executable is obtained, it is completely portable. A copy of ImageX should be placed on a share accessible to client machines, for example \\core\ldmain\osd\imaging\

     

    Conclusion

    ImageX provides additional functionality, capacity and tools for imaging and deploying computers. It can be used for simple or complex imaging tasks. Due to the different imaging technology (file-based vs. sector-based) it should be carefully evaluated, studied and tested before applying on a large scale. LANDESK can be used to run a ImageX commands to capture and deploy images, but by default they are very basic. If any changes are needed they can be added manually and must follow the documentation provided by Microsoft. LANDESK does not provide support for the ImageX tool, but only for the process of running the ImageX command. If ImageX itself is not running as expected, please consult Microsoft for assistance.