I was about to post an ER for this but thought I'd see if I can find out what others think first!
I've been involved in a fair few Windows 7 upgrade projects over the last year or so and have developed a pretty solid method that works well. There was one part of it though that I'm not 100% happy with though. It happens after sysprep, during the sysem configuration phase, every time a reboot action occurs. After the reboot, there is always a delay of about 5 minutes before the template will continue onto the next action. So for example, after sysprep you install the LANDesk agent, then have a reboot action, followed by a distribute software action: if the reboot happens at midday, the PC is back up by 12:01 but the distribute software action will not start until 12:06.
Now I should make it clear at this point that I do not use autologon in the unattend.xml file - the PC will stay at the CTRL-ALT-DEL screen while provisioning continues to work in the background. To prevent anyone tinkering with the PC while provisioning is still running I use a customised wallpaper that shows a message warning that provisioning is in progress. The reason I do it this way is two-fold:-
- Improved security - the PC is not left unattended, logged on as the local admin during provisioning
- I don't have to stipulate a number of autologons in the sysprep file. This way, if I add a bunch of new actions to an existing provisioning template that incorporates one or more reboots, I don't have to go back and modify my unattend file to reflect the change in the number of autologons.
I should also point out that this delay I'm describing is provisioning working as designed right now. The reason for the wait is that its waiting for someone to log on before continuing. It does this for 5 minutes but if, during that time, a user logs in, the template will continue immediately. The reason for this is that if it ran straight away it would be running as local system, if someone then logged on to the machine, they would not be able to see the provisioning gui (it would be hidden as local system). This is something that used to happen back before SP1 was released but the behaviour has since been modified to incorporate the wait.
What I would like to be able to do is keep my provisioning process as it is, with no auto logon, but without having to wait for 5 minutes after each reboot - sometimes a machine will reboot 5-6 times post sysprep, thats half an hour of completely wasted time. I think it should be possible to stipulate in a reboot action that provisioning should continue immediately after the reboot has completed, skipping the 5 minute wait for someone to log on.
I'd be interested to learn what others think about this, if this is something that you have also encountered. Also, feel free to share your own methods/alternatives to what I'm doing
I'll probably end up posting an ER anyway but I thought I'd a bit more response putting it here in the first instance!