I've read multiple documents on how to provision a new Windows7 workstation starting with an image. I'm looking for a way to provision a workstation WITHOUT using an image as a starting point - rather, install Windows7 from scratch using an unattended file and within the same provisioning template, applying all relevant drivers, a standard list of applications and patching it all before placing it into production. I'm not worried about the time this process takes, because once it is started, it just runs. I'd rather manage a few text files (unattended, driver locations, etc.) than manage an image repository that needs to be updated periodically. At a high level, I'm envisioning booting to WinPE, having my provisioning script run that maps a drive to my OS source location, and runs setup.exe /unattended. Have people tried this and failed, or is it just not possible, or realistic to provision without an image file?
Just a quick comment, not to derail or deflate your need/inquiry. I certainly don't want to offend anyone by my comments.
From a logical standpoint, that machine will go through hours and hours of just patching alone. For me, i'd rather go back and update my image every so often (once a year, twice a year), rather than installing from scratch. From scratch, you are talking pre- SP1, that alone using WU, takes up to a couple of hours, when it finishes applying the SP, and reboots 2 or 3 times. This likely can be shaved down some, by having the SP1 already "downloaded" and deployed in your template somewhow, but....Can you imagine applying an image template to an older 5 or 7 year old machine? While I may not help with your technical question if it is possible (which I assume it is) or how to do it, for me the patching alone would detract me from even attempting.
I use a Gold image... Windows 7 only plus patches and thats it. Everything else is added at build time using custom scripts - i am in the process of documenting my tools so i can share them with the community. In my process even the unattend file is updated on the fly.
I also only have one provsioning template - but you can end up with hundreds of different combinations of built machines.
I agree with Gjstewart. This is the way I have done it, and it works very well. I have two images, 32-bit and 64-bit, and I use a provisioning task to wipe the drive, load the image, run HII, then run a batch file that calls WMI to find make and model. I then pull down any other drivers that HII cannot pick up (mostly setup.exe). I then map a drive to a share that contains all of my installs, along with a custom script that processes registry settings, and other settings that I require. I found that everything I need can be done through simple batch files. I then call a secondary script that installs applications that I require on all devices (Antivirus, LDMS). I have also created these batch files with the ability to receive command line parameters, from which I pass from the provisioning task. These parameters tell which share (many locations, so many different shares) to pull from, and whether or not to install Office, or just the Viewers.
It all works very well, and I find managing the batch file(s) is mush easier than the Provisioning Task. I can change it on the fly without having to modify anything in Landesk.