Deploying XP with SCCM: Part 1 Building an XP Base Image

This post and subsequent posts will be a step by step on how to build a base XP image in SCCM. I will be outlining not necessarily pointing out every click. Hopefully others will find this helpful. This assumes an understanding of SCCM and uses what is refereed to as a “Thin Image Strategy”.

  1. Create a network access account, it only need be a domain user and its password should not expire. Add the account to the Computer Client Agent in the Client node under Site Settings
  2. Import XP SP2 as an operating system Install Package (Note most common issue here.
  3. Add a Distribution point to your new XP SP2 package created in step 1
  4. Create the XP SP2 sysprep package in SCCM
    1. The included on the CD was not updated properly for XP SP2 so you must download a new version here.
    2. Create a package that points at the extracted CAB file for its source
    3. You do not need to create any programs for the package the build task sequence takes care of this
    4. Add the package to a DP that can be used during your build
  5. Create a package from definition for the Config Mgr Client (a definition is available called “Configuration Manager Client Upgrade” in the create package from definition wizard)
    1. Specify always obtain file from source directory
    2. Usually here I create a share at \\SCCMSERVER\SCCMClient pointing to \\SCCMSERVER\SMS_XXX\Client where XXX is the site code in order to make it easier for manual installs in the future. Note I also usually grant domain computers read access to the share and directory to prevent permissions problems in the future (Note this last permissions step may no longer be necessary in SCCM but I haven’t tested it yet)
    3. Update the ccmsetup command line properties accordingly. Extensive information about command line properties on TechNet here.
    4. Add the package to a DP that can be used during your build
  6. Create a “Build and capture a reference operating system image” task sequence
    1. Name the task sequence something appropriate like “Build Windows XP Gold Image”
    2. Select a boot image (I suggest x86 as it will run on all platforms, plus you will be booting from PXE so it really doesn’t matter)
    3. Select the Operating System Package you created in step 1
    4. Enter a product key
    5. Set the local admin password to blank
    6. Join a workgroup
    7. Select the Config Mgr client you created in step 4
    8. I generally don’t install updates in this phase but this is debatable. You must weigh time to deploy if you have to deploy a bunch of updates during deployment time vs. superseded updates and rebuilding your image more often.
    9. Don’t add any software to the base image
    10. Set your image properties
    11. Select a location to save the image and make sure you include the full path including the .wim extension
    12. Enter an account with rights to write to the share
    13. Finish up
  7. Change the task sequence to use “Quick Format”
    1. Right Click on the Task Sequence and choose Edit
    2. Select the “Partition Disk 0” step
    3. Choose properties on the Default (Primary) partition and check the “Quick Format” option
  8. Create a collection to which you will advertise the task sequence; I usually use _OSD\Base Builds
  9. Advertise the task sequence to the collection you created in step 7 as optional
    1. Right click Task sequence and choose advertise, follow the wizard
    2. Make sure you select the check box “Make this task sequence available to boot media and PXE”
    3. If you are in test and your boundaries are not defined make sure you select “When no local distribution points are available, use remote distribution point”
    4. Make sure you completed step 1
  10. Select a client to build your base image
    1. I suggest using a virtual platform to keep the drivers in the image at a minimum
    2. VMWare ESX is not a good candidate as a platform as it uses SCSI disks only to my knowledge. You do not want SCSI Mass storage drivers in your image, use MS Virtual Server / Virtual PC / Hyper-V or VMWare Server / Workstation
  11. Ensure that you have the network and mass storage drivers to boot the device on the boot image and in the driver store (If you have to do this in the future you must update the PXE and standard DPs)
  12. Add the appropriate boot images (x86 / x64) to the PXE and standard DPs
    1. If you don’t see a PXE DP it means you don’t have one :), get WDS installed and your PXE Service point
  13. Allow the client to boot from PXE
    1. If this client previously had an SCCM agent on it you just need to add the client to the collection you created in step 6
    2. If this is a new client and SCCM is pre-R2 add the client manually
      1. Add the client by right clicking the Computer Associations node under OSD and choosing “Import Computer Information”
      2. Enter the Name of the computer; I use XPBase
      3. Enter the MAC and or SMBIOS GUID
      4. Add the computer to the collection you created in step 7
    3. If you are using SCCM R2 you can enable unknown computer support on the PXE service point but choose wisely; option 10.2 may still be the best choice given the risk of accidentally formatting your CXOs laptop
  14. Boot the device up to PXE and choose your task sequence. In less than an hour you should have the start of a great XP Image

12 Responses

  1. […] digg_url=’’;digg_title=’Building an XP Base Image in SCCM Part 1′;digg_skin=’compact’;digg_bgcolor=’transparent’; Published Tuesday, May 20, 2008 9:14 PM by rodtrent Filed under: Systems Management, Microsoft Deployment, System Center […]

  2. awesome! 🙂

  3. Using this task sequence seems to work. However, I have two additonal questions. 1) How do you go about configuring the “Default User Profile” and 2) During deployment if you specify an sysprep.inf file to use, does those settings override the sccm auto-generated sysprep.inf file?


  4. Can you use Win XP with Service Pack 3 instead or is there a problem with that?

  5. We may not install software but can we install windows updates instead?
    Thanks to answer 🙂

    • I generally shy away from it. I would like to make my image as free from things that will need to be superseded in deployment as possible thereby increasing the life of my image. I usually do updates at deployment time. That said even with Software I am ok with it if you automate it. You must strike a balance between maintainable image and time to deploy.

  6. When is part 2 coming?? Only been a year… thanks

    • Thanks for your comment Jimbob, my suggestion to you at this point would be to start planning for Windows 7.

  7. I was wondering if you use this option to capture the image from a vmware workstation pc. Will you need additional configuration parameters to deploy it to different HAL. The reason being is that the mass storage driver will be different on different platforms of computers. Will I need to add this to the sysprep.ini or can you do this will sccm task sequence. There is an option there to build mass storage drivers. Im not sure what it entails or exactly do.

  8. Hi ,

    In my office we are deploying the OS using SCCM 2007 R2 but to VMware client but it throws an error while rebuilding as “An error occurred while retrieving policy for this computer (0×80072EE7)”. I am not sure why this is happening suddenly now. Need your help in solving this issue.

    Thanks ,


  9. Can we upgrade windows 2000 to windows xp using SCCM 2007 ? just want to get a test lab done

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