09 December 2011

Deploying Windows XP with MDT 2010/2012

Deploying Windows XP with MDT is tricky. The typical creating a golden image and then linking the golden image to the final image is not a straight forward, automated process. In order to accomplish this, there are manual steps necessary. The XP setup files cannot be directly used because the drivers are not properly injected into the image when it is laid down on the machine. there are two ways to accomplish this: 1) install XP  and then sysprep it with the drivers being copied down in the sysprep process and then manually create a WIM file, or 2) use nlite to inject the drivers into the XP setup and then use MDT to deploy the OS in order to create a golden image. i have not tried the nlite option as of yet, but in theory, it should work.

You cannot inject updates into Windows XP using MDT because MDT only accepts msu files, which were not around for XP. XP only uses exe files for the updates. The best way to integrate updates in XP is through nlite, otherwise let the updates get installed in the base build process using the ZTIWindowsUpdate.wsf. This does download the correct updates. Also, you can disable the Apply Patches task, as it will not be functional in XP. NOTE: If you do decide to slipstream the updates using nlite, make sure you install XP and manually run the windows updates first so that you can get the exact sequence that they need to be installed. If you do not do this, then the image will most definitely corrupt. I also recommend slipstreaming them in 1/4 increments because they still might corrupt the OS and it's then much harder to trace down what update caused the corruption.

I could not get the drivers to inject correctly through MDT. My solution was to inject all of the drivers for the machine models that we are installing XP on. I then disabled the Inject Drivers tasks in both the pre and post image processes.

Base Build Image
The only way I was able to get an image of the base build was to run the Base Build task sequence through it's entirety without creating a WIM. At that point, I sysprepped the OS and then ran the WinPe process I manually created to capture the image. I injected the necessary files and features into the WinPE so that imagex could be automatically be executed upon the WinPE OS loading. I then created a basic task sequence and linked the base build image to it and sequenced all of the applications needed for post-install.