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Get to Know the Solution Accelerator for BDD Fast - Part I

Published: August 01, 2005
By Jerry Honeycutt
Jerry Honeycutt

The Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) contains a lot of documentation—tons of it. Most people try to plow through all this documentation just to determine whether they want to use it. While I certainly don’t suggest that you use the Solution Accelerator for BDD without thoroughly reading all the documentation it contains, sometimes you just want to try a tool out to see if you like it.

That’s what I’m giving you in this article: the chance to give the Solution Accelerator for BDD a quick spin without reading a single word of the documentation. This article is a step-by-step guide for using the solution accelerator to build a disk image. No theory—just the steps necessary to build a basic disk image. In the future, I’ll provide more step-by-step articles for customizing basic disk images with core applications, settings, and so on. I’ll also provide articles about using the Solution Accelerator for BDD to deploy a disk image.

Requirements

To follow this article, you need the following:

  • A lab environment. You need any two networked computers. Although you can use physical computers, I choose to use virtual machines in Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. You can learn more about Virtual Server 2005 in my earlier column, Using Virtual Server 2005 in Desktop Deployment.

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 installed on one of the lab computers. This computer is the one on which you’ll install the Solution Accelerator for BDD and that you’ll use to create a basic image build. I refer to this computer as the build server.

  • Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 2004 or Windows PE 2005. Windows PE is available only if you have purchased Enterprise Agreement 6.0, Enterprise Subscription Agreement 6.0, or Select License 6.0 with Software Assurance (SA). The Solution Accelerator for BDD uses Windows PE to start computers for building and deploying images. I used Windows PE 2004, which is required for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) support.

  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (SP2) installation media. To follow this article, you need Windows XP Professional with SP2 integrated and your product key.

In my virtual lab environment, I created two virtual machines. The first virtual machine is kildonan-srv-01, the domain controller for the KILDONAN domain. The second virtual machine is kildonan-cli-01. This virtual machine has an unformatted virtual hard disk. Additionally, the administrator account is Administrator and the password is Pa$$w0rd. Both virtual machines have 16-GB disks.

Install the Solution Accelerator for BDD

Download the Solution Accelerator from http://www.microsoft.com/technet/desktopdeployment/bdd/2007/default.mspx. I used the Standard Edition in this article. The file name of this edition is BDDStandard.msi. After you download the accelerator and move the package file to your build server (kildonan-srv-01, in my case), double-click the package file to install the Solution Accelerator for BDD.

Tip: To make testing and evaluation easier, I recommend that you install the Solution Accelerator for BDD in the All Users profile: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop. Make sure you select the Everyone option in the Select Installation Folder dialog box.

After installing the Solution Accelerator for BDD, share the Computer Imaging System folder as Unattend, giving the Everyone group read-only access. If you installed the Solution Accelerator for BDD where I suggested, the Computer Imaging System folder is in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\BDD Standard.

Add Windows Source Files

The next step in your Solution Accelerator for BDD evaluation is to add your Windows source files to it.

To add Windows source files

  1. Copy your Windows XP SP2 source files to BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\source\XPPro\SP2. Copy the entire CD—not just the I386 folder.

  2. Make a backup copy of Mkimg.cmd. This file is in BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Source\WinPE15\Winpe.

    You must make a backup copy of this file to prevent overwriting it when you copy your Windows PE source files. The version of Mkimg.cmd that the Solution Accelerator for BDD provides is more recent than the version that comes with Windows PE, and it handles long file names with spaces better than the Windows PE version.

  3. Copy your Windows PE source files to BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Source\WinPE15. Copy the entire CD—not just the I386 folder.

  4. Restore the backup copy of Mkimg.cmd to BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Source\WinPE15\Winpe.

  5. Copy Sysprep.exe and Setupcl.exe from Deploy.cab to BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Master $OEM$\$1\Sysprep. Deploy.cab is in BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Source\XPPro\SP2\Support\Tools.

    The Solution Accelerator for BDD doesn’t provide these files, because they change from version to version of Windows XP Professional.

Create a Basic Build

After you copy your Windows source files to the Solution Accelerator for BDD, you’re ready to create a basic image build. In the Solution Accelerator for BDD, you use Config.hta to create and customize a build.

To create and customize a build

  1. Double-click BDD Standard\Computer Imaging System\Control\Config.hta, as Figure 1 shows. Click each tab to change panels. Config.hta saves your changes each time you change panels or close the tool.

    Computer imaging system (Config.hta)

    Figure 1: Computer imaging system (Config.hta)
  2. On the Configuration tab, provide the information described in Table 1.

    Table 1. Configuration Panel

    Field

    Value

    Example

    Company Full Name

    Type your company name

    Jerry Honeycutt

    Organization Info

    Type your department name

    Jerry Honeycutt

    Unattend UNC Path

    Type the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to the build system

    \\kildonan-srv-01\unattend

    Domain

    Type the domain to which the connection account belongs

    KILDONAN

    Password

    Type the password for the connection account

    Pa$$w0rd

    Local administrator password

    Type the password you want to use for the image’s local Administrator account

    Pa$$w0rd

  3. Click the Builds tab, and then click OK when you see the message about updating the configuration files. In the list of builds, click XPProSP2, and then provide the information described in Table 2.

    Table 2. Builds Panel

    Field

    Value

    Example

    Build ID

    Leave the default value

    XPProSP2

    Build description

    Leave the default value

    Windows XP Professional SP2

    Windows source directory

    Leave the default value

    Source\XPPro\SP2

    Product key

    Type the product key to use for installing Windows XP Professional SP2

     
  4. On the Actions tab, clear the check box beside each of the following actions:

    • Install Windows Media Player 10

    • Installing Windows Messenger 5.0

    • Install Windows Rights Management Client 1.0

    • Install .NET Framework 1.1

    • Install .NET Framework 1.1 SP1

    • Apply SP1 Updates

    • Apply SP2 Updates

    • Apply Common Updates

    • Install MBSA 1.2.1

    • Install Office 2003 Professional

    • Install SMS 2003 Client

    • Stop SMS 2003 Client

    • Clean SMS 2003 Client Certificates

  5. On the deployment tab, provide the information described in Table 3.

    Table 3. Deployment Panel

    Field

    Value

    Example

    Domain NetBIOS name

    Type the NetBIOS name of the domain to join target computers

    KILDONAN

    Machine OU to join

    Type the Lightweight Director Access Protocol (LDAP) description of the organizational unit (OU) you want to join target computers to

    ou=Computers,DC=kildonan,DC=com

    Join user name

    Type the name of the user account to use when joining computers to the domain

    Administrator

    Domain

    Type the domain to which the join account belongs

    KILDONAN

    Password

    Type the password of the join account

    Pa$$w0rd

    Application UNC Path

    Delete this text

    Blank

    Application share connection user name

    Delete this text

    Blank

    Domain

    Delete this text

    Blank

    Password

    Delete this text

    Blank

Create a Windows PE Lab CD

You use the last tab of Config.hta to create the Windows PE lab and deployment CDs. If you copied the Windows PE source files where I instructed earlier and you preserved the Mkimg.cmd file, creating a Windows PE CD is easy.

To create a Windows PE CD

  1. Click the Windows PE tab

  2. Delete the text in the Extra files path text box

  3. Click Make Lab CD.

Close Config.hta after it finishes creating the Windows PE lab CD. You’ve created a basic image build, and you’ve created the Windows PE lab CD necessary to start the computer on which you are installing the build.

By default, Config.hta creates the Windows PE lab CD in the .iso file C:\WinpeLab.iso. If you’re running the Solution Accelerator for BDD in a virtual machine, you need to copy this file to the physical computer so that you can mount it to the second virtual machine. If you’re running the Solution Accelerator for BDD on a physical computer, you need to burn the ISO file to a CD so that you can use it to start the second computer.

Build a Disk Image

You’ve created an image build and a Windows PE lab CD with which to install the build. It’s time to try it all out.

To test your disk image

  1. Use the Windows PE lab CD you created to start the second lab computer (kildonan-cli-01).

    If you’re using physical computers, you must use a CD that you burned from the WinpeLab.iso file to start the computer. If you’re using Virtual Server or Microsoft Virtual PC, you must mount the .iso file to the virtual machine’s CD drive.

  2. After Windows PE starts, the Server Connection dialog box appears. Click Yes to connect to the build server.

    Act fast, because this dialog box closes after about 10 seconds. Windows PE will connect to the build server and run Build.hta to display a list of builds from which you can choose.

  3. In Build.hta, select Windows XP Professional SP2 from the Build list. Select Sysprep the machine from the Action to perform drop-down list, and then click Begin Build.

After you click Begin Build, the process builds system partitions and formats the disk. Then, it installs Windows XP professional using the configuration you specified in Config.hta.

Coming Soon

After the system finishes installing the build, you can test it simply by restarting the lab computer. (Ignore any errors you see about joining a domain.) After restarting the lab computer, you can watch the post-deployment processes run to complete the computer’s configuration.

In future articles, I’ll describe the next step, which is capturing the build to an image file, creating a Windows PE deployment CD, and then using the CD to deploy the image. I’ll also describe how to customize image builds with core applications, settings, application compatibility databases, and more. Stay tuned for more guidance on using the Solution Accelerator for BDD.

For More Information

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About the Author
Jerry Honeycutt is a writer, speaker, and technologist. He has written more than 25 books, including Microsoft Windows Desktop Deployment Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2004). Jerry's consulting practice is in the Dallas area, but he travels frequently. For more information about Jerry, see his complete bio, visit http://www.honeycutt.com, or contact him at jerry@honeycutt.com.


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