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Walkthrough: Servicing an Applied Windows Image Offline

Offline servicing of an applied Windows image is done with Package Manager and an unattended installation answer file created in Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM). You can use the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) to apply an image and then use Package Manager with the answer file as input to add or remove packages and configure settings available in the offlineServicing configuration pass.


Before you apply a Windows image using ImageX, you must install the latest version of the Windows OPK tools or Windows AIK tools on the technician computer.

You must also create all hard disk partitions before you apply a Windows image.

Package Manager must be included in your Windows PE image. For more information, see Walkthrough: Create a Custom Windows PE Image.


To service an applied image, boot to Windows PE and run Package Manager on the offline image. Make sure that the servicing section of your answer file includes the packages you want to add and remove, and that your Windows PE image includes Package Manager and ImageX. Then, boot to Windows PE, apply the image and use Package Manager and your answer file to add the packages to the offline Windows image.

Step 1: Updating an Answer File to Include Packages

In this step, you add packages to your answer file. These packages are applied to the Windows image during the offlineServicing configuration pass.

To update an answer file
  1. Open Windows SIM.

  2. Open a Windows image.

  3. Open an answer file.

  4. To add a package, do one of the following:

    • Click Insert on the main menu, navigate to the .cab file, and then specify the appropriate action.
    • In Windows Image, expand Packages, and then right-click the package to be added to the answer file.

    You can configure any settings that are available in the offlineServicing configuration pass. All other settings are ignored.

  5. Validate and save the answer file to removable media or a share.

Step 2: Add ImageX and Package Manager to a Windows PE Image

In this step, you add applications to your Windows PE image so that they are available for you to use while working in Windows PE.

To create a custom Windows PE image that includes ImageX and Package Manager
  1. Mount your Windows PE image.

  2. At a command prompt, copy ImageX to the location of the mounted image. For example,

    copy “c:\program files\<version>\Tools\<architecture>\imagex.exe” c:\mounted_image
  3. At a command prompt, copy the entire \Servicing folder and MSXML6 binaries. For example,

    xcopy “c:\program files\<version>\Tools\<architecture>\Servicing” c:\mounted_image\Servicing /s
    copy %WINDIR%\system32\msxml6*.dll c:\mounted_image\Servicing 

    where <version> can be Windows OPK or Windows AIK and <architecture> can be x86, amd64 or ia64. If you copy the folder to Windows PE image, it will be available in RAM. If you copy to the \ISO folder, the tools are not loaded into memory during a Windows PE RAM boot. The media must be available to access the tools.

Step 3: Boot to Windows PE and Apply the Windows Image

In this step, you boot to Windows PE and apply a Windows image so that it can be serviced offline.

To apply an image
  1. On the destination computer, boot to Windows PE.

  2. At a command prompt, apply the image. For example,

    imagex /apply c:\wim\install.wim 1 c:\NewFolder /verify

Step 4: Add Packages to the Windows Image

In this step, you run Package Manager with your updated answer file and specify the offline Windows image that you want to service.

To add the package to the image
  1. Create a log folder at C:\log.

  2. At a command prompt, type the following command.

    start /w pkgmgr /o:c:\;c:\NewFolder\windows /n:c:\unattend.xml /l:c:\log\logfile.txt
  3. Check the log file to verify that the package was successfully added.

Next Step

This walkthrough illustrates basic offline servicing of an applied Windows image in Windows PE. When you complete this process, the packages are added to the Windows image. After you run Package Manager, you can recapture the image for deployment.

See Also