My friend, Nick Miller, has gone to work with another company, and is involved in a Windows 7 image standardization project. He recently told me that he had figured out how to have a single bootable USB WinPE disk to create both 32 bit and 64 bit OS images. Nick is a smart guy, and he had not found instructions for this anywhere else on the web. I suggested that he be my first Guest Blogger.
For a long time I have wanted to have a single USB bootable media that will install every Windows OS known to man. This has always eluded me because of the differences between architectures. Recently it bothered me to the point of fixing it.
If you have found this article, you probably already know how to build a WINPE 32 bit bootable media, and I will not bore you with the details. Start by creating a directory for the Windows 7 (32 bit) files. Create another directory for the Windows 7 (64 bit) file. For each OS architecture, create a Unattend.xml and place it inside the corresponding directory. It is important to note that both versions must be identical. For example, if you plan on deploying Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) you will need to start the Windows 7 Professional (32 bit) install process.
Here is where it gets mind numbing. Create a new unattend.xml called SpecialUnattend.xml (link has example file) with the WinPE phase of the x86, and the other 6 phases of the x64. Place this in the Windows 7 (64 bit) directory. Be sure to add the “Microsoft-Windows-Setup\Installimage\OSImage\InstallFrom\Path” in the Unattend.xml to point to the Windows 7 (64 bit) wim. IE. “D:\W764\Sources\Install.wim”. And last but not least, at the bottom of the Unattend.xml file (edited with notepad) make sure that the wim is correctly located when booted to the WinPE OS.
To execute, run the following example. “D:\W732\Sources\Setup.exe /InstallFrom:D:\W764\Sources\Install.wim /unattend:D:\W764\SpecialUnattend.xml”
Do not forget that the target drive will need to be wiped with diskpart.
For more information, feel free to reach out to me at NCSHREK on Hotmail.
Thanks Nick. I know that other SCCM admins will find this to be very helpful.