Almost every place I have ever worked, IT had or needed a method to clone and deploy a specific Windows configuration and application set. ), desired apps for the image (Office, PDF viewer, web browsers, plugins), virtual machine software (VMware Workstation, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Oracle Virtual Box), and image creation and deployment software (Image X.exe, MDT, SCCM).Place the unattend file at the root of your install media and let Windows install itself. If your build process takes longer than a month, you might need the key and activation. Next, power-down (not sleep, hibernate, or pause) the VM and create a snapshot or checkpoint.

This also involves less work in mainatining the image as any work only needs to be done once and not x-times per different type of hardware.

Second, most virtual machine software (I’m not sure about Virtual Box) have the ability to save a VM’s state, and revert back to that state, should it become necessary.

All of the stuff I know the end users will not touch.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of configuration, completely update Windows through Microsoft Update.

VMware calls these “snapshots”, and Microsoft uses the term “checkpoint” in Hyper-V.

Should a screw-up occur, it can be undone without loosing work or have to re-do everything.

That’ll assure the image will fit everywhere you intend to deploy it. I’ve used both and have noticed no speed differential.

Now, it is easy to see how fast space will go on your drives. Install Windows onto the VM with all of the default settings.

This piece will discuss creating a Windows install for distribution. First, virtual machines provide the option to create hardware-neutral images which can be applied anywhere, regardless of what is actually in the target computer.

Windows and software install media (obviously) Virtual machine software for the creation workspace. One image becomes possible for multiple hardware configurations.

My VM creation setup, however, is backed-up every night to my trusty 4TB WD USB HDD.