How to Capture Windows 7 Reference Image Using WDS

This article shows you how to deploy ready installed Windows system images to desktops on your network. This way, you can install your desired applications, drivers and latest updates on Windows 7, 8 or 10, then you can create an image of that setup and deploy it on multiple machines in your network. This will save your time and efforts. This guide assumes you have already configured WDS on your network. If you have not, read my other article on WDS configuration before you proceed. These steps are valid for newer operating systems including Windows 8, Windows 10 and windows server generation.

Capture Windows 7 Reference Image Using WDS

Step 1. On Windows 7 (works on 8 or 10 as well), press the Windows icon key + R to open run command.

Step 2. Type sysprep and then press enter.

Step 3. Choose OOBE (Enter System Out-of-Box Experience) and select Generalize. Choose shutdown and click OK.

Step 4. Once the sysprep has been completed. The system will shutdown. Boot it from the network and when prompted press F12 key.

Network boot

Step 5. Choose Capture Image and press Enter key.

Capture image

Step 6: Click Next.

Step 7. Choose the drive (It should be the drive where Windows is installed) which you want to capture, provide an image name and description. Click Next.

Provide image name and description

Step 8. Provide the local folder where you would like to place your image to, check "Upload image to a Windows Deployment Services server". Provide WDS server name and image group name and click Next.

Upload image to WDS server

Step 9. Wait for the wizard to be finished. This may take several minutes to complete so be patient.

Capturing Windows image

Now you are ready to deploy that image to systems on your network.


3 thoughts on “How to Capture Windows 7 Reference Image Using WDS”

  1. I did steps 1-3 for a Windows 7 machine. When I booted it up, the machine returned to factory defaults. I lost everything and had to reinstall everything.

  2. Yes thats what sysprep does. What you wanted to do was sysprep and shutdown. Then capture in that state because the generalize function of sysprep will clear the System Identifier that is specific to that machine.

  3. I captured an image and tried to install the new image on a computer, but halfway through the setup it gives an error: “Windows cannot install required files. The file may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code 0x80070570”.
    I have tried everything I can think of to get this to work. Have you seen this before?


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