Imaging is copying of the content of a computer's hard disk into a single compressed file or a set of files. The single compressed file or set of files is referred to as an image. By creating an image the content of the hard disk, including configuration information and applications can be copied to the hard disk of other computers. Imaging is useful where one system has to be replicated on a number of computers as the users need the same system and applications.
You can image Windows, Linux and Mac client computers.
For Windows, the images that are deployed on multiple computers are prepared using Microsoft Sysprep to remove drivers, the security ID (SID), and other computer-specific settings. Sysprep also disables the built-in administrator account and clears the administrator password.
For Linux, you can use the Prepare for Image Capture task to remove all configuration-specific settings, such as host name, IP address, and so on. You can perform this task before you boot the client computers to the automation environment.
You must ensure that the Package Service runs on the site server such that the task replication and package replication happens successfully. To create an image, if the Package Server is in a domain different from the SMP domain, then ensure that you add the SMP users to the Administrator group of the Package Server. All the users that you add must have read and write permissions on the Package Server.
Table: Process for creating and deploying an image
Prepare a reference computer for imaging.
The reference computer contains the core software and settings that you want to use on each computer.
(XP and Windows 2003 only) Install Sysprep files on the reference computer.
You need to copy the support\tools\deploy.cab file from your Windows XP installation disk or service pack to the C:\sysprep\deploy.cab file on the source computer.
Boot the client computer to Automation folder or if you want to use a PXE image, then boot to the preboot environment.
(Optional) Prepare for image capture
Perform this task if you want to perform a sysprep imaging and use the Include DeployAnywhere for hardware independent imaging option for the Deploy Image task.
If you deploy a disk image using the Include DeployAnywhere for hardware independent imaging option and you have not performed the Prepare for Image capture task, the client computer image gets corrupted.