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Further optimizations

Updated: May 6, 2014

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

This guide shows one way to deploy Windows. Here are a few more ways that you can refine your deployment strategy.

In this topic:

For PCs with solid-state drives (SSDs):

  • Configure Windows to boot directly to a .WIM file (WIMBoot) to significantly reduce the hard drive space requirements. You'll be able to use the same .WIM file for your Windows and your push-button reset image, which also reduces the number of steps required for deployment. For more info, see Windows Image File Boot (WIMBoot) Overview.

For PCs with hard disk drives (HDDs):

  • Manage the Windows RE file (winre.wim) separately. By removing this file from your recovery image file, you can save hard drive space in your recovery image - as much as 300 MB. Follow these steps:

    • Remove the Winre.wim file from the main Windows image.

    • Update your deployment scripts (ApplyImage-<Firmware>.bat) to copy Winre.wim from your storage location.

    • Keep track of which version of Winre.wim goes with which base Windows image - you'll need to make sure that the boot-critical drivers and languages are in both image files.

  • Use a highly-compressed recovery image for your push-button reset file (install.wim).

    • This file format requires the Windows 8.1 version of DISM, which is included in Windows PE 5.0.

    • These images can’t be mounted or serviced.

    • The push-button reset process takes longer to finish when you use these images.

    • The file name extension .esd designates this compressed file type.

    To make this work:

    • Apply the Windows image from the reference image directly to the Windows partition.

    • Export the reference image into a new highly-compressed file, and use it as your recovery image.

      dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:E:\Images\ModelSpecificImage-Updated.wim /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:R:\RecoveryImage\install.esd /Compress:recovery
      where E is the drive letter of the external drive and R is the drive letter of the recovery drive.

  • Combine your .WIM files. You can store multiple Windows images in a fraction of the space by appending images. When you combine two or more Windows image files into a single .wim file, duplicate files are stored only one time. For more information, see Append a Volume Image to an Existing Image Using DISM.

  • Use the same images for WIMBoot and flat boot deployment. You can use a non-optimized WIMBoot images to deploy both WIMBoot and traditional (flat-boot) PCs. This can help you manage fewer images in the deployment process. For more info, see Create WIMBoot Images.

Use third-party image capturing tools that are optimized for speed to deploy Windows even faster. To make this work:

  1. Design, test, and certify your PC image.

  2. Deploy the image to a reference PC by using the sample scripts, but do not boot the PC. The PC must stay in its generalized state before the image can be applied to other PCs.

  3. Capture an image of the entire drive, including the hard drive partition structure, by using the third-party image capturing tools.

See the Windows Deployment Tools Technical Reference for more ways to refine and optimize your deployment.

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