Developing a Windows 7 SP1 Image

Step 1 – Software Needed

  • Get a Windows 7 SP1 installation media. For this article I’ll be using a Windows 7 SP1 Enterprise 32 bit version of Windows.
  • The Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows® 7 This file downloads as: KB3AIK_EN.iso
  • The Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) Supplement for Windows 7 SP1 is an optional update to AIK for Windows 7 that helps you to install, customize, and deploy the Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 family of operating systems. The release I’ve downloaded was released on 2/21/2011 and downloads as waik_supplement_en-us.iso
  • 7zip – used to extract files from the iso images.

Step 2

Install Windows 7 using default settings. We will customize this install. I’m using a virtual machine running in VMware Fusion so I can snapshot the progress.

  • User: default
  • Machine Name: BaseImage
  • No Updates
  • No password
  • Enable Administrator Account
  • Work Network
  • Copy All 3 isos to the desktop
  • Install 7zip
  • Install VMware Tools
  • Reboot
  • Login with your newly created account (not Builtin Administrator)
Programs Needed for windows 7 sysprep
All Programs needed for Sysprep.

Step 3 – Installing the wAIK

Extract the contents of the isos to the desktop using: Right click -> 7zip –> Extract to “foldername”. You should now have three folders on your desktop with the contents of the three isos.

From the KB3AIK_EN folder run the wAIKX86.msi (wAIKAMD64.msi if you’re installing a 64bit windows)

choose wAIKX86.msi from the KB3AIK_EN folder
Run the wAIKX86.msi
  • Accept the License Agreement [next]
  • Accept Default folder of C:Program FilesWindows AIK
  • Install for Everyone [next]
  • Click Next to start installation [next]
  • Finish install [Close]

Step 4 – Load image into System Image Manager

This will walk through loading a windows image (in this case the image is the install DVD) into the System Image Manager.

  • Launch the windows system image manager


  • The program will launch and show you a screen with a bunch of blank panes.
Windows System Image Manager
Windows System Image Manager

In the bottom left pane titled Windows Image, right click and select “New Image”.

Brows to the location where you extracted windows 7 iso (Desktop), and brows to the sources folder and choose the cataloge file (.clg extension) “install_Windows 7 Enterprise.clg”.

clg file location
Catalog File Location

Now we have the Windows image Loaded into the image manager. The next step will walk through creating an answer file.

Step 5 – Creating the answer file

— TODO — Create the File

Step 6 – Running Sysprep

In another VM instance start a vanilla 7 installation. When you arrive at the welcome screen where it asks you to create a username, hit CTRL+SHIFT+F3, this will reboot your machine and put you in “audit” mode.

  • Boot from Windows 7 Disk
  • Partition the Drive how you want it
  • Install VMware tools
  • reboot
  • Copy you unattend.xml to c:Windowssystem32sysprep


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