Capture Images

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

In this section, you capture and modify images for deployment.


  • A Windows® PE RAM disk. You can create this by using the process described in: Windows PE Walkthroughs.

  • Image-capturing tools. You can add some image-capturing tools, such as ImageX, to the Windows PE disk.

  • A reference computer. You can create this by using the process described in: Deploy Windows by Using Windows Setup.

In This Section

These processes are described in the How-To topics in this section:

  1. Remove the computer-specific information from the reference computer, and shut the computer down. This is also known as generalizing the computer.

  2. Boot the computer by using Windows PE.

  3. Capture the hard disk partitions as images (example: fab.wim) by using image-capturing tools.

  4. Modify the image, split the image, or create spanned media from the image.

  5. Copy the images to a network share.

The following diagram shows how the fictitious OEM, Fabrikam, captures a customized Windows image as a file, fab.wim, of their reference computer, Fabrikam Model FNB1:

Prepare to Capture an Image for Deployment (Generalize)

Prepare your Windows installation to be captured as an image. This includes:

  • Removing the computer-specific information from the system. This is known as generalizing the computer.

  • Resetting the Windows activation clock. This is known as rearming the activation clock.

Manage the Activation Clock

If you do not use a Key Management Service, you can rearm the clock only a limited number of times. This topic includes information on the following:

  • Detecting how many times you can rearm the activation clock.

  • Delaying rearming the activation clock.

Capture Images of Hard Disk Partitions by Using ImageX

Capture the images from your reference computer for deployment.

Mount and Modify an Image

Make changes to an image after it has been captured.

Split an Image

Split Windows image (.wim) files into smaller files for spanning across multiple media.

Create Spanned Media

Prepare .iso files using the spanned media.

Next steps

After the image is captured and stored, you can:

See Also


Apply Images by Using ImageX