Mark Minasi's Windows Networking Tech Page
Issue #65 September 2007
Document copyright 2007 Mark Minasi; please see
below for info on subscribing, unsubscribing or copying portions of
- New one-day "Windows Server 2008 Preview: Good News,
Bad News" seminar comes to DC NEXT WEEK
- Our two-day seminar Supporting Vista comes to DC NEXT
- Tech Section
- Getting Hotfixes Onto A Windows Image the Easy (and Free) Way
- Bring a Seminar to Your Site
- To Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Read Old Newsletters or Change Your Email
For some time now, Microsoft has been touting a neat feature of
their Ghost-like "WIM" file format: offline hotfix installs.
A new hotfix appears, you need to deploy it to your WIMs, but don't
want to have to first apply them all to a machine, get the machine
started up, apply the hotfix, and then re-image the machines.
Instead, in just a few commands, the hotfix is incorporated into the
WIM. It all sounded neat... until I tried to make it work. As it
turns out, you can indeed install hotfixes to a WIM offline -- it's
just that finding those few commands turned out to be a bit
difficult. In this newsletter, I'll show
you the shortest path to getting your WIMs hot or, at least,
hotfixed! But first, a word from our sponsor...
New One-Day Seminar Windows Server 2008 Preview: Good News,
Bad News Comes to DC Next Wednesday
Server 2008's not due until February 27, but I just can't wait until February to talk about it, so I'm doing
a one-day class about 2008 in the DC area (near Dulles) this 26
September. We've all got to start planning for 2008,
so why wade through a mountain of white papers or spend weeks
testing when you can get the whole story in just one day, and maybe even
get a chuckle or two in the process? You can find out more about
http://www.minasi.com/2k8prev/2k8prev.htm. This is the only
public 2008 session I've currently got scheduled in this country, so
come on down!
Our Supporting Vista Seminar Returns to the DC area Next
The two-day Supporting Vista class was very popular in the
winter and early spring and many of you have been emailing me asking
when we'll do another. I truly appreciate your kind requests for another session
and I apologize for only having time to do one, so I'm very happy to announce that I'll be coming to the DC area
(near Dulles) on September 24/25 with another session of
"Vista Support for Support Professionals." You can read more about
www.minasi.com/vista/vsupport.htm. I hope to see you there!
Tech Section: Getting Hotfixes Onto A Windows Image the Easy
(and Free) Way
In Newsletter #61 (http://www.minasi.com/newsletters/nws0702.htm),
I showed you how to use ImageX, Microsoft's Ghost-like tool that lets
you take a working computer and reduce it to a "WIM," a Windows Image
file, which is something like a Ghost image. In that newsletter, I mentioned in
passing that one of the neat things about WIM files was that you can
apply hotfixes to a WIM directly. In contrast, image technologies
like Ghost require you to apply the image to a physical machine, start
the machine up, apply the hotfix to that machine, and then Sysprep the
machine and re-image it. Clearly, then, WIM files can save you
some serious time on your monthly image maintenance. (Yes, I know,
the Altiris technology's catching up on this, but, again, WIMs are free.
I like free.) So this month, I'll offer a set of step-by-steps
that you can use to put a hotfix onto a WIM without having to first
apply it to a machine.
In brief, you need to:
- Download each month’s patches
- Expand them into their .msu package files, using the Windows
- Mount the WIM that needs the hotfix to a folder, using ImageX's
- Run the peimg command (which you'll find in the Windows
Automated Installation Toolkit) twice on the .msu files
- Unmount the image with ImageX /commit /unmount
I'll explain this through a worked-out example. With that
in mind, please set up your test system like so:
- First, set up a new Vista system without any patches.
- Do not install updates on that system.
- Use ImageX to image the system to a file called test.wim. Again, refer to Newsletter #61 for exact steps on
how to do this.
- You will need another system, which I'll call "VM1" which
contains the WAIK.
- Connect VM1 to the file share, external hard disk or whatever
holds the image file. On my system, that turns out to be drive
F:, and thus I access test.wim as f:test.wim. Other drive
letters will work -- just be sure to substitute whatever drive
letter holds your test.wim for f:.
Summarizing, so far we have a system named VM1 upon which the
WAIK has been installed, and VM1 is connected to a drive F: that
contains an unpatched Vista image called test.wim.
Get the KB 931213 Hotfix
Next, we'll need a hotfix. In my tests, I used a July 2007
patch, the one associated with KB article 931213. Any Vista hotfix
should do fine, but if you'd like to match exactly what I'm doing then you can find
that July 2007 patch
at this page:
I did my tests on a 32-bit VM1 system, but I can't think of a reason why
a 64-bit one would work differently. You'll end up downloading a
Windows6.0-KB931213-x86.msu. I'll assume that you download this
file to a folder called c:\downloads to your VM1 system. Also, please create two new folders
- c:\unpacked, which will contain the unpacked hotfix files, and
- c:\mount, where we'll mount the WIM file.
Additionally, open an elevated Windows PE Tools Command Prompt.
(We covered Windows PE and the Windows PE Tools Command Prompt in
Expand the Patch
Expand the patch by typing
expand c:\downloads\*.msu c:\unpacked –f:*
The *.msu means to unpack any and all patches in the folder;
“unpacked” just names the folder to put the patches in. There are
multiple files packed in the .msu file, and expand.exe needs to know
which files to unpack – the “-f:*” option means to unpack all files, and
does not refer to a drive "f:."
Now take a look inside c:\unpacked. Every patch comes with some
information for WSUS that we don’t need, so delete it:
Mount the WIM
Next, mount the WIM to the “mount” folder that we created earlier:
imagex /mountrw f:test.wim 1 c:\mount
You should get some text accompanied by the words “Successfully
mounted image (RW).”
Import and Install the Package
A look back to
Newsletter #59 will remind you of a tool "peimg."
We used it to inspect the packages both installed and installable on a
Windows PE system, as well as to load new network drivers. We'll
see in this example that it also lets us install hotfixes on a WIM.
To do that, we use peimg twice to make the patch useful. The first
time, we’re using peimg to analyze the hotfix and import it into the WIM
as a new peimg-recognizable package. The second time we’ll use peimg to install the newly-imported
package. To import the hotfix and make it a package, type
peimg /import=c:\unpacked\*.cab /image=c:\mount\windows
That just tells peimg to look in the “unpacked” folder for any .cab
files and then to import them to the copy of Windows encapsulated in the
WIM that is currently mounted at folder “mount.” Double-check that there
is now a package corresponding to the hotfix by typing
peimg /list /image=mount\windows
You should see that one of the packages – one that is not installed
yet, as evidenced by the dash rather than a plus in front of it – refers
to the KB article 931213. Time to install it! From the command prompt,
install the patch by typing
peimg /install=*Package* mount\windows
The “*Package* refers to any installable packages whose names
actually contain the word “Package.” (Look back at the list of packages
to see that this hotfix does indeed include that in its name.) You’ll
see a crude text animation as it imports the package and ends with the
Installed 1 package(s). PEIMG completed the operation successfully.
Make the Change Permanent
Unmount the WIM like so:
imagex /unmount /commit mount
See the Patch’s Effect
But what really happened? We can see the patch’s effect in two ways:
- Build a new catalog in WSIM and examine the “Packages” part of
- Apply the image to a clean machine and look in Control Panel at
the list of installed hotfixes.
As we did in Newsletter #60, fire up Windows' answer file-writing
tool, the Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) and use it to open
f:\test.wim. It will want to create a new catalog; let it. Then open the
Packages icon in the lower left-hand corner. You'll see an object
corresponding to that patch. The other way to see that we've got
the patch is to apply the newly-updated image to a machine (or, better,
a virtual machine), boot up the newly-imaged Vista box, and open Control
Panel / Uninstall Programs, and then click “See installed updates.”
KB931213 will be there.
When I first read the Microsoft literature saying that hotfixes could
be applied to WIMs offline, I thought that was a pretty neat feature...
until I tried to use it. A bunch of trial and error went into
figuring this out -- I hope it's useful to you!
I'm speaking at lots of conferences this fall, in both the US (well, Las
Vegas) and Europe. If you can't make to my September
seminars, please join me at...
TechTarget Vista Road Shows in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas
TechTarget has been kind enough to ask me back for three more of the
one-day Vista road shows that were SRO last spring. This October we're
in Waltham, MA (3 October), Atlanta (23 October), and Dallas (25 October).
It's free so how can you go wrong (unless you don't sign up before all of
the seats are gone)? More info at
TechMentor In Vegas the Week of 15 October
Techmentor returns to the Rio for their Fall show and I'm doing my
general session on Server 2008 as well as my Vista Security Crash Course and
more. Info at
http://events.techtarget.com/vista/. I've not been a big fan of
Vegas over the years -- I like my lungs clean and smoke-free -- but they've
got a great new no-smoking-in-restaurants law so who knows, Vegas might
become a real treat.
Windows Connections in Vegas the Week of 5 November
Once again, Penton -- the folks who put out the magazine that I write for
-- has assembled their "mega-show" that co-locates their techie shows on
Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, and all kinds of developer stuff, all in
the same week. Like TechMentor, they're returning to their last year's
hotel, the Mandalay Bay, and with hope the hotel will have fixed their pool
by then. Meanwhile, I'll be keynoting and presenting technical
sessions, as will many of my techie buddies. Information at
TechEd Europe and Brazil
If you're going to TechEd Europe in Barcelona this November, please plan
to stop by either for my Server 2008 overview talk or my "Server 2008 Name
Resolution Changes" talk. More info at... ah, heck, you know where to
find Microsoft stuff.<g> Meanwhile, I'll also be in Brazil the
first week of December at TechEd Brazil, so if Sao Paulo is nearby, then
come on by!
Bring Mark to your site to teach
I'm keeping busy doing Vista seminars and
writing, but I've still got time to visit your firm. In just two
days, I'll make your current NT techies into 2008, Vista, security, XP, Active Directory
or 2003 experts. (And better yet they won't have to sit through any Redmondian propaganda.) To join the large educational,
pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government,
telecommunication, law enforcement, publishing, transportation, military and other
organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course
outlines at www.minasi.com/presentations.htm, mail our assistant
Jean Snead at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her
at (757) 426-1431 (only between noon-5 Eastern time, weekdays,
Until Next Month...
Have a quiet and safe month.
Please share this newsletter; I hope that it is a useful source of
Windows technical information.
Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept
my thanks. We are now at over 45,000 subscribers and I hope to use
this to get information to every one of my readers. Many, many thanks to the readers who have mailed me to offer suggestions,
errata, and those kind reviews. As always, I'm at http://www.minasi.com/gethelp and
please join us at the Forum with technical questions at www.minasi.com/forum. Thanks
for letting me visit with you, and take care.
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