Monday, 14 January 2008

Install and configure Windows Vista

1. Setup

  • Do not enter a serial number at this stage.

  • When you are prompted to create a user, press Ctrl + Shift + F3 instead. This will take you to the desktop logged as the built-in Administrator. Windows Welcome will open, remove the checkmark besides "start with windows" and close it. Also close the Sysprep window. The Sysprep window will be opened each time you reboot.

OBS! Because Oobe has been interrupted, you did not get a chance to configure the network.Click on Start > type services > <enter>. In the list, find the Network List Service, right click, choose Properties, set it to Automatic and apply, then start the service. This will give you internet connectivity immediately if you are on a wired connection and after you specify security parameters (ssid, encryption type, password) if you are using a wireless one.
2. System configuration: Boot options
Vista's boot manager stores drive signature and partition number and relays on this information for subsequent boots. Unfortunately some actions, like cloning and reimaging, will change that information and lead to a "winload.exe not found" error at boot.
Sysprep, which we will use later, "generalizes" the information in the boot manager, but we might want to image the OS before applying sysprep, so I usually start by running the following script to tell the boot manager that "whatever device/partition I booted from, that's the device/partition I want to use" (copy and paste in notepad, save as bootedit.bat). We will also include this script in the actions to be taken when the new image is deployed on a new PC.

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device boot

bcdedit /set {default} device boot

Save the file in C:\Windows\Setup and double click to run. The settings will be applied next time you boot the system.

bcdedit /set {default} osdevice boot

bcdedit /set {memdiag} device boot

Another feature that is known to cause compatibility issues is DEP (Data execution prevention). DEP can be disabled by adding another line to the above script:

bcdedit /set {current} nx AlwaysOff

Last line to the above script will re-enable PAE (Physical Address Extension) which was disabled when disabling DEP:

bcdedit /set PAE ForceEnable

Next week: explorer, defender and desktop settings.