Customizing the Default User Profile in Windows 7 (Part 2)

by [Published on 30 Nov. 2010 / Last Updated on 30 Nov. 2010]

This article continues the steps involved in customizing the default user profile in Windows 7.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In the previous article of this series we began the process of customizing the default user profile in Windows 7. So far we've completed the following steps:

  1. Create a Task Sequence for Deploying your Reference Build
  2. Create a Task Sequence for Sysprepping and Capturing your Reference Build
  3. Customize the Reference Build using Unattend.xml

Let's now continue the process of customizing the default user profile by performing the following additional steps:

  1. Deploy and Verify the Partially Customized Reference Build
  2. Further Customize the Reference Build Manually
  3. Sysprep and Capture the Fully Customized Reference Build
  4. Verify All Customizations Made to the Default User Profile

Deploy and Verify the Partially Customized Reference Build

Begin by booting your bare-metal reference computer using the LiteTouchPE_x64.iso boot image found in the Boot folder of your deployment share on your MDT computer. When the Windows Deployment Wizard appears, select the task sequence for deploying your partially customized reference build:


Figure 1: Select the task sequence for deploying your pre-customized reference build

Tip:
If desired you can configure the CustomSettings.ini file in your deployment share to completely automate the process of deploying your reference build. For information on how to do this, see Part 7 and Part 8 of my Deploying Windows 7 series here on WindowsNetworking.com.

Respond to the various prompts of the wizard as needed. On the Specify Whether To Capture An Image page shown below, be sure to select Do No Capture An Image Of This Compute as you haven't finished customizing your reference build yet:


Figure 2: Be sure to select Do No Capture An Image Of This Compute

Once you've finished the wizard, MDT will deploy your partially customized reference build to your reference computer. Upon completion of deployment, you'll be automatically logged on to the reference computer as Administrator.

Now let's see whether the five customizations we performed using our answer file (Unattend.xml) actually worked or not. First, we launch Internet Explorer and notice that the First Run Wizard doesn't appear and the IE home page is the website we specified in our answer file:


Figure 3: Step 1 of verifying pre-customizations made using Unattend.xml

Next, if we click the Start button we see that the Games feature has been turned on:


Figure 4: The Games feature has been enabled

Next, we open Programs and Features in Control Panel and click Turn Windows Features On Or Off. This lets us verify that the XPS Viewer feature has not been installed:


Figure 5: The XPS Viewer feature has not been installed

Finally, opening Problem Reporting Settings in Control Panel let us verify that Windows Error Reporting information will be automatically uploaded to Microsoft:


Figure 6: Windows Error Reporting information will be automatically uploaded to Microsoft

So it looks like the five customizations we automated using Unattend.xml have all been applied to our reference build as expected.

Further Customize the Reference Build Manually

Now let's manually perform some additional customizations of our reference build. We'll make the following five manual customizations:

  1. Pin a shortcut for Windows Remote Assistance to the Start menu.
  2. Pin a shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection to the Taskbar.
  3. Change the default view of the Documents library from Details to Content.
  4. Change the Control Panel default view from Category to Small Icons.
  5. Change the Desktop Background from the default picture to solid light green.

First, click Start, Programs, Maintenance, and right-click on Windows Remote Assistance to pin a shortcut for this item to the Start menu:


Figure 7: Pin a shortcut for Windows Remote Assistance to the Start menu

Next, click Start, Programs, Accessories, and right-click on Remote Desktop Connection to pin a shortcut for this item to the taskbar:


Figure 8: Pin a shortcut for Remote Desktop Connection to the Taskbar

Next, open the Documents library and change the default view from Details to Content:


Figure 9: Change the view of the Documents library from Details to Content

Next, open Control Panel and change the default view from Category to Small Icons:


Figure 10: Change the Control Panel default view from Category to Small Icons

Finally, open Desktop Background from Personalization in Control Panel and change the Desktop Background from the default picture to solid light green:


Figure 11: Choose the Desktop Background

We're now finished with our additional customizations of our reference build.

Sysprep and Capture the Fully Customized Reference Build

Now let's sysprep our reference build and capture an image of it. We'll use MDT to perform these two actions. While logged on to the reference computer as Administrator, click Start, right-click on Computer, and select Map Network Drive. Then map a network drive to the deployment share on your MDT computer:


Figure 12: Map a network drive to the deployment share on the MDT computer

Once the mapped drive opens in Windows Explorer, double-click on the Scripts folder to display its contents. You'll see two files named LiteTouch, the first a VBScript (.vbs) file and the second a Windows Script (.wsh) file:


Figure 13: Contents of the Scripts folder in the deployment share

Double-click on the second LiteTouch file (the Windows Script or .wsh file) to launch the Windows Deployment Wizard from your reference computer. When the wizard appears, select the Sysprep and Capture task sequence:


Figure 14: Select the Sysprep and Capture task sequence

Walk through the steps of the wizard until you reach the Specify Whether To Capture An Image page, and on that page be sure to select the Capture An Image Of This Reference Computer option. Verify that the Location field is the Captures folder in the deployment share on your MDT computer, and specify a file name for the image you'll be capturing of your reference computer (we choose STEP-2.wim for this filename):


Figure 15: Select the Capture An Image Of This Reference Computer option

Once you've completed the wizard, Sysprep will run on your customized reference build to remove any machine-specific information:


Figure 16: Sysprep running on the reference build.

When Sysprep is finished, the LiteTouch wizard will capture a .wim image of the sysprepped reference build and upload it to the Captures folder in the deployment share of your MDT computer. This may take awhile to complete:


Figure 17: Capturing an image of the sysprepped reference build

Once the process is finished, the reference computer will reboot. If you now go to your MDT computer and look in the Captures folder in your deployment share using Windows Explorer, you'll see the captured reference build:


Figure 18: The captured reference build has been uploaded to the Captures folder in the deployment share on the MDT computer.

Conclusion

Now all we need to do is to verify that all ten of the customizations we've made—five automated using Unattend.xml and five performed manually after deploying the reference build—have actually been applied to the captured image. To do this, we're going to import our captured image into the Deployment Workbench, create a new task sequence based on the Standard Client Task Sequence template, modify the Unattend.xml file for this task sequence so that the CopyProfile setting has the value True, deploy the captured image to a target system using this task sequence, create a new local user on the target system, and see whether the ten customizations we've made have been successfully applied to the default profile from which new local users are generated. We'll do all this in the next article in this series.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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