Create my own custom Windows Server ISO's

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by NicoWeytens, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. NicoWeytens

    NicoWeytens MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2018
    How can I best create my own custom Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 ISO's?
    All I'd need are the official Microsoft ISO's (which I have) with all updates to date slipstreamed into them. It would speed up in-place upgrades quite a bit.

    I've tried using dism to update the install.wim, but I have 2 issues with that:
    • The install.wim grows quite a lot, from the original 4.4GB to 7.2GB after adding all patches. And running dism with a /StartComponentCleanup parameter afterwards fails because of pending actions.
      Because the image is bigger we need more free disk space on the servers where we want to do an in-place upgrade. Not a blocking issue, but there's not always enough free space and we need to cleanup/extend the system drive before being able to continue.
    • I used ImgBurn to recreate a bootable ISO, but apparently the ISO is only usable for legacy BIOS machines. Physical servers with UEFI refuse to boot with it.
    I think I've seen people sharing such custom ISO's, but for security reasons I want to create my own. Then I'm sure nothing else has been slipped in :rolleyes:

    NTLite might be an option, but I'm not sure yet if it'll address both issues.
    Or other free/cheap tools??
  2. LiteOS

    LiteOS MDL Expert

    Mar 7, 2014
    #2 LiteOS, Sep 19, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
    Try install the package with PreventPending
    Option And then Cleanup the image and install again the package without PreventPending option

    Hopefully its working on the sub packages not on the package as a whole
  3. Atenza

    Atenza MDL Junior Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    You should rebuild(export) the install.wim.
    When modify the image, the wim file would record what files are deleted, or added, so the file size of install.wim might only get bigger and bigger.
  4. NicoWeytens

    NicoWeytens MDL Novice

    Sep 19, 2018
    For now this little project is put on hold. A colleague spotted that the first (big) version of my custom ISO has a major issue for in-place upgrades of servers having IIS enabled.
    Apparently the IIS role is gone after the upgrade, and impossible to reinstall the role.
    Doing the same upgrade with the official MS ISO don't create this issue, so it's something caused by my ISO. Weird, cause I used the official ISO as a base and just added all patches released since. Nothing was removed, only added.

    We're going to try and automate our in-place upgrades with an SCCM task sequence. First upgrade with a normal image, and right after push all patches.
    Less efficient imo, but we can't afford breaking our servers either.

    btw, Atenza, I did explore the export route earlier this week. But you can only export 1 index, and I want both the Standard and Datacenter editions in my ISO. So I had to do 2 exports and afterwards merge them again with ImageX (from WADK).
    Doable, but yet again 2 extra steps, 2 different tools, ...