Automating Image Name in Your BuildShares

I build images a lot, like three a month. No, I’m not building images for each make and model, but I re-build my Win7x86, Win7x64, and Win8x64 images every month. It takes me only 20min. Don’t believe me? I use MDT to build my images for me. I have a fully automated build process for my current images. I have a dedicated VM I have just for building images, and a fully dedicated MDT 2013 deployment share that builds, configures, patches, and then captures reference images for me.

Overkill? Not at all. I’ve seen task sequences that once took 28 minutes to run slow to over two hours in just over a year because updates to Office, DotNet, Visual C++ Runtimes, and just ‘ol plain Windows have slowed the deployment of a standard client task sequence task sequence to close to three hours.

To get away from this, I just kick off a task sequence every Thursday after patch Tuesday. I now jokingly refer to each of these days as “image Thursday”. This way I never have an image that is more than a month old. Because its the same fully automated task sequence creating these images, I know June’s image is just as good as April’s since the only difference is one’s more up to


Now, normally I’d be tempted to write up a whole Blog post on this process, but It would be nowhere as good as Kyle Beckman’s excellent five part series on automating image build processes:

Among MDT enthusiasts, it’s widely regarded to use to MDT build images, getting this entire process full automated does take some work. What’s pretty neat is how he’s managed to automate the naming of the image that gets built using a few simple entries to his customsettings.ini. in his build share. See below.

BackupFile=%TaskSequenceID%_#month(date) & “-” & day(date) & “-” & year(date)#.wim

Now that I have this in my share, I have a fully automated build process, the hardest thing I have to do is boot a VM and go get some tacos. Three hours later, I’m still full of tacos, I have an image and the hardest thing I had to do was boot a VM.

Questions? Comments? Reach out to me via the Contact Me page.