Merge WIM into one – the space saver

I have gotten this question a couple of times “can i have two operating systems to choose from in one task sequence”. Well the correct answer to that is yes, but it takes up alot of unecessary space and if you are using ConfigMgr and need to download 2 wims instead of 1 well that adds alot of time.

What I would instead recommend is merging two Wim files into one, this will save alot of space and still give you the option to use different ref images in the same task sequence.

So how is this done?

First off you need to create two ref images. The most common senario for this is you have one with Office preinstalled and one without Office preinstalled. So if we look at how that looks you will get something like this:

RefImages

In this case I am using Windows 10 ref images but this works just as well with Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 (all Wim based OSes).

So as you can see they are around 4-5GB in size. The next step now is to merge them. To help with this i have a small script that you can use.

What the script does is it takes one wim and mounts it. Then it applies the mounted wim into the other wim so you get two indexes and next it cleans up the mounted directory and finally displays the different indexes in the merged wim file.

You can download the script here: http://bit.ly/1TAcO8Q

When that is complete you get something looking like this.

AfterMerge

As you can see the image is now a bit bigger but it has not doubled in size. This is due to the fact that when the wims are merged it will throw away all duplicate files to keep the file size down.

This method is the same method Microsoft have used when they have created Windows Server medias in the past containing core and gui versions on the same media.

The next step is to import this into whatever solution you are using (MDT/SCCM).

In this instance I have used MDT and it looks similar in SCCM but there are a couple of differentes. If you are unsure, drop me an email or pm and I can help you out.

So, import Operating system, custom image and point to the wim created erlier. When its done it looks something like this

Import

If we look at the preferences for these two operating systems you can see that they both use the same file in the background but different indexes.

ImageProperties

Now you can add another install operating system step and select different citeras to run the different steps. For instance, different blocks in CustomSettings.ini, some setting in the MDT database or add a new setting to the MDT database and use that. Use webservices and if the computer is this OU or AD group it should have office and if not it shouldn’t. The possibilities to create rules are as always limitless.

Happy deploying!

/Peter

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