This article describes the reasons why you cannot use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup tool on a Windows Vista-based computer. The ImageX.exe tool ships as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).
You can use the ImageX.exe tool to capture an operating system installation image on which you have run Sysprep (Sysprep.exe) from the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). You can then deploy the operating system installation image on another computer.
Although the ImageX.exe tool may appear to be a mechanism to create an image of a computer for backup, there are several issues that prevent using the ImageX.exe tool as a supported backup mechanism.
The following are the issues when you use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup mechanism:
- Extended attributes are lost.
- The ImageX.exe tool only applies reparse points that are symbolic links or junctions.
- Sparse files on the system are captured and applied. However, the sparse files are no longer sparse after they have been applied.
- Object IDs on files are lost in the capture process or in the apply process.
- Windows Vista Ultimate
- Windows Vista Enterprise
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows Vista Home Premium
- Windows Vista Home Basic
- Windows Vista Starter
Here is a great post over on TechNet by Jeff Hugh on how to properly use the CopyProfile feature:
This is a great read and covers both ConfigMgr and MDT usage.
If you want your administrator profile on the reference image to apply as the default profile for all users, you will need to set the “UpdateServerProfileDirectory” command in your sysprep file before you capture the image. Microsoft has changed this a back and forth between the various service pack releases.
Here is a link from the Deployment Guys with some more information:
Specific to WinXP SP3:
Here is some information from the Microsoft KB:
How to customize the default local user profile in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003
In Windows XP and in Windows Server 2003, updates that you have installed may change the method that you use to customize the default local user profile. For more information, see the following sections.
Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
The default behavior is to automatically copy customizations from the administrator profile to the default user profile. Therefore, no additional steps are required to customize the profile.
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2003 SP2
The default behavior is to automatically copy customizations from the administrator profile to the default user profile. Therefore, no additional steps are required to customize the profile. You can disable this functionality by setting a parameter in the Sysprep.inf file. This parameter prevents the Minisetup process from copying customizations from the administrator profile. To do this, set the parameter in the “UNATTENDED” section of the Sysprep.inf file as follows:
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) or hofix 887816 is applied
Hotfix 887816 disables the automatic copying of customizations. Therefore, you must configure a parameter in the Sysprep.inf file to enable the Minisetup process to copy the customizations from the administrator profile. To do this, set the parameter in the “UNATTENDED” section, as follows:
Note Windows XP SP3 includes hotfix 887816.