Microsoft endorses convoluted technique for installing Windows 7 from scratch

Users will have a tough row to hoe if they follow the advice posted on TechNet

Microsoft endorses convoluted technique for installing Win7 from scratch
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After years of leaving people to struggle alone with the process for installing or re-installing a clean copy of Windows 7, Microsoft posted an article on the TechNet portal yesterday that tackles the topic from the point of view of an SCCM admin who’s deploying lots of copies of Win7.

I got a good chuckle out of this:

There is potential to save your company some serious man hours. Imagine your company is deploying roughly 100 Windows 7 instances per week. Now imagine if we were installing dozens of updates, on the fly, during or after that process. That could easily add 30 minutes to the deployment. Multiply that by 100 ...

As many of you will attest, patching Windows 7 in its unadulterated state takes hours—sometimes days. Multiply that by 100 and you could replace the workforce of a small nation-state.

I’ve talked about these steps—both for installing Win7 from scratch and for speeding up Win7 updating—repeatedly on InfoWorld. The current state-of-the-installing-art is also outlined on AskWoody, where I draw on work from ch100, CanadianTech, NoelCarboni, dalai, and dozens of other contributors.

The general consensus among the experts I know relies on patching Win7 without using the “convenience rollup” KB 3125574, released a year ago. (I think of KB 3125574 as Windows 7 Service Pack 2, but then I’m ornery that way.)

Many of you will recall that @abbodi86, PointZero, and Komm had a detailed analysis of the problems with KB 3125574. Most of those issues have been fixed over the past year, but some remain.

In summary, the easiest way to avoid problems with KB 3125574 involves installing all of these updates on top of a fresh copy of Win7 SP1:

  • KB 3020369
  • KB 2533552
  • KB 3177467
  • KB 3172605

Once you’re prepped, roll with the updates. Details (of which there are many) are provided on AskWoody.com.

The approach taken in Microsoft's TechNet article, however, is different. It would have you install KB 3020369, then the “convenience rollup” KB 3125574, followed by KB 3138612, KB 3177467, and a lengthy, convoluted series of runs to install required updates, security-only updates, and/or the monthly rollup.

The TechNet article caps the sequence by having you install KB 2813347 (the 2013 security patch for RDC) and 2446710 (a 2011-vintage security patch for .Net 3.5.1).

It’s important to keep in mind that this advice is shooting for installable copies—ISOs—of Win7 that can be pushed out to many systems. Your situation may be less grand.

The post concludes by asking for feedback:

If you have any success stories, suggestions, or other comments that relate to this writing, please share them. Also, please let me know if you find updates that were missed. I hope to keep this article updated over time.

The very best feedback I’ve seen is from Trevor Rubelman, who simply states:

I guess this is easier than putting an updated ISO on MSDN.

Conversation continues on the AskWoody Lounge.

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