Hardware-independent imaging overview

As you deploy images to your managed devices, it's challenging to maintain many different images based on different hardware configurations. New hardware requires new drivers and existing hardware may have updated drivers you want to deploy. Rather than maintain dozens or hundreds of individual images for various hardware configurations, you can use hardware-independent imaging (HII) to deploy a base image to different devices and then automatically add the drivers that are required for each type of hardware.

Hardware-independent imaging helps resolve common problems with imaging managed devices. For example, the hardware abstraction layer (HAL) .dll files need to be accurately chosen or the device may reboot to a black screen after imaging. Operating systems typically don't have the ability to recognize mass storage devices correctly, so it's important to have the right drivers when imaging. Also, manufacturers often have hardware-specific plug-and-play device drivers or they build driver dependencies into their applications, so it's possible to create new problems when imaging a device with the wrong drivers. With the hardware-independent imaging tool in IvantiĀ® Endpoint Manager and Endpoint Security for Endpoint Manager, you can avoid these types of problems and have greater control over the use of drivers in your managed devices.

You can use hardware-independent imaging with images from any imaging tool. You can define the images with the tool you prefer, then create imaging scripts in Endpoint Manager that incorporate the HII tool. If you already have images created with another tool, you'll be able to re-use them rather than create new scripts.

A simplified description of the HII process is as follows. Details about the specific steps you'll need to follow and considerations for different types of images are described in the related help topics listed at the end of this topic.

  1. When you deploy an image created using HII, the imaging script boots the device to the Windows preboot environment. In the preboot environment, the HII tool will select the appropriate HAL .dll file and load it.
  2. The OS is installed on the device, but before the OS boots, the HII imaging script determines which drivers are required by the device and copies the driver files to the device's hard disk.
  3. The drivers are added to the device's registry, so that when the OS boots, the Windows setup detects the new drivers, installs them, and configures the device with the drivers.
  4. Windows then restarts with the drivers running and the Ivanti agent is installed.

Setting up hardware-independent imaging

To implement hardware-independent imaging with OS provisioning scripts or templates, create a repository of drivers that will be available to the imaging tool. These drivers are used on the hardware you want to image, including audio, video, network, mass storage device, and other types of device drivers.

Store the drivers in one location on a preferred server and ensure that the path is accessible by both UNC and HTTP methods.

If HII isn't assigning the right drivers in some cases, manually assign the drivers you want in the HII Assign dialog box.

When the hardware-independent imaging tool runs, it will detect the device manufacturer and model and then download the associated drivers and install them on the device during the imaging process.

Related topics

Getting started with HII (Ivanti Community)

Creating a driver repository

Using hardware-independent imaging with provisioning templates