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Differential Imaging - I think I'm missing something.

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So I have my base image of Win 10x64 1903 LTSC -- I pushed out a bunch of updates and instead of making a whole new image, i wanted to make a differential of just the updates so I didn't need to create a whole new image, figuring I would do this for every group of updates and then quarterly I would create a new whole image.

When I pushed the image as a test, the test machine didn't have any of the updates.

So perhaps I'm not understanding the concept. Do I have to push the DWM separately? Does it require making a deployment package and an answer file? Or is there maybe a special naming convention I missed?

It appears to me that the computer I pushed to simply received the base image, nothing more.

The documentation on differential imaging is pretty sparse. Also, as a future request, would it be possible to do something like they do with snapshots in VM-Ware - in which I could take the delta image and incorporate it into the final image, eliminating the need to recapture everything?

Any help would be appreciated.


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Hi Ted,

Just to clarify something on differencing images, a differencing image (.dwm file) is mostly intended for a use case of having to support branch offices with limited connectivity, as it allows you to save a smaller .dwm file that only contains the changes that were made to the VM since a previous .wim was captured. This would allow you to not have to upload a large, multi-GB .wim file to another office every time you update your image. You can certainly use differencing .wims each time you update instead, but there’s not much of an advantage over just capturing a new .wim file for the use case you described below, unless you need to transfer the image to another location.

If you are using differencing wims, you will want the original .WIM in the same locations as the .dwm and then point to the .dwm when creating your answer file.

Also, SmartDeploy technically does not support 1903 yet, so if you run into issues we would have to say recreate your VM with a 1809 ISO. We should have full support of 1903 soon.



SmartDeploy Support


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Hey Devon - thanks for the clarification. I think you're right, I'll just recapture the whole image, it's pretty fast. Your advice, however, is slightly contradictory to some of the blog posts that talk about using the differencing wims as a way to have multiple version (e.g. base image, IT image, graphic artist image - each with different software being loaded.) My thought was that it seems silly to create a complete reimage for just (in this case) three little updates. But if that is what you recommend, that's fine.

Also - this is the 1903 "LTSC" - NOT the "retail" version of Win10 1903 - so technically, it's 1809, they just named it based on the fact that they released it in March. SmartDeploy even labels it as 1809 in the images listings.


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