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What's in your gold image?

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Currently our gold image is pretty basic - Windows 10 with updates, Office 2016, Acrobat Reader DC, and Google Chrome. I'm considering removing the apps on my next image and making it strictly Windows 10 with updates, and handling the application installs post-imaging with Application Packs and the SmartDeploy Client. Plus then I'll have the client on the workstations to use later on.

What are you including in your gold images? Lots of apps, no apps, something in-between? Or am I (as is usually the case) overthinking this?

Looking forward to your feedback. Thanks!

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Windows, the latest cumulative update at time of capture, and a single business application/platform that most employees use and is complicated to centrally deploy and configure. In my next image, that will go away.

I strongly advice against baking in any software that can't be reasonably deployed later, which is probably everything if your PCs are on-net with any kind of regularity.

After imaging, I use PDQ Deploy to deploy a baseline package that installs applications, runtimes/dependencies, and makes configuration changes we want all PCs to have, followed by packages specific to their department and role. Windows updates and driver updates for a couple models are handled by a WSUS server.


The less software in your image the better. Less crap breaks, poses a security risk, and the smaller your network's application footprint. Every application installed on a PC that isn't needed is a security and compatibility risk, likely will require some amount of time to later manage, and could add unnecessary network traffic.

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