With SCCM, gone are the days where you install an OS on bare metal (or VM), configure it manually to your liking, running sysprep then testing and deploying your systems. Now everything is completly automated via Task Sequences, which are really Cool !!!
Call me old fashioned, but I rather enjoy the manual process of building an Image, making changes to the configuration, the user interface, helper-apps that need to be installed for LOB apps, etc. If you use SCCM there is an easy way for you to do this without having to jump through too many hoops! Here is how I do it:
1) Install and Build the OS to your liking. To date I have done this with Win XP, Server 2003 R2, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Do not configure an Administrator Password !
2) If you are building an image for XP or 2003 and you are building a custom default profile, please referr to this KB: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959753/en-us.
3) When ready, Sysprep your OS (if you are doing this with Hyper-V, backup the VHD first so you can go back if needs be). Make sure the OS shuts down after syspreping!
4) In SCCM, build a Custom Task Sequence that is accessible to boot media. Once its created, edit it and do the following:
--- Add A Task Sequence Variable. Configure as followed:
Name: Point to Windows Directory
Task Sequence Variable: OSDTargetSystemRoot
Value: C:\Windows (or whatever installation folder you have selected)
--- Add "Capture Operating System". Configure according to your environment
5) Advertise your Custom Task Sequence and use it to capture the system image
Once its captured you can import it into SCCM and you are good to go !