Saturday, August 16, 2014

How to update an Offline Standalone OSD media

When I was performing a rollout few months ago, I needed to distribute offline media to different countries.
Sending out the initial copy wasn’t an issue. I have copied the 25+ GB ISO to the USB and shipped to the various locations. From there the technicians can manage the ISO and the image.

Actual concerns were raised when we needed to modify the Task Sequence to update an existing step.  How can we update the offline media without re-distributing whole 25GB ISO file again?

Well there should be a way where a file will be keeping all the environmental variables for the task sequence? Like an online Task Sequence deployment’s variables.dat

Now, the task is to find out which files holds the information of the task sequence.
Eventually I found the answer to update the SCCM 2012 OSD task sequence offline media without recreating whole media for a small change.
Normally Policy.xml and Variables.dat file holds the information for that task sequence. However, copying only these 2 files will give you (sometimes) “Insert task sequence media” error. To overcome this issue we need copy much more then these 2 files

Follow the following steps:
1.       Modify existing task sequence as required.
2.       Create an offline media ISO for this task sequence
3.       Extract the ISO to a location (Root of the USB)
4.       Delete PKG folder from the extracted source
5.       Go back to your old offline /standalone media
6.       Copy all the files from step 4 (above) to your old source (basically you copying all the files from newly created media except the PKG folder, which has all the source files to run the TS)
7.       That’s it. Now time to test the new media
8.       When the task sequence runs, it will use the new policy.xml and variables and old source.

In this way, when we modify the task sequence we don’t have to copy 25GB data all over again.
Just copy 350-400 MB files and we have updates task sequence.

Note: if you have added a new package as part of your modification of the task sequence, don’t forget to add the newly added / modified package to the PKG folder. Otherwise the task sequence cannot find the required package.


  1. Assuming that you havent added any new reference PKG to the task sequence, you ONLY need 3 files. The Variables.dat, Policy.xml and VolumeID.xml. Thats it. A mere ~5MB worth of data that needs to be copied over to have and updated Standalone Media!!!

  2. Is it possible to extract only this files without creating whole iso? Tks.