In the past, if you didn’t have a good set of tools that included a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, etc., it meant you couldn’t work. These days things are a little different. Most IT workers can get by without knowing the difference between a framing hammer and a Phillips screwdriver.

The tools of the information worker are different, to say the least, and there are few more basic functions required of IT professionals than just providing those tools and a desktop for our clients to get their work done. So we use our own tools to make a task easier: Images and imaging software.

The “gold” image is the one that we deploy, but keeping it golden takes a lot of time and effort. Updating images has meant that we have to constantly rebuild the image from scratch, basically. However, there is another option if you are using Microsoft’s deployment tools with .wim images.

One of those tools, Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM), is a command-line tool that is used to mount and service Windows images before deployment. You can use DISM image management commands to mount and get information about Windows image (.wim) files or virtual hard disks (VHD). For the current problem, you can use DISM to service existing operating system images.

Use operating system package-servicing commands offline to install, remove, or update Windows packages provided as cabinet (.cab) or Windows Update Stand-alone Installer (.msu) files. Microsoft uses packages to distribute software updates and service packs. You can also use these servicing commands to enable or disable Windows features, either offline or on a running Windows installation.

According to this article at Technet, the base syntax for servicing a Windows image using DISM is:

DISM.exe {/Image:<path_to_ image_directory> | /Online} [dism_options] {servicing_command} [<servicing_argument>]

Furthermore, the following operating system package-servicing options are available for an offline image:

DISM.exe /Image:<path_to_ image_directory> [/Get-Packages | /Get-PackageInfo | /Add-Package | /Remove-Package ] [/Get-Features | /Get-FeatureInfo | /Enable-Feature | /Disable-Feature ]

As you can see, with DISM and a little practice you can update your “gold” images much easier than recreating the image each time a critical update is released.