Contributor II

So I am pretty new at this so I wanted to get the communities opinion on what everyone uses to create images with. My company wants to have some laptops managed via Casper and some just use a image on a mac server and not be managed via JAMF.

Does everyone use casper imaging for both? or is there other software out there as well?


Valued Contributor II

I think you are going to have to provide more details on "some just use a image on a mac server and not be managed via JAMF."

If you are talking about hosting an image on a server (VDI)? Then I think you are limited to two images and they have to be run Apple hardware.


Contributor II

Sorry, Yes I am wondering about hosting an image via Mac Server for some computers that we are going to "freeze in time" due to age (9yrs old) and newer computers will continue to be managed via JAMF.

New Contributor III

If I understood correctly, you're asking about imaging some clients without having the devices be managed by JAMF, I would approach in two ways:

  • AutoDMG + Deploystudio
  • Casper Imaging + Script that basically "jamf removeframework" //Not sure if this would work, others may clarify on this.

Honored Contributor II
Honored Contributor II

@anickless if you're just getting into the topic it would be worth looking at it from a different angle. What state do you want these Macs to be in?

Creating images and deploying them requires learning a load of tools and techniques that are dying off. If this is a business environment, it might be worth looking at the setup you want to achieve, software installed, settings applied etc and avoiding the imaging route.

Valued Contributor

@anickless with being in edu, I get the need. Some form of consistency while not adding cost to your JSS license.

Best way, DeployStudio. With 9yr old equipment, you'll need a couple of things.
1. DeployStudio server that will work with your client OS (PPC?)
2. Custom capture of OS, again 9 yr old equipment.

DS can give you a few things without adding to your JSS license. With some fore though, you can use for thin-imaging and package deployment, even some light weight management.
You can re-imaging labs at set intervals.
Freeze home directories for "kiosk" or lab devices.
It's a very powerful tool.

DS forums can be a good resource. Also here, as lots of scripts and such can be worked in to DS workflows. I'm always willing to help if I can.

Contributor II

@millersc Thanks for the insite, Yes I am in Edu as well and this is were it is coming from especially since these machines are going in the next year or two.

I will look at DeployStudio to see what it can offer me

@davidacland You mentioned tools and techniques that are dying off care to elaborate?


I think what @davidacland is mentioning has to do with monolithic imaging. Most people now take a clean base OS and just make a configuration where it installs all software afterwards. It requires less work to "build" an image. I agree that AutoDMG is probably your best option to make images.

It also depends on how you need to deploy computers and environment. I'm in education and we just use Linux Netboot VM, but you could get by with a Mac Mini running netboot as well. It also depends on if you need to do multiple ones at the same time, you could just you target mode imaging without using a netboot either.

Honored Contributor II
Honored Contributor II

@anickless yep, I was referring to monolithic imaging. AutoDMG and clean (never booted) OS images are still useful, but the method of setting up a model Mac with all the software and settings and hen capturing an image of it has been replaced with modular techniques.

One question is whether you need to replace the base OS at all. In a lot of cases it serves no purpose and creates a burden for you to maintain NetBoot, images etc.

In business environments were normally laying app packages, config profiles and a few scripts onto the OS the Mac ships with to get to a desired state. Then using more scripts and config profiles at add to the user experience (mapping drives and other useful bits). We really cut down the labour invoked in initial setup of devices when we took this approach.

Valued Contributor

To reduce workflows, you could look at Deploystudio for all machines. Then it is a case of how you want to configure/manage the machines. As others have suggested, using the base OS followed by another process to configure is a much better way to go for maintaining and making changes and updating. It looks like you are trying to avoid licensing on the older machine, but you could still manage them.


  • New Machines - Deploystudio followed by Casper
  • Old Machines - Deploystudio followed by Munki

If you script changes, then the same scripts could potentially be used for all machines, but deployed using either DS or differing management systems.

Legendary Contributor III

+1 to looking at DeployStudio, if you have a need to maintain both machines that will be enrolled and managed by Casper and others that will simply be imaged but not enrolled or managed. Trying to maintain both processes could be confusing and potentially double the work. It might be better to look at using one tool that can do both. Casper Imaging is a fine tool, but its primary reason for existence is to image Macs and get them enrolled into a JSS. While its possible to not have it do that, you're kind of swimming upstream.

Many of us continue to use DeployStudio in conjunction with Casper Suite (I think @rtrouton continues to use it, as do we) and don't have any issues, so CI is not a hard requirement here. You just need to understand the inherent differences, like DS has no knowledge of your Casper environment, so to get the Macs to enroll requires adding a QuickAdd.pkg created from into your workflow and making sure it gets installed after the Mac reboots. Take that QuickAdd.pkg out of your workflow and the same imaging process can image Macs but not enroll them into your JSS.

Two things you lose out on by using DeployStudio (maybe more than 2) are:

  • Using (and potentially capturing) AutoRun data
  • PreStage Imaging

Contributor II

Thanks @sean and @mm2270 for the input, So I am reading up on creating a minimal )S image with AutoDMG and then doing DeployStudio for the computers not managed via Casper.

Contributor II

Lol I have been looking at AutoDMG and since the laptops we run have 10.7.5 it will not work :(

Contributor III

You might try AutoDMG 1.4.4 - think it still supported 10.7 back then.

Contributor II

@millersc what programs would you recommend for a custom capture of a 10.7.5 system? AutoDMG doesn't work with it.

Release Candidate Programs Tester

InstaDMG (a forerunner of AutoDMG) is an option. I have a post describing how to create a 10.7 disk image with InstaDMG available from here:

Valued Contributor

@anickless I think most of us started out doing monolithic images and moved into thin or mixed environment.

Depending on what your end goal is, would depend on how you get there with what tools.

99% of my fleet is "thin" imaged via DSS then pkg/scripts/profiles pushed from JSS.
1% requires pita software. So I capture a custom made image. One that I've customized look/settings/software and then captured, using DSS.

The DSS workflows should be able to take care of your needs. Keeping you from JSS management concerns.

If you want to go deeper, email me offline. (github link)

Contributor II

Why am I finding it so hard to create a monolithic image? am I just going weird here? this shouldn't be hard yet I feel frustrated. long ago I did it for windows so the company that built our computers would install and everything was shipped.