SCCM OSD – When to use an x86 or x64 Boot Image

When deploying Windows using SCCM, you can choose whether to use an x86 or x64 boot image.  When picking which boot image to use, it’s important to know there are different rules for Install Packages and Images

The table below shows which boot images can be used to deploy which architecture of Windows and deployment option.

  32bit Image 64bit Image 32bit Install Package 64bit Install Package
x86 Boot Image Yes Yes Yes No
x64 Boot Image No Yes No Yes

If you try to use an x64 Boot Image to deploy a 32bit image, you will get the following error in the SMSTS.log file during the Apply Operating System phase:

It is not supported to deploy an x86 architecture OS from a amd64 boot image

Similarly, if you try to deploy an Install Package using the wrong architecture, you get the following error in the SMSTS.log file

The detected setup program architecture does not match the current boot image. You must correct your task sequence so that the installation package matches the boot image.
Unspecified error (Error: 80004005; Source: Windows)

The x86 Boot Image is the most versatile as it can deploy everything but an x64 Install Package.  Most will only use Install Packages to build Reference Builds to be captured anyway.  If you deploy both 32bit and 64bit images to the same hardware, it makes sense to just use an x86 Boot Image for those task sequences.  If you only plan to use 64bit images on certain types of hardware, it may make sense to use an x64 Boot Image so you don’t have to download unnecessary drivers.

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