Windows 7 deployment

Compared to Windows XP, Windows 7 introduces numerous changes to the technology you use for deployment. Additionally, Windows 7 improves and consolidates many of the tools you used for Windows Vista deployment. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes most of these tools. Others are built into the operating system. The Windows AIK 2.0 fully documents all of the tools this chapter describes, including command-line options for using them, how they work on a detailed level, and so on.

The Windows AIK 2.0 is not included in the Windows 7 media. (By comparison, Windows XP has a file called that includes its deployment tools.) Instead, the Windows AIK 2.0 is a free download from the Microsoft Download Center at

The following features are new for Windows 7 deployment:

• Windows System Image Manager. Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) is a tool for creating distribution shares and editing answer files (Unattend.xml). It exposes all configurable settings in Windows 7; you use it to save customizations in Unattend.xml. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes the Windows SIM.

• Windows Setup. Setup for Windows 7 installs the Windows image (.wim) file and uses the new Unattend.xml answer file to automate installation. Unattend.xml replaces the set of answer files used in earlier versions of Windows (Unattend.txt, Sysprep.inf, and so on). Because image-based setup (IBS) is faster, you can use it in high-volume deployments and for automating image maintenance. Microsoft made numerous improvements to Windows Setup (now called Setup.exe instead of Winnt.exe or Winnt32.exe), such as a completely graphical user interface, use of a single answer file (Unattend.xml) for configuration, and support for configuration passes (phases).

• Sysprep. The System Preparation (Sysprep) tool prepares an installation of Windows 7 for imaging, auditing, and deployment. You use imaging to capture a customized Windows 7 image that you can deploy throughout your organization. You use audit mode to add additional device drivers and applications to a Windows 7 installation and test the integrity of the installation before handing off the computer to the end user. You can also use Sysprep to prepare an image for deployment. When the end user starts Windows 7, Windows Welcome starts. Unlike earlier versions of Windows, Windows 7 includes Sysprep natively—you no longer have to download the current version.

• Windows Preinstallation Environment. Windows Preinstallation Environment 3.0 (Windows PE 3.0) provides operating system features for installing, troubleshooting, and recovering Windows 7. Windows PE 3.0 is the latest release of Windows PE based on Windows 7. With Windows PE, you can start a computer from a network or removable media. Windows PE provides the network and other resources necessary to install and troubleshoot Windows 7. Windows Setup, Windows Deployment Services, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 (MDT 2010) all use Windows PE to start computers. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes Windows PE 3.0.

• Deployment Image Servicing and Management. Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a new command-line tool that you can use to service a Windows 7 image or prepare a Windows PE image. DISM consolidates the functionality of the Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), PEImg, and Intlcfg tools from Windows Vista. You can use DISM to service packages, device drivers, Windows 7 features, and international settings in Windows 7 images. Additionally, DISM provides rich enumeration features that you can use to determine the contents of Windows 7 images.

• ImageX. ImageX is a command-line tool that you can use to capture, modify, and apply file-based images for deployment. Windows Setup, Windows Deployment Services, System Center Configuration Manager 2007, and MDT 2010 all use ImageX to capture, edit, and deploy Windows 7 images. Windows 7 improves ImageX over Windows Vista by enabling it to mount multiple images simultaneously and support interim saves (you must still service each mounted image individually by using DISM). Additionally, the Windows 7 version of ImageX has a new architecture for mounting and servicing images that is more robust than in Windows Vista. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes ImageX. You can also mount images in Windows PE, and Windows 7 includes the device driver inbox.

• Windows Imaging. Microsoft delivers Windows 7 on product media as a highly compressed Windows Imaging (.wim) file. You can install Windows 7 directly from the Windows 7 media or customize the image for deployment. Windows 7 images are file based, allowing you to edit them nondestructively. You can also store multiple operating system images in a single .wim file.

• DiskPart. Using DiskPart, you can mount a virtual hard disk (.vhd) file offline and service it just like a Windows image file.

• User State Migration Tool. You can use the User State Migration Tool 4.0 (USMT 4.0) to migrate user settings from the previous operating system to Windows 7. Preserving user settings helps ensure that users can get back to work quickly after deployment. USMT 4.0 provides new features that improve its flexibility and performance over USMT 3.0. Hard-link migration improves performance in refresh scenarios, offline migration enables you to capture user state from within Windows PE, and the document finder reduces the need for you to create custom migration Extensible Markup Language (XML) files when capturing all user documents. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes USMT 4.0.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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