Windows Deployment Platform Components

Understanding the new deployment tools and how they interconnect is the first step in beginning a Windows 7 deployment project. At the lowest tier are Windows Imaging (.wim) files, which are highly compressed, file-based operating system images.

At the second tier are answer files. Versions of Windows earlier than Windows Vista had numerous answer files, including Unattend.txt and Sysprep.inf, to drive the deployment process. Windows 7 uses a single XML-based answer file, Unattend.xml, to drive all its configuration passes. (A configuration pass is an installation phase.) This improvement makes configuration more consistent and simplifies engineering.

At the third tier are the various deployment tools for Windows 7. The Windows 7 distribution media includes some of these tools, including Sysprep, DISM, and other command-line tools—they aren’t on the media in a separate file such as Deploy.cab. The Windows AIK 2.0 includes the bigger tools, such as Windows SIM, Windows PE, and ImageX. These are the basic tools necessary to create, customize, and deploy Windows 7 images. They are standalone tools that don’t provide a deployment framework or add business intelligence and best practice to the process.

The fourth tier, MDT 2010, provides the framework, business intelligence, and best practices. MDT 2010 is a process and technology framework that uses all the tools in the third tier, potentially saving your organization hundreds of hours of planning, developing, testing, and deployment. MDT 2010 is based on best practices developed by Microsoft, its customers, and its partners. It includes time-proven management and technology guidance as well as thousands of lines of thoroughly tested script code that you can use as is or customize to suit your organization’s requirements.

Using MDT 2010, you can perform both Lite Touch Installation (LTI) and Zero Touch Installation (ZTI) deployment. LTI requires very little infrastructure and is suitable for most small and medium businesses. ZTI requires a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 infrastructure and is suitable for organizations that already have the infrastructure in place.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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