Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

Windows Vista Fix
Fix Windows Vista & Performance! Free Download - 100% Satisfaction.

Enterprise Voice Over IP
Free eBook: 11 Chapters on VoIP. For Mid-to-Large Size Enterprises.

Computer Windows Xp
Wij verhelpen uw computerprobleem. Aanbevolen door Microsoft.

Admin KnowledgeBase Articles & Tutorials Authors Blogs Hardware Message Boards Newsletters RSS Software White Papers

Site Search Search Site

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

Published: Feb 14, 2008 Updated: Apr 02, 2008 Section: Articles & Tutorials :: Windows Vista Author: Mitch Tulloch Printable Version Adjust font size: Rating: 4.6/5 - 9 Votes 1 2 3 4 5
j k l m n j k l m n j k l m n j k l m n j k l m n

This series of articles on automating the deployment of Windows Vista to desktop computers begins with an overview of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). If you would like to be notified when Mitch Tulloch releases the next part of this article series please sign up to the Real time article update newsletter. The IT lifecycle for a typical enterprise involves the following phases: plan, test, deploy, configure, maintain and troubleshoot. These phases are the same regardless of whether you’re implementing applications, suites of applications, operating systems, or whole solutions. An important part of this lifecycle is the deployment phase, which can involve anything from popping a DVD into a single box to install something, to automating the deployment of an application or operating system to thousands of desktops at multiple sites.

In the past, deploying Microsoft Windows to large numbers of computers has usually meant one of three things: cobbling together an automated deployment solution using MS-DOS network boot floppies, unattend.txt files, cmdlines.txt files, and various .ini and .inf files; using Remote Installation Services (RIS), a server-based deployment solution first introduced in Windows 2000 Server; or buying a third-party disk imaging or “cloning” tool like Norton Ghost and using this instead. Of course, if you were a Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) volume license customer, or an OEM, then starting with Windows XP you also had access to another tool, the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), which basically meant you could throw out your MS-DOS boot disks. Anyway, most time- and budget-conscious admins chose the third approach (cloning) especially if they had more than a few dozen machines to install, and while some very large enterprises deployed RIS, most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) preferred third-party disk-imaging solutions like Ghost. In fact, the word “ghosting” became synonymous with “deploying” for many Windows administrators.

1 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

With the arrival of Windows Vista however, the landscape has changed as Vista now has a number of tools for preparing, capturing and servicing disk images and then deploying them in unattended fashion to bare-metal systems. Some of these deployment tools (like Sysprep.exe) are included in the operating system itself; others are available from the Microsoft Download Center as a free download; still others like Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS), the successor to RIS, are provided as a role you can add to Windows Server 2008. In addition to such tools, Microsoft has also developed a Solution Accelerator (SA)—a collection of tools, scripts and documentation—for taking some of the complexity out of deploying Windows. The first version of this was called the Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment 2007, or BDD 2007 for short. A new version of BDD 2007 called Microsoft Deployment has also just been released, and while it’s tempting to jump right into using Microsoft Deployment and learn how to use it, a wiser approach is to first become familiar with the Windows AIK and Windows DS. The reason for this is simple—Microsoft Deployment is built on top of the Windows AIK and other important tools like the User State Migration Tool and Application Compatibility Toolkit. Knowing how these underlying tools work in detail will help you get significantly more out of using Microsoft Deployment—especially when you have to troubleshoot some deployment issue. Hence this series of articles, which will take you through a detailed walkthrough of using the various tools included in the Windows AIK and also various ways of performing image-based deployment of Windows. Then once a good foundation of understanding the Windows AIK has been laid, I’ll move on and examine how Microsoft Deployment can simplify and streamline your deployment tasks. Note: While the focus of these articles will be on deploying Vista, much of the content will be helpful for deploying Windows Server 2008 as well, and to facilitate this the articles will focus on version 1.1 of the Windows AIK, which will be released with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008. Note also that deploying pre-Vista versions of Windows will not be covered in these articles.

What’s In the Windows AIK
The Windows AIK consists of tools, documentation and samples to enable administrators to perform automated deployment of the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 family of operating system platforms. Windows AIK 1.1 can be used to deploy Windows Vista RTM, Windows Vista with SP1, and Windows Server 2008. To use the Windows AIK, you first have to obtain it. Version 1.0 is available from the Microsoft Download Center; at the time of writing, version 1.1 is still under development and can be obtained from Microsoft Connect if you’re on the Windows Server 2008 beta program. To use Windows AIK, you first install it on a technician computer, which is simply the computer you will use to create answer files, build configuration sets, build custom Windows PE images, and so on. Your technician computer doesn’t have to be running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008—you can use a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 machine instead if you want. Your technician computer does need to have the .NET Framework 2.0 and MSXML 6.0 installed on it however, but you can install these directly from the Windows AIK splash screen before you install the Windows AIK itself (Figure 1):

Figure 1: Splash screen for installing the Windows AIK Tip: If you plan on building custom Windows PE images, then your technician computer should also have a DVD burner and third-party image-burning software on it. After you install the Windows AIK on your technician computer, you’ll have access to the following tools: Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), which can be used to create XML answer files and distribution shares. ImageX, a command-line tool for capturing, servicing, and applying Windows Imaging Format (WIM) files, which are file-based Windows disk images used by Windows Vista and later. PEimg.exe, a command-line tool for creating and modifying Windows PE 2.1 images offline. Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), a command-line tool for offline servicing of Windows images. Other command-line tools including BCDEdit, Bootsect, DiskPart, Drvload, and others that can be used to automate various aspects of deployment. In addition, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 also includes Sysprep.exe, the System Preparation Tool, which is used to prepare a computer for disk imaging by removing machine-specific information such as SIDs, and also for other purposes such as adding device drivers to an existing Windows installation using Audit mode. When the Windows AIK is installed on a technician computer, it creates a folder structure similar to the one shown in Figure 2 below. After you’ve installed the Windows AIK it’s worthwhile exploring the contents of these folders as there is much helpful documentation and also sample files of various

2 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

kinds that illustrate how these different tools can be used to deploy Windows.

Figure 2: Folder structure found under %PROGRAMFILES%\Windows AIK

Quick Guide To Changes in Deployment Tools and Technologies in Vista
In future articles of this series, we’re going to dive deep into how to use each of these tools, but before we start doing this let me leave you with something that will kick start your learning concerning how deployment tools and technologies have changed in Vista. I’m assuming you’re familiar with the standard Microsoft tools and technologies used to deploy Windows XP, right? Well, if so, here’s a quick guide to how these things have changed in Windows Vista and beyond: Tool or Technology Sysprep.exe Old (pre-Vista) Found in on your product CD New (Vista and Beyond) Found in %WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep folder ImageX (included in Windows AIK) Windows SIM (included in Windows AIK) XML file

Disk imaging tool

None (use Ghost or some other third-party product)

Tool for creating answer files Setup Manager (found in Answer file format Text file with sections and key=value parameters

Number of different answer Lots e.g. unattend.txt, winnt.sif, files sysprep.inf, winborn.ini, oobeinfo.ini and so on.

Only two: unattend.xml and (optionally) oobe.xml.

How to run additional List them in cmdlines.txt and use Use RunAsynchronous or commands during installation $OEM$ folder on your RunSynchronous in distribution share unattend.xml How to run additional commands after first logon How to provide supplementary files for an installation Table 1 There’s lots more of course, but that should be enough get you started, or at least to whet your appetite. If you would like to be notified when Mitch Tulloch releases the next part of this article series please sign up to the Real time Use [GuiRunOnce] section of unattend.txt. Use $OEM$ folders and various subfolders under this Use FirstLogonCommands in unattend.xml Use ImageX to create a data image

3 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

article update newsletter.

About Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a writer, trainer and consultant specializing in Windows server operating systems, IIS administration, network troubleshooting, and security. He is the author of 15 books including the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking (Microsoft Press), the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security (Microsoft Press), Windows Server Hacks (O'Reilly), Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell (O'Reilly), Windows 2000 Administration in a Nutshell (O'Reilly), and IIS 6 Administration (Osborne/McGraw-Hill). Mitch is based in Winnipeg, Canada, and you can find more information about his books at his website Click here for Mitch Tulloch's section.

Share this article Receive all the latest articles by email!
Get all articles delivered directly to your mailbox as and when they are released on! Choose between receiving instant updates with the Real-Time Article Update, or a monthly summary with the Monthly Article Update. Sign up to the Monthly Newsletter, written by Dr. Tom Shinder, containing news, the hottest tips, Networking links of the month and much more. Subscribe today and don't miss a thing!
b c d e f g b c d e f g b c d e f g

Real-Time Article Update (click for sample) Monthly Article Update (click for sample) Monthly Newsletter (click for sample)

Enter email address

Latest articles by Mitch Tulloch
Deploying Vista - Part 2: Understanding Windows Setup and the Windows Imaging File Format Microsoft Office Communications Server Resource Kit Chapter 5: Conferencing Scenarios (Part 3) Microsoft Office Communications Server Resource Kit Chapter 5: Conferencing Scenarios (Part 2) Microsoft Office Communications Server Resource Kit Chapter 5: Conferencing Scenarios (Part 1) Windows Vista Resource Kit Chapter 23: Supporting Users Using Remote Assistance (Part 3)

Related links
Deploying Windows Vista ImageX with a GUI Customizing Unattended Setup IPv6 Support in Microsoft Windows Using WebDAV with IIS

Featured Links*
Get a free Windows SIP Server / IP PBX IP Telefonanlage, VOIP Telefooncentrale, Centralino Telefonico IP, PABX-IP, Centralita Telefonica VOIP, Centrala Telefoniczna, Telefonni system, IP telefonvaxel, Central Telefonica IP, VOIP Telefonsentral, IP telefonanlaeg, IP Puhelinvaihde, Telefon Sistemi, IP PBX (Russian), IP PBX (Greek), IP PBX (Japanese), IP PBX (Korean), IP PBX (Simplified Chinese), IP PBX (Traditional Chinese), IP PBX (Arabic) Forget about manual faxing - make faxing as easy as sending emails! GFI FAXmaker makes sending and receiving faxes an efficient, simple and cheaper process and is the leading fax server for Exchange Server, Lotus and SMTP/POP3 servers. Download a free trial today! Citrix burning a hole in your pocket? Get 2X ApplicationServer - unlimited - for $995 Too many clients. UniPrint manages all clients - thin, fat, local and remote, on your behalf. No client-side printer driver is needed. Simple to install, manage and use; fast and secure to print. Available for 32- and 64-bit. Get your copy.

4 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

Receive all the latest articles by email!
Receive Real-Time & Monthly article updates in your mailbox. Enter your email below! Click for Real-Time sample & Monthly sample
Enter Email

Become a member!
Discuss your network issues with thousands of other network administrators. Click here to join!

Community Area
Log in | Register
Ads by Google

Manage Active Directory
Streamline Active Directory Management. Free 30-day Trial

Admin KnowledgeBase Articles & Tutorials Common for all OSes Dial up Networking, ICS, RAS, ADSL General Networking Network Protocols Network Troubleshooting Product Reviews VoIP Windows 2000 Windows 2003 Windows 95/98/ME Windows NT 4 Windows Server 2008 Windows Vista Windows XP Wireless Networking Authors Brien M. Posey David Davis Mitch Tulloch Peter Schmidt Robert J. Shimonski Russell Hitchcock Andrew Z. Tabona Don Parker Johannes Helmig

5 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

Blogs Hardware Anti-Spam Hardware Anti-Virus Hardware Firewalls & VPN Mail Archiving Servers Storage IP PBX, SIP & VoIP FAQ Sponsored by 3CX Message Boards Newsletter Signup RSS Feed Software Administration tools / Ping & trace utils Backup software Data recovery software Email archiving Help desk software IP PBX Servers Misc. network administrator tools Network inventory software Network monitoring / management Patch Management Remote control software Software distribution and metering Storage and quota software Terminal Servers Thin Client Servers White Papers

Featured Products

Email archiving for Exchange

Readers' Choice
Which is your preferred IP PBX Server solution?
j k l m n 3CX

Phone System

j k l m n Asterisk j k l m n Axon

Virtual PBX System Unified Communications Manager j k l m n CommunigatePro j k l m n Dial-Office IP-PBX j k l m n Sphericall j k l m n SwyxWare Essential j k l m n Other please specify
j k l m n Cisco

TechGenix Sites The No.1 ISA Server 2006 / 2004 / 2000 resource site. The leading Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 / 2003 / 2000 resource site. Network Security & Information Security resource for IT administrators. A leading Microsoft Terminal Services and Citrix resource site.

6 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10

Deploying Vista - Part 1: Understanding the Windows AIK

Admin KnowledgeBase Articles & Tutorials Authors Blogs Hardware Links Message Boards Newsletters RSS Software White Papers About Us : Email us : Product Submission Form : Advertising Information is in no way affiliated with Microsoft Corp. *Links are sponsored by advertisers. Copyright © 2008 TechGenix Ltd. All rights reserved. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

7 van 7

9-4-2008 4:10