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Windows Server

Windows Server 2008 : Understanding the Windows AIK (part 1)

12/27/2010 9:02:08 AM
The Windows AIK is a set of tools for deploying the latest version of Windows. The following tools are either included with or provided by the Windows AIK:
  • Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) Enables you to create answer files (unattend.xml) and distribution shares for performing unattended installation of Windows

  • Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) Enables you to boot bare-metal systems to deploy Windows on them

  • ImageX Enables you to capture, modify, and apply file-based images for rapid deployment

In addition to these tools, installing the Windows AIK also provides:

  • Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) tools for building diagnostic and recovery solutions based on Windows PE.

  • Additional command-line tools such as Pkgmgr.exe, PEImg.exe, and others. These tools are discussed in later sections of this appendix.

  • Documentation in the form of Windows Help (.chm) files.

More Info: Built-in tools

Some built-in operating system tools can be useful for deployment. Examples of such tools include DiskPart, BCDEdit, and others. This is discussed further in the next section and in the Command-Line Tools Technical Reference section of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) User’s Guide.


To implement actual deployment, however, the Windows AIK tools listed here aren’t enough. Instead, these tools need to interact with other Windows technologies and components, including the following:

  • Windows Setup The program that installs Windows on a bare-metal system or upgrades previous versions of Windows

  • Windows Image (.wim) file A single compressed file used to duplicate a Windows installation onto a disk volume

  • Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS or WDS) (optional) Used to install Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 remotely without the need of visiting each destination computer

Figure 1 shows the architecture of the Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista deployment platforms.

Figure 1. Deployment platform architecture for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista



Comparing Deployment Tools for Different Windows Versions

Table 1 provides a quick (but not exhaustive) comparison between the various tools and technologies used for deploying Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista and the deployment tools used for the previous Windows versions of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional. If you are familiar with all the various tools used for deploying Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, this table will provide a quick way of updating your deployment skills to support Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista deployments. In addition, you can find more information concerning them in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) User’s Guide.

Table 1. Comparison of Deployment Tools and Technologies for Windows XP / Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista / Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2003 and Windows XPWindows Server 2008 and Windows Vista
Answer File Tools and Settings 
Setup ManagerWindows SIM
Plaintext answer filesXML answer files
Multiple answer filesOnly two answer files
Unattend.txtUnattend.xml (or Autounattend.xml)
Winnt.sifOobe.xml (used primarily for Vista)
Winborn.ini 
Oobeinfo.ini 
Sysprep.inf 
Cmdlines.txtRunSynchronous
[GUIRunOnce] sectionFirstLogonCommands
$OEM$ foldersData image (though $OEM$ is still supported using configuration sets)
Windows PE Versions 
Windows PE 1.0Windows PE 2.0
Disk Imaging Tools 
Must use third-party toolsImageX
Windows Setup 
Winnt.exe and Winnt32.exeSetup.exe
Adding Device Drivers 
OEMPnPDriverPathPackage Manager
Adding Language Support 
MUI filesLanguage packs

The sections that follow examine the various Windows AIK tools in more detail and the enhancements made to these tools in Windows AIK 1.1.

Other -----------------
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 14) - Configuring Proxy Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 13) - Configuring Caching Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 12) - Enabling Cache/Proxy
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 11) - Configuring Security for Windows Media Services
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 10)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 9) - Using the Multicast Announcement Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 8) - Using the Unicast Announcement Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 7) - Using the Create Wrapper Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 6) - Configuring Source Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 5)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 4) - Creating a New Publishing Point
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 3) - Using Windows Media Services Management Tools
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 2) - Installing Streaming Media Services
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 6) - Using an SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 5)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 4) - Securing Access to an SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 3) - Configuring General SMTP Server Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 2) - Creating a New SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 1) - Installing the SMTP Server Feature
 
 
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