Getting Started with the Windows AIK

The corporate deployment environment varies from one company to another. Depending on your business needs and resources, you may choose to use all or parts of the resources available in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK).

Building Your First Windows Vista Installation

To quickly build your first Windows Vista installation, see the Getting Started for IT Professionals white paper, a simple example for building an image-based deployment. This document illustrates one of the ways you can deploy an installation by using a network.

To access the document, from your desktop, click Start, point to All Programs, point to MicrosoftWindows AIK, point to Documentation, and click Getting Started for IT Professionals. This document covers a basic, end-to-end deployment scenario. This sample demonstrates one way that you can deploy an installation in a corporate environment.

After you complete the basic scenario, come back to this guide to learn how to further customize your installation.

Understanding the Preinstallation Process

After you have completed the Getting Started documentation and performed a successful unattended installation, you can begin to develop your overall preinstallation and deployment process. The Windows preinstallation process is divided into several phases. Each of these phases is designed to capture the end-to-end scenario of preinstallation planning, preparation, customization, deployment, and maintenance. Each phase is a separate collection of topics in this user's guide:

Phase Description

Phase 1: Preinstallation Planning

Provides background information about different Windows deployment scenarios. Review this section to help you plan and design your preinstallation process.

Review Preinstallation Concepts to understand the tools used to configure and deploy Windows.

The Preinstallation Methods topic describes different scenarios to consider.

Phase 2: Preinstallation Preparation

This section describes how to build your deployment environment. Review these topics to understand the system requirements and recommended configurations for your preinstallation environment.

Phase 3: Preinstallation Customization

Describes how to add customizations to a Windows installation.

Review the Customization Walkthroughs for step-by-step guidance on common tasks.

This section includes common configuration tasks, including Manage Device Drivers for Windows, and Manage Language Packs for Windows.

Phase 4: Image Deployment

Provides instructions on how to build and deploy the Windows to new computers. These topics describe scenarios for using Windows PE, ImageX, and other deployment technologies.

Several walkthroughs are provided for common deployment tasks in the Deployment Walkthroughs section.

Phase 5: Image Maintenance

Describes how to service Windows images. Review this section to understand how packages, MSIs, and other updates are applied to Windows images.

Use the topic Walkthrough: Servicing a Mounted Windows Image Offline to understand how to use Package Manager.

Understanding the Deployment Tools

The topics that are described in Deployment Tools Technical Reference provide a comprehensive technical discussion of the tools and technologies that are used to configure and deploy Windows. Review these topics to understand the different tools, usage scenarios, and limitations.

Tool Description

Windows Setup Technical Reference

Windows Setup is the program that installs Windows or upgrades previous versions of Windows. Windows Setup supports interactive installations as well as unattended installations.

ImageX Technical Reference

ImageX enables you to capture, modify, and apply file-based disk images for rapid deployment. ImageX copies Windows imaging (.wim) files to a network, and can also work with other technologies that use .wim files, such as Setup for Windows Vista Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS) and the SMS Operating System Feature Deployment Pack.

Oobe.xml Technical Reference

The Oobe.xml content file is used to customize Windows Welcome, Welcome Center, and ISP Signup. The Oobe.xml content file is different from the unattended installation answer file.

Package Manager Technical Reference

This tool is used to install Microsoft-provided packages to an offline Windows image. Packages include updates, out-of-box drivers, and language packs. These topics also describe how to use OCSetup. OCSetup is the tool used to install selected Microsoft System Installer (MSI) components that cannot be installed with Package Manager to a running Windows operating system.

Sysprep Technical Reference

Sysprep prepares a Windows image for disk imaging, system testing, or delivery to a customer. Sysprep can be used to remove system-specific data from a Windows image, such as the security identifier (SID). After removing unique system information from an image, you can capture that Windows image and use it to deploy on multiple computers.

Sysprep is also used to configure Windows to boot to either audit mode or Windows Welcome the next time the computer starts.

Windows PE Technical Reference

This is a Windows operating system with limited services, built on the Windows operating system platform. Windows PE is used in the installation and deployment of Windows.

Windows Recovery Technical Reference

Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) is an extensible recovery platform based on Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). When the computer fails to start, Windows automatically fails over into this environment, and the Startup Repair tool in Windows RE automates the diagnosis and repair of an unbootable Windows installation.

Windows System Image Manager Technical Reference

This tool enables you to create and modify unattended installation answer files, manage configuration sets, and configure distribution shares. Install and use Windows SIM on the technician computer.

Command-Line Tools Technical Reference

Describes various command-line utilities that are used in deployment scenarios.

Server Manager Command-Line Tool

Describes the command line tool used to configure Windows Server 2008 server roles.

Other Documentation Resources

The following table describes the documentation resources available on the Windows AIK DVD and installed with the Windows AIK tools. Additional documentation may be included on the Windows AIK DVD, but not listed in this table.

Documentation Description

Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) User's Guide (Waik.chm)

Describes the conceptual, procedural information required for unattended installation of Windows operating systems. This user's guide includes information on planning, preparing the deployment environment, creating and customizing an image, capturing, modifying, and testing the image, and deploying, maintaining, and servicing the image.

Imaging APIs for Windows (Wimgapi.chm)

Provides comprehensive coverage of all the Windows imaging application programming interfaces (APIs).

Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) User's Guide (Winpe.chm)

Provides instructions on creating a customized version of Windows PE and enabling Windows PE to boot from different types of media.

Component Platform Interface (CPI) Reference (Cpiapi.chm)

Documents the APIs that are used in Windows SIM.

Unattended Windows Setup Reference (Unattend.chm)

Provides comprehensive coverage of all the customizable settings in the Windows Unattend.xml file.

Getting Started with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) (Getting_Started_ITPro.rtf)

Provides basic instructions on building an end-to-end deployment. This document illustrates a simple, image-based deployment with a network.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) is a solution that contains documentation, templates, and technology files (such as scripts and configuration files) that deliver an end-to-end solution for efficient planning, building, testing, and deploying of Windows and Office. The Windows AIK is a component of BDD. It is highly recommended that you review the resources in BDD before implementing any solutions in the Windows AIK. For more information about BDD, see the Desktop Deployment Center.