Windows 7 Virtual Roundtable Q&A: Part One
In our recent Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable—Windows 7: To the Beta and Beyond—with Mark Russinovich, we fielded numerous questions on the Windows 7 Beta release that the panel was unable to address, given time limitations. As promised, we have collected these questions and will be providing these answers in this and subsequent blog postings. Here is the first set of questions and answers, along with the destinations to find more detail:
Q: When will the Automated Installation Kit (AIK) fully support Windows 7?
- A: There is a beta of the Windows AIK for Windows 7 that you can download today from http://technet.microsoft.com/library/dd349343.aspx.
Q: Will any other version of Windows be able to read BitLocker To Go "with an add-on or additional software"?
- A: Yes, you will be able to unlock and read from BitLocker files on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Q: When can we expect Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 to be released, or release candidate 1 (RC1) for deploying Windows 7?
- A: MDT 2010 is currently in beta, and can be downloaded from https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=14.
Q: Is the kernel the same for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 7?
- A: The kernel consists of many different files; it is updated with Windows 7, but is based on the same underlying architecture.
Q: Has ReadyBoost changed from Windows Vista?
- A: ReadyBoost in Windows 7 adds support for concurrently using multiple flash devices (such as USB keys, Secure Digital cards, and internal flash devices) and for caches larger than 4 GB. ReadyBoost supports exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems.
Q: In Windows 7 can you toggle or set all local policy settings individually as a preference instead of having to enforce for flexibility/versatility?
- A: No. Group Policy settings are independent of Group Policy Preferences. There is no 1:1 relationship between them in Windows 7.
Q: Will the Applocker Group Policy Object (GPO) will be available on Windows Server 2008?... or is just on Windows Server 2008 R2?
- A: AppLocker is not dependent on a specific version of Windows Server. You can manage AppLocker from a Windows 7 client using the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) that ships in the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 7, which is currently in Bet. You can download the beta here.
Q: You say any app that runs on Windows Vista should run on Windows 7, does that hold true for any app that runs on Windows XP? Should it run on Windows 7 as well?
- A: Since Windows Vista and Windows 7 share similar design frameworks, there is a foundation for application compatibly. Since Windows XP has a different framework, the levels of application compatibility are not the same.
Q: Will there now be a possibility to burn an .iso image file without burning software?
- A: Yes. Double-click an ISO, and Windows 7 opens a minimalistic dialog. Choose a burner, select whether or not to verify your burn, and burn/cancel.
Q: Will Microsoft support the RC [of Windows 7]?
- A: The Beta and RC are, and will be, supported via the Windows 7 Forums at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/category/w7itpro.
Q: Will there be an Application Compatibility Toolkit available for Windows 7 like there was for Windows Vista? When might that be available?
- A: Yes. We plan on releasing an update to the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) in April to support Windows 7 pre-releases. There will also be a version corresponding with Windows 7 release to manufacturing (RTM).
Q: What kinds of improvements are being made in the area of application compatibility testing and migration?
- A: There will be a version of the Application Compatibility Toolkit to support Windows 7 available in the April 2009 timeframe. Additionally, the Windows system application compatibility fix (shim) database is constantly extended with each Windows release milestone.
Q: What is the migration process to get my stuff off of a Windows 7 box before I have to flatten it to install the final version?
- A: For individual use, Windows Easy Transfer can be used to gather files and settings from your computer and save to an external location. For organizational use, the User State Migration Tool (part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit) can also perform in-place user profile migration using Hard-link Migration along with a clean operating system install.
Q: Will Deployment Image and Servicing Management be supported for existing Windows Server 2008?
- A: Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) supports Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2. DISM also leverages an included shim for Package Manager (pkgmgr.exe) to enable DISM to perform Package Manager commands against Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 images.
Q: Why is Windows 7 more quick to start up compared to Windows Vista?
- A: In working to improve performance for startup we have focused on making improvements in the following areas:
- The efficiency of core Windows code
- Only starting certain services when they are needed (demand-start services)
- The way device drivers are initialized
- Allowing multiple device drivers to start at the same time (parallelization)
- An overall reduction in the memory and CPU required to start and run the graphics system
Q: Windows 7 performance out of the box experience does seem much better than Windows Vista, but is there anything that addresses the overall issue of performance degradation over time that plagues devices over time without having to configure or buy and configure additional third party software?
- A: Microsoft has invested in PerfTrack, an automated reporting feature in Windows that tracks the performance of over 400 experiences on the PC. Windows 7 also includes troubleshooters such as IE Performance as well as a Check for Performance Issues to help users check for performance issues over time.
Q: Where can I find detailed step-by-step process for building a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) that can be selected as the boot disk on a Windows 7 system?
- A: Detailed guidance for creating Boot from VHD files is currently being created. The basic process is to create a virtual disk using diskpart.exe, attach the virtual disk using diskpart.exe, use ImageX to apply a System-Prepared Generalized Windows Imaging (WIM) file to the attached virtual disk, then detach the virtual disk using diskpart.exe. After the VHD file is created, add an entry into the boot loader using bcdedit.exe to point to the file location of the VHD file. This only works with Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions and Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD files.
Q: Will deployment of Windows 7 use the same tools as Windows Vista (WIM files, ImageX, etc...)?
- A: Most tools are retained from Windows Vista. Deployment Image Servicing and Management consolidates functions of IntlConfig, PEImg and PkgMgr in the Windows AIK for Windows 7. DISM supports PkgMgr functions against Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 images. Integrated tools like the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 will also support Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 deployment.
Q: Are there any improvements in the Windows 7 imaging technology such as WAIK, SIM, MDT, ImageX compared with Windows Vista?
- A: Yes. There is a two-part blog post on this subject on the Springboard Series Blog (Part 1 | Part 2) and a deployment overview guide available at http://technet.microsoft.com/library/dd367841.aspx.
Q: How can you deploy BitLocker with a custom image?
- A: There are two common approaches. You can pre-partition the drive for BitLocker, install the operating system, and enable BitLocker via deployment task sequence. Or, you can run the BitLocker Drive Preparation tool post-install and enable BitLocker via deployment task sequence. The default installation of Windows 7 will automatically create the BitLocker partition at install time.
The Springboard Series team will be posting the next round of questions shortly; please check back for more Windows 7 questions answered!