What's New in Windows Deployment

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

What are the major changes?

New versions of Windows Deployment Services, the Windows® Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK), and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) are available to assist in the deployment of Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2. Each of these tools includes new features that improve the process of deploying Windows.

The following list describes the different Windows deployment technologies and the major changes for deployment in this release:

  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

    The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is a solution accelerator that collects many Microsoft deployment technologies together into a single means of automating installations. Using MDT, you can automate Windows operating-system installations by using Zero Touch Installation (ZTI) or Lite Touch Installation (LTI) processes. The deployment of Windows can be completely automated by using the ZTI method, or require a minimum of interaction at the targeted computer by using the LTI method. ZTI uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 with the Operating System Deployment Feature Pack.

    For more information about MDT, see Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=160877).

  • Windows Deployment Services

    Windows Deployment Services is a server role that was included with Windows Server® 2008; it has been updated for Windows Server 2008 R2. This version contains new multicast features and driver-provisioning functionality. With driver provisioning, you can deploy driver packages (along with a Windows image) to client computers based on the hardware of the client, and add driver packages to boot images.

    This version also enables you to deploy virtual hard disk (VHD) images by using an unattended installation. For complete list of the differences in each version of Windows Deployment Services, see Windows Deployment Services: What's New (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140114). For more information about the changes in Windows Server 2008 R2, see Windows Deployment Services (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=141973).

  • Windows Automated Installation Kit

    The Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is a collection of tools and documentation that enable you to customize your own Windows deployment environment. This collection of tools includes all of the Windows Setup configuration options, imaging tools, Windows Preinstallation Environment customizations, and processes and guidance. The Windows AIK is ideal for highly customized deployment environments and provides extensive control and flexibility.

Who will be interested in this feature?

The following groups might be interested in these changes:

  • IT generalists

  • IT specialists

  • Anyone responsible for deploying Windows 7 operating systems

What new functionality does the Windows Automated Installation Kit provide?

The following sections describe the major changes in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). For additional information about the Windows AIK, see Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=141410).

Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a command-line tool used to service Windows images. You can use it to install, uninstall, configure, and update Windows features, packages, drivers and international settings. DISM commands can also be used for servicing a running operating system. You can use DISM to:

  • Add or remove 32-bit and 64-bit device drivers.

  • Add or remove language packs.

  • Enable or disable Windows features.

  • Add and configure updates.

Why is this change important?

DISM replaces many of the tools in previous releases of the Windows AIK, including Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), the International Settings Configuration Tool (Intlcfg.exe), and the Windows PE command-line tool (PEimg.exe). DISM provides the same functionality that Package Manager provided and includes additional functionality when used with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

DISM is installed with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It can be used to service Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Vista® with Service Pack 1 (SP1), or Windows Preinstallation Environment images.

How should I prepare for this change?

Because DISM consolidates many tools that were included in previous versions of the Windows AIK, any scripts or other tools that make calls to Package Manager should be updated to make calls to DISM instead.

What existing functionality is changing?

The following tools are deprecated in this release of the Windows AIK. If you have an existing automated environment that uses these tools, you will need to modify the environment to use DISM to deploy Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.


Some of these tools are not available with this release of the Windows AIK. If you intend to deploy previous versions of Windows that require these tools, you must use the version of the Windows AIK that included these tools.

  • Intlcfg.exe. The International Settings Configuration Tool (Intlcfg.exe) is used to change the language and locale, fonts, and input settings of a Windows image. In Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the functionality of this tool is included as part of the DISM tools. This release of the Windows AIK includes the Intlcfg.exe tool to enable the configuration of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 installations only.

  • PEimg.exe. This command-line tool is used for creating and modifying Windows PE images. The functionality of this tool is included as part of the DISM tools. This tool is not available with this release of the Windows AIK.

  • Pkgmgr.exe. Package Manager is used to install, remove, or update packages on an offline Windows image. The functionality of this tool is included as part of the DISM tools. Package Manager is included in all Windows installations, and you can continue to use existing scripts that call Package Manager. However, we recommend for all Windows 7 installations that you update your environment to support DISM.

  • PostReflect.exe. PostReflect.exe is used to reflect all boot-critical device drivers out of the driver store in an offline image. The functionality of this tool is built into the Sysprep tool. This tool is not available with this release of the Windows AIK.

  • VSP1CLN.exe. The Windows Vista SP1 Files Removal Tool (VSP1CLN.exe) is used to remove the files that are archived after Windows Vista SP1 is applied to a Windows Vista RTM image. This tool is no longer required and is not available with this release of the Windows AIK.

User State Migration Tool 4.0

The Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0 is now installed as part of the Windows AIK. You can use USMT 4.0 to streamline and simplify user-profile migration during large deployments of Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. USMT captures user accounts, user files, operating system settings, and application settings, and then migrates them to a new Windows installation. You can use USMT for both side-by-side and wipe-and-load migrations.

The most significant new feature of USMT 4.0 is the hard-link migration store. The hard-link migration store is for use in computer-refresh scenarios only. The hard-link migration store enables you to perform an in-place migration where all user state is maintained on the computer while the old operating system is removed and the new operating system is installed. This scenario drastically improves migration performance, significantly reduces hard-disk utilization, and reduces deployment costs.

New Windows default disk-partition structure

The default Windows installation now includes support for a separate system partition. In default installations, Windows Setup creates two partitions on a hard disk. You can use one partition for recovery tools, to enable BitLocker™ Drive Encryption, or for other features. You use the second partition to install the operating system.

The system partition, which hosts the boot manager and related files, will no longer have a drive letter by default. You can manually add a drive letter during installation by using the Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition\Letter setting.

Deploy virtual hard disks with native boot

In Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, a virtual hard disk (VHD) can be used as the running operating system on designated hardware without any other parent operating system, virtual computer, or hypervisor. A hypervisor is a layer of software below the operating system that runs virtual machines. Disk management tools, the DiskPart tool, and the Disk Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC), can be used to create a bootable .vhd file. A generalized image file (.wim) can then be deployed to the VHD, and the .vhd file can be copied to multiple computers. The boot manager can be configured to boot the .wim file from the VHD.

Which editions include this feature?

These features are included in the Windows 7 version of the Windows AIK. DISM is available in all editions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Native boot support for VHDs is available in these Windows editions:

  • Windows 7 Enterprise

  • Windows 7 Ultimate

  • Windows Server 2008 R2