Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Windows Phone
Windows 7

Understanding the Windows 7 Deployment Process (part 1) - Windows 7 Deployment Basics & Using Windows Deployment Services

- Free product key for windows 10
- Free Product Key for Microsoft office 365
- Malwarebytes Premium 3.7.1 Serial Keys (LifeTime) 2019
9/19/2011 6:25:13 PM
Depending on the number of workstations you have to install, the requirements imposed by your organization, and the tools at your disposal, the process of deploying Windows 7 can be simple or extremely complex.

1. Windows 7 Deployment Basics

In its simplest form, a Windows 7 deployment consists of a user starting a computer and inserting an installation disk into the DVD drive. After the user answers a few simple questions, the Windows 7 setup program takes over and installs the operating system. The process is completely automated until it is time for the user to provide an account name and log on for the first time. The user then configures various settings and installs various applications until the workstation has a working environment suitable for specific tasks.

Although much of it is transparent to the user, this interactive installation process is essentially the same as that performed in a complex Windows 7 deployment on an enterprise network. The computer starts, loads the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), and applies a Windows Imaging file containing the operating system to the computer’s local disk. The differences between an individual, interactive installation, and an enterprise deployment include the following:

  • How the computer obtains the Windows PE boot files

  • The configuration of the Windows Imaging file containing the operating system

  • How the computer interacts with the setup program

  • How the workstation receives the applications and configuration settings it needs

The main object of an enterprise deployment is to install Windows 7 in a standardized configuration on multiple computers with little or no interaction at the workstation site. At its most basic level, an enterprise workstation deployment consists of the following steps:

  1. Build a deployment share.

  2. Perform a reference computer installation.

  3. Capture an image of the reference computer.

  4. Boot the target computer by using Windows PE.

  5. Apply the captured image containing Windows 7.

These steps are described in the following sections.

1.1. Building a Deployment Share

A deployment share,  is simply a shared folder on a Windows server where you store the Windows Image files and other software components that computers on the network need to access during the various phases of the deployment process. Although in a mass deployment, you can burn your customized images to DVD-ROM discs and distribute them to the target workstations that way, as in an individual installation, having the workstations access the images over the network is far easier.

There are performance factors to consider when deploying images over the network, however. Windows Imaging files are usually large, and hundreds of workstations downloading them simultaneously can flood the network, slowing down the deployment process and negatively affecting other users.

Windows Deployment Services (WDS), Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (AIK), and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 all provide mechanisms for creating deployment shares and populating them with image files and other software components. In WDS, you use the Windows Deployment Services console. In Windows 7 AIK, you use Windows System Image Manager (SIM), and in MDT 2010, you use Deployment Workbench. You can also create a share manually and use it to distribute your images, but these tools streamline the process considerably.



Although WDS, Windows AIK, and MDT 2010 can all create shares and populate them with deployment files, they refer to them by different names. MDT 2010 uses the term “deployment share,” while earlier versions of MDT and Windows 7 AIK refer to it as a “distribution share.” In WDS, you create a “remote installation folder.” The names are different, as are the tools that you use to create them, but the basic function is essentially the same.

1.2. Performing a Reference Computer Installation

A reference computer is a workstation, installed and configured in a lab, which administrators use as a model for the workstations they plan to deploy on the production network. By creating a reference installation and then capturing an image of it, administrators can implement their own customized workstation configurations without having to configure each computer individually.

Windows 7 installation disks have image files on them, which contain the basic operating system files, but most administrators create their own customized images for mass deployments. You can use the Microsoft deployment tools to automate the process of installing and configuring a reference computer, but whether this is necessary for a particular deployment project is a decision each administrator must make individually.

For example, if you are planning a deployment of 500 workstations that are completely identical, you need only one reference computer, and you might find it easier to install and configure Windows 7 on the reference computer manually. If, however, you are deploying 500 workstations using 20 different configurations, you are not likely to want to perform 20 separate reference computer installations; automating the process can save a lot of time and effort.

The Microsoft deployment tools provide two ways of automating a reference computer installation. You can use the Windows SIM utility from Windows 7 AIK to create an answer file, which the Windows setup program uses to configure the installation process, or you can use Deployment Workbench from MDT 2010 to create a task sequence and a boot image.

1.3. Capturing an Image of the Reference Computer

After you install and configure a reference computer, you capture an image of it in Windows Imaging format, complete with all of its applications and customized settings. This is the image that you will deploy to your target workstations. Each of the Microsoft deployment tools has its own way of creating images, as follows:

  • Windows 7 AIK includes the ImageX.exe utility, which you can use to create images from the command line.

  • MDT 2010 creates boot images that include the Windows Deployment Wizard. When you run the wizard on the reference computer, you select the task sequence you want to use, and the wizard performs the Windows 7 installation and automatically captures an image of the resulting workstation.

  • WDS enables you to create capture images, which when deployed on a reference computer, boot the system and capture an image of it.

Whichever method you choose, the program can upload the image it creates back to the deployment share for later distribution to the target workstations.

1.4. Booting the Target Computer by Using Windows PE

Your target computers are the production workstations on which you want to deploy Windows 7. To install an operating system on any computer, you have to boot the system first, and in the case of a new, bare-metal computer, there are no boot files on the local disk. Windows PE is a stripped-down version of the Windows operating system that you can use to start a computer without installing an operating system to a local disk. During the default boot process, Windows PE loads the entire operating system from the boot disk into memory using a RAM disk, which is an area of memory to which the system assigns a drive letter and uses it like a disk. After Windows PE is loaded, you can remove, disconnect, or reformat the boot disk as needed to complete the installation.

The three Microsoft deployment tools support Windows PE in the following manner:

  • Windows 7 AIK includes the Windows PE boot files and a script called Copype.cmd that you can use to create a Windows PE build directory. Then, you use a program called Oscdimg.exe to create a boot-disk image that you can burn to a removable medium, such as a CD-ROM or USB flash drive, or deploy over the network.

  • MDT 2010 automates the process of creating a Windows PE boot image, which contains the Windows Deployment Wizard. As with the Windows 7 AIK boot image, you can deploy Windows PE on a removable medium or over the network.

  • WDS provides the ability to deploy Windows PE boot images over the network to computers that support the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) standard. Instead of reading the boot files from a local device, such as a disk drive, the workstation connects to the WDS server and downloads a boot image.



Windows PE can play three roles in a workstation deployment process. You use it to boot the reference computer, so you can install Windows 7. Then you use it to boot the reference computer in preparation for capturing an image. Finally, you use it to boot the target workstations, so you can install your custom images. In each of these three instances, you can boot the computer from a disk or by using a PXE boot.

1.5. Accessing the Image and Installing Windows 7

The final stage of the deployment process is the application of the image you captured from the reference computer to the target computer. There are three ways to do this, as follows:

  • ImageX.exe Using ImageX.exe from the Windows PE command line, you can apply an identical copy of the image to the hard disk on the target computer.

  • Setup.exe Using the standard Windows 7 setup program, you can install an image with greater flexibility than ImageX.exe, by specifying an answer file, modifying the disk configuration, or adding drivers and applications.

  • WDS Using Windows Deployment Services, target workstations running Windows PE can select and download image files for installation. Using Microsoft Deployment Tools

Windows 7 AIK, MDT 2010, and WDS are not three separate and independent sets of tools that all perform the same tasks. Deploying a large number of Windows 7 workstations is not just a matter of choosing one package over the others. They are, to be sure, three separate sets of tools, but they are all designed to work together, and administrators can pick and choose among them at will.

For example, although you can complete a deployment using Windows 7 AIK on its own, to use MDT 2010 you must also install Windows 7 AIK. In addition, you can use the services provided by WDS alongside Windows 7 AIK and MDT 2010, as needed. Although each of the three packages has its own procedures and documentation, administrators often achieve their own synthesis between them, using the tools and processes that best suit their environments and their temperaments.

The following sections examine the workstation deployment process as implemented using each of these three packages; they might help you decide which package works best for you at each stage of the process.

2. Using Windows Deployment Services

Unlike Windows 7 AIK and MDT 2010, which are stand-alone products largely devoted to the design and creation of images, WDS is a service included in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 that is dedicated primarily to the task of deploying images across the network. Using WDS, you can boot bare-metal reference and target computers across the network without having to burn CDs or create bootable flash drives. Once started, a reference or target computer can then download a workstation image file from the WDS server and install it using the Setup.exe program.

2.1. Understanding WDS Communications

For a bare-metal computer to start without a local boot device, it must have a network interface adapter that is compliant with the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) standard. PXE includes a basic TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) client that includes support for the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). When the computer starts and finds no local boot device, it transmits broadcast messages that search for a DHCP server on the network.

The normal function of a DHCP server is to provide clients with IP addresses and other TCP/IP configuration parameters. In this case, however, the DHCP server, which can run on the same server as WDS, also supplies the client computer with the location of the WDS server on the network. After the PXE network adapter has configured its TCP/IP client, it connects to the WDS server and downloads a boot image by using the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP).

The boot image contains Windows PE startup files and a setup client that enables the user at the reference or target computer to select and install a workstation image from those stored on the WDS server, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Install Windows Wizard generated by Windows Deployment Services

2.2. Configuring a WDS Server

In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008, WDS takes the form of a Windows Deployment Services role that you must install with the Server Manager console, as shown in Figure 2. The server must be a member of—or a domain controller for—an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain, and there must be a DHCP server and a Domain Name System (DNS) server on the network.

Figure 2. The Add Roles Wizard in the Server Manager console

After you install the role, you configure WDS by using the Windows Deployment Services console. During the configuration process, you specify the location of the remote installation folder, which is the deployment share that computers on the network use to obtain images. The configuration wizard shares the folder using the share name REMINST, and it creates the directory structure that contains the images and other files, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The directory structure created by Windows Deployment Services

With the deployment share in place, you can begin populating it with images. WDS requires you to add at least one boot image and one install image. A boot image is a Windows Imaging file that contains Windows PE boot files and the setup program that WDS uses on the client desktop. An install image contains the installation files for an operating system.

2.3. Using WDS as a Complete Deployment Solution

Every Windows 7 installation disk contains, in the Sources folder, a boot image file called Boot.wim and an install image called Install.wim. These are the default images containing the Windows PE boot files and the Windows 7 operating system installation files, respectively. For a small deployment project, or one in which you do not intend to create your own images, you can simply add the Boot.wim and Install.wim images in the Windows Deployment Services console and proceed to start your PXE-enabled workstations. This saves you from having to insert a DVD or other distribution disk into the workstation drive, and it even enables you to install Windows 7 on workstations with no DVD drives at all.

2.3.1. Using WDS with Non-PXE Clients

Not all computers have network interface adapters that support PXE, but you can still use WDS to deploy install images to computers that cannot download a boot image over the network. Using the Windows Deployment Services console, you can convert the standard Boot.wim image into a discover image.

A discover image contains boot files and also enables the client to locate and connect to the WDS server. After the client connects to the server, the process of selecting and installing an install image is the same as on a PXE-compliant workstation.

Discover images do not offer much value to administrators deploying the default Install.wim image because they might as well boot from the original Windows 7 installation disk. However, when you are deploying customized images, creating generic boot CDs containing a discover image can be much easier than burning a lot of individual images to DVDs. You also might find it a valuable alternative when deploying to older workstations that have CD, but not DVD, drives.

2.3.2. Capturing Images with WDS

WDS does not provide tools for creating customized reference computer installations; for this, you must use MDT 2010 and/or Windows 7 AIK. However, you can use WDS as an alternative to the ImageX.exe utility to capture an image of a reference computer. With the files in the Boot.wim image from a Windows 7 disk or the WinPE.wim boot image from Windows 7 AIK, you can use WDS to create a capture image. A capture image is a bootable image that launches the Windows Deployment Services Image Capture Wizard on the reference computer. Using the wizard, you can select the volume you want to capture and automatically upload the install image back to the WDS server. Deploying Images by Using Multicasts

For large-scale workstation deployments, one of the most useful features in WDS is its ability to deploy images by using multicast transmissions. Multicasting is a feature of the Internet Protocol (IP) that enables one system to transmit data to multiple destinations simultaneously. This is sometimes called a one-to-many transmission.

Using unicasts—also called one-to-one transmissions—deploying an image to 10 computers requires the WDS server to transmit the same file 10 times to 10 different IP addresses. Because image files can be several gigabytes in size, this method can consume a large amount of network bandwidth. Deploying hundreds of workstations can therefore bring even the fastest network to a standstill.

In WDS multicasting, the server transmits the image file only once, to a special multicast group address. The workstations to be deployed, on connecting to the server, join the group and begin receiving the transmission. When you configure a WDS server to use multicasting, you select an image file and specify how you want to initiate the transmission. Multicasts can start automatically when the first client requests the image, you can start them manually, or you can schedule them to start at a specific time, using the interface shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Scheduling multicasts in Windows Deployment Services



In Windows Server 2008 R2, WDS has additional multicasting capabilities, such as support for IPv6 multicasts. You can also configure WDS to automatically disconnect clients that are running below a specified network transmission speed, or you can split the transmission into two or three sessions, running fast and slow, or fast, medium, and slow, using the Transfer Settings options shown in Figure 5. These options enable you to prevent one workstation from affecting the others in the multicast.

Figure 5. Multicast Transfer Settings in Windows Deployment Services

2.4. Using WDS with Windows 7 AIK or MDT 2010

Whenever you have to deploy images to workstations on your network, no matter what means you used to create those images, you can deploy them using WDS. Using WDS frees you from having to create boot disks and installation disks, and it also enables you to take advantage of its multicasting capabilities, thereby reducing the impact of the network deployment process on your network.

When you use Windows 7 AIK or MDT 2010 to deploy workstations, you have to boot them several times. First, you have to boot your reference computer to install Windows 7. Then, you have to boot the reference computer again to capture an image of it. Finally, you have to boot the target workstations to deploy your images on them. You can use WDS to perform any of these boots, and as long as your workstations are PXE-compliant, you do not ever have to burn a boot disk. You can use the Boot.wim image from a Windows 7 installation disk, the WinPE.wim image provided with Windows 7 AIK, or a customized boot image created using MDT 2010.

If you create your install images manually, using the tools in Windows 7 AIK, you can deploy them using WDS, just as you would the standard Install.wim image. If you use MDT 2010, you can boot your workstations by using WDS, but because MDT 2010 creates its own deployment share, there is no need to use WDS to deploy the install images.

Other -----------------
- Configuring Backups and Recovery : Safeguarding Your Computer and Recovering from Disaster & Using Advanced Boot Options
- Microsoft Word 2010 : Sharing Information Between Programs - Exporting and Importing Data
- Microsoft Word 2010 : Playing a Movie Using an ActiveX Control & Changing the Document Information Panel
- Microsoft Visio 2010 : Understanding Relative and Absolute Hyperlinks
- Microsoft Visio 2010 : Linking to Another Visio Page
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 : Setting Privacy Options
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 : Setting Macro Security Options & Changing Message Bar Security Options
- Microsoft Excel 2010 : Displaying Parts of a Table with AutoFilter & Creating Custom Searches
- Microsoft Excel 2010 : Analyzing Worksheet Data - Sorting Data in a Table
- Windows 7 : Resolving Malware Issues (part 3) - Determining When Your System Is Infected with Malware
Top 10
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 2) - Wireframes,Legends
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 1) - Swimlanes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Formatting and sizing lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Adding shapes to lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Sizing containers
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 3) - The Other Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 2) - The Data Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 1) - The Format Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Form Properties and Why Should You Use Them - Working with the Properties Window
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Using the Organization Chart Wizard with new data
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server