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Cross-Platform Deployment

You can create a single preinstallation environment to install multiple versions of Windows operating systems. For example, you can use a 32-bit preinstallation environment to deploy both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.

noteNote
Cross-platform deployments of Itanium-based Windows images are not supported. Additionally, deploying a 32-bit image from a 64-bit preinstallation environment is not currently supported.

There are several ways to perform this scenario:

  • Update the default Install.wim file to include a 64-bit version of Windows.
    Change the default Install.wim file in the /Sources directory to include a 64-bit version of Windows. During Windows Setup, the 64-bit version of Windows will be installed. If there are multiple Windows images of the same edition that apply to different architecture types, you must either select the correct Windows image during Setup or specify the MetaData setting in an answer file.
  • Use the command-line /installfrom option of Setup.exe.
    By using the /installfrom option of Setup.exe, you can specify a path to a different Install.wim file during Windows Setup and facilitate the deployment of Windows images for different architecture types. For more information, see Windows Setup Command-Line Options.
  • Use an answer file for unattended installations.
    By using an answer file with the \ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallFrom\Path setting that is specified in the Microsoft-Windows-Setup component, you can perform cross-platform deployments during unattended installations.

Automatically Selecting a Windows Image to Install

If there are both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows editions in a .wim file, you must choose which Windows image to install. You can either select the correct Windows image in the user interface in attended installations or, in unattended installations, use the MetaData setting.

The MetaData setting is used to specify which image to install. Use the ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallFrom\Metadata Key and Value settings in the Microsoft-Windows-Setup component to specify which Windows image to install. For example, if there are two versions of the Windows Vista Ultimate for different architecture types in a Windows image—the 32-bit edition of Windows Vista Ultimate and the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate—you must specify metadata that corresponds to the image index, the name, the description, or the architecture type. For the architecture type metadata, use 0 for 32-bit and 9 for 64-bit. For more information, see the MetaData setting in the Unattended Windows Setup Reference.

The answer file must include processor-specific components. The preinstallation settings in the windowsPE pass must match the architecture type of the preinstallation environment and the settings that apply to the Windows image must match the architecture type of the image. For example, if you are creating an answer file that deploys 64-bit images from a 32-bit preinstallation environment, all components in the answer file for the windowsPE pass must include the processor type attribute of x86. Settings to be applied in the specialize and generalize passes or in other passes must include the processor attribute type of amd64.

Installing 64-bit Drivers

You can install 64-bit drivers to a Windows image during Windows Setup in one of the following ways:

  • In attended installations, press F6 during Windows Setup. Follow the user interface (UI) instructions to install one or more drivers.
  • In unattended installations, use the Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsWinPE or Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsNonWinPE components in an answer file to specify a driver path. For more information, see the Unattended Windows Setup Reference.

Limitations of Cross-Platform Deployments

  • Only x64 (AMD64) Windows editions are supported from 32-bit preinstallation environments for cross-architecture deployments. Cross-platform deployments of Itanium-based Windows images are not supported. Additionally, deploying a 32-bit image from a 64-bit preinstallation environment is not currently supported.
  • Cross-platform deployments of multilingual Windows images that require language pack installations are not supported. 32-bit language packs cannot be installed onto 64-bit Windows images. For cross-platform installations, language-pack package "Add" actions are ignored because the architecture of the language pack must match the architecture of the Windows image. It is recommended that language packs be installed to the offline Windows image before deployment.
  • Installing a 64-bit Windows image to a 32-bit computer results in an unsuccessful installation. Ensure that you are installing 64-bit Windows images on 64-bit-capable computers.
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