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Using Windows PE and ImageX for Deployment

Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) and ImageX are the primary tools for deploying Windows Vista.

Windows PE is a minimal Win32 subsystem with limited services, based on the Windows Vista kernel running in protected mode. It contains the minimal functionality that you need to run Setup, install Windows from a network share, automate basic processes, and perform hardware validation.

Windows PE was developed specifically to address desktop and server deployment scenarios. In the past, MS-DOS boot disks were used for system configuration and operating system installation. While support for MS-DOS becomes more difficult to find, Windows PE provides a lightweight, 32-bit environment that leverages the drivers and basic features of the Windows operating system.

ImageX is a Microsoft imaging technology that works with Windows PE to capture, modify, and apply installation images for deployment in a manufacturing or corporate environment.

Windows PE and ImageX are used throughout this guide. For a detailed discussion of each of these technologies, see Windows PE Technical Reference and ImageX Technical Reference.

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