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New Features in the Windows AIK

Published: October 22, 2009

Updated: July 8, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7

This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

This topic describes many of the new features available in this release of the Windows® Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK).

Manage Images with the Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool (DISM)

You can use DISM to customize Windows images. For example, you can:

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

  • Add or remove language packs.

  • Enable or disable Windows features.

  • Add and configure updates.

The new DISM tools replace 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 Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) command-line tool (PEimg.exe).

For more information about the new features included in DISM, see Deployment Image Servicing and Management Technical Reference.

Migrate User Accounts with the User State Migration Tool

The User State Migration Toolkit (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 the 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 it migrates them to a new Windows installation. You can use USMT for both side-by-side and wipe-and-load migrations.

For more information, see the User State Migration Tool User’s Guide (Usmt.chm). By default, this User’s Guide is installed to %PROGRAMFILES%\Windows AIK\Docs\CHMs.

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 Windows® BitLocker® Drive Encryption, or for other features. You use the second partition to install the operating system. New information about the default disk-partition configuration and recommended disk-partition configurations is included in the Understanding Disk Partitions topic.

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.

Partitions that Do Not Appear in Windows Explorer

[May 2010] You can configure a partition type ID so that the partition does not appear in standard Windows tools and dialog boxes, such as Windows Explorer or dialog boxes that are used to open and save files.

When you format a drive using the DiskPart tool, the partition type ID type is removed. To properly configure the partition, format the drive first, and then set the partition type ID. For more information, see Recommended BIOS-Based Disk-Partition Configurations and Recommended UEFI-Based Disk-Partition Configurations.

Select Windows Editions During Deployment

[May 2010] A product key is not required to install Windows. If you do not enter a product key during installation, the activation clock gives testers and end users a 30-day grace period during which Windows activation is not required. To automate Windows installation without using a product key, you can specify a Windows image by using the Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallFrom\MetaData setting. For more information, see the topics: Work with Product Keys and Activation and Best Practices for Image Deployment.

Change Windows Editions During Deployment

You can reduce the number of images you maintain in your environment by using the Image Upgrade tool in DISM. Instead of maintaining separate Windows images for each Windows edition you want to deploy, you can maintain a single Windows image that you customize. During deployment, you can use DISM to upgrade the Windows image to a higher Windows edition. This feature enables you to reduce the number of Windows images you need to maintain in your organization. For more information, see Change the Windows Image to a Higher Edition.

Boot Windows PE from a UEFI-based Hard Disk

[May 2010] You can boot Windows PE directly from a hard disk on a UEFI-based computer with an AMD64 architecture instead of into a RAM disk. For more information, see Walkthrough: Boot Windows PE from a UEFI-based Hard Disk.

Optimize Windows PE Image

You can use DISM with the new /Apply-Profile option to reduce the contents in a Windows PE image to only those files necessary to support a given set of applications. For example, you can use the /Apply-Profile option for deploying a Windows PE image to a USB flash drive (UFD). For more information, see Walkthrough: Create an Optimized Windows PE Image.

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 MMC can be used to create a bootable virtual hard disk (.vhd) file. A generalized image (.wim) file 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. For more information, see Understanding Virtual Hard Disks with Native Boot.

Manage Windows Activation with the Volume Activation Management Tool

The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) enables network administrators and other IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the Windows volume activation process for computers in their organization. The VAMT can manage volume activation using multiple activation keys (MAKs) or the Windows Key Management Service (KMS).

For more information, see the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) documentation (Vamt.chm). By default, Vamt.chm is installed to %PROGRAMFILES%\Windows AIK\Docs\CHMs.

Set the Default Time Zone

[May 2010] You can set the default time zone by using the tzutil command-line utility. For more information, see Tzutil Command-Line Options.

New Unattended Setup Settings

The following table describes some of the important new configurable settings for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These settings are available in most Windows images and can be manipulated in Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).


Setting Description


Enables you to automatically generalize a Windows image after installation is complete. When you generalize a Windows image, hardware-specific information is removed, enabling you to capture and reuse that image throughout your environment. This new setting enables you to automatically generalize a Windows image during deployment. For example, you can configure Windows to boot to audit mode, automatically install applications, or run scripts as RunSynchronous commands. Then you can configure the Generalize setting to generalize the Windows image and shut down the computer.

The following XML code example shows how to use the Generalize setting.



Assists in setting up partition types, including recovery partitions. The following XML code example shows how to use the TypeID setting:



Enables you to configure the taskbar with a custom application and icon. The following XML code example shows how to configure the NotificationArea setting:


Additional settings may be new or updated for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information, see the Windows® Unattended Setup Reference.

Deprecated Tools

The following tools are deprecated in this release. If you have an existing automated environment that uses these tools, you will need to modify the environment to support the new DISM command-line tool 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 includes them.

  • 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. PEimg.exe is the command-line tool 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 offline to install, remove, or update Windows packages. 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 that you update your environment to support DISM for all Windows 7 installations.

  • 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 command. This tool is not available with this release of the Windows AIK.

  • VSP1CLN.exe. The Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (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.

Documentation Updates

This section describes documentation that is new or significantly updated for this release.

Windows Automated Installation Kit Scenarios

New documentation that describes the end-to-end scenarios for Windows deployment is detailed in Windows Automated Installation Kit Scenarios. If you are new to the Windows AIK, or want to understand the differences between low-volume and high-volume deployment scenarios, you should review these topics.

New and Improved Conceptual Information

New topics in the Preinstallation Concepts section describe the fundamental concepts of the Windows deployment technologies. New and improved sections include Understanding Disk Partitions, Understanding Battery Life and Power Plans, and Understanding Application Preinstallation.

Revised Table of Contents and Index Entries

[October 2009] This release of the documentation includes a revised table of contents. Topics in Windows Preinstallation Phases are now organized according to the end-to-end process flow. In addition, index entries have been updated and revised.

Incorporated previous release notes

[October 2009] This release incorporates previous release notes, including corrections to steps and examples.

Failure Analysis and Log Files

[October 2009] This is a new topic on the relationship between common deployment scenarios and their associated log files.

Updated Sections

[October 2009] This release contains updates to the following areas: disk management, product key and activation clock, the generalize process, the diskpart tool, and Windows RE.

See Also

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