What’s New in Windows Automated Installation Kit?

Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is a collection of tools and documentation that you can use to automate the deployment of the Windows operating system. Windows AIK is one of several resources that you can use to deploy Windows; for example, tools and software such as the Microsoft® Deployment Toolkit and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager use components of Windows AIK to create system images and automate operating system installations. Whether you use the Windows AIK by itself or in conjunction with these tools, it is beneficial to know the how the foundational tools included in Windows AIK work.

Windows AIK is ideal for highly customized environments. The tools in Windows AIK enable you to configure many deployment options, and they provide a high degree of flexibility. The corporate deployment environment varies from one company to another; therefore, depending on your business needs and resources, you may choose to use all or only parts of the resources available in Windows AIK.

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) consolidates multiple imaging tools

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool is used to customize Windows images in a variety of ways. 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.

New DISM tools replace many of the tools in previous releases of Windows AIK, including Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), the International Settings Configuration Tool (Intlcfg.exe), and the Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) command-line tool (PEimg.exe).

Check out the online demonstration of DISM.

User State Migration Tool is now part of Windows AIK

Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) is now installed as part of Windows AIK. You can use USMT 4.0 to streamline and simplify user profile migration during large deployments of the Windows Vista® and Windows 7 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 side-by-side and wipe-and-load migrations.

Check out the online demonstration of USMT 4.0.

New Windows default disk partition structure

The default Windows installation now includes support for a separate system partition. In clean default installations, Windows Setup creates two partitions on a hard disk: One partition can be used for recovery tools and to enable Windows BitLocker™ Drive Encryption or other features. The second partition can be used to install the operating system. New information about the default disk-partition configuration and recommended disk-partition configurations are described in the Windows AIK 2.0 documentation.

Optimize Windows PE image

You can now use the new DISM.exe /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, this can be used for deploying a Windows PE image to a USB flash drive (UFD). You can also use DISM.exe to customize a Windows PE image offline. DISM enables you to add and remove drivers, Windows PE components, and language packs.

Deploy virtual hard disks with native boot

In Windows 7, 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. Windows 7 disk management tools, the DiskPart tool, and the Disk Management snap-in in Microsoft Management Console 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 Windows 7 boot manager can be configured to boot the WIM file from the VHD. For more information, see the “Understanding Virtual Hard Disks with Native Boot” chapter in the Windows AIK documentation.