Perform a rapid rollout of Windows 7 using Windows Deployment Services

If you are like me you are counting the days until you can deploy Windows 7 on your network.  For months Microsoft representatives have been touring the country evangelizing for Windows 7. They have been running 7 on their personal laptops since the beta and are excited to talk about a version of Windows that is more fun than Vista. Don’t get me wrong, Vista is a fine operating system with many great features but, well, it hasn’t been the most beloved version of Windows ever released.  Windows 7 in fact is an upgrade to Vista that builds on Vista’s strengths and adds zippier performance, new features, and a fun interface that gives it a personality.

So how can we get Windows 7 installed on our desktops and laptops? How about WDS? Windows Deployment Services is a Role that can be installed on Windows Server 2003 R2 or Windows Server 2008. I recommend the 2008 version to take advantage of the latest features.

WDS requires that Active Directory, DHCP and DNS services be available on the Network.

WDS has server functionality that includes PXE server, unicast and multicast capabilities

WDS can create a deployable image file of Windows 7 by using Capture Image. A Capture Image is a special version of WindowsPE that creates an image file of a Windows 7 computer and uploads the file to the WDS server. The WDS server can then distribute the image to many computers across the network.

Just in time for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Microsoft has added some enhancements to WDS. One of the best is Dynamic Driver Provisioning which allows WDS admins to add needed drivers when applying a standard image to non-default hardware. Also WDS can now send multicast streams at an optimal rate for each client participating in a multicast. Faster computers can complete the image download sooner than older machines. This feature is called

Multicast with Multiple Stream Transfer.  The USMT has been improved with the ability to migrate local files to a new installation of Windows without copying or moving files.

Check out the latest innovations in system deployment at the Microsoft team blog at:

http://blogs.technet.com/windowssystemdeployment/archive/2009/01/20/windows-7-deployment-changes.aspx

-Mark Menges

Related Courses:

First Look: Windows 7 Beta for IT Professionals

Implementing and Administering Windows 7 in the Enterprise

Updating Your Technology Knowledge of Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 Beta

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