Windows Automated Installation Kit or Windows AIK as it is popularly known is a system that has been produced by Microsoft to help deploy the Windows Operating System to target computers or to a Virtual Hard Disk. It is a collection of tools and technologies that helps IT professionals to set up Windows on any specified computer. Windows AIK version 1.0 was released with Windows Vista but a new improved version known as Windows AIK 2.0 came out with Windows 7. In this article we are going to find out how Windows AIK can be used to deploy Windows 7 on a computer.
There are three sources from which Windows AIK supports deploying the WOS (Windows Operation System). These are:
In this case the destination computer is used to run the Windows setup with the help of a Windows product DVD. After this the installation needs to be manually customized, audited, and finally resealed.
A shared network is used in this case to deploy an image of the reference installation. The image can be customized after this as per necessity.
In the case of the server option a blank destination computer is connected to the network. After this one needs to boot the same from the network by using PXE boot and finally the image to be installed is chosen.
These have been explained in detail below:
Install from Media-
When doing the install from Media the idea is to create a repeatable process. The first step is to create a configuration set with the help of Windows System Image Manager used within the WAIK. This set will comprise of an answer file and some additional components like custom drivers and applications that are needed to complete this installation. The next step is to store this on a removable media like a flash drive. One needs to then insert this into the destination computer and boot from the media. Once the installation is complete, one needs to use Sysprep to generalize the install and it is all ready for shipping to the client.
Install from Network–
In this case too the reference machine can be created using the install from media process. Once a satisfactory reference image has been generated the capture tools option in WAIK is used to copy the image to a network share. The next step is to install the image onto a destination computer. For this boot the destination computer with the help of Windows PE, then connect it to the network share and make the use of ImageX to apply the image. This method is a bit quicker as compared to the media one and also one does get a much more customized image.
Install from Server-
The third and final option detailed in the WAIK is deployment from server. This method is actually identical to the process of deployment through network with only one difference. In this case one needs to use a server that has Windows Deployment Server role installed. With the help of this the images can be stored centrally and the requests from the client machines can be responded to when they are being booted using PXE. The client has the option of choosing the images they want from a menu that shows the available ones and once they have selected the image, installation proceeds.
Windows AIK is popularly used for small deployments of initials set ups of Windows Operating System.