Like you didnt know it already, but just in case you missed it, you can pick up your copy of Windows 7 at a retailer near you starting today. Personally, I am very excited about the release because its a great operating system (I've been using it for little over a year now).
There are plenty of blogs, reviews, etc about the OS out there already and what it can do so I wont waste web space doing it here. What I would like to know though are the issues that you see from a servicing perspsective as you start using the OS.
The "everything is faster, snappier" sadly doesn't apply to the servicing mechanism. Servicing is slower, bloated (takes HDD space) and not demonstrably more reliable than Update.exe. Just my honest opinion. Bring back slipstreaming, /nobackup and get rid of the 3-stage "Please wait while Windows configures updates" annoyance at logon and logoff.
Point taken, but honestly, this mechanism is not going to change. I wil say this though, there are certainly servicing operations that are much faster than they were in Vista. An example of this is the Windows Anytime Upgrades, they no longer touch or move user data as they did before and they only enable the features that encompass the new edition being installed. End result is an edition upgrade that takes 10-20mins instead of several hours, so that is an improvement.
That's why my OS of choice, Windows XP isn't going to change either.
And thats cool with me, XP is a great operating system. The problem you will eventually face is that XP is going to reach its end of supportability and will no longer be patched, other than that, you should be just fine.
I guess my curiousity comes in here....why would you choose a legacy OS simply because of update.exe? Unless you have older hardware or an application that really needs XP, which would make sense, I dont see update.exe alone as a compelling reason.
Even if XP reaches its end of life in April 2014, what will Microsoft do about "XP Mode"? Doesn't that need to be patched and maintained? I'm sticking with XP because of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7. MS didn't get time in half a decade (since 2006) to fix these? Only some of them are legacy and only some of them are design changes. Rest of them are bugs which MS calls design changes. Which sucks. XP FTW.
Joseph, something I find slightly fascinating about the \sources\install.wim file, is that the images inside cannot be directly applied to a system by Imagex, but require installation with setup.exe. This tells me that the install.wim build process is a little more comprehensive than running 'sysprep /generalize'. Could you provide a little insight to this? I want to know about Microsoft's super Sysprep tool. :-)
Sysprep just generalizes the WIM so that you dont have to worry about duplicate names once an image is deployed. Also, I'm pretty sure I have applied base install.WIMs to systems before using IMAGEX, what error are you getting when doing this?
Actually, i don't think i've tried to install an image from the install.wim on the product DVD, because i'm sure the WAIK documentation says that this is not supported. Going through the latest documentation i can't find this reference, so maybe i've confused this issue with something else. I'll try applying an install.wim SKU with Imagex and see how it goes then.