That title isn’t as self-questioning as it may sound; I think I know the answer….I think. The first thing I’m doing is a bit of a back to basics review of Windows 7 deployment and I still think there’s plenty of folks out there who are going to be doing the same right now; so I thought I’d share.

We (eek I can say we!) have a group of fantastic tools that help with deployment on Windows and if you’ve not really looked at Windows deployment since Windows XP you’ll be needing the same kind of refresher that I’m doing. Even if you’ve deployed Vista you need to take a look at the latest tools.

Note: Important note here, I’m skipping bit. I’m skipping out the bit where you’ll have planned the ass off of your deployment – I’ll come back to it – but for now I’m skipping the Application Compatibility stuff, I’m skipping the bit where you make sure you know what you’ve got in your company.

imageSo let’s take a look at the tools, what do you have to play with. WAIK up!

The Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) is a really good place to start and can be downloaded from here. There’s a whole bunch of features packed into the WAIK and it’s an essential first step in terms of tools. I’m not going to go through a list of each tool, that’s kind of boring at this stage, but the documentation is the rocket to moon in terms of getting started with deployment.

This is where we have a step by step guide to doing your first deployment (install through imaging to deployment) – more on this in the next post, including the tricks to do it using Virtual PC so you can play in your own sandbox without annoying the other kids. There’s also the full documentation for every entry possible in the unattended answer file which is now a single XML as opposed to the old multiple text file stuff we used in the deployments of yore.

Ok, that’s it for now…go download the WAIK, next time I’ll impart some tips for playing with the step by step guide in a VM environment.