Seven tools for Windows 7 rollouts
Upgrade from XP or Vista to Windows 7? You'll want these free tools.
By Ron Barrett | Network World US | Published: 15:49, 22 October 2009
Now that we have looked at tools that help assess apps and devices, tools that prepare and configure images, systems and user profiles, the next thing we need is a set of tools for managing the actual deployment of Windows 7. MDT provides documentation, links, component downloads, and the ability to create deployment shares, import an operating system from source files, WIM image or WDS image. You can import service pack files and drivers and even add applications to be deployed from either source files or a network share.
This tools uses task sequences to configure the installation from the initialization step through the post installation steps and state restoration. Here you can set things like applying the network settings for the machine, install the application packages you imported, enable BitLocker and then some. All these tasks take place virtually hands off (zero touch installations can be yours if you happen to use System Center Configuration Manager 2007). The MDT makes deploying Windows 7 an easy, and dare I say, enjoyable process for the enterprise administrator.
Another great tool for deploying Windows 7 is WDS. Introduced in Windows 2008, WDS is actually an update to the RIS server role of Windows Server 2003. WDS allows you to create an image of the Windows 7 installation files and then to centrally locate those files on the network. WDS supports multicast deployments, creating custom images and unattended installations. Wizards make setting up images and deploying simple. There are pre-requisites to consider for clients that will attach to WDS and install an image or OS, but overall this is an easy, straightforward way to deploy Windows 7 in your organization.
A final word of advice
I have found throughout my career (which has been mostly in the SMB market) that many IT shops will ignore these tools because they seem to be geared towards enterprise deployments. While that may be true, most of the tools in this list are still if e interest to an SMB who wants a reliable, easy and efficient transition from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7. Plus, as we pointed out before, these tools are free. I hope they help make your world….A Better Windows World!