Join Steve Fullmer for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to AIK, part of Windows 7 Enterprise Deployment.
- You've completed the Windows 7 introductory modules, and whether you want to go on into advanced maintenance support or advanced deployment, you need to understand some of the basic tools and approaches that Microsoft offers for supporting Windows 7. Now Windows 7, if you looked at the introduction modules, then you understand what the Windows Image is. And so, it's a different kind of deployment, but Microsoft has provided an entire suite of tools to support that Windows Image format, and the first and most important that you need to understand, again, whether supporting or deploying the Image, is the Windows Automated Installation Kit, or WAIK.
And so, this module is just to give you an introduction into the WAIK. I have a remote connection on my desktop, where I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate, and I'm going to minimize that for a second, if it will let me here. There we go. And on the local desktop here, I've just searched through Bing, and what I searched for was Windows 7 WAIK. Now, you want to be careful when you search for that, because there's a 64 bit and a 32 bit image of the software, although it doesn't really matter, because the WAIK can support both 32 and 64 bit images of the WIM.
This is just about its performance on your OS. And so, when you go to download the Windows Automated Installation Kit, finding it like this, make sure you get it from Microsoft. It's a powerful tool kit. You don't want to get it from a third party. When you go and download it, what you're actually going to download here, and you can look at system requirements for it, if you want, note it takes Windows 7, but you can also run it on Vista, 2003, 2008, 2008R2, and 2012 servers, now that they're out. So, you can run this in many different environments to manage your Windows Image or your Windows Deployment Image.
So, before or after deployment is what we're looking at. When you download this, it's not an executable, as one would often imagine a tool kit might be. It's not even a zipped file. What you're going to end up downloading is an ISO file. And so, on my local desktop, just so you can see what it looks like, I have already downloaded this KB3AIK_EN, because I chose the English version ISO. So, you're going to have to download the ISO, burn that to a DVD or other media, or have software on your system capable of extracting an ISO file.
So, typically you're going to burn it to a DVD and then use the installer. When you go to run the installer for the WAIK, it will aim you at some other tools that you might need, if you're not on Windows 7. You have to have a certain level of essentially screen resolution, graphics drivers, and XML, in order to be able to use the WAIK, and we're not going to go into all of that detail now. I just kind of want to give you an introduction to what it is. So, you're going to download and burn an ISO, and then you're going to install from the ISO to your desktop, and what's going to happen is, it's going to install into, most typically, let me pull up my C drive here under Windows Explorer, under program files, a folder that's going to be called, let me find it for you here, Windows AIK under program files.
I have a 64 bit OS, so it's under the program files, as opposed to program files x86. When I open the folder, I just want to kind of give you a walk through of what's in the WAIK as an introduction. There are several different tool sets that are associated with it, and I'm going to kind of give you a little bit of, here's the directory structure, as well as here's the main components you want to pay attention to in the first pass. Well, if you open the docs, just because it's the first folder, you'll see that there's a number of white papers, and as you get updates for the WAIK, once you've installed it, you can end up with more white papers in HTML format that you can look at, and there's a great deal of online help, really well integrated help, for the different components of the WAIK.
That's the docs folder. The second folder is samples. Because the WAIK helps us to manage the Windows Image file and some of the associated components, they give us some sample files. I'm going to talk about what the answer file is in a different module, but the answer file is one of the most important elements as you're deploying Windows 7, and there's several different examples of the answer file and an answer file checker underneath these samples. The SDK is the software development kit, and this is where the Windows Image API component is stored.
WIMGAPI is the folder, and that's where the API is to allow me to support all of the different kinds of Windows Image files. Now, I'll note, if I look under here, we have the capability to support the 32 bit and the 64's, all of the 64 bit processors, except Itanium, IA64 is for explicitly Itanium 64 bit processor API with your Windows Image file. This allows your Windows Image file to have the elements that support a specific processor.
So, I'm going to back up here and take a look at some of the other components. The tools is really what the Windows Automated Installation Kit is about. And so, we have specific tool sets again for the processor environment, whether it's 32 bit, 64 bit, or Itanium. And then, underneath here we have some other tools. The system image manager allows me to build an answer file that can populate content of the Windows image file at installation time. So, rather than having to manage or modify the Windows Image file independently, you can have a set of answer files, and each answer file might have a different set of settings or call-outs to specific drivers or packages that will be incorporated to your Windows Image file during installation.
If you think back to the basic background that we got in Windows 7 when we boot, we had that separate boot partition that we called the RE or recovery environment. You have the ability to create that same bootable command line only environment onto external media, CDs, DVDs, or a thumb drive even, as long as it's bootable for your system, so that you can boot into that environment from external media. PE tools gives you the ability to build that PE environment independently.
The servicing environment is where we have DISM and other tools that allow me to effectively mount the Windows Image file by expanding it, to be able to inject content into it, called slipstreaming, and then recompress the Windows Image file for deployment. So, the deployment and Image management tools are here under servicing, the servicing folder. I have the user state migration tool for 32 and 64 bit environments. That's what allows me to go and grab all of the user settings from a Windows XP or Windows Vista box that I'm then going to replace or restore after I deploy my Windows 7 Image.
This also works for Windows 8. And so, this tool is a very very powerful tool set to allow me to do side-by-side or wipe and load migrations when I can't upgrade because of incompatibility. That's the user state migration tool, one of the tools of the WAIK. If you're in a volume licensing environment, okay, so you might be using KMS or MAK, there's a volume activation management tool that allows you to integrate that into your Windows Image during deployment as well.
And so, lots of tools that are available here under the WAIK that you will need in order to be able to maintain your Windows Image after deployment or customize it pre-deployment. That's just a brief window of the WAIK, where you want to go to find it at Microsoft, and we're going to go deeper into all of these parts in future videos.