For the first time since Windows NT, Microsoft has dramactically improved how users, enterprises, PC makers, and OEMs configure, install, and deploy Windows. New capabilities, such as offline servicing and the ability to create just one install image for multiple hardware configurations, make Windows deployment easier than ever. But if you're an IT administrator who'll need to deploy Windows Vista either now or in the future, you've got a lot to learn.
It's All About Image: Vista is deployed via a file-based image - similar to an ISO or virtual hard disk file - instead of a complex directory structure of files. You can edit a Vista image live and can easily create custom install images. Furthermore, Microsoft is distributing only one Vista image instead of a different image for each product edition. (Technically, there are actually two images: one for 32-bit versions and one for x64 versions.) The product key you use during installation determines which edition is installed from the image and which features are available to the user. Vista is also internally componentized, making it easier to choose exactly which applications and features will be installed.