With the business launch of Windows Vista on November 30, 2006, and the general release of the operating system on January 30, 2007, Microsoft introduced a variety of changes compared to Windows XP. The fact of the matter is that Vista brings to the table an evolved infrastructure over Windows XP. And this detail has a direct impact on the deployment process of the platform. End users are less affected by the architectural evolution of Vista, the corporate environment being impacted the most.
The first thing that users should be aware of when migrating to Windows Vista is the size of the operating
system’s images. While XP images could be limited to a maximum of 700 MB, the same is not the case with Vista. Once installed, the latest Microsoft operating system will have a footprint of over 5 GB, but just a compressed image of Vista can be in excess of 2 GB.
The second detail involves the User Account Control built into the operating system. Even though the UAC is just a method from restricting user privileges, the model is regarded as one of the security mitigations delivered by Windows Vista. Limiting users to run with standard privileges, Microsoft has considerably reduced the attacks on the operating system, but at the same time implemented enhancements over XP with the elevation of privileges process and the use of Group Policy.
Vista is a product mirroring Microsoft’s vision of a componentized operating system, the third thing to keep in mind. In this context, additions to Vista, from security updates, to language packs, to drivers, and even to service packs are regarded as components of the platform’s architecture.
The fourth and fifth details are connected with the setup and the installation of Vista. Microsoft has made text mode installation obsolete, and Vista delivers a revamped setup program. This goes hand in hand with Vista’s new boot loader. Boot.ini is out, bootmgr and BCD are in.
Unattend.xml is the single file in Windows Vista which consolidates all the configuration data across the operating system, and the sixth thing to remember. Users will no longer have to deal with multiple and separate text files. The seventh aspect involves the way Windows Vista manages Hardware Abstraction Layers. Vista is designed to automatically detect and install the HAL associated with a certain platform.
The eight aspect is related to Windows PE 2.0. The core deployment foundation for Vista sports increased memory, advanced tools and evolved 1.2-bit and 64-bit networking stacks and solutions performance, streamlining customized installations of the operating system on a large scale.
The ninth thing that you should be aware of is the Windows Imaging (WIM) file format. Vista comes with enhanced support for WIM, enabling the usage of local storage instead of network servers, and cutting traffic. The last detail concerns the deployment of Language Packs. Vista is essentially language-neutral and additional languages can simply be added for personalized images.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Vista Deployment, Knowledgebase