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Best of Questions and Answers from Webcast: Tools and Techniques for Managing a Windows Vista Desktop Deployment (May 3, 2006)

Windows Vista Start ButtonBelow I’ve pasted an edited and cleaned up copy of most of the Q&A from today’s webcast on Tools and Techniques for Managing a Windows Vista Desktop Deployment (Level 200)

HUGE thank you to John Baker, Kai Axford, and John Weston for handling the Q&A on the back-end, and who’s work this really represents.


Questions and Answers:

“Can event-triggered tasks such as defrag be enforced to an enterprise via Group Policy?”

There are about another 1700 policies available for Vista, I’m not sure that that is one of the additional settings. Check this link for more info http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/library/gpol/a8366c42-6373-48cd-9d11-2510580e4817.mspx?mfr=true

“What is the size of the Virtual Store? Does it change in size dynamically?”

It is dynamic.

“Had to answer my phone, can you recap the process if a document is left open, and the system tries to patch?”

The system will get patched and the application will be reopened to the document it was on when the patch was installed.

“Does the application save and restore work with vista aware applications or all apps?”

As long as the apps use a common an documented response to commands for closing and saving un-saved work, then the app will be supported by this.

“Does imaging similar to norton ghost? or is it different?”

It is file based rather than sector based.

“They said that the users credentials were not stored on the system but rather on the Active Drectory domain… which is great until a laptop user needs to travel with their system. At that point would the credentials need to be transfered to the laptop?”

My understanding is that they are stored in both locations, so that you can easily recover them…sorta like EFS keys

“If I delete an AD account accidently, what’s the best way to recovery it in Vista or in W2K3?”

The easiest way would be to be darned sure you WANT to delete before you do…other than that you’re looking at doing a authoritative restore, since the change will be replicated to all the DCs.

“Does this mean that you don’t need a third party tool for file images?  Vista does it all?”

Ximage and the .wim file format should be all you need.  You’ll download, install, and use the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) tools, which includes ImageX and the Windows Image System Manager (replaces Setup Manager).  See http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/expert/ximage.mspx

“Can the image based installation be used for all processes, including lite touch, no touch, etc.?”

Check http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/expert/ximage.mspx  You have several options, e.g. the WIM image format also lets you store multiple images within one actual file.

“Will this system be able to be used with RIS or will RIS images? Or will I have to reimage my older machines with this new system?”

Windows Deployment Services (WDS). WDS is the next version of Microsoft Remote Installation Services (RIS). WDS provides for the storage, management, and deployment of images. It uses the PXE boot process to install the operating system, including bare-metal installations.

“Is it already clear if the tool will be called ImageX or XImage?”

I don’t think that has been finialized yet. Notice Kevin’s slides have been updated to imagex, but the build he is using 5326, still calls the command ximage.

(Note: I also actually just copied the ximage.exe file and renamed it imagex.exe, just to be in-line with what the more current builds and information about the name have said. 

“May be a stupid question, but will Vista still run on NTFS?”

Yes it will.  More info here: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/LocFileSys.mspx great whitepaper

“Where/how can I get WDS?”

Check http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/deploy/depenhnc.mspx

“Ok that link is info, which is good but is WDS currently avaiable or is it something that will be available in the future?”

I thought there was a link in there… this one has the info http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/library/88f80cb7-d44f-47f7-a10d-e23dd53bc3fa.mspx#BKMK_3

“Will SMS OSD and Vista be able to use the same WIM files in the near future?”

SMS 4.0 (now named “System Center Configuration Manager”) OSD will be able to use the .wim format.

“Sorry, I must have missed something, but how was install.win created?”

You didn’t miss anything, for speed of demo, we have used a pre-created install.wim  It was captured from a running copy of Vista with the ximage /capture command.

“Can you use the technology being discussed to deploy Windows XP SP2 or Server 2003?”

You certainly can capture and restore images, but I don’t know if you’ll be able to use System Image Manager to further tweak the installation using the unattend.xml file.  I haven’t heard anything about that yet.

“When will the Windows System Image Manager be ready for downloading. Will it ready for download when Visat Beta is ready.”

I don’t know if it will be out at the same time as the next Beta.  I certainly hope so.

“Do I need to pay anything to become a beta tester of vista?”

Current TechNet Plus or MSDN subscribers get the current beta, but you can sign up for future beta’s here: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/beta/preregister.mspx

“Will the SID change automatically or does it need to be scripted to change in a deployment?”

You’ll still need to do SysPrep to remove SIDs prior to taking an image.

“Is there a document yet that lists all the steps for deployment in some detail that were covered in this webcast? I’m looking for a sort of roadmap to plan create and deploy a Vista image from scratch and then transfer users settings?”

Best place I know to send you is: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/deploy/default.mspx

“If files with different names but the same hash value exist, will it conserve space and not copy duplicates of those as well? Instead rename them appropriately when deploying?”

No.. I don’t think it is THAT smart. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it’s based on the name AND a hash. I’ll double-check though.

“Ok a simple question regarding deployment. Is WDS downloadable? What do I need to do to get a copy of the software to use?”

I don’t know when it’s going to be available.  I know you’ll be able to run it from Windows Server 2003 as well as Longhorn Server, but when it will be available I just don’t know. You can, however, count on it being a free tool.

“The last couple of CTP releases have required a 14G boot disk. The is over 7 time the requirement of Windows XP. Is there a repartitioning tool provided for deployment to repartition a disk to be large enough to upgrade from xp to Vista?”

Not that I’m aware of, no.

“Is it possible to encrypt the local admin password in the unattend.xml”

No, it’s not. You’re best bet is to use Group Policy to apply a new password for that account so that it will be applied after it’s first come up. That password is protected.

Here is my blog resource page for this session again:


You can't miss with Windows Vista!