Deploying Vista

Labs, Labs, Labs!

Don't just learn about Vista's new deployment Tools, learn by using Vista's new deployment tools.


"Shows you how to get Vista onto one PC or a thousand with the least effort possible!"

a one day hands-on course developed and presented by Rhonda Layfield , co-author of Mastering Windows Server  2003 Upgrade Edition for SP1 & R2 from Sybex

Schedule of dates and cities •  Course Objectives  •  Prerequisites •  Course Outline  •   Course Materials  •  Bring a Class to Your Site  About the Instructor

Course Objectives

Quick, now:  how many of Microsoft's pre-Vista deployment tools have you tried and found useful Winnt.sif, Sysprep, RIS, Setup Manager? If you answered "just Sysprep," then get ready for a pleasant surprise. Vista's new deployment tools may save you a bunch of money. With the arrival of Vista, Microsoft now offers a far more nearly-complete deployment solution than they've delivered before, but while the new deployment tools are good news, the bad news is that they are not very intuitive. In fact, Vista's new tools can be rather overwhelming at first glance. In just one day, this hands-on course will introduce you to all those tools. This course takes you from booting a bare metal machine to a complete custom installation of Windows Vista. Upon completion of this course not only will you have step-by-step guides to take back to your own test labs to help you get started, you will have performed each step with a Vista deployment specialist standing by ready to answer your questions.

Key Seminar Benefits

  • Learn Microsoft's new free Windows Image Format that can replace imaging tools like Ghost and Drive Image
  • Create and test a bootable Windows Pre-Installation Environment (WinPE), Vistas alternative to DOS boot floppies
  • Learn how to customize a WinPE with new drivers and tools
  • Build a custom Vista OS image using the imagex and wdscapture tools
  • Learn how to apply a custom Vista OS using imagex and WDS (Windows Deployment Service) server
  • Create and manage a WDS server, the Vista alternative to RIS
  • Get in-depth experience building custom answer files using the new Windows System Image Manager (WSIM)

Hands-on Labs

  • Create and test a WinPE image
  • Create and test a custom WinPE to simplify system installations
  • Export an OS from the default install.wim
  • Create and install a Vista installation image from the command line
  • Update an offline image file with new drivers
  • Create answer files using Windows System Image Manager (WSIM)
  • Install and configure a Windows Deployment Service (WDS) server
  • Create a WDS boot image
  • Create a WDS Capture Boot Program
  • Capture a Vista installation image via WDS
  • Deploy a Vista installation image (including an answer file) via WDS


Anyone taking this course should have a basic understanding of networking and experience installing Microsoft operating systems. A working knowledge of a virtual environment (either VirtualPC or VMWare) would be helpful but is not required. 

Course Outline

  1. Introduction:  Microsoft's new Deployment Tools

    First, let's meet our new arsenal of rollout technologies. In this section you will learn the benefits of Microsoft's new imaging technology and get a chance to meet the new deployment tools.

    1. Microsoft's free answer to Ghost: the Windows Imaging Format technology
    2. The Solution Accelerator Business Desktop Deployment 2007 (BDD 2007): the big setup wizard
    3. Building a technician machine

    4. DOS boot floppies, bye-bye! WinPE, "Vista junior", simplifies getting installs rolling
    5. ImageX, the all-purpose Vista imaging tool
    6. Windows Deployment Service (WDS), RIS's successor, centralizes your Vista images
    7. Isn't a command prompt a command prompt? Not necessarily — meet the Windows PE Tools Command Prompt
    8. Introduction to installation: Vista installation mechanics in three minutes, or "Meet the WIMs"


  2. Every Installation's Foundation: Intro to WinPE 2.0

    A bare metal machine has either no operating system or one you would like to get rid of. So, step one is to get the bare metal machine booted with networking capablities. The Windows Pre-Installation Environment (WinPE) has been around for a while, but was previously only available to Software Assurance (SA) customers.  WinPE is now available to us all. That is important because WinPE is the boot environment needed to load the Vista installation image. In this section you will create a WinPE using the command line tools copype.cmd, imagex.exe, peimg.exe and oscdimg.exe.


    1. Learning what WinPE can do for you

    2. Exploring what is in the WAIK's winpe.wim
    3. Mounting your winpe.wim
    4. Adding built-in support packages to your WinPE
    5. Unmounting the image so it can be made into a bootable ISO
    6. Converting winpe.wim into a bootable ISO
    7. Ensuring your WinPE boots by testing and exploring the tools available in a default WinPE


  3. Going Further: Customizing and Enhancing WinPE

    Creating a default WinPE will get your bare metal machine booted, but that's about it. The WAIK includes packages that you can add to your WinPE and adding device drivers and tools are a snap, once you know how. In this section we will create a custom WinPE by injecting packages, tools and device drivers.


    1. Creating a custom WinPE
    2. Injecting network drivers into your WinPE
    3. Adding a tool to your WinPE
    4. Adding a package to your WinPE
    5. Booting your virtual prototype Vista machine to the new custom WinPE
    6. Exploring the tools and functionality that are now available in your custom WinPE


  4. Creating and Deploying Vista Image: Using ImageX

    It will probably come as no surprise to you that Microsoft has developed more than one way to create and apply Vista image files. ImageX.exe is the command line utility for not only capturing and applying Vista images, but also allows storing a Vista image across multiple CD's. ImageX is an invaluable tool when working with Vista's new WIM files, but it's not built into WinPE. In this section you will explore the various operations that imagex can provide.


    1. Meeting ImageX.exe
    2. Starting Point: WinPE
    3. From working machine to image: /capture
    4. From image to new machine: /apply
    5. Examining WIMs: /mount /mountrw /unmount
    6. Get just what you need: export an OS from the install.wim


  5. Customizing your Vista Installation Image File

    One of the nice features of Microsoft's new imaging technology is the ability to create a custom Vista installation image file containing, well, whatever you choose. We will install an application and then get the image ready to be deployed to multiple machines. Lastly you will get a chance to install the new Vista custom image.


    1. Customizing your previous Vista Installation by installing an application
    2. Auditing an image
    3. Sysprepping your image
    4. Creating a new Vista OS WIM image
    5. Installing and testing the new image


  6. Maintaining and Updating Vista WIMs

    Maybe one of the most powerful concepts of Microsoft's new deployment technologies is the ability to modify an existing image. This new functionality is called "Servicing an Image". When servicing an image you can add packages, .msi's, service packs or enable/disable specific Windows features. In the past if you wanted to add a package or disable a Windows feature you had to create an entirely new image file. Not only was this time-consuming, but how many of you documented everything that went into your image in the first place? How many times did you forget that one little thing which forced you to rebuild the image a second and yes, sometimes even a third time. In this section you will learn the new tools used to service an image and when to use one over another.


    1. Adding a package to an offline image file using Package Manager
    2. New device driver need to be added to an image? Don't sweat it, apply the new driver directly to an offline image file with Package Manager
    3. Adding an .msi is a snap with OCSetup
    4. Adding packages, drivers and .msi's sound pretty simple, but what about service packs?
    5. Enabling and disabling Windows features has never been easier online or offline


  7. Create an Answer File using Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)

    Chances are if you only need to install Vista on one machine answer files won't be important to you. But, when Vista needs to be installed on 10 or 10,000 machines — answer files are a must to creating consistent Vista installations. Setup Manager is the tool Microsoft gave us in the past to create answer files and well, anyone who has ever tried to add network drivers or other unique device drivers knows just how user un-friendly it was. Microsoft's new Windows SIM is a vast improvement over Setup Manager. Windows SIM allows you to quickly and easily build an answer file containing device drivers and packages. What's not easy about Windows SIM is knowing where to start and what all of your options are. Windows SIM is a powerful tool but there are a lot of gotchas. In this section you will learn about some of those gotchas that can make your answer file fail, and learn how to fix them.


    1. Configuration Passes are imperative to understand when it comes to answer files
    2. Creating an answer file using Windows SIM
    3. Placing your answer files where Vista can automatically find them
    4. Telling Vista where to find your answer files


  8. Install and Configure Windows Deployment Service (WDS) Server

    Microsoft's Remote Installation Server (RIS) has been replaced with the new WDS server, and boy, is it different! The underlying process in which clients find the WDS server is completely new. Not only will you learn how to install and configure WDS in this section, but you will discover the under-the-hood steps whereby your WDS clients find a WDS server and how you can download a Vista image.


    1. Installing WDS
    2. Configuring WDS
    3. Get in-depth packet-by-packet knowledge of the WDS client Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) process


  9. Getting Comfortable with WDS Servers

    Now that WDS is installed and configured, it is time to create a boot image that your WDS (PXE) clients can download, and a Vista installation image. Also in this section you will learn how to create a Boot Capture Image and see what it is used for.


    1. Creating a boot capture image
    2. Creating a Vista installation image
    3. Learning how to pre-stage a client in Active Directory
    4. Testing your new images by performing a new installation from the WDS server


Course Materials and Course Format

The class works from PowerPoint presentations and hands-on labs.  Every attendee gets a printed copy of the PowerPoints and step-by-step labs.

Arranging a Course At Your Location

We offer this class as a public seminar. To view the current schedule please visit  But you needn't wait — Rhonda can come to your organization to teach it on-site. On-site classes offer you the flexibility to lengthen or shorten the topics presented in this class, and the hands-on labs can be modified to focus and zero in on your group's specific needs.

Please contact our office at (757) 426-1431 between 12 Noon-5 Eastern time or email to discuss scheduling and fees.