Microsoft officials have said relatively little about the features and functionality the company is building into Windows 7 for business (as opposed to home) users. But a new blog post on the Windows System Deployment blog previews some of the changes enterprises can expect around Windows 7 deployment tools.
Post author Patrick Azzarello, a Senior Program Manager on the Windows OS Deployment Team, notes that the deployment changes with 7 should be smaller and less onerous than those introduced with Vista:
"Don’t worry though – these are mostly enhancements (where in Windows Vista we pretty much changed all the tools and infrastructure used to build and deploy Windows)."
In his January 20 blog post, Azzarello said the deployment changes in Windows 7 fall primarily into three buckets: Windows set-up; servicing infrastructure and tools that are part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (for corporate users) or OEM Pre-installation Kit for resellers); and network-based deployment.
In terms of set-up, Microsoft has moved the license key to the Windows Welcome page. It also is enabling "specific, licensed components," as an alternative to re-imaging a system to make upgrading from different Windows 7 versions (like Home Premium to Ultimate) easier, Azzarello blogged. Microsoft has made the machine-configuration more granular and faster so that users will have a better understanding of what's going on upon initial set-up. As he acknowledged:
"Windows Vista's experience here left a lot to be desired, even causing some users interrupt the process which caused system corruption, something we needed to invest in to avoid."
Azzarello detailed other deployment tweaks that are coming -- everything for consolidation of offline-management tools, to installing the Windows Recovery Environment by default, to changes in dynamic-driver positioning and support for multicast clients. If you are a corporate user who relies on these kinds of tools, his full post is worth a read.
Meanwhile, here are a few other Windows 7 links I've collected that might be of interest to corporate users: