This article draws from the work of the very skilled Alex de Jong, who has some really great graphics that give deeper insights into the nitty-gritty of Windows 8 deployment. There are three areas to be discussed in this article, namely:
- Understanding Windows 8 as a layered platform
- A look at Windows 8 Deployment Tools, and
- The Windows 8 deployment process
This is not the only approach to deploying Windows 8 in your organization, but it gives a great idea of the nuts and bolts of deploying Windows 8 in the enterprise and can be adapted to a variety of deployment form factors and enterprise requirements.
Windows Deployment Layers
It is helpful to view a Windows 8 system as a set of layers – deJung calls them “building stones” that fit together to create your deployed system’s functionality. At the bottom is your Install Image, which is a WIM (Windows Imaging Format) file, which is a set of files and associated filesystem metadata.
In Windows 8, Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM) replaces ImageX for the purpose of creating and modifying the install image. WIM images can be mounted as a new volume with a drive letter associated, so that its contents can be read or modified.
The next layer comprises the drivers for your peculiar hardware and devices, followed by your language package. One layer up, you have your updates to the installed OS, then of course your enterprise applications, such as Office 2010 as shown. Finally, you have your customizations, including registry settings.