In the early days of Windows deployment, Microsoft did not want to have anything to do with imaging. Imaging was just plain unsupported when it made its debut. Over time, they gave in a little and agreed it was okay to image prior to the GUI stage of a Windows NT installation.
The main concern was that the security IDs on the system needed to be globally unique and by cloning a system, the process of generating a unique security ID was bypassed. To address this issue, tools such as GhostWalker, SIDgen, and NewSID were introduced. Microsoft offered Sysprep, a tool designed to put the system in a state where at next boot it would run a Mini-Setup, which includes minimal steps required to ensure the system is unique.
Today, Windows Vista and Server 2008 use Microsoft's file-based imaging mechanism as its general installation technology right on the commercial DVD. Command line utilities to create and manipulate these image files are now provided free to all as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). In fact, Sysprep is included as part of the installed operating system now at
c:\windows\system32\sysprep (a hidden folder).
Chapter 2 covers the creation of a basic image; this chapter goes into more detail about customizing and maintaining your Windows PE and production deployment images by familiarizing you with the following:
WIM file format: This new file format is the key technology leveraged by many of the provided tools for the creation, ...