The Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is a collection of tools and documentation that you can use to automate the deployment of Windows operating systems. The AIK is one of several resources that you can use to deploy Windows.

The AIK is ideal for highly customized environments. The tools in the AIK enable you to configure many deployment options, and they provide a high degree of flexibility. The corporate deployment environment varies from one company to another. Depending on your business needs and resources, you may choose to use all or parts of the resources available in the AIK.

Additional Windows deployment tools and resources include the following:

Overview of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK)

The AIK is a collection of tools and documentation that enable you to customize and deploy Windows operating systems.

Supported Operating Systems

The following operating systems can be configured and deployed in this release:

  • Windows® 7

  • Windows Server® 2008 R2

  • Windows Vista® Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Windows Server® 2008


Some of the tools provided with this version of the AIK cannot be used on previous versions of Windows. For more information, see Deployment Tools Supported Platforms.

AIK Tools

By default, the AIK is installed to the C:\Program Files\Windows AIK directory. This directory contains all of the tools and documentation included in this release. The core tools used in most Windows deployment scenarios are:

Tool Description

Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)

The tool used to open Windows images, create answer files, and manage distribution shares and configuration sets.


The tool used to capture, create, modify, and apply Windows images.

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)

The tool used to apply updates, drivers, and language packs to a Windows image. DISM is available in all installations of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)

A minimal operating system environment used to deploy Windows. The AIK includes several tools used to build and configure Windows PE environments.

Windows Setup

The tool used to install Windows. This tool is included in the Windows product DVD and is not part of the AIK installation.


The tool used to prepare a Windows installation for imaging or delivery to a customer. The Sysprep tool is available in all Windows installations in the %WINDIR%\system32\sysprep directory.

User State Migration Tool (USMT)

A tool used to migrate user data from a previous Windows operating system to Windows 7. USMT is installed as part of the AIK in the %PROGRAMFILES%\Windows AIK\Tools\USMT directory. For more information about USMT, see the User State Migration Tool User’s Guide (Usmt.chm).

AIK Sample Files

Several sample files are included as part of the AIK. The sample files are available in the %PROGRAMFILES%\Windows AIK\Samples directory.

This directory includes sample answer files, Oobe.xml customizations, and Help and support resources.

AIK Documentation

The following sections describe the AIK documentation.

Understanding Corporate Deployment Scenarios

The topics in Windows Automated Installation Kit Scenarios describe the end-to-end scenarios specific to different customer types. Depending on the volume of Windows deployments you intend to create, review the appropriate scenario for a complete overview of the tools you will use.

Understanding the Windows Deployment Process

The Windows Preinstallation Phases collects the procedures and how-to topics required for Windows customization and deployment. This group of topics is divided into several sections that outline the overall process flow.

Understanding the Deployment Tools

The topics described in Deployment Tools Technical Reference provide a comprehensive technical discussion of the tools and technologies used to configure and deploy Windows. Review these topics to understand the different tools, usage scenarios, and limitations.

Other Documentation Resources

The following table describes the documentation resources available on the AIK DVD and installed with the AIK tools. Additional documentation may be included on the AIK DVD but not listed in this table.

Documentation Description

Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) User's Guide (Waik.chm)

Provides the conceptual and procedural information required for unattended installation of Windows operating systems. This user's guide includes information on:

  • Planning

  • Preparing the deployment environment

  • Creating and customizing an image

  • Capturing, modifying, and testing the image

  • Deploying, maintaining, and servicing the image

Imaging APIs for Windows (Wimgapi.chm)

Provides comprehensive coverage of all the Windows imaging application programming interfaces (APIs).

Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) User's Guide (Winpe.chm)

Provides instructions on creating a customized version of Windows PE and enabling Windows PE to boot from different types of media.

Component Platform Interface (CPI) Reference (Cpiapi.chm)

Documents the APIs that are used in Windows SIM.

Windows® Unattended Setup Reference

Provides comprehensive coverage of all the customizable settings in the Windows Unattend.xml file.

Step-by-Step: Basic Windows Deployment for IT Professionals (stepbystep_itpro)

Provides basic instructions on building an end-to-end deployment. This guide is ideal for new users who want to learn the basics of Windows deployment.

See Also