A Windows® image can be serviced at various phases of deployment in the following ways: offline, during an automated installation, or online. The phase of deployment that you choose depends on your deployment strategy.
Offline Servicing: Involves adding and removing updates, drivers, and language packs, and configuring other settings, without booting Windows. Offline servicing is an efficient way to manage existing images that are stored on a server because it eliminates the need for re-creating updated images. You can perform offline servicing on an image that is mounted or applied to a drive or directory.
Servicing an Image by Using Windows Setup: Involves providing an answer file (Unattend.xml) that Windows Setup implements. The answer file contains specific servicing operations such as adding drivers, updates, language packs, and other packages. Servicing an image during an automated installation can be easily implemented and is ideal for Setup-based deployment.
Servicing a Running Operating System: Also known as online servicing, this method involves booting to audit mode to add drivers, applications, and other packages. Online servicing is ideal for drivers when the driver packages have co-installers or application dependencies. It is also efficient when the majority of your servicing packages have installers, or the updates are in .msi or KB.exe file formats, or the applications rely on Windows installed services and technologies (such as the .NET Framework or full Plug and Play support).
The following illustration shows the servicing opportunities available during the various phases of deployment.
Offline servicing was introduced with Windows Vista®. Offline servicing occurs when you modify or service a Windows image entirely offline without booting it first. For Windows Vista, the Package Manager command-line tool was provided for updating Windows images. In Windows® 7, Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) replaces Package Manager. For Windows 7, most operating system servicing operations can be performed on an offline Windows image by using the DISM command-line tool. DISM is installed with Windows 7, and also distributed in the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (Windows OPK) and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). For more information about DISM, see Deployment Image Servicing and Management Technical Reference.
DISM can be used on an offline image to:
- Mount, remount, and unmount an image within a
.wim file for servicing.
- Query information about a Windows image.
- Add, remove, and enumerate drivers provided
as .inf files.
- Add, remove, and enumerate packages,
including language packs, provided as .cab files.
- Add .msu files.
- Configure international settings.
- Enable, disable, and enumerate Windows
operating system features.
- Upgrade to a higher edition of Windows.
- Check the applicability of a
Windows Installer application patch (.msp file).
- Enumerate applications and application
patches installed in a Windows image.
- Apply the offline servicing section of an
unattended answer file.
- Update a Windows Preinstallation
Environment (Windows PE) image.
For more information about how to service a mounted image, see Service a Mounted Windows Image.
For more information about how to service an applied image, see Walkthrough: Service an Applied Windows Image Offline.
Servicing an Image by Using Windows Setup
Use an unattended answer file with Windows Setup to service an image during the various configuration passes of Windows Setup. The answer file contains all the settings that are used to configure and update the Windows image. Setup calls the answer file multiple times during the deployment process. After the operating system is installed, you can boot to audit mode or Windows Welcome. For more information about Windows Setup, see Windows Setup Technical Reference. For more information about configuration passes, see Windows Setup Configuration Passes.
An unattended answer file can be used during setup to:
- Add or remove a language pack.
- Configure international settings.
- Add and remove drivers.
- Add and remove packages.
- Enable and disable Windows operating system
Servicing a Running Operating System
There are a number of tools that can be used to service a running operating system (also known as servicing an online image). You should boot to audit mode to add updates to your Windows image. Audit mode does not require settings in Windows Welcome to be applied, allowing quicker access to the desktop. After you have booted to audit mode, you can add Plug and Play device drivers, install applications and system components, and test the validity of the installation. For more information about using audit mode, see Customize Windows in Audit Mode.
The following tools are typically used to update a running Windows 7 operating system:
- Use DISM to enumerate drivers, international
settings, packages, and features, and to apply unattended answer
file settings. For more information, see Deployment Image
Servicing and Management Command-Line Options.
- Use OCSetup to add system components (.msi
and .exe files from Windows Installer or CBS-based installation
packages). For more information, see the OCSetup Command-Line
- Use DPInst to add drivers for detected
hardware. For information about DPInst and other tools available in
the Windows Driver Kit (WDK), see How to Get the Windows Driver Kit (WDK and the Windows
Logo Kit (WLK).
- Use PNPUtil to add, remove, and enumerate
drivers. For more information, see Use PnPUtil at a command line to install a Plug and Play
- Use Windows Update Stand-Alone Installer to
add service packs or other .msu files. For more information, see
Description of the Windows Update Stand-alone
Installer (Wusa.exe) and of .msu Files in Windows Vista
- Use LPKSetup to add or remove language packs.
For more information, see Lpksetup Command-Line