You can use Windows Deployment Services to deploy Windows Vista as well as earlier Windows operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. To do this, you use Sysprep to prepare the operating system, and then use a capture image to save the image in the Windows image (.wim) file format. Note that Windows Deployment Services does not recognize that the image contains an earlier operating system until the image is selected on the image selection page. When the image is selected, the image's metadata specifies the exact version of the operating system.
Although Windows Deployment Services provides full functionality for applying images for Windows Vista, note the following limitations when deploying the images of earlier Windows operating systems:
- Sysprep must be applied to the first
primary partition: Earlier operating system images that have
been prepared with Sysprep must be applied to the first primary
partition (for example, C:\). Applying these images to other
partitions is not supported.
- The HAL must match: Earlier operating
system images are hardware abstraction layer (HAL)-specific,
meaning that they can be applied only to computers that have a
matching HAL type. Therefore, Windows Deployment Services detects
the local computer's HAL type and filters out images that are
earlier than Windows Vista and that are not of that same HAL type.
For example, if there are two images on the Windows Deployment
Services server that the client has permissions to (one ACPI and
the other APIC) and the client computer is ACPI, only the ACPI
image will be available. This is true in both attended and
unattended installation scenarios. Note that the HAL type of an
image is stored in the .wim image metadata:
- External language packs do not apply:
When you are applying these images, the concept of external
language packs does not apply. The language selection drop-down
list on the image selection page will not let you select an
additional language. Additionally, if you specify a language,
locale, and keyboard layout in the Windows Deployment Services
client user interface (or if you using an unattend file) the
settings you specified will not be used in the image that gets
applied. This is because Windows Deployment Services does not
support modifications to offline images older than Windows Vista
that would be necessary for this functionality.
- You cannot apply a driver to an offline
image (by using the F6 key or load driver functionality) . The
API set you use to perform offline driver injection is supported
only for Windows Vista images.
- The Boot.ini file must exist in the
image: Rather than Setup generating a Boot.ini file when
deploying an operating system earlier than Windows Vista, Boot.ini
must already exist in the image. This is currently the default
behavior of most image-based deployments, including those involving
To ensure that the Boot.ini file is included with the image
Deploy the image of the earlier operating system to a reference computer.
Use Sysprep to prepare the image.
Capture the image of reference computer, including the Boot.ini file.
Deploy the image by using Windows Deployment Services. When the image is applied, the Boot.ini file included in that image will be copied as well.