Together with Windows 7, Microsoft will release a new Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). The most prominent tool in WAIK is certainly imageX which is used to capture and modify Windows images. There are some new features in imageX which I will discuss today. In my next post, I will write about the new command-line switches of Windows 7 imageX.
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Note that imageX which will not be replaced by the new DISM tool (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) as some sites reported. I will cover DISM which also belongs to the WAIK in another post.
Microsoft's Windows Deployment Blog mentioned some of the new features a few days ago:
ImageX and its underlying infrastructure, which is used to manage Windows Image (WIM) format images, now allows multiple images to be modified simultaneously, supports interim saves and with a newly re-written underlying supporting architecture for mounting and manipulating images, is more robust than in Windows Vista.. The extensible infrastructure (WIMGAPI) and supporting mount capabilities are now included in every Windows edition.
I must admit I don't understand what could be meant bye "now allows multiple images to be modified simultaneously". It is already possible to mount and modify multiple images simultaneously with imageX for Vista SP1. Hence, I have no idea what could be new here in Windows 7. The imageX manual says that "you can mount and modify up to 20 images". This sentence is missing in the old help text. Is mounting multiple images perhaps not officially supported for the Vista version of imageX?
Mounting an image with the new imageX takes much longer now. There even is a counter now that informs you about the progress. On my test machine, it took imageX a minute and 25 seconds to mount an image from the Windows 7 Beta1 install.wim. Mounting the same image with the Vista SP1 imageX lasted only two or three seconds. I guess, this time difference is related to the fact that "manipulating images, is more robust than in Windows Vista".
I am not sure what exactly is meant by this: "supporting mount capabilities are now included in every Windows edition". I guess, it is not the WIM filter that was needed in former imageX versions to mount a WIM image. The Vista SP1 WAIK installs this filter by default.