Microsoft releases Deployment Toolkit beta for Windows 7
Beta release designed specifically for deployment of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft has announced the availability of beta 2 of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010.
The toolkit is part of Microsoft's "Solution Accelerators" series of free tools for customers and partners deploying Microsoft products. The beta can be downloaded from the Microsoft Connect site, but it requires sign-up for a free Windows Live account first.
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This beta release particularly supports the deployment of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Microsoft's team blog. Beta 2 also supports "Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP" deployments.
The toolkit offers "fully automated zero-touch installation deployments" when used with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2 beta, which was released earlier this month. Those without System Center Configuration Manager can still use the toolkit with Windows deployment tools for "lite-touch" installation deployments, according to the blog.
Beta 1 of the toolkit was released in January. The new beta contains a few improvements over the last version of the toolkit, such as centralized tools, "flexible driver management" and the ability to use the PowerShell command-line environment for automation. Users can script any task in the Deployment Workbench using PowerShell.
More detailed descriptions of the new capabilities in Beta 2 are described in Michael Niehaus' blog here. Niehaus has been profiling Beta 2's features daily, starting with his June 26 post.
Testing and feedback for Beta 2 will run through July 19, 2009. Microsoft is planning to launch a release-to-Web version of Deployment Toolkit 2010 approximately 60 days after the Windows 7 product release. Since Windows 7 will be released on Oct. 22, expect to see the final deployment toolkit product appear around Dec. 21.
For those just wanting to check if their hardware infrastructure is ready for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft provides its free Assessment and Planning Toolkit. Version 4.0 beta of that toolkit was released last week.