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Will Image Installs Benefit Vista Adopters? 88

Yesterday's post on the upcoming Windows Vista's image-based installer drew more than 450 comments. Some readers praised the change as sensible, even overdue, and others drew distinctions between various ways "image-based" software installations are implemented in real life, both in the Windows and Unix worlds, and supplied objections to the switch. Read on for some of the most interesting comments in the Backslash summary of the discussion.

Reader MarkByers calls the article "stupid":

The final linked article starts with this dubious sounding statement:

"The bottom is about to fall out of the market for imaging tools like Symantec Ghost ... The Vista install DVD is, in fact, just one big system image."

But then immediately contradicts itself by pointing out:

"But this flexibility only extends to the installation of Windows itself. To clone a full system with apps installed, Symantec Ghost or a similar utility must be used to create that image."

People don't use Ghost to make a copy of an unconfigured fresh install of Windows, they configure it first, then Ghost it. This new installer will have no effect whatsoever on sales of Ghost, or any other imaging software. After such a terrible start to the article, I'm not sure it's even worth reading the rest.

To this, mwalleisa points out that "When talking about using Symantec Ghost (or other), the author is referring to Windows XP installations, not Vista."

neonprimetime had a different objection:

This wasn't a Pros & Cons. It was a love-fest [for] the new image-based install process. Everything he wrote in that article was happy go lucky, no cons in sight.

  • "This means that the image isn't a bit-for-bit image of your disk layout, and hence you can apply the image to a new system without destroying the contents of the hard drive."
  • "Vista is hardware-agnostic, so you can use a single system image as a source for multiple hardware platforms, even if they have quite different hardware configurations.
  • "When capturing a system to a WIM file you can specify exclusions. For example, you can have a work directory on the system with temporary data.
  • "Interestingly you can have as many images contained within one WIM file as you think you can manage, and any one of them can be marked as bootable."

brunes69 mocks the article's introduction ("However, all this is about to change. Windows Vista is based entirely around Microsoft's Windows Imaging Format (or WIM), a file-based imaging standard rather than a sector-based. this means that the image isn't a bit-for-bit image of your disk layout, and hence you can apply the image to a new system without destroying the contents of the hard drive."), writing

Wow how revolutionary.

Oh, hang on a second while I untar this archive ....

Along similar lines, namityadav wonders
So is this revolutionary install concept an exact copy of what we see in Ubuntu?
When it comes to installing an OS, not everyone wants a one-size-fits-all install which can later be trimmed; "[C]opying a bunch of files is the right way," contends reader radarsat1, who doesn't look forward to the change in Windows' installer:
Damn it, one of the things that always annoys me about Windows is that it's not as simple as copying a bunch of files. This is mostly due to their inane and outdated drive lettering scheme.

In Linux (or any Unix), I can move my installed system to a different drive or partition just by copying it. I can install an entire system within a folder of another system. All I have to do is change my drive mounts, add some symlinks, or use chroot, and I can put the entire system anywhere and it's as if nothing changed.

When my Dad bought a new hard drive because his old one was dying, we tried in vain to copy his old system over to the new drive. First we tried imaging it using "dd" on a liveCD, but that didn't work. Then we tried making a new filesystem and using "cp" to just copy the whole thing. That didn't either. We didn't want to spend money on Norton Ghost, just for a one-time thing.. He ended up having to re-install and re-activate XP, re-install all his MS Office software he'd had some trouble with installing in the first place, and finally setting up a whole new system. Just because he wanted to replace his drive!

That, compared to the number of times I've moved my Linux system without a single hitch... I can't believe people put up with this crap. Now instead of keeping things simple, they're moving even further away from a file-based approach?

Reader yagu has a related complaint about the difficulty of installing Windows as an equal player along with other OSes:

This reminds me of other Microsoft installs I've done over the years, and it smacks of such disdain for the rest of the OS universe. Nowhere in the article, nor can I find evidence anywhere else is there an accomodation for an install where XP is just another OS. I remember my first experience with this, when I installed a Win98 on a Linux box, and not only did Win98 not offer a dual boot, it (seemingly) gladly removed my Linux MBR and formatted my partition without asking if it was okay, and without saying it had done so. That was quite a surprise.

Does anyone know if there is a way to do this? (Though, knowing XP can point to more than one OS to boot, I'm guessing Microsoft is more gentle if there is a pre-existing Windows OS there.)

I've googled for dual-boot information, it looks to be similar to what I already know.

Reader dreamchaser sticks up for Microsoft's decision not to make multi-OS systems easy to create:
Just to play Devil's Advocate here, but why SHOULD they facilitate the use of other OSes? Look at the customers who make up 99% of their base:

  1. Home users who buy a machine with Windows pre installed. No worries about dual boot here.
  2. Corporate users who load a custom Windows image on new machines. No worries about dual-boot here either.

Also, if it really is just an image it would be a simple matter to just load it onto a partition then set up dual boot using GRUB. Anyone who feels they need dual-boot probably already knows how to do it. Most modern Linux distros do a pretty good job of it for newbs too.

Very very very few people NEED dual boot. Some do. Most do not. From Microsoft's point of view, why should they facilitate it when the people who really need it (i.e. developers) will have no problem either setting up dual boot or using virtualization?

kailoran points out one big difference, which is a pretty persuasive one to anyone who doesn't care to have Microsoft dictate the layout of their hard disk:
The thing is that unlike the Windows' MBR, grub can actually be configured to run the other OS if the user wants. Most distros auto-detect and add the appropriate configs, so that there's zero effort needed.

Installing Windows just nukes the existing MBR and the only thing you can do is run Windows, or start searching for a rescue CD/floppy.

An image-based install from Microsoft isn't completely new; Aslan72 says he "hated it when it was called RIS," writing
I'm partly responsible for an image that goes on around 5-600 machines at a Midwestern University College lab. We tried RIS when it was out, but although it was cool, it was simply not practical. The savings of having 'one' image really didn't outweigh the impracticality of it taking 2-3 hours per workstation per lab.

This is no different; currently it doesn't support multicasting and so although it's 'revolutionary' (read: RIS) it still doesn't beat the ability to push down and image to a workstation is less than 20 minutes...oops, did I say a workstation, I meant a lab.

It still won't beat Ghost any time soon, IMO.

To that complaint about multicasting, reader gruhnj writes

Windows Deployment Services, the replacement for RIS that will be coming out around the same time Vista ships, does exactly that. RIS only does the OS install well. Once you create your master image, you can place that onto a WDS server and multicast it out to as many computers as you have bandwidth. My current image when run deployed with imageX comes in at 25% less space (both images on max compression) and deploys in aprox 12 min for the image copy, plus the normal mini-setup time.

Ghost aint going away, but it will be eaten away from at the bottom with WDS.

Elsewhere, readers discussed the image formats and metadata in greater depth: To EXMSFT's query "I don't believe TAR includes ACL and metadata information related to the filesystem. Or does it?", reader pavon says "They can be," and provides some details:

The tar file format, like most unix things has undergone several revisions and branches. In POSIX.1, a new format, called the Pax Interchange Format, was created as a backwards compatible extension of the tar format, that allowed for storing of arbitrary metadata. How this metadata is used is naturally left up to the system's implementation of tar and pax. I don't know how widely these extensions are used. I know that in Mac OS 10.4, metadata including resource forks are supported, but I think they implemented them using thier normal flat-file hacks (._myfile holds metadata for myfile), and not the pax extensions. This man file has a little more information.

There are complexities beyond simple metadata capabilities, though. An anonymous reader points out that

There's even more to think about besides ACLs. There are a lot of components in Windows and not all of them come with every version (Home, Media Center, Server, etc.) plus computer vendors want to customize by adding software or changing the default configurations of apps. Many of these components need to be installable as runtime as well as during install, and some components may be incompatible or require complex logic to integrate (for example, installing a component might require adding a new user or group to the system).

What you see during a Vista install is only a small part of the new world of the Vista installer.


Many thanks to all the readers who took part in the discussion, especially those quoted above.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will Image Installs Benefit Vista Adopters?

Comments Filter:
  • idea (Score:1, Funny)

    by friedman101 ( 618627 )
    maybe tomorrow we can have an article about the article about the article about image installs in windows vista.
    • Re:idea (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by rekab ( 990669 )
      Indeed, this is the first time I've seen an article on an article, it's not really needed but it does point out the better commanets for those of us who are too lazy to read every one of them.
      • it's not really needed but it does point out the better commanets for those of us who are too lazy to read every one of them.

            Definitely in the running for Best-of-quasi-meta-article-about-the-article comment.
      • Not really those of us who are too lazy but more those of us that just don't have the time. Saying that as a person who's only just realised how handy Backslash can be. This post was really helpful in giving me a quick overview on some thing I'll have to look into in a few weeks and since I'd missed the original story when it came out it was handy.
        • as a person who's only just realised how handy Backslash can be.


          Seconded. Up until recently, I usually avoided them, but having clicked on a couple in the last week (usually by accident, or when I missed the original article and discussion), I have to say it comes in handy.


          The interesting part is that it's the only time on /. when the "article" is worth more attention than the following discussion.

    • Re:idea (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Quiet, you fool! You're about to become tomorrow's news!
    • Why BackSlash?
      Well as I see it. It is so people who post comments can still post comments and be read and moderated. If I were to post on yesterdays story no matter how insightful or funny or trollish it will not be read or moderated. Hense when I feel like it I go to old stories who are about to be retired soon and I post "LAST POST!".

      It is all about feeling good that you got noticed in in some small way you influenced someone. The message board on slashdot is what makes it fun. Post a message and get 1
    • Re:idea (Score:5, Funny)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:46PM (#15778527)

      Truly, you have a dizzying intellect. :P

    • And then we could have a funny comeback to a comment about how the article about the article about the article about image instals in Vista isn't news!
    • 4 simple steps... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:18PM (#15778820)
      Step 1: click "Preferences" link

      Step 2: click "Homepage" tab

      Step 3: Unselect Backslash category.

      Step 4: We all profit from not having to hear you whine.

      DONE.
      • Great! Now how do I filter out people who post serious replies to jokes?

        (Also who do I see about collecting my profits?)
        • Great! Now how do I filter out people who post serious replies to jokes?

          Sorry, you're stuck with those of us who can't seem to filter out unfunny jokes.
        • Easy!
          Click on Preferences, then Comments.
          On that page look for:

          Reparent Highly Rated Comments
          Causes comments to be displayed even if they are replies to comments under current threshold

          And you should also be tweaking the reason modifier as well if you are customising the rest.
    • Don't worry, Taco will dupe it.
    • Backslash: Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?

      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

    • It's called a 'Slashback'. They've been doing this fluff for months now. Way to wake up.
      • No, a Slashback is an overview of several hot or interesting topics along with any updates to them. This is a Backslash, a collection of good comments from one article.
        • Re:idea (Score:3, Funny)

          by Firehed ( 942385 )
          It also makes for an even wittier spoken url: http://\./..org
          • Firehed> Knock knock.
            Icebut> Who's there?
            Firehed> H
            Icebut> H who?
            Firehed> H T T P colon slash slash backslash dot slash dot dot org
            Icebut> OMG LOLOLOLOLOL WTF LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL that's so witty LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
  • by tinkerghost ( 944862 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:32PM (#15778396) Homepage
    Think of all the time users can save by including thier ever-so-helpfull smiley clickies, special cursors, and Bonzai-Buddy right into the install disk.
  • It will benefit some greatly, Some will will be neutral, Others will not benefit and it will harm them.

    But I think it is going to benefit more then it is not going to benefit, just with faster Install Time.
    • Forgive me, but would you mind explaning who it will harm? I am sure there is someone who has a very specific situation with which and image based installer is incompatable but I can't think of it.
      • Well as I figure there will be Some guy who is so set on the old ways the added stress of having an image install will cause him to have a heart attack. Or the new install is incompatible with some backwards method they were installing before and these systems controled something like medical equiptment or a nuclear bomb.
    • It will benefit some greatly, Some will will be neutral, Others will not benefit and it will harm them.

      Well, that narrows it down....

      -Em
    • It will benefit some greatly, Some will will be neutral, Others will not benefit and it will harm them.


      I am absolutely certain that you may be correct.
  • Just relax (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gasmonso ( 929871 )

    Chances are the install is going to work. I think people should focus their attention on the OS after it is installed. That's a lot more important if you ask me. I can guarantee that it will be friendly towards OEMs because thats their bread and butter. It's a non-issue.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • Re:Just relax (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think people should focus their attention on the OS after it is installed. That's a lot more important if you ask me.

      Yes, thank you. I was very concerned about what you thought. Now could you *PLEASE* put the link to your stupid site in your sig, so we don't have to read it in every pointless comment you feel the need to make?

      • Re:Just relax (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Of course not. If he removed that link, then his Google PageRank might drop slightly!

        See, links in sigs have rel="nofollow" attached to them, and therefore aren't spidered by search engines. When you post with a +1 bonus (like he has) the rel="nofollow" isn't included, and search engines will spider the link.

        Therefore, if you want to spam search engines, it makes sense to include the link at the end of every inane +1 bonus post you make. The way Slashdot works, the post doesn't even need to be modded up
    • Chances are the install is going to work. I think people should focus their attention on the OS after it is installed.

      Sure!

      ACLs? No worries. We'll just have to get into the habit of running chmod 777 across the file system and we'll be fully backwards compatible. I am left wondering whether they'll opt to make the permission structures more unecessarily complex/obtuse (and typically left alone for that very reason) than they currently are.

      An even bigger question is what, if anything, they've done w

    • We've been doing this for Linux installs for the last 2-3 years:
      - Install distro
      - install apps
      - customize everything - apps, configs, desktop, templates new kernel & modules...
      - boot into another OS or live cd
      - delete/rename fstab & hwconf (hardware info for that specific machine) & IP info
      - bzip the image to a CD and add a small script to install
      - add script to install grub
      reboot

      rinse
      repeat
      support

      Its not a bad way though it remains in the hack category in my opinion.

      2p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:39PM (#15778464)
    Raymond Chen has discussed the logic behind Microsoft's approach to multiple OS installs, and frankly, the logic isn't that far off.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/12/ 20/505887.aspx [msdn.com]
    http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2006/07/ 11/662325.aspx [msdn.com]
    • I usually find Raymond Chen to be very entertaining, and the man's prolly several orders of magnitude smarter than me, but frankly, he's full of crap.

      It's perfectly reasonable to cram a "don't fuck the mbr kthnx" option somewhere buried a few menus deep, alongside any other three letter acronym option that shitty little setup has as it is.

      If I have a "foreign" boot sector, and I done gone told you specifically "don't fuck with it", it's now my problem whether or not the other boot sector can find windows.

      Sh
    • You couldn't have read the lame excuse given in the first link. I didn't bother with the second.
    • This is the reason why we have options such as "easy install" and "install for expert users", and put the things that are hard to decide and has scary names and words in them in the "expert" section.

      Anyone can choose if they want to plunge into easy or expert mode... come on... /:

      Of course, the best thing is if stuff "just works", but that is not always possible. It is porbablypossible much more often than what lazy user intercace engineers and programmers tend to think, however.

      Best,
      . Knut
  • But it's still going to take quite a bit to rip kick/jumpstart from my networks. Throw either of those on a DVD and you still can maintain flexability to install on multiple hardware configs, including your favorite database or webserver.
  • Oh, your god! (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 )
    /. is pushing the boundaries of the revolutionary usage of the enormous resources of the Internet. Next week on this very site, we will have an article, which will refer to the current article, but instead of simply copying +5 Interesting/Insightfull posts, /. will post IMAGES of these posts in PNG format.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And I eagerly await the "Forwardslash" articles, which quote comments that have yet to be posted!
  • ghost (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RickBauls ( 944510 )
    how will the new installer differ from using Norton Ghost?
  • An idea..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 )
    Can we make the Backslashes smaller like the lesser stories? Some Backslashes, like this one, just aren't useful to me, but I can't filter out specific Backslashes very easily.

  • by chaffed ( 672859 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:34PM (#15779005) Homepage
    The real advantage to the improved imaging from microsoft is they have done away with the Hardware Abstraction Layer [wikipedia.org]. That means I can create one image for many different systems. In theory I could use the same image on a HP desktop as on a Sony laptop. This is a very nice enhancement.
    • by Teese ( 89081 ) <beezel@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:04PM (#15779316)
      Chaffed sayest thus:
      The real advantage to the improved imaging from microsoft is they have done away with the Hardware Abstraction Layer. That means I can create one image for many different systems. In theory I could use the same image on a HP desktop as on a Sony laptop. This is a very nice enhancement.

      I'm no expert here, but, what? I would think that a HAL (Hardware abstraction layer), would help in creating a univseral image for many systems, since the hardware is abstracted out.

      Plus I've not heard of anywhere that Vista has the HAL removed from the system, though, I'm not that caught up in all the technical deep plumbing of Vista.

      • You clearly don't talk MS speech... Windows hardware abstraction layer is a layer of drivers installed as needed (and often from 3rd party disks) with a abstract API*. You can't change systems because it is installed as needed.

        *Also talking MS speech: abstract API = some code that puts you away from the hardware's hard programming and the hardware's functionality, so you end up writting a driver to do anything different.

        Learning MS speech for a week now. Maybe in a mounth a can make it clearer :)

      • I'm no expert here, but, what? I would think that a HAL (Hardware abstraction layer), would help in creating a univseral image for many systems, since the hardware is abstracted out.

        You'd also think the WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) would offer users some genuine advantage, but alas...

      • On top of the HAL, the hardware is indeed abstracted out. Underneath it, or inside it or whatever, there is a giant blob of binary that is shoved together at install and only really only intended to run on the hardware it is installed on/built for. I don't have the details, but it apparently causes problems with acpi or something and is generally a pain in the ass if you want to move to different hardware.
    • You can already use the same image on a Dell desktop and Dell laptop, because the new Latitudes work with either HAL. I've already built images that work on both desktops and laptops, but I guess you get what you pay for (friendly jab, HP and Sony). Read on desktop deployment forums like the Blue Willow Group and you will see accounts of numerous people using images on boatloads of systems of varying brands and hardware configurations. The laptops usually have wireless software or VPN crap companies need
  • what is this? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @04:41PM (#15779082) Homepage
    some kind of new meta-dupe?
  • 15 years ago, I trivially solved the drive letter problem in DOS and DOS based Windows. I hooked the FILE OPEN DOS call, and implemented symlinks by usurping a file attribute bit. Windows 95 broke this, but I waited several years for Microsoft to get the "Aha!" and add symlinks to Windows. It should be much more efficient than my DOS hack (that consumed an entire block for the filename), thanks to the variable length directory entries in Win95.

    Yes, I did send a letter and call tech support with the sug

    • totally, totally agree.
      WHY are they still using drive letters.. it's just one more stupid thing left over from their legacy days.
      I, for one, am tired of seeing documentation that says:
      "Now browse to C:\path\file, where 'C' is the location of your CD-ROM drive."
    • Brother, ye hast spake well. I was at one time a poor soul who fell victim to Windows malaise. I sought refuge in the sound harbors of *nix and have nary looked back henceforth.

      On one occasion I found myself impressed into service by my brother Hezekiah, found himself having great difficulty because his storage device, which I believe the children call a "hard drive", was ill with death as its object. I saddled up the horses and made haste into town to purchase a new magnetic storage device from the l
    • Microsoft will not implement real, working symlinks, because that would make it too easy to emulate a Unix setup on Windows.
    • I think not!

      Most everything in Windows 2000 and up is now reckoned relative to abstract locations.
      At boot time, the boot.ini doesn't have a notion of "C: drive". It's an hardware-relative path to the partition and specific kernel image you want to boot.
      Once booted, the "C:" drive is just what's substituted for %SYSTEMDRIVE%, which is the partition you booted from.
      It's a fixed alias, really.
      Consider it the same thing as the unix root '/'.

      All other volumes can either be mounted at "new roots" (other drive let
  • "I think I'm having an attack of Vujaday! It's the feeling that none of this has ever happened before!" -George Carlin

    Seriously though, it's like that annoying stuff networks do on series shows, IE Lost. The first 10 minutes of the show is about what happened last week, then the last 10 minutes are whats going to happen next week. An hour long show only has about 25-30 minutes of content you haven't seen twice or haven't been prepped for already. And, as if seeing it in triplicate isn't enough, at least o

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I read the article. And perhaps the article wasn't targetted at "Joe User", but at the more technical crowd.

    I STILL don't see Vista shipping with a tool that makes it easy for a given user to do something as simple as swap a harddrive. That is what millions of users want, and still don't have. Even ghosting or copying bit for bit doesn't really help. I want to back the thing up easily and quickly (single button click) onto a DVD or CDR and be able to reinstall the whole darn thing.

    I suppose someone out
  • Um, no, not so... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 )
    This snippet: People don't use Ghost to make a copy of an unconfigured fresh install of Windows, they configure it first, then Ghost it. caught my eye.

    I do just THAT.

    I have an XP Pro image Sysprepped to include most of the chipset, display, and NIC drivers I run into. Another for a client has a hosts file populated with their servers to simplify things. Works great. I skip most of the BS in copying files, and go right to HW config. When I need an disk driver, I have a ramdisk loaded with severa
  • by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @08:46PM (#15780867)
    When my Dad bought a new hard drive because his old one was dying, we tried in vain to copy his old system over to the new drive. First we tried imaging it using "dd" on a liveCD, but that didn't work. Then we tried making a new filesystem and using "cp" to just copy the whole thing. That didn't either. We didn't want to spend money on Norton Ghost, just for a one-time thing.. He ended up having to re-install and re-activate XP, re-install all his MS Office software he'd had some trouble with installing in the first place, and finally setting up a whole new system. Just because he wanted to replace his drive! That, compared to the number of times I've moved my Linux system without a single hitch... I can't believe people put up with this crap. Now instead of keeping things simple, they're moving even further away from a file-based approach?

    So file based installing screwed his dad, yet now file based copying is something this person thinks Microsoft should keep?

    Oh, and as an aside to the person who wrote that....The program you were looking for was DriveCopy. It's designed to move partitions or entire drives, resizing as necessary. I've upgraded HDs in my desktop for years without ever having to reinstall the OS or the apps.

  • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @10:19PM (#15781215) Homepage
    Ghost will not go away. Sure, maybe ADS can multicast. But ADS is an addition to Windows 2003 Server ENTERPRISE. Ghost Server runs on any old desktop.

    I have 25 remote offices with 20-400 machines each. None of those remote offices have an enterprise edition server, and there's no way I'm going to buy Server 2003 Enterprise for all the offices just so they can image machines (and I'm certainly not going to have them pull images across the WAN). Instead, they all have a P4 desktop running XP that can multicast to a hundred machines in 20 minutes.

    Ghost is not going anywhere.

  • Cracked Images (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @10:50PM (#15781346)
    The biggest advantage of this will be for those creating cracked versions of Vista. I predict that someone will figure out how to create a Vista install DVD ISO with any desired installed programs, changed settings, etc., by using this new Image Install. Then the race will be on to create the ULTIMATE Vista ISO. It will remove all the extra junk, kill the copy protection, tweak the settings, and come with Firefox, Photoshop, the latest video codecs, DVD ripping/copying software, etc. all installed and ready to go. This will result in a much nicer version of Vista than what you can pay Microsoft to give you.
    • The biggest advantage of this will be for those creating cracked versions of Vista. I predict that someone will figure out how to create a Vista install DVD ISO with any desired installed programs, changed settings, etc., by using this new Image Install. Then the race will be on to create the ULTIMATE Vista ISO. It will remove all the extra junk, kill the copy protection, tweak the settings, and come with Firefox, Photoshop, the latest video codecs, DVD ripping/copying software, etc. all installed and ready

  • It is worth the note that the WIM install is not like "ghost", or even the OEM rebuild diskettes. It's more akin to unzipping an archive and post-configuration.

    Firstly, you can install vista on any partition. It does not have to go to c: drive. For this to work, (and its dodgy new bootloader), it has to diddle the c:\ drive in any case. It creates a directory "boot", and moves ntldr and ntdetect.com there, and puts its own boot manager in there.

    Secondly, it is not preconfigured for any given hardwar


  • Get squashfs 3.0 and mksquashfs your source filesystem.

    unsquashfs it to the destination.

    You can build, add, delete files from the filesystem using the same tools, and even just mount it as a filesystem.

    We use it at Genesi for our Linux installer. However.. squashfs 3.0 is pretty new, we had some serious problems getting it to unpack and restore setuid bits. Windows should be a hell of a lot easier as all the permission information is in ACL's and can just be shoved in as an NTFS stream, we can't do that for
  • The thing is that unlike the Windows' MBR, grub can actually be configured to run the other OS if the user wants.

    Windows' bootloader can boot anything you damn well please. Stick the boot sector in your root drive and add an entry to boot.ini for it. Works pretty much the same way grub does when loading non-multiboot-compliant systems.

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