Free Tools & Resources to Plan and Deploy Windows 7

Ready to roll out Windows 7 in your organization? Here are 4 essential tools and resources to help you plan, customize, and streamline Windows 7 deployments.

1) Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator
A centralized and agentless tool that can remotely inventory computers, identify their supported Windows 7 experience, and recommend specific hardware upgrades where appropriate. It inventories heterogeneous environments and provides usage information for SQL Server and servers in the Core CAL Suite, Windows 2000 Server migration assessment, SQL Server 2008 discovery and assessment for consolidation, and a readiness assessment for Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2. MAP even helps you identify underutilized resources and hardware specifications needed to consolidate servers using Microsoft Hyper-V technology.

2) Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) 4.0
Offering practical guidance for IT organizations, MOF reflects a single, comprehensive IT service lifecycle. It helps you connect service management principles to everyday IT tasks and activities and ensures alignment between IT and the business. You’ll find resources to help you plan and diagram your infrastructure as you prepare to deploy Windows 7 (and other technologies).

3) Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 (Update 1)
A Solution Accelerator designed for both operating system and application deployment, Update 1 supports deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2 in addition to deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP. While it is designed to support high volume deployments, the MDT 2010 technology framework is also well suited to low-volume deployment projects, making it an essential resource for organizations of all sizes.

4) The Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows 7 (Version 2.0)
The Windows Automated Installation Toolkit (AIK) includes a variety of tools and documentation to help you deploy Windows in your organization. Ideal for highly customized environments, the included tools enable you to configure many deployment options.

Windows AIK includes:

i) Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)
Open Windows images, create answer files, and manage distribution shares and configuration sets.

ii) ImageX
Capture, create, modify, and apply Windows images.

iii) Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)
Apply updates, drivers, and language packs to a Windows image.

iv) Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)
A minimal operating system environment used to deploy Windows. The AIK includes several tools used to build and configure customized Windows PE environments.

v) User State Migration Tool (USMT)
Migrate user data from earlier versions of Windows to Windows 7.

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