Just 10 days ahead of the Windows 7 General Availability deadline, Microsoft made available for download the preinstallation resources associated with the RTM Build of the latest Windows client. The Windows 7 OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) is now up for grabs via the Microsoft OEM partner Center. But don’t let the name fool you, the OEM Preinstallation Kit for Windows 7 RTM is a collection of resources designed for system builders, namely custom PC integrators, rather than original equipment manufacturers. With the downloads, system builders get an introduction to Windows OPK, guidance on how to prepare their labs, deployment instructions as well as video demonstrations. What they don’t get is the actual Windows 7 RTM bits, which are not included in the OPK.
“To install the Windows OPK, your computer must meet the following prerequisites: An x86-based or x64-based computer running the Windows 7, Windows Vista, or a Windows Server 2003 operating system. This is the computer that you install the Windows OPK on. The following list shows some of the recommended hardware and software for automated installation environments: a USB flash drive (UFD); a CD or DVD burner; image-burning software. Windows 7 includes image-burning features. .NET Framework 2.0 or higher (provided with the Windows OPK tools during setup). Network access to download the latest updates and transfer data to computers in your environment,” Microsoft revealed.
Microsoft has delayed as much as possible offering to system builders Windows OPK and additional resources that would have permitted them to start shipping computers preinstalled with Windows 7 well ahead of the October 22nd GA. However, the Redmond company did offer the materials 10 days ahead of the date when Windows 7 is scheduled to hit the shelves. This gives system builders that have prepared systems ahead of time plenty of elbow room to beat the October 22nd deadline. In fact, there are system builders that are already offering customers computers preloaded with Windows 7 RTM.
Microsoft enumerated the new features in the “Windows OPK:
- DISM, used for servicing Windows images, replaces many of the tools in previous releases of the Windows OPK, including: Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe). International Settings Configuration Tool (Intlcfg.exe). Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) command-line tool (PEimg.exe).
- The default disk-partition structure has changed from previous releases. In default Windows-installation scenarios, Windows Setup creates two hard-disk partitions: System partition that stores the boot manager and other related data. Operating-system partition that stores the Windows image. “