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Distribution Shares in Windows Embedded Standard 7

3/21/2011

A distribution share is an optional set of folders that contain files that are used to customize Windows Embedded Standard 7 through unattended answer files. When you add items to an answer file on a distribution share, the path of the item is included in the answer file. During installation, Image Builder uses this path to install the additional applications and device drivers. For example, if you connect to a distribution share on a network, the answer file refers to that network path.

When you create a distribution share by using Image Configuration Editor, three folders are automatically created. The folders are named $OEM$ Folders, Out-of-Box Drivers, and Packages.

If you create your own distribution share, it must contain all the following folders before Image Configuration Editor recognizes it as a valid distribution share:

  • $OEM$ Folders
  • Out-of-Box Drivers
  • Packages
  • Templates
  • Templates_Data
  • OS Images
  • Data Images

New for Windows Embedded Standard Service Pack 1:

  • Windows Embedded Standard 7 Service Pack 1 has two distribution shares: one for developing images to be deployed to target devices that have 32-bit architecture and another for developing images to be deployed to target devices that have 64-bit architecture. If you install Standard 7 Service Pack 1 on a machine that already has Windows Embedded Standard 7 installed, the two Standard 7 Service Pack 1 distribution shares coexist with your Windows Embedded Standard 7 distribution shares.
  • You can use the Standard 7 Service Pack 1 distribution shares in both Image Configuration Editor and Image Builder Wizard to build images that incorporate Standard 7 Service Pack 1 content.
  • The default installation location for Standard 7 Service Pack 1 distribution shares is C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Embedded Standard 7\SP1DS and SP1DS64.

Image Builder Wizard must be able to locate the packages in your distribution share or configuration set. Typically, Image Builder Wizard finds your package share by using a set of default search paths. However, in some instances you may want to manually set the search paths.

  • Image Builder Wizard searches for packages in one of the following folders in the same directory as the answer file:
    • The directory that is specified as part of the command-line entry. For more information, see Image Builder Technical Reference.
    • The path that is specified in the answer file as the Source Location setting of the Distribution-Share.
    • A distribution share folder in the same directory as the answer file.
    • A distribution share folder in the same directory as Setup.exe.

To switch between the Windows Embedded Standard 7 and the Standard 7 Service Pack 1 distribution shares in Image Configuration Editor, use the following steps:

  1. From the File menu in ICE, click Select Distribution Share.
  2. The Select a Distribution Share dialog box opens. The dialog box should open to the default installation location, which is C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Embedded Standard 7\.
  3. Click the distribution share you want to use. The default distribution shares are shown in the following list:
    • For Windows Embedded Standard 7: DS or DS64.
    • For Standard 7 Service Pack 1: SP1DS or SP1DS64.

The following sections describe the folders in a distribution share that Image Configuration Editor creates.

$OEM$ Folders

You must have access to the $OEM$ folder and subfolders on your deployment device. You can use $OEM$ folders to include logos for branding and to add applications and other files that customize an unattended installation. The $OEM$ folders were used in earlier versions of Standard 7, and in some cases, are not supported in Standard 7. For more information about which $OEM$ folders are currently supported, see the following table.

Ff794652.note(en-US,WinEmbedded.1001).gifImportant:
Do not overwrite existing files that are carried and serviced by the operating system. If you use $OEM$ to update or overwrite these files, it can cause the operating system to behave incorrectly and result in serious issues.
Ff794652.note(en-US,WinEmbedded.1001).gifImportant:
If you use Windows Embedded Developer Update (WEDU) to update a distribution share with additional packages, the WEDU client creates and uses a new folder to store activity history. The folder is named "WEDUUpdateData" and is created as a subfolder to the DS folder.

Support for Previous Versions of $OEM$ Folders

The following table describes the support for $OEM$ folders that were used in earlier versions of Standard 7.

Previous term Previous definition Supported

$OEM$

Contains all supplemental folders and files for an automated or customized installation.

Yes

\$OEM$\Textmode

Contains updated mass-storage drivers and hardware abstraction layer (HAL) files that are required during the text-mode part of Image Builder.

No

\$OEM$\$$

Contains files that Image Builder copies to the %WINDIR% folder (for example, C:\Windows) during installation.

Yes

\$OEM$\$$\Help

Contains custom Help files that Image Builder copies to the %WINDIR%\Help folder during installation.

No

\$OEM$\$$\System32

Contains files that Image Builder copies to the %WINDIR%\System32 folder during installation.

Yes

\$OEM$\$1

Represents the root of the drive on which you installed Standard 7 (also known as the boot partition), and contains files that Image Builder copies to the boot partition during installation.

Yes

\$OEM$\$1\Pnpdrivers

Contains new or updated Plug-and-Play drivers. The user specifies the folder name in the Unattend.xml file for unattended installations. For example, this folder might be named \$OEM$\$1\Pnpdrvs.

Yes

\$OEM$\$1\SysPrep

Contains files that are used for Sysprep-based installations.

No

\$OEM$\$Docs

Contains files that Image Builder copies to %DOCUMENTS_AND_SETTINGS% during installation.

No

\$OEM$\$Progs

Contains programs that Image Builder copies to the %PROGRAM_FILES% folder during installation.

No

\$OEM$\$Progs\Internet Explorer

Contains the settings file to customize Internet Explorer.

No

\$OEM$\drive_letter\subfolder

Contains files that Image Builder copies to the subfolder during installation. Multiple instances of this kind of folder may exist under the \$OEM$\<drive_letter> folder. For example, \$OEM$\D\MyFolder.

Yes

Out-of-Box Drivers Folder

Drivers are a type of software that enables hardware or devices to function.

The Out-of-Box Drivers folder includes additional device drivers that you can install when you use Image Builder to build an image. Image Builder uses three types of drivers:

  • In-box drivers.
    In-box drivers are handled the same as packages.
  • Out-of-box drivers.
    You can add more .inf-based, out-of-box device drivers during Image Builder by using Image Configuration Editor. Typically, these out-of-box drivers are processed during the auditSystem configuration pass. Your .inf-based out-of-box drivers must be in a distribution share subfolder called "Out-of-Box Drivers." For more information, see Add Out of Box Drivers Using Image Configuration Editor.
  • Out-of-box drivers that use an installer, such as an .msi file.
    You add out-of-box drivers that require an .msi file in the same manner as applications, that is, by using the $OEM$ folders.
Ff794652.note(en-US,WinEmbedded.1001).gifNote:
You must add boot-critical device drivers that are required for installation during the windowsPE configuration pass. You add these device drivers by using the WinEmb-PnpCustomizationsWinPE component. For more information, see Add Drivers to an Offline Image.

Packages Folder

You must import packages to a distribution share by using Image Configuration Editor. You use the Packages folder for Windows Embedded Standard 7 software updates. Package types include service packs, security updates, language packs, and other packages that Microsoft issues. You must use Image Configuration Editor to import packages. After the package is imported and appears in the Distribution Share pane, you can add the package to the answer file.

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